Info on lighting (not for a studio)

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by neea, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. neea

    neea TPF Noob!

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    Hey everyone,

    During a conversation with my boyfriend tonight I realized I know very little about light. Seems odd because photography is about light :er:

    I'm looking for books or webpages that will explain what light actually is. How it reflects or doesnt reflect so we can see it. And of course the camera manages to record all this information.

    When I think about it I realize that's a complete mystery to me and almost seems to happen magically that a tiny device can caputure what our eyes see.

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Any book on photography will tell you the basics.
    What level do you want to go to?
    I can do you the idiot's guide or we can talk Quantum Mechanics, Physics, Optics, Human Perception and all the rest if you like :lol:
    The quick run-through:
    Light is a form of energy and is part of the Electro-Magnetic spectrum which includes X-rays and Radio waves.
    To all intents and purposes it travels in straight lines and is normally considered as a wave (although it has some properties akin to a particle).
    'White' light is comprised of a whole range of frequencies, each different wavelength interpreted by our visual system as a colour*.
    All physical objects can be classified as emitters or reflectors.
    Objects which reflect virtually 100% of all light are mirrors.
    90-95% are white.
    5% or less are black.
    Objects in between are grey.
    Colour is produced by the selective absorption or reflection of various wavelengths of light.
    Object surfaces can be very smooth (shiny) and so reflected light still coheres - which is why mirrors reflect images.
    If the surface is rough it scatters the light.
    Reflected light can therefore be classified as 'hard' or 'soft'.
    Optics uses shaped glass to difract or bend light to focus it**.
    Receptor systems such as film or the eye use electron displacement (from the energy imparted by light) as a detection system.

    Now go check out Wikipedia ;)

    * The concept of 'colour' does not exist outside of our minds. 'Image' doesn't really either. Our eyes and brain work together to transform various components of light into a cypher of reality inside our heads. But don't worry about it.
    ** The speed of light actualy slows down in glass, that is why it 'bends'. The different wavelengths of light slow down at different rates, bend at different angles and this is the cause of rainbows and chromatic abberation.
    There is one substance that slows light down - from our point of view - to about 36mph! But read Einstein on the subject.

    All of this was written by HvR at great speed and off the top of his head - but it should still be accurate.
    Any questions?
    Class dismissed!
     
  3. neea

    neea TPF Noob!

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    Thank you very much!
    I did have a great book (the one i always recommend to people on here) but sometimes I 'lose' it for months and months at a time before is shows up again somewhere. I think I may buy another copy because it explain, and had examples, of what kind of things reflect or absorb light and how this traslates onto film.

    I've read a little on wiki. I love reading and I'm great at it... but I suck at math/science stuff so all them words get me confuzzled!!

    Thanx for your help
     
  4. morydd

    morydd TPF Noob!

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    I recommend to everyone to pick up a copy of "The Story of Light" by Ben Bova (yeah, the sci-fi author). It covers "the idiot's guide or we can talk Quantum Mechanics, Physics, Optics, Human Perception and all the rest" while being very readable.
     
  5. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    I'm always available for questions - and I can usually explain things in understandable English.
     

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