What are true colours?

I’ve been considering the issue of colour balance for a long time now, and found David Ward’s article very thought provoking and liberating. Having made the switch from film (a Mamiya medium format camera and Fuji Velvia ISO 50) to digital, it has been challenging to reproduce the jewel-like colours of Velvia with minimal post -processing and without over-saturation. I tend to do a lot of long exposures aft er dusk (leaving the house and a toddler in time to catch the golden hour, or even sunset, can be tricky), and the colours produced by the digital sensor can be surreal and beautiful. Now that I have the option with digital, however, should I correct them? - Jen Rogers

When using film you are forced (and often happy) to accept what the medium gives you, and Velvia generates beautiful colours, which can be even stronger due to reciprocity failure associated with long exposures. Moving to digital means that sometimes you don’t get the lovely bold colours and, if you do, should you correct them in post-processing?



What a dilemma! I have decided that this is a matter of personal choice, and if the colours reflect the emotions and mood of the scene, then I am happy to keep them – and even, on occasion, alter them using white balance to reflect my experience. Feelings of guilt – long live the lovely blue colours produced by my sensor on a cold evening in the twilight!