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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Flash! 

No, this is not a continuation of my story of standing half naked by the side of the road in Snowdonia but a gripe about photographers.

I have no objections to photographers as a rule. As most people know, I will photograph anything if it stands still long enough or looks good in an artistic way.

What I don’t like is people who buy cameras but don’t have the wits to know how to use them properly. You know – the ones who can’t manage to turn the beeps off or don’t know how to turn the flash off or, worse than that, don’t realise that using the flash in broad daylight when the subject is 20m away is a waste of time.

There is this thing call the Inverse Square Law which governs how well flashes work. Basically, it says that if you stand x metres away from an object then the light then the light that reaches you is 1/x^2 as bright. So, if you are 2m away from something then there will be a quarter as much light reaching the thing from your flash as it would if you were 1m away. If you are 3m away then there will be a ninth as much light, 4m and its a sixteenth.

For the 20m example I mentioned earlier there would be a 400th as much light reaching the subject.

You get the idea, I’m sure, but even if you don’t know the details, it is pretty much common sense that your flash would be less effective the further away you get.

At least, I would hope it is common sense and that people do this purely because they don’t know how to turn their flashes off. Or perhaps they are just stupid.

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