A Little Chipmunk


A visit to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington D.C. on Wednesday brought wonderful sights and sounds of the wildlife. Not just the wildlife in the exhibits, but the wildlife that call the National Zoo their home.

As fall is coming near, the chipmunks were busy gathering acorns for a cold winter. At first he sniffed a leftover muffin wrapper, perhaps it had scents of nuts. But then a big acorn caught his eye and he quickly went to work.

Working on the image above ended up being quite a bit of a challenge. I’m finding that animals and birds with a orange/yellow tint in their fur and feathers are throwing off the white balance within the Canon 5D Mark III. Especially when they are in the shade. A green tint tends to permeate through the image. Whether I select Auto White balance, or daylight white balance when shooting this tint continues to appear.

I also remember spending time with professional photographer Tim Cooper at the Birds of Prey photography workshop this past June. As a Nikon user, he was photographing a Red-Tailed Hawk, another bird I’ve had issues with. I noticed on the lcd of his camera, that the green tint was also present.

Shooting RAW images, I’m able to manipulate the white balance, either by selecting the options in Lightroom, using the sliders for custom white balance, or using the eye-dropper to select a neutral black or white. Try with these methods, and the imaged appeared just fine on my laptop. I uploaded several attempts of color correction online, but when I viewed the image on my iPad, the green tint remained.

Using a 2014 version of the Dell XPS 15 with the full HD display, I used the ColorMunki Smile to improve on color accuracy. In fact when I boot up the system, the color adjustment occurs each time.

In spite of the ColorMunki monitor adjustment, and the auto and manual attempts to adjust the white balance in the image. It still had that green tint. With a last ditch effort, I returned to Lightroom to the HSL tab in the develop module and reduced the green saturation and adjusted the green luminance. At last the colors looked accurate on the iPad.

What do you see? How does the color look to you?

13 replies »

  1. I’m not a photographer and skipped most of your text, but since you asked a question, I’d say the chipmunk against the white/ivory background looks more true in color. The top one seems grayer than he should be to me. I hope this is helpful. I love them!

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