The myth that there is no such thing as artificial lighting


Mr. Rain Cloud
Jul 23, 2009
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Found on a photographic lighting help board, from a forum far, far away:

*Eagerly awaiting publication of a YouTube video on how to select a softbox that the Sun can fit into, to get that lovely, soft light effect. Why can I not fit the sun into my Westcott 24 x 24 inch softbox, like I can my Nikon speedlight? Does anybody have a link to a really, really large softbox (big-but affordable too) that I can fit the sun inside, but that will also be secure on a 9-foot Manfrotto light stand with only a 10-pound sandbag on the bottom of the stand?

*Looking for articles on using the Inverse Square Law and the sun to make portraits with a nicely lighted subject, but a black background on a stucco wall located 15 feet behind the subject, you know, the way I can easily do with a simple speedlight with a softbox. I keep running into a basic physics problem: here, on planet Earth, the sun is effectively located at a fixed, non-adjustable distance in relationship to every single damned thing on this planet. I try and try and try, but I can NOT seem to modify how far away the sun is from my portrait subjects…but I easily can change the light-to-subject distance with my flash unit and umbrella on a light stand. Please help!

*Why can I not just grab the sun by its light stand, and move it closer, or farther from my subject? Now, if the sun is "the same thing" as an artificial light source, why do the two behave so differently? Why can I not move the sun? Do I need a stronger, more physically fit assistant? Are my Avenger C-stands too heavy? Would the sun work better on aluminum light stands? So many questions! Help!

*Been searching for a blog post or video tutorial with a good lesson on how to move the subject realllllllly close to the sun, so that the light source is very soft, and then falls off very rapidly, so that I can use the Inverse Square Law to make those awesome black backdrops appear on white beach sand--just by varying the distance between the light source, and the subject ,and the background!

*Heard rumors of a fantastic class entitled, "How To Get A Great Tan Inside Costco's Meat Department." Apparently the secret is heading down to Costco and wearing a tank top and shorts, and lounging around for three afternoons for three hours each, and in the process developing an awesome base tan from that gorgeous Costco overhead lighting!

*Been searching for some good articles about how to shoot golden sunsets with gorgeous, yellow-orange Pacific Ocean waves, and gloriously back-lighted breakers, using only a single speedlight and a Full CTO orange gel to illuminate a typical 3,000 acre ocean and beach area! Oh wait…artificial light cannot do this…but the sun can. In speedlight class I learned that the sun's light and a shoe-mount flash create light that "behaves identically", so do I maybe need something like 5,000 speedlights, 5,000 triggers, and 5,000 CTO gels, and then all that gear mounted on small remote control boats, and aimed back toward shore? Any thoughts or advice? Thanks in advance.

*Kind of wondering how I can best use natural sunlight to capture stop-action photos of the raccoons raiding the garbage dumpster at 2:15 AM? Such a cute raccoon family-mom, dad, and three cute baby coons! Should I enable the sun's AF assist beam? With the exact right settings, I can get the sun's AF assist beam to work great at 2:15 AM, right? Do I need some custom function menu magic? Help!

So, it seems that even in a forum far, far away, there actually DO EXIST multiple photographically relevant differences between natural lighting and artificial lighting.

Well…I am off to Costco's meat department to work on my tan.
Ha! If the pork chops start to look like bacon- good chance they shoulda flipped over an hour ago...
I'm curious:

If I turn off the lights in my darkroom, is the dark natural or artificial?
I didn't learn a damn thing, but the OP was freaking hilarious...:biglaugh:
Clearly its man made, otherwise you wouldn't have built a box round it to keep the darkness in.

Personally I prefer "natural" darkness. Once a year I travel to Alaska and to develop my film outside on a cloudy night away from any artficial scources of light. Cos it give a softness to the shadows that you just can't sem to get with artifical darkness.
Myth busted.
there is no cold, just the absense of heat.
if you want to be squidgy about it, there is no such thing as light, only our perception of it.
if you want to be squidgy about it, there is no such thing as light, only our perception of it.
Actually there's pretty good evidence of photons. Photons with wavelengths between 400 & 700nm are light.
if you want to be squidgy about it, there is no such thing as light, only our perception of it.
Actually there's pretty good evidence of photons. Photons with wavelengths between 400 & 700nm are light.

Only because the photon-receptive organic ocular devices on the third planet from a yellow star call the sun are usually sensitive to that region of the electromagnetic spectrum, and one species in particular, homo sapiens, has merely classified that band of the specturm as such. If their 'eyes' were sensitive to a different region of the spectrum, those silly humans would merrily call that band 'light'.

It's only 'light' because we say it is.
Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.
God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.…

Derrel, you messing in a dangerous realm here. I would be careful around thunderstorms if I were you.
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