Tungsten and fluorescent lighting

I did my best with this exercise but I’m not sure how successful I have been, not very I suspect.  I do understand that tungsten and fluorescent lighting produces very different outcomes when you take a photo and I have used the white balance settings before, checked the results then adjusted the setting until I am happy that I have an acceptable result.  If I’m honest though, this section is a little too technical for my simple mind and I’m not even sure what kind of bulbs I have in my house, some of the old ones and some of the new energy-saving ones, but which category do they fall into??

Tungsten bulbs - Auto

The first part of this exercise involved me looking out of the window at dusk, then looking into the room, what colour did it seem? I’ve no idea, what was I supposed to see? Did the fact that it didn’t seem any different to me mean that it wasn’t dark enough outside? I appreciate that artificial light is weaker than daylight but I’m really struggling to see the point of this.

Tungsten bulbs - sunlight

The first photographs I took involved a scene which included inside and outside and with white balance set to auto, daylight and tungsten.   I don’t have a tungsten setting on my camera, as well as sunlight, cloudy, shade and several fluorescent settings I have ‘incandescent’, is that the same???

Tungsten bulbs - incandescent

The auto white balance setting produced very yellow results whilst the incandescent setting produced pictures with a blue tinge.  In this particular case the best results, and by that I mean where the colours were most accurate, were produced with the white balance set to incandescent.  I suppose this tells me that this is the sort of bulbs I have in my kitchen.

Fluorescent - auto

Again I am confused by what is meant by ‘small CFL lamps’, however my second set of photographs were taken in the lounge where I have the modern low energy bulbs fitted.  The first, with the white balance set to auto produced the most accurate results.

Fluorescent - cool

I then took three more at different fluorescent white balance settings; white, cool and daylight, all of which produced quite different results ranging from quite pink (cool)  – right to yellow (daylight) – below right.

I am aware that the setting you choose can skew the results anyway, so I’m not sure what this means as I’m not sure that these pictures were actually taken in fluorescent lighting.

Fluorescent - daylight

Of course the last thing it says in the materials is that, as fluorescent lighting does not emit the full colour spectrum, you should expect that the colour quality will be in some way unsatisfactory.  Maybe it’s not just my limited understanding after all!!


About Anne Bryson

I live in Gloucestershire with my husband Iain and West Highland Terrier, Isla. I enjoy golf, photography and my grandchildren, not necessarily in that order! Having completed a 10 week digital photography course with the Open University in 2010, I decided I wanted to take my photography further and enrolled for the Open College of the Arts BA (Hons) starting with 'The Art of Photography' which I enjoyed so much that I went gone on to do Digital Photographic Practice and People and Place. In April 2016 I enrolled on my fourth OCA photography course, Documentary. This blog is my Learning Log for this course.
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