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Like any light, your flash has a range. It casts a conical-shaped light, but depending on how strong your flash is, that light will only go so far. Now, that should be common sense, but I guarantee that when you first start working with flash, you'll forget that flash range has a huge impact on the effectiveness of your flash in your final image. The problem is your eyes. They're very sensitive and incredibly well adapted to low light. If you go into a dark room and turn on a light. You'll likely see the far wall light up and you'll probably think, well this light is filling the entire room.
It is, but what you won't necessarily realize is how much less light there is on that far wall than there is right near the light itself. Again, this is because your eyes have incredible low light sensitivity, they can pull tremendous detail out of a dark, shadowy area. But the fact is, light intensity drops off very quickly the further you go from the light source. So, I have this light turned on right here. We're going to do a little experiment. You can do this experiment at home with, with any light you might have, a table lamp, anything. I'm just going to put my hand up here in front of the light, and I'm going to meter it with my camera.
I'm in shutter priority mode and I've set a shutter speed of a twenty-fifth of a second. I'm at ISO 400, you don't have to follow these particular settings. I just started with something that seemed right for the light that's in the room. I'm going to meter my hand. I'm just half pressing the shutter button, and it comes in at F 16. So that's about two feet from the front of the light. So F 16, I'm now going to follow the path of the light, and come out here. I'm not coming that far I don't know, I'm about you know, this far.
And I'm going to hold my hand up again and take another meter reading. And here, at the same shutter speed, I'm going to have five, six. That's a three stop difference. Five six, eight, eleven. I'm, I am I don't know. I am not real good at distances. This is what it comes down to. I am maybe, 15 feet from that light and I have dropped off three stops. That's a huge amount of fall off. Earlier, I mentioned that one of the ways that you can control flash intensity is with position of the flash. As you move the flash closer to your subject, you get more light on to your subject.
Well, as you can see, it's only 15 feet before I get a big change in flash intensity. This is a really critical thing to remember when you're setting up flashes, when you're trying to figure out where your lights go. It's a good idea to play around some in your house just with any normal lamp, start metering in different places. Measure out for yourself the change in intensity of a light source. Just so you can get a sense of how quickly light falls off. It's going to be really important once we start trying to control flash power, by positioning flashes in differnt places.
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