Megyn Kelly, Flag Day and Finding White Balance in Everyday Red & Blue News Coverage


My name is Scott and this is Changing Optics - Seeing Life Through Different Lenses

Today is June 14, 2017 and here in America we celebrate National Flag Day

Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick

Our flag of Red White and Blue has gotten some heavy criticism over the past year via the actions of former NFL Quarterback Colin Kaepernick who famously started a protest by not standing for the National Anthem or saluting our flag. He responded to the criticism by kneeling, which can be looked at as changing his protest from criticizing our country to praying for it. He was not alone

This post is not about Colin Kaepernick

It is about our American flag and ultimately its connection to White Balance in Photography

Our flag may represent a country that has flaws but tries its best to work its problems out in a civil manner. I know it may not seem like that when reading comments on Facebook and Twitter feeds, but don't lose hope. Its why we do what we do here at Changing Optics

Now the colors of the flag are Red, White and Blue. According Charles Thompson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, reporting to Congress on the Seal, stated:

"The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes)
are those used in the flag of the United States of America;
White signifies purity and innocence,
Red, hardiness & valor,
and Blue, signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice."

Also this from a book about the flag published in 1977 by the House of Representatives...

"The star is a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial;

the stripes symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun

the stars against a blue background symbolizes a new constellation

Which brings us to White Balance in photography. It is one of the most important aspects to understanding photography because photography is painting with light and all light sources are based around the sun and the colors it produces. There is a thing called black bodies. Think of a metal iron or a torch burning. Black doesn't reflect light, it absorbs it and creates black body radiation.

It starts out black which in actuality is a really really dark RED called Infra Red. The eye only perceives this as black. As the black body heats up it glows and shines a lighter red, and then an orange yellow, and eventually white and then light blue. These temperatures and their visible color are measured in something called Kelvin which was established by a British Physicist named William Thomson

William Thomson

William Thomson

Now blue light scatters where as red light is more direct. Its why the sky is blue and laser pens are usually red. This has to do with wavelengths.

With regards to White Balance there is a time called Mid Day Sun which is 5500 Kelvin where the Suns temperature is closest to shining everything in front of you that is meant to be white will appear white and the shadows in a scene appear blue and that is ok as long as the dominate white in the scene is accurate. Imagine the shadows of a white dress

However Mid Day Sun is an exposure nightmare

The bright Highlight parts of your scene are brighter and the shadow dark spots are even darker. This is a challenge for cameras to capture so many photographers choose to shoot in the shade but this changes your main light source from the white sun to the blue sky and thus its important to replicate the sun through white balance

There are ways around these challenges with creative use of powerful flashes and modifiers and also bracketing photos which is the process of taking photos at different exposures and combining them thus giving us an HDR photo which is short for high dynamic range.

These exposure challenges are why the best times to shoot photography is during golden hours when the sun is rising in the east or setting in the west. These golden hours are when the sun is first heating up and when its starting to cool off again which is when the sun takes on a more of a yellow red color and the sky becomes less blue. Remember that blue sky is a hotter temperate than white and red and since the sky is less blue, photos tend to start having a color cast to them and this is where white balance comes into play as well. The Whites in a given scene start to take a yellow/red color to them. In order to get them to show as white as a photographer you have to balance the scene and you do this by telling your camera to shoot with a blue color cast

When you are in the shade and you want white balance, you have to tell the camera to shoot with a yellow/red color cast and vise versa when shooting in the golden hours, you have to tell the camera to shoot with a blue color cast

Now as photographers we take this approach so that the scene has an honest representation even when the sun and sky we know are lying to us.

There's no reason why we cant apply that some approach of the color spectrum to our political spectrum which holds to these two extreme colors in our flag.....RED and BLUE

Which brings us to Megyn Kelly. Megyn Kelly is getting harsh criticism for interviewing people from

Megyn Kelly

Megyn Kelly

strong RED politics.

 Vladimir Putin

Vladamir Putin

Vladamir Putin

First there was Vladimir Putin and now Alex Jones from Infowars.

Alex Jones

On the other end is the BLUE spectrum with the likes of Chris Mathews and Keith Olbermann

There are many news sources that provide the their news with the same color cast filters that the Sun and the Sky do throughout the day .....but if we apply the same approach that we use for finding white balance in photography to mental filters when listening to different news coverage

we can find white balance in news coverage

  • When something screams RED ....we need to listen and question things with a BLUE mentality.

  • When something screams BLUE ....we need to listen and question things with a RED mentality.

Hopefully what we will have then is a better balanced understanding of the world around us.

This is Scott from Changing Optics - Seeing Life through Different Lenses. Thank you for listening, Happy National Flag Day America