Somewhere along the way I acquired a white plastic translucent disk that was for me the best and easiest way of calibrating my digital camera’s with the color of the light. All I needed to do to set a custom white balance setting was to put the disk over the lens, adjust the camera to over expose by 2 stops (to adjust for the white point) and click to record the setting. Now the camera’s white point was adjusted to the quality of light at this particular time. (Below are the instructions for performing these steps in a Sony digital camera.)
However, some time recently this wonderful, inexpensive item disappeared. Multiple times, I did a search on the internet to find a replacement, but the only thing I found were complicated filters and fell short of simplicity and ease of use. I know that one could buy a gray card, lay it on the ground, take a picture of it or use the similar steps above, but I always found this to be an annoyance. So last week, I though I would look again for something to fill the void and low and behold, the creative genius of Gary Fong. created something even better than the translucent plastic item I have, but creating the “White Dome“
What makes this so much better than the flat plastic item I had is the dome shape to Gary’s white dome, allowing a border read on the light color that just the direction one choose to point the camera. It’s size is a little large, 5″x5″x3.5″ but it only weights 0.21 oz.
There have been so many occasions lately when I could seriously have used something like this, particularly when shooting in the early morning before the sun is up, when the Average White Balance settings just do not cut it. What happens is that I usually find a black area in the image to try to set the correct color of the image as in this example.
Here are three images from the foggy morning I tried out Gary’s plastic dome. The first is with the Average White Balance, the second with the sunny day white balance and the third one after I adjusted the white balance in my custom white balance settings;
Like I said, Gary’s light dome is a handy little item to put into your camera bag, particularly for those occasions when the light is difficult and you want to save a lot of time in your post processing.