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Behind the Lens by Jay Holben

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3.6When is White Not White? A Look at White Balance

Physiologically speaking, we see colors in the world based purely on the wavelengths of light reflecting off the object we’re looking at. Each object is, literally, a different color based on the light falling upon it; although the human mind has the innate ability to reconcile these differences through adaptive color interpretation and color memory. To most people, a sheet of white paper is white no matter where they see it because their mind knows that it’s supposed to be white. Their brain will therefore render it as white. In truth, that paper can be blue, orange, green, or yellow, depending on the light falling on it.

Digital sensors are nowhere near as adaptive or forgiving as the human ...

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