Reflected Light Readings Lead to Bad Color Balance
The images above are JPEGs straight out of the camera. The camera’s auto functions missed the color entirely, and would require some software editing to improve that. But, why did it get the color wrong? Well, the camera’s meter views the light reflected from the subject (commonly known as a REFLECTED METER), and makes a guess regarding what the color balance might be. The color of the subject itself interferes with the ability of the meter to estimate the color temperature. For more on REFLECTED and INCIDENT meter types, we will write a blogpost and link it to this article.
The camera saw a lot of yellow-brown reflected from the scene, decided the light source was yellow, and tried to correct it by adding blue to the image and reducing the red. As a result the nice brown mulch is closer to gray than brown.
The Illuminati Meter measures the light falling on the subject and calculates the color of the light source correctly. It is not corrupted by the color of the subject.
For proof – take a look at the meter’s dome in the Illuminati Meter image. It is a white because the light source color temperature has been measured properly. It has shape & specular highlights because the light intensity has been measured properly – the highlights have detail in them.