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The DSLR Field Guide by Michael Freeman

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White Balance

Our eyes are so good at adapting to different lighting conditions that generally we perceive white as white. But the color of light varies, and the two most important ways in which this affects photography are color temperature (between reddish and bluish) and the off-color glow of fluorescent and vapor discharge lamps.

To the human eye, white is normal, and any deviation from this appears tinted—not necessarily wrong, but not balanced. Unless you specifically want a color cast for a particular reason (the warm glow of a setting sun on sandstone rocks, for instance), it’s normal to strive for lighting that appears white—that is, ...

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