White Balance in the Snow

OK, so it’s not much of a tip, but if you have a DSLR camera and all you ever do it shoot on Auto, have a look! The tip is after the REALLY LONG set up. Sorry.

Last week the kids were out of school for a teacher workday. My mother-in-law wanted to take us to do something fun, so off we go — packed into the van — snow tubing. We are in the foothills, so the tubing joints in the mountains are not that far. About an hour and a half. Of course, the last 30 minutes of that is tight, winding, mountain roads. Barf.

We pull into the parking lot and are met by a closed gate with a stop sign hanging from it. What? The MIL called ahead the day before and we were all set to go! Blackberry to the rescue. I call them. They answer. “Oh, we decided to close to blow snow today.” (did I mention it was already snowing?!) Me: “When did you decide that?” The lady on the other end: “Yesterday, about 5.” Are you freaking kidding me?

No worries. We passed a tubing place on the way up. I call them. Nope, they are closed until Friday. Long story even longer, I call two other places that are nearby and everyone is closed. The skiing is open, but the tubing runs are not. Geez.

So we stop and chat. What to do now? A movie? A restaurant? Dare I say it — the mall? (gasp)

Nah. Let’s go ice skating.

Um… Did I mention we had four kids in tow all under the age of 8? Ok. Why not?

So we go and we actually have a fabulous time. We went to Appalachain Ski Mountain where there is an outdoor rink and it snowed the entire time.

The kids did wonderfully. We rented some nifty thingies that helped the kids balance and by the time we were finished they had all tried to skate without aid at least a few times and didn’t want to leave when our time was up.

When I got home and looked at the pictures, I thought this would be a good time for a little lesson. The first shot I took just to check out the lighting looked like this:


Now, believe it or not, my mother-in-law is a very pleasant lady and was having a good time. 🙂 Don’t look at her expression. Look at the color. Ew.

With these newer cameras, Auto White Balance is usually pretty spot on. In the snow, though, not so much. If you have images like this, there is a very easy fix. Have a look at your White Balance settings and change it to “Cloudy” or “Overcast”. There is a little symbol, appropriately, of a cloud. And voila!



These are straight out of the camera (I did not edit these at all and I feel the need to point out that these are not creative, just nice memories of silly faces for me). Much better. Now I can remember my babies the color they actually were. 🙂

White Balance is fun to play with. You can actually get some interesting results when you set the white balance for something other than the norm. Have some fun and play around.


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