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Why are Red, Green, and Blue the primary colors of light?

TL:DR Do primary colors really exist in the real world? No. There are no primary colors of light, in fact there is no color intrinsic in light at all (or any other wavelength of electromagnetic ...
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50 votes

What's it called when white objects or white backgrounds become blue in photographs?

This is called a color cast. As others have said, it is a result of an incorrect white-balance. Your camera is assuming that light is of a different color than it is and is compensating for that, ...
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46 votes

Why do we use RGB instead of wavelengths to represent colours?

The goal of the imaging engineer has always been to capture with the camera a faithful image of the outside world and present that image in such a way that the observer sees true to life picture. This ...
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43 votes
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Should I shoot color or black and white 35mm film to learn photography fundamentals?

If your goal is to practice composition and work with shadows and lighting cheaply and efficiently, then you should shoot digital, not film. You will get more immediate results, and the ability to ...
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39 votes
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Water behind ships much bluer than rest of ocean

Is this an effect like HDR or plain photoshop (post processing)? I'd say neither. The effect is natural. The ships' propellors churn the water quite a bit, causing the wake to become aerated. This is ...
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38 votes
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Should changing the shutter speed affect the moon's color?

but why i can see little bit of orange color with shutter speed 1/400 ? My best guess is that you had the camera set to automatic white balance (AWB). In the 1/200s shot, the moon was bright enough ...
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35 votes
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How does Kelvin for color temperature relate to Kelvin for actual temperature?

It is related to a heated substance, albeit in a somewhat theoretical way. The substance is an ideal incandescent black body, which would radiate a given color within a given color space at a given ...
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35 votes

Why do we use RGB instead of wavelengths to represent colours?

You said, this is the information that is captured at first by digital cameras. That is not correct. By themselves, sensors on most digital cameras respond to a broad band of frequencies of light, ...
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34 votes
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Why don't cameras offer more than 3 colour channels? (Or do they?)

Why don't cameras offer more than 3 colour channels? It costs more to produce (producing more than one kind of anything costs more) and gives next to no (marketable) advantages over Bayer CFA. (Or ...
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33 votes
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Will a lens upgrade from the kit lens give me better colors on my backpacking travels?

"Better image quality." You use that phrase. When we say image quality in reference to comparing two lenses, we rarely are talking about anything with regard to which one is "... less dark and gives ...
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27 votes

How does Kelvin for color temperature relate to Kelvin for actual temperature?

Wikipedia's introductory statement on color temperature relates them quite well: The color temperature of a light source is the temperature of an ideal black-body radiator that radiates light of ...
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26 votes

Why are Red, Green, and Blue the primary colors of light?

We ended up with RGB because they're a reasonable match to the way the three types of cones in our eyes work. But there's no particularly privileged set of wavelength choices for Red, Green, and Blue. ...
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25 votes
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Is the white balance wrong in these field poppy pictures?

What is going on? I compared both pictures of the field (left out the one with the tractor, as it suffers from the same problem as the other over-exposed picture, IMHO) in After effects. The image ...
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23 votes
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Why don't color spaces use up the entire color spectrum?

sRGB is a color-space developed by HP and Microsoft in 1996. CRT monitors were common and therefore sRGB was based on the characteristics of these monitors' capabilities. A good write-up of the ...
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  • 1,256
23 votes

Water behind ships much bluer than rest of ocean

Many navy ships intentionally inject air into their wake to obfuscate their sonar signature. See Prairie-Masker air system This added air gives the wake a light blue hue, and since the air bubbles ...
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22 votes
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What's the difference between colour space and bit depth?

Basically, life color information is like a box of chocolates crayons... Color information is stored in integers, not analog values — there are a discrete, countable number of colors that can be ...
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22 votes
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What techniques were used in this late 1970s car ad featuring a family picnicking with giraffes?

More than a comment, less than an answer, because I have no clue what camera/lens/film... The car's registration plate sets it firmly between August 77 & July 78 - the letter is the year for old ...
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21 votes

How do I shoot birds against the sky to be faithful to their colour?

Well, in order to get good results, you'll have to make the plunge into non-auto settings. I'd recommend Manual mode. The problem you're running into here is that you are pointing your camera at a ...
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20 votes
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Is there any point in photographing directly to black & white?

Yes, if you shoot RAW. If you have difficulty visualizing an image in B&W, shooting in B&W gives you a good approximation of the final image at the time of shooting so you can adjust; many ...
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18 votes

Can I do "back conversion" of a B&W JPEG to color?

If this image were RAW, the color would still be there. But since it is JPEG, I'm afraid not. The fact that the image is in RGB format does not help, because I'd you look, you will find that in fact ...
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  • 140k
18 votes

Why don't cameras offer more than 3 colour channels? (Or do they?)

A few notes from this long-time optical systems engineer. First, there are things called "hyperspectral" cameras which use gratings or equivalent to break the incoming light into dozens or even a ...
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18 votes

What causes the fake colors of stars on these pictures?

I can tell 3 common reasons for weird/fake colors in astrophotography: Chromatic aberration makes some starts appear white in the center, but their borders blue or red, depending what of those two ...
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17 votes

Do photographers see ambiguity in the color of the blue/black (gold/white) dress?

My monitor is calibrated (less than a month ago). I see the white/gold dress, but the highlights on the white piping have a blue tinge to me. However I have seen pics of the (supposedly) original ...
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  • 1,617
17 votes

How does Kelvin for color temperature relate to Kelvin for actual temperature?

The colour temperature is related to the black-body radiation produced by hot objects. The black-body radiation curve, shown below, shows the approximate intensity* curves at each wavelength for the ...
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16 votes
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Why does BRIGHT red in direct sun come out orange?

How can this be explained technically? Auto Exposure and Auto White Balance. The camera is trying to expose the image properly, but there's a huge difference in brightness between the shaded areas (...
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16 votes
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How can I maintain brightness in a landscape without overexposing the sky?

How can I make my shots look like this one? I added an emphasis to the question you asked, which is pretty much the answer: You make an image like that. There's no way your camera will produce an ...
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16 votes

Help for a film shooter: how to cope with the paradox of choice?

There's no one way. Personally I find digital frees me to defer choices until after the shot. Not only that but I can "discover" new interpretations of a scene with different crops, different toning,...
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15 votes

Does lens age affect color produced?

In general, lenses do not degrade in this way. However, some old lenses made up until the 1970s contain elements made of thorium oxide — a radioactive element which yellows as it ages. These were used ...
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15 votes
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Is there a specific color temperature to film?

The color rendering of a film has to do with both color balance and the specific color response curves of the emulsion. This said, almost all the film stock produced today is daylight balanced, making ...
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