The New Manual DSLR Project

Hi, and welcome to my blog. The Manual DSLR Project was started March 30, 2010 with the intent of devoting one year to learning how to use my Nikon D300 in manual mode. I invited you to join me as I took this journey. You celebrated with me as my fingers began to remember which wheel adjusts the shutter speed and which controls the aperture settings. I was brutally honest in sharing my mistakes.

A year passed quickly...and I achieved my goal of demystifying the manual operation of my camera.

While the Manual DSLR Project was intended to be bound by time (one year), I am eager to keep the conversation going. So look for additional posts on anything related to photography. And interact. Let me know if you are reading the blog and find it useful.

All the best...

Friday, December 31, 2010

One Step Further: Custom White Balance

My last post was about setting white balance manually. Tonight we take it one step further by discovery the wonders of custom white balance. Okay, "wonders" might be a bit much, but custom white balance on the D300 is pretty cool and easy.

The process is quite easy. But let's first talk about why you would use custom white balance.

If you are in a situation where you want your white balance to be correct in camera and you will be shooting in the same location with the same lighting situation, you may want to use custom white balance. I wouldn't use this feature for shooting an event where the lighting would change from one scene to the next. However, if I were doing a product shoot in a studio where the lighting would be the same, this might be an excellent option.

This photo has nothing to do with the post, but since this is a photo blog...
Now the process. First you hold down the WB button and turn the wheel to PRE. Then hold the WB balance down until PRE starts to flash. Then take a shot of your scene. If the lighting is adequate and the WB setting worked, you will see Gd at the bottom of your viewfinder and Good spelled out on your LCD display. Your custom white balance is now set and ready to go. What this means is that the white balance is set from a white or gray object in the original scene.

You can actually save more than one custom white balance setting and select them just as you would any preset.

Hope this helps. Have a safe and happy New Year's eve!


  1. Hi Mike!
    When setting custom white balance, aren't you supposed to take a picture of something white (or neutral grey?) lit by the same lightsource as the scene? Not a picture of the entire scene. Or maybe I'm wrong?
    Anyway.. Great project, good luck!
    // Simon Wallerstedt

  2. Thanks for the comment Simon. That's a great question and I believe that you are correct. Since you are looking at light source rather than exposure at this point, it would not matter if you photograph the whole scene. I guess my approach is that if you shoot the white or gray card in the scene you are good to go. Thanks for the clarification. It's always good to hear feedback as it prompts me to think more about what I am doing. All the best...Mike