Yesterday, my friend Barbara gave me a huge bag of Meyer lemons that she picked that morning from the tree in her backyard. The aroma of those luscious fruits is intoxicating and beckons me to make lemon curd or lemon tart. My mouth waters just thinking about the possibilities. Since they will soon be disappearing from my kitchen, I decided to take a few photos while they are still around to be photographed. I put them on the black kitchen table with lots of natural light from the window and artificial light from the kitchen fixtures. I was surprised to see that in the first couple of shots, those gorgeous golden Meyer lemons appeared to be greenish yellow, not the deep golden yellow that separates them from the common, and much tarter, Eureka lemons.
After yesterday’s class where we learned a little about white balance, I immediately reset my camera back to Auto White Balance, fearing that having to set the white balance for every set of shots would be too complicated. And, despite my mantra that I want to learn to take photos that I can use directly from the camera without tweaking them later with software enhancements, I justified my decision to do this with the knowledge that I could easily make white balance adjustments in Aperture or Photoshop Elements.
After seeing the greenish Meyer lemons on the LCD screen, I changed my mind about always using Auto White Balance. Here was a clear need for intervention. I changed the camera’s white balance setting to incandescent lighting. That helped a little, but not enough. I discovered a color grid that allows me to fine tune the white balance along the Amber-Blue axis or the Green-Magenta Axis. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I moved the pointer toward the Magenta section of the grid so that the resulting photos of the lemons tended more toward golden yellow.