Saturday, June 11, 2011

Light positioning

I'm going to add in a post I made a few days ago on CPF about light positioning, just because I already have it typed out so I might as well include it and add another item to the technique tag. It's from the Tips for effective flashlight use? thread and is in reply to someone else mentioning the advantages of holding a light low in rain or fog.

"I'm surprised I didn't see this one mentioned earlier. This is a good tip, and one that applies not just in rain and fog but in any atmosphere with a little moisture in it, to some degree. A few years ago I did some experiments in a large field on the coast, comparing what I can see through the slightly misty air with a light held in different positions. What I found was that with a light held up around my eyes, in a standard "tacticalish" position, I could see eyes reflecting and a vague form around them, but I couldn't make out detail due to the backscatter. With the light held at arm's length, I was suddenly able to identify the creature as a deer. This has become a standard part of checking my surroundings when out in a wildernessy area: I hold the light by my eyes, scan for the eyes watching me, then hold the light out to try to determine what's observing me. Perhaps the effect is less dramatic in places with totally dry air... but I don't have any of that near where I live.

Light positioning is an important part of using a light effectively, and many of the tips in this thread reflect that. You want it horizontal and close to the surface when you're trying to cast large shadows, close to your eyes when looking for reflections, and far from the eyes when trying to minimize reflection."

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