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Posts Tagged ‘white balance’

postheadericon Make Use of Incandescent Lights in Photography

 

Tungsten lights are actually incandescent. It is created by burning up a tungsten filament from a controlled rate in the enclosed transparent envelope. When made specifically for photography, the actual light output is high and the color temperature is managed at 3200K in just about any design. Some lamps have a blue coating on the glass which gives a shade temperature that approximates that of daylight. These are intended more to be used in mixed lighting conditions, such as joined with daylight, compared to straightforward studio use.

 

A lot more efficient version of tungsten lighting is the tungsten-halogen lamp. This uses exactly the same coiled tungsten filament but it burns at a much higher temperature in halogen gas. Consequently, these lamps maintain virtually the identical light output and color temperature throughout their life; they also last longer than traditional lamps and are smaller with regard to their equivalent wattage. Available wattages range from 200 to 10,000 and the most powerful are intended for cinematography; the highest normal wattage for still photographic lights is 2000. The light output is the same as that from a new tungsten lamp of traditional style with the same wattage.

 

The newer development, particularly relevant to photography, in which camera’s white balance settings may take care of color differences, is high-performance fluorescent. The lamps used are flicker-free, nearly as bright as tungsten, color-balanced for 5400K or 3200K, and cooler and less expensive to run.

 

The common types of incandescent light that are being used nowadays are: Ballancroft 2500-watt north light fitted with honeycomb or egg-crate, Lee-Lowell 800-watt Totalite with barn doors, Rank-Strand 1000-watt Polaris manual spotlight, 800-watt Arrilite, and Hedler 2000-watt videolux.

 

Tungsten light is easy to use, photographs the way it looks, and great for large and static subjects. However, it is extremely not bright enough to freeze fast movement and still needs blue filters.

 

Every incandescent light needs to be fine-tuned to have the best results. Usually, it carries its very own light housing that incorporates some kind of reflector behind the lamp. This is partly to make use of all the light radiated and partly to control the beam. The deeper and more concave the reflector, the more concentrated the beam as it is harder to spread a beam that is already tight when it leaves the housing compared to concentrate a broad beam. The most general-purpose housing has reflectors that give a spread of between about 45 and 90 degrees. Light that gives tighter concentration is intended for more specialized use.

 

Many housing allow some change to the beam pattern by moving the lamp in and out of the reflector or by moving reflector doors. Barn doors fitted to some housing have a slightly different effect: they cut the edges of the beam rather than concentrate it. The beam patterns from most housings show a fall-off from the center outwards; even with a well-designed reflector, there is still a powerful concentration of light in the lamp’s filament. One way of reducing this fall-off in the design of the housing is to cover the lamp from direct view with a bar or a spiller cap. If the reflector dish is big as well, the result is a degree of diffusion. Even softer but less intense light is possible if the inside of the dish is finished in white rather than bright metal.

 

Used alone in the studio, tungsten lamps simply need 3200K incandescent white balance. However, tungsten lighting is frequently used on location and in interiors. However, this is often used in combination with existing lighting, like daylight and fluorescent light. As a result, lighting filters are typically used for converting the color temperature or for correcting the color to that of fluorescent lamps. You could, however, use mixed lighting and post-production methods but it is best to get it right at the shoot.

 

The most typical filters are blue to match daylight. Full blue is 131 mired; half-blue is -68 mired; and quarter-blue is -49 mired. These filters can be obtained as heat-resistant gels, glass and dichroic. Dichroic filters are partial mirrors, reflecting red back to the lamp and passing blue. They may not be always consistent and ideally needs to be checked before use with a color-temperature meter.

postheadericon Making More of Flash

With the addition of the ambient light instead of totally replacing it, on-camera flash can achieve interesting effects, and even subtlety. Experimentation is less complicated than ever before with digital camera models.

While on-camera flash works well enough as the no-frills light that at the least helps you to capture a recognizable image, it totally changes the view of any scene, usually dropping the backdrop straight out of sight. Approaches of working around this, however, including diffusing the light and employing it combined with an extended exposure. Modest number of diffusion is achievable by fitting a translucent attachment into the flash head, but you will find physical limits to this particular because the diffuser attachment has got to sit through the lens. More usual in interiors with low, domestic-style ceilings is by using bounce flash, swiveling the head upwards in order that the light spreads by reflection (simply with white or pale ceilings).

Contributing to the ambient light, however, is among the best reasons like on-camera flash, and there are a couple of variations from it. The first is shadow fill. This is especially useful shooting towards light and detail in objects facing the camera is frequently lost in shadow. All digicams have got a setting for this, where a smaller dose of flash is boost the longer exposure to be able to provide a balanced combination. The other variation is streaking with rear-curtain synchronization. In this particular, the exposure and flash output are similarly balanced, however the flash is timed by the end of the exposure. If you experience movement, in the subject or because you slowly move the camera, you’ll encounter trails of light terminating in a sharply frozen image.

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postheadericon Light Sources – Photography

Among the variety of light sources used in photography, the artificial lighting found in houses, offices, city streets, and public spaces is often considered to be the poor relation. Daylight is purpose-built and so designed for camera and lens settings that are close to ideal. What remains, generally known as available, ambient, or existing lighting, can be problematic, but may also be interesting.

 

Available light used to be at best a challenge, with a great deal of built-in uncertainty. Available light levels are lower than ideal for use with film, so one of the issues was whether to sacrifice detail by opting for a faster and so grainier emulsion, or accept some movement blue by staying wit a fine-grained emulsion and using a tripod for steadiness. Another issue was color balance, involving first a choice of daylight or tungsten film, and second a choice of filter. This was on top of having a method of judging the color of the lighting; namely  a color meter, experience, or guesswork.

 

Digital photography does away with all of this at a stroke, and available light becomes a pleasure – or at least an arena of lighting situations that is almost as easy on the camera as it is on the eye. This has some very important practical effects, on time and cost. There is almost no need for advance planning and calculation. You can decide in an instant what the color balance is likely to be then choose the appropriate white balance and check the result. If it is not quite right, you can go back to the menu and adjust it. It should take no more than a minute to reach a passable color balance in even the most difficult conditions.

 

And then there is the issue of cost, which affects the number of different shots that photographers attempt. Available light is often patchy, with the light sources themselves frequently in shot, and this encourages bracketing and different filter combinations just to be safe. Or rather, it used to encourage this, but now the immediate view on the LCD screen shows you what adjustments to make. No longer do you need filters, or backup rolls of tungsten and high-speed film, or a second camera body for them. A single digital camera has it all, and this surely takes the pain out of available-light photography.

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