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Welcome to Silhouette photography,

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Welcome to Silhouette photography,

This page for demo purposes only, Please click on the banner at top of page or home button to visit main site....


Page under construction.




THE PHYSICS OF LIGHT
The effective use of light requires knowledge of its qualities and traits.
Light, as a photographic commodity, is subject to the laws of physics
and, as such, can only be used effectively if you understand its properties.
My mantra is, "Aside from the laws of physics, there are no rules
to good photography." To my mind, this is an absolute. Understanding
light is the creative equivalent of a get-out-of-jail-free card.
Electromagnetic Spectrum. Light energy travels in waves, and it is
the difference between these wavelengths that film, digital chips, and
our eyes perceive as color. The electromagnetic spectrum is the term for
the full range of these waves, from the shortest ultraviolet waves to the
longest infrared waves. The spectrum of visible light, the waves that fall
in between these two extremes, contains the wavelengths of light that
are most important to portrait photographers. Within this spectrum are
all the colors of visible light: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo,
and violet. You can see these colors by using a prism, or when viewing
a rainbow.
The differences between wavelengths is also the reason that objects
have color. An apple is red, for example, because it absorbs the blue and green from visible light and
reflects back to your eyes primarily
the red wavelengths. Similarly,
an object we perceive as light in
tone looks that way because it
reflects light efficiently (much of
the light that hits it bounces back
into our eyes or cameras), whereas
an object we perceive as dark
absorbs more light than it reflects.
When the wavelengths for each
color are all present in equal
quantities in the light emanating
from a source (whether that's the
sun or a light bulb), we perceive
the light as "white." When there
arc unequal amounts of the different
wavelengths present, the light
may be warmer (more yellow or
red), or cooler (more blue). This
means that, depending on the
light, there may be more or less of
one color of light available to be
reflected by subjects. As a result,
subjects may appear to have a
warm or cool color cast. Our eyes
do a remarkable job of adapting
to this (ensuring that the white
pages in this book look pretty
much white whether you are reading
them under an incandescent
lamp or the noon sun in your
backyard), but our cameras are
not necessarily so sophisticated. The impact this has on portrait
photography will be covered in
greater detail later in this chapter.
Angle of Incidence. As noted
above, it is the way that light
bounces off subjects that creates
the color we see in our images and
with our eyes. It is important to
note, however, that light bounces
off objects in a way that is completely
predictable. The rule is
that the angle of incidence (the
angle at which the light strikes the
surface of an object) is always
equal to the angle of reflection
(the angle at which that same
light will be reflected off the surface).
Imagine you set up a light at 85
degrees to the left of a narrow
mirror. The angle of incidence, in
this case, is 85 degrees. In order
to see that light, you would have
to stand at an equal angle, 85
degrees, to the right of the mirror
(image 3).
With a mirror and other shiny
surfaces (like people's eyes), the
surfaces are very uniform and the
light is reflected from them without
much distortion. On less reflective
surfaces, the light beams
still follow the rules of physics and
reflect at the angle of incidence
(image 4). However, because each
minute area of the surface is at a
different angle to the light, you
will not see a perfect reflection of
the light, but a more diffused
effect that reveals the color and
texture of the surface.
Knowledge of this is important
in portraiture on a number of levels,
as you must be aware of where highlights and shadows will fall
from the lights you place. Each
light you use in a lighting scenario
has an angle of incidence and corresponding
angle of reflection.





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