Great read from Photofocus:
To understand what is happening, we have to delve into the science of light and color. The White Balance setting is based on the color temperature of the light you are shooting in. “Color temperature” is measured on the Kelvin scale, and helps describe the color of light emitted from a hypothetical “black body” as it is being heated. The color of the light will change as the temperature of the black body changes.
Imagine you heat up a chunk of steel, say a horseshoe. Normally a horseshoe doesn’t emit any light (unless you pay extra for the deluxe model). It is the “black body” in our definition above.
But, if you heat it up, it begins to glow. At first we see a dim red, as it grows hotter it becomes more blue. This is color temperature, changes to the temperature of the horseshoe changes the color of light it emits.
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