Flash assault

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by LaFoto, Sep 20, 2007.

  1. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    This is less meant to lead to a discussion, but much rather my telling you about something that I have only JUST experienced (well, about 1 1/2 hours ago).

    In the entrance area of the supermarket, a travelling photographer has set up her mobile studio, and she will be there and photograph children from between about 7 month to 5 years for a week now. She has poster size example photos up and she works with three lights, all three of which flash into reflector umbrellas (would those be the famous strobes?) ... they shine a normal light similar to a regular bulb all the time and flash when she takes her photos.

    I believe she has set out her three lights in the usual manner, one fairly close to the table at about 45° to her left and only about as high up as the children are going to be once they are placed on that table, behind which she has a device with three different background screens. This produces a larger catchlight. Then one to her right, much further back, at the same angle, but from high above, producing a smaller catchlight, and the third as - so I would think it is called - a hair light. It is set up behind the children but isn't directed towards the screen, the reflection from out of the umbrella shines to the back of the children's heads. (In her example poster photos, I failed to really see the effect of that third light, but it was definitely there).

    I looked at the set up with interest, and I also watched her pose the two children seated on her table right when I had paid and came out of the check-out area with interest. And I walked up to where the mother was standing on the side, and the grandmother, too, and studied the advertising photos, and soon enough the baby became a little cranky and she wasn't happy with big brother's and little sister's initial poses, so she tried out something new, but all the while the flashes (strobes?) fired, baby would wink.

    Then suddenly she took about 8 - 10 photos one after the other in rapid succession. I think she hoped to get baby in at least one of them with her eyes open.

    Now the light from those strobes did not even hit me in the eyes, for I was behind all those lighting-set-ups. But ... once outside on the car park I suddenly felt all queasy and funny and thought "Whoops, now what on earth is wrong?" I got sick to the stomach and very light-headed ... and then realised that probably studio photography with SUCH lights is nothing for me. It affected me STRONGLY physically! This barrage of lights was too much for me!

    (And this while I am proud new owner of a Speedlite 580EX II - since yesterday!!! :biggrin: --- but all my photos taken with that brandnew external flash have so far been nothing but tries - and most of them errors, I need to read and further read and really STUDY the manual a lot further before I really know what I am doing with that new gadget I have).

    Now I guess it is only me who gets so severely affected by these lights? (A discotheque with strobe lights would KILL me!)
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The third light sounds like it would be a hair light, or 'Kicker'...which is similar. Basically it's to light up the hair/top of head and light them from behind, to give separation from the background.

    These would be considered 'Strobes'...but so would your 580EX or even the built-in flash.

    Some people are affected by rapid flashes of light. I remember, about 10 years ago, there was a Japanese cartoon TV show, that had a lot of bright flashing...it actually gave people seizures.

    I don't think it would be an issue unless you are rapidly firing the flash/strobe.
     
  3. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Actually, physical reactions to strobing effects are not uncommon, and I must warn you that they can be quite serious.

    You generally see problems like this occur in dance clubs and concerts where they are using strobes. Often, places that use powerful strobes will put up warning signs near the entrance. When I ran a DJ service a few years back, I used all types of flashing lights but I did not use strobes at all, since they affect some people adversely... and the object of a party is to have fun, not to send guests into seizures or sickness.

    The problem often occurs in epileptics, but it certainly isn't limited to them.

    I would suggest that you would not be bothered at all by a normal flash rate from studio lights... it was the rapid strobing affect that made your system become uncomfortable.

    Sorry it made you sick.
     
  4. Jon, The Elder

    Jon, The Elder TPF Noob!

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    I've had people tell me similar responses to multi flashes also.
     
  5. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Studio lights and epileptics don't go well together. I imagine 8-10 quick and high powerful shots like that could easily bring an epileptic into a seizures.
     
  6. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well, I only felt sick ... but at what risk does that lady photographer maybe put her young clients with this, I begin to wonder, mostly those who are too young to maybe be diagnosed with anything? And I wondered about how Cranky Baby would (later) have reacted to this assault? She was only a baby, after all!?
     
  7. Kipper

    Kipper TPF Noob!

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    You are not alone! Recently I have found that using a flash too close to me causes a migraine - not at the time, but about 12 hours later. I managed to flash myself at close range (doh!) when talking to a subject - the next day was a wipe out with the need for dark rooms, no noise and an icepack for the head.
    I was wanting to get a couple of strobes to improve the portrait photos, but am a bit nervous about the consequences. Maybe I should wear a welders mask while I do the shoot? :D
     
  8. abraxas

    abraxas No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  9. gmarquez

    gmarquez TPF Noob!

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    Video games as well...some of them even have warning labels.
     
  10. RyanLilly

    RyanLilly No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think all video games have that now, just as a precaution because of law suits. I also work in theatre and we always put up a warning if a strobe is being used in productions, not just because of seizures; try walking down some stairs when the only light is a strobe!
     
  11. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    So all this sort of tells me that this photographer might be putting her little clients at a risk?
    Well, maybe not usually. I would assume she usually takes about 2 or 3 photos, no more, to later choose from.
    Only when I was there and happened to watch her at work, this Baby Girl always blinked. And suddenly she went about taking those 8 - 10 pics in very quick succession, supposedly to get at least ONE out of those many in which Baby Girl would have her eyes open...!?! But isn't that potentially dangerous?

    (I skipped doing my grocery shopping in that shop today because I know she is still there, by the way).
     
  12. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    I hate to mention this, but if the baby girl was blinking, then she wasn't seeing all the flashes. :lol:

    Yes, some people can have an adverse reaction to strobe lights, but not usually a single flash (except the migraine, above which is sometimes a trigger, because people who get migraines, often see bright lights or flashes, which means one is coming on. So seeing the bright lights can trigger the brain to say, "hmmm, migraine coming...")

    You would have to flash pretty darn fast, to get the same effect that strobes produce, which can trigger a seizure in some people. As mentioned above, it's mostly associated with people who have epileptic conditions, or latent potential for them.

    It's not "dangerous" and if you think there's some harm or issue, start thinking about a world with no flashes for cameras, or strobes, because that's what happens when the government and lawyers get involved.

    Why do you think the amount of water your toilet uses is now regulated by law. Why we don't have peanut butter in schools? Or maybe why you get a stack of warning labels and a book of warnings, when you buy something. Lawyers and politicians.

    But I'm not kidding. If there's a potential for a lawsuit, because a camera strobe causes a seizure, you are going to see companies stop making them, the price will go up, and you'll find a page or two warning you of possible hazards, in the instruction manual.

    Hey, did you know that if you open a strobe, even if the light isn't lit, and touch the ends of the capacitor, the shock can kill you? And you are worried about a kid getting flashed with light? :lmao:

    Just looked. My goodness, your English is fantastic for someone in Germany. Maybe you don't have the meddling, overbearing, cumbersome, litigious, legal system that we do here. So you get to keep your flash, while ours are taken away. Send me your 580EX immediately. :sexywink:

    Some people can ride those wild rides at amusement parks, all day and walk away just fine. Others will have the same feeling as you did, after spinning around on something mild like a merry-go-round. If the flashes bothered you, I wonder how you do when the Sun is shining through a row of trees in the woods, and you drive along in your car. Sometimes watching old movies, on a projector can have an ill effect. Do fan blades spinning near a light do this to you? If not, maybe it was just a one time reaction.

    Best wishes.
     

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