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12-17-2017, 10:13 AM   #16
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Nice newborn photo!

I always have respect for parents view, and I do take precautions, but I never understood the physiological reasons behind the advice. People expose their newborns for direct sunlight several seconds or minutes, and they think that is safe enough, but a much much weaker flash unit are often considered unsafe. For UV its an even bigger difference between sunlight and flash then visible light. I believe there is a large component of irrationality to the anti flash baby view, and I like to explore and expose myths, but as I said, I also have respect for peoples views, even if they are myths. If any of you have good physiological knowledge about this subject, I hope you take the time to teach me the details of it..


Last edited by Simen1; 12-17-2017 at 12:39 PM.
12-18-2017, 10:26 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Simen1 Quote
Nice newborn photo!.
Thanks! I was watching closely during and between the shots and I did not see any affect on her from the flashes. She maintained her open eyed gaze throughout. But of course this is soft well diffussed flash light, and a wide spread as well. I completely agree with you that we should be sensitive to people who may feel concerned. If the photos are important then some gentle explanations and reassurance should work.

On camera bounced flash is a good compromise approach when there's not the chance to set up equipment .... Pointing the flash head well away, like over your shoulder, or at 90deg into a side wall, should give soft light and also reassurance.
12-18-2017, 12:32 PM - 1 Like   #18
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Remember that whether bounced from a ceiling or direct flash, if the metering on the face is the same, so's the light into the eyes ...

12-18-2017, 03:45 PM   #19
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Yes, if it's the same. A skilled flash photographer might be able to position things well enough, and work within the technical limitations of the equipment to ensure that a shot with direct flash and one bounced had the exact same light intensity on the face. This would not be all that easy in practice however.

The problem comes when it's used in a less skilled way, and then it's so easy to have the subject too close to a directly pointed flash , causing overexposure and discomfort.

My gut instinct here is that surely the concentrated direct beam of light from a small flash head would be less comfortable on the eyes than a soft widely spread bounced light source, even if the two were giving the same EV on the face .......?

12-18-2017, 04:30 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
Common Xenon arc flash tubes* feature glass which is designed to absorb as much UV as possible, of course there is some that gets through however most flash units have a Fresnel lens** on the front which further attenuates UV output. The light output of a flash unit built into consumer cameras even at peak output, is utterly dwarfed by the sun. And they only produce that intensity in a pulse of illumination that can last for less than 10 microseconds, some flash units can create a pulse that only lasts nanoseconds.

I honestly can't see any way a full term infant could be harmed, even by direct flash under normal conditions.

Though i'll quote from a Pubmed journal " The pupillary light reflex was absent in all neonates of less than 30 weeks gestational age. The onset of the pupillary reflex to light was found to be between 30 and 34 weeks"

* Pure Xenon gas is rarely used, there is always a mixture of Xenon and Krypton gasses in flash tubes - Different mixtures can have drastic effects on the colour variability and efficiency of the flash tube. Xenon produces by far the most UV~visible light output, Krypton has higher emission peaks in the visible~Infared spectrum.
**or in the case of professional flash units: fabric/borosilicate glass light modifiers are commonly used which also happen to attenuate UV.
Very important points about neonate ages in months. Our drandchildren were preemies born at 27 weeks. They came home at about 42 weeks after 110 days in NICU. Their doctor recommended no flash until they were six months not adjusted (nine months from DOB) and we’ve just continued with natural light, to no apparent harm.
12-18-2017, 05:57 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
My gut instinct here is that surely the concentrated direct beam of light from a small flash head would be less comfortable on the eyes than a soft widely spread bounced light source, even if the two were giving the same EV on the face .......?
From flashing myself in the face a bunch of times, this is absolutely the case for me (I regularly flash things that can't speak for themselves, so I periodically give myself a taste of my own medicine to try to understand how to limit how annoying I am). Current ambient conditions also matter, if the pupils are already dilated from full sun, the same intensity flash isn't nearly as irritating.
12-18-2017, 10:07 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote

My gut instinct here is that surely the concentrated direct beam of light from a small flash head would be less comfortable on the eyes than a soft widely spread bounced light source, even if the two were giving the same EV on the face .......?
I can see arguments both ways ... the smaller light source versus half the ceiling suddenly going vivid white.

"Six of one, half a dozen of the other."

Baby photography is traditionally low contrast and the multiple reflections would suit that, I guess.

12-18-2017, 11:13 PM   #23
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I have always respected the parents' view on this even though as far as I'm aware flash will not harm anyone, child or otherwise. I mean bounced (or otherwise softened) flash as direct would spoil the photo.
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