Mallards (and a Note on White Balance) – Four Photographs
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We stumbled on a mallard and her ducklings on the edge of some rapids. I was surprised when they did not swim off. I had a longer lens than was practical for the circumstances but I made do. I have featured the black and white, as it is my favorite. I also wanted to show the color examples to illustrate a point. The browner of the two color shots is properly exposed and the white balance is as shot (auto-white balance which works 99% of the time in circumstances like this); and in fact this was what the scene looked like (muddy water, dark birds). In the second photograph a very minor adjustment of the white balance on the cooler (blue) side of the spectrum resulted in the less muddied picture. Creative use of white balance in post- processing is something that I have used before and I know that many professionals use it as well. It can have a big impact on a photograph. In fact some people change the white balance in camera so all of their photographs are warmer or cooler. The significant latitude this gives digital photography is a big change from the days of film when white balance was baked into the film (you could shoot at higher or lower ISO than recommended to similar effect but once done any change was difficult and then usually only done by professionals).