Photographs of winter scenes, especially on cloudy days, often have too much blue. How much is too much is of course subjective, and you might want to emphasize the coldness of the scene with a blue cast. But it’s still good to be aware of the tendency for winter shots to look blue. If you compare the photo above, taken recently out in the Greenbrier section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, to the same scene below, you will notice the difference in color tone. The one above has a very noticeable blue cast.
This is a photography issue of color balance, or white balance. Just as winter scenes tend to be too dark because the generic setting of the camera is expecting an average brightness, the camera settings are also expecting an average color balance. In a scene that’s skewed towards white, the camera is fooled, and the result is too much blue.
Actually, color balance is a year round issue for a serious photographer, but winter is especially extreme. What to do about it? If you are serious about photography, do a web search on “color balance” or “white balance” and study the issues. There are white balance targets available which allow you to take a photo of the target, which can then be used to calibrate all the other shots taken under the same conditions. There are also white balance calibration tools built into popular photography software such as Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, etc. This short blog post should at least point you in the right direction of reading up on the issue of color balance if you find yourself frustrated with your photos.
Notice how balancing the blue with all the other colors in the photo below brings out the green that was in the water and the browns of the bare trees.
As always, please stop in and visit me at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography.