Exercise: Tungsten and fluorescent lighting

The brief:

Part 1: Compose a photograph in which both the interior lit by tungsten lamps and the exterior at dusk are both visible. Wait until the light levels inside and outside are approximately equal, and take three photographs, as follows: with the white balance set to Auto, daylight and finally to tungsten. Compare the results. What differences do you note?

 

Fig 01 - Auto setting with tungsten lighting

Fig 01 – Auto setting with tungsten lighting
f5.6, 1/40, 52mm, ISO 200

Fig 02 - Daylight setting with tungsten lighting

Fig 02 – Daylight setting with tungsten lighting
f5.6, 1/60, 52mm, ISO 200

Fig 03 - Tungsten setting with tungsten lighting

Fig 03 – Tungsten setting with tungsten lighting
f5.6, 1/60, 52mm, ISO 200

I had to take these photos before dusk as the one and only tungsten light I have in my dining room is very weak and it would not have held up sufficiently. It was early afternoon and the overhead tungsten light was illuminating my husband’s face. The outside is visible through the lounge window, but I have fiddled with the exposure in post-processing to try and equalize the inside and outside slightly. The Auto and Daylight settings handle the exterior scenario better than the tungsten, which renders the exterior with a markedly blue tinge. The tungsten setting handles facial complexion better than the Daylight and Auto settings which are in turn too orange. If we look at the ceiling, the Daylight setting handles the ambient light better as there is no blue colour cast on the ceiling in Fig 02, while Fig 01 has a very slight colour cast and Fig 03 is heavily colour casted.

Part 2: Fine two different interiors lit by fluorescent lamps. If possible, make one of these an interior lit by the small CFL lamps. Take two or three photographs, identically composed, in each location. The first image should be with the white balance set to Auto, the second to fluorescent, and if there is a choice of different fluorescent settings, the third to the alternative fluorescent. Compare the results, and note the differences.

Fig 04 - Auto setting with CFL lighting

Fig 04 – Auto setting with CFL lighting
f4.2, 1/3, 26mm, ISO 100

Fig 05 - White fluorescent setting with CFL lighting

Fig 05 – White fluorescent setting with CFL lighting
f5.6, 1/4, 26mm, ISO 100

Fig 06 - Cool-white fluorescent setting with CFL lighting

Fig 06 – Cool-white fluorescent setting with CFL lighting
f5.6, 1/4, 26mm, ISO 100

I had to go hunting for a CFL bulb for this part of the exercise as we have switched all our lighting over to LEDs due to the efficiency.The Auto setting did a pretty decent job rendering the colour of the wall, but the two fluorescent settings have done a number of the paint job. Fig 05 with the warm fluorescent setting is the better of the two settings.

Fig 07 - Auto setting with LED lighting

Fig 07 – Auto setting with LED lighting
f5.6, 1/60, 26mm, ISO 100

Fig 08 - White fluorescent setting with LED lighting

Fig 08 – White fluorescent setting with LED lighting
f5.6, 1/60, 26mm, ISO 100

Fig 09 - Cool-white fluorescent setting with LED lighting

Fig 09 – Cool-white fluorescent setting with LED lighting
f5.6, 1/40, 26mm, ISO 100

Not finding any more CFLs in my house I photographed my second interior using LED lighting. All the settings are quite acceptable although the warm fluorescent setting in fig 08 appears cooler than the images taken with Auto and Cool-white fluorescent settings. I prefer the cool-white fluorescent setting because it has added a bit of warmth to the image. The blue colour cast on the side of the cupboard in camera bottom left is due to the sunlight coming through the door to the right.

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