Monday, 20 November 2006

Doing it with flare


Flare in images is often seen as a problem. But what is flare anyway? Flare is light reflecting between the surfaces of the elements of the lens in a way which either causes patterns across the image, or just a general reduction in contrast. It sounds like something we would want to avoid, and sometimes (maybe often) it is. But is it always such a bad thing?

Sometimes we are confronted by a scene in which the intensity of the light is an important part of the feel that we want to convey. But when the image is reproduced on paper or on screen that feeling of intense light is lost. Particularly in the case of prints the greatest intensity that can be expressed is the unprinted white paper. Even with the screen which is backlit we are not overwhelmed by the brightness. Maybe flare could be useful after all. This partly depends on the kind of flare that results from the use of a particular lens, and also the content of the image, but just keep in mind that flare could be a useful device and be prepared to embrace photographic flare.

The image above was taken with no filters (that's right, not even a starburst filter) but with a fish-eye lens. More on this soon. Turville 19/11/06

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