While visiting the Kentucky State Capitol building in Frankfort last week, I experienced an unusual challenge in my attempt to capture accurate colors.
First, when taking pictures of the Capitol dome interiors, I'm usually laying on the floor in an awkward position trying to get everything aligned with the camera positioned on a tripod. Sometimes, the camera is so close to the floor that I can't even use the viewfinder. I rely on the Live View feature of the Nikon D800. Then, I usually take multiple exposures to create a high dynamic range image.
While taking this picture of the statue of Abraham Lincoln underneath the dome, I was having trouble capturing consistent colors. It seemed that the color of the dome was changing from shot to shot. At first, I figured I could just deal with it later by adjusting the white balance settings during post processing. But, this wasn't a white balance issue!
Over the next two hours or so, I went on to shoot several other rooms within the Capitol building. I forgot about the color issue that I experienced on my opening shots within the rotunda until later when I participated in the formal tour.
During the formal tour, the guide explained how the lighting of the dome's interior is programmed to slowly change colors. I then noticed how the color of the dome slowly transitioned from brown to green to blue to pink. To create my high dynamic range photographs, I am blending five to seven exposures together. These exposures are captured over a period of time during which the color of the dome is changing. When I blend the exposures, I never know what color I am going to get! For this particular photograph, I ended up with pink.