Saturday, January 15, 2011

A tale of two bulbs

See that? That's a 42W warm CFL and a 65W daylight CFL (6500 Kelvin, full spectrum, CRI 80), behind a piece of white tissue paper I'm using to soften the light. A 65W CFL is about equivalent to a 300W incandescent bulb, so it's bright.

The 65W bulb isn't bright enough on its own, and tends to cool things down just a little too much; it's just a little bit flat.  Pairing up both lights seems to give me a better range of color.

These were taken in the afternoon with bright, indirect sunlight and the two bulbs well warmed up. What I think is interesting is how the different color temperature is readily apparent in some of the pictures. The left side of the picture will be warmer and redder than the right.

top row: automatic white balance; daylight; cloudy; tungsten
bottom row: fluorescent; flourescentH; underwater; and evaluative.

And the previous set for comparison.

This time the automatic white balance shot and the fluorescent shot were almost identical, but the fluorescent was just a tiny bit brighter/warmer.

AWB vs fluorescent

I decided that somewhere in between would actually be ideal, so I tweaked the colors in the AWB shot for this, which I feel is the most accurate.

Yes, I know it's a minuscule difference; this is what I spend my days obsessing over. I already don't know what other people's monitors are like; I can at least make sure my pictures start out as accurate and true to life as possible.

The real acid test, however, was the Moro colorway. It's a bear to photograph because it's always either too warm or too cool and some part of it gets washed out. So this pretty accurate picture that I only tweaked for brightness and not for color? I count this as success. Stay tuned as this means I can start filling up my shop again. I still need good natural light as these bulbs are just a supplement, and not everything has a full sun picture (or will get one with a foot of snow on the ground), but I'll figure it out.

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