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Comparison - with and without flash

Do you Use flash to make a bright scene darker? Not necessarily!

Here's a picture of Melksham Station taken last Sunday night with the available light:

Example - natural light photograph

And here's a picture taken a few seconds later, taken with flash:

Example - flash photograph

Flash gives extra fill-in light in the foreground, and with camera adjustment it can actually cause the background to go much darker - quite the opposite of what many new photographers expect. You'll note that the only thing that's at all close to my camera in the these two shots - the blue box to the bottom right of the picture - is lighter in the flashed scene, but darker in the natural light scene. And that's reversed for the rest of the scene.

Flash is ideal for taking pictures of people / filling in close by scenes as it emphasises the close and darkens the background - sometimes to the extent that it makes a photograph that would have been impossible into one that's possible. For the scene above, though, it's counter-productive.

Footnote - there were no trains around at the time I took these pictures; the railway's guidelines for photographers state that you should not use flash to photograph moving trains and - as you can see from the pictures - it would be pretty pointless to do so anyway!
(written 2008-11-20, updated 2008-11-24)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
G912 - Well House Consultants - Photography for the Web
  [3402] That spec is a kingfisher ... - (2011-08-21)
  [3170] How far is something pictured from the camera? - (2011-02-15)
  [3104] Catering in Syracuse, the Saigon Cafe, stolen images and Christmas - (2010-12-25)
  [2884] Hotlinked images onto adult material sites - (2010-07-23)
  [2592] Re-using our pictures - (2010-01-21)
  [2252] Leaping dog, Leaping horse, copyright of old masters - (2009-06-20)
  [2224] Trowbridge - a missed opportunity? Melksham - into the breach? - (2009-06-08)
  [1732] Old pictures and comparisons - (2008-08-01)
  [1568] What colour is the season? - (2008-03-08)
  [1506] Ongoing Image Copyright Issues, PHP and MySQL solutions - (2008-01-14)
  [1396] Using PHP to upload images / Store on MySQL database - security questions - (2007-10-19)
  [1194] Drawing hands on a clock face - PHP - (2007-05-19)
  [1188] What shape is your shake? - (2007-05-15)
  [1185] Themes for the web site - (2007-05-13)
  [1114] PHP Image upload script - (2007-03-21)
  [1087] Telling a story in different ways - (2007-02-20)
  [937] Display an image from a MySQL database in a web page via PHP - (2006-11-22)
  [819] My projector has a photo-id - (2006-07-31)
  [665] PHP Image viewing application - (2006-04-01)
  [563] Merging pictures using PHP and GD - (2006-01-13)
  [553] Keep that image small - (2006-01-03)
  [546] The relevance of the hairy woodpecker - (2005-12-28)
  [194] Published Photographer - (2005-01-30)
  [97] What makes a professional photographer? - (2004-10-23)


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Comparison - with and without flash
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Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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