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Old January 15th, 2016, 04:13 AM   #1
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'Natural' lighting - reflectors allowed?

Just an idle thought after reading various reviews and accounts of González Iñárritu's The Revenant where we are told that only one fireside scene used a bit of electrical light to even things out, the rest being shot with 'natural' light.

Would the use of reflectors be considered cheating when shooting with only natural light?
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Old January 15th, 2016, 04:33 AM   #2
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Re: 'Natural' lighting - reflectors allowed?

If you would use a reflector to bounce off sunlight towards your subject you are still using natural light so as I see it that's not cheating, you are just redirecting available light.
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Old January 15th, 2016, 10:58 AM   #3
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Re: 'Natural' lighting - reflectors allowed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin McDonald View Post
Just an idle thought after reading various reviews and accounts of González Iñárritu's The Revenant where we are told that only one fireside scene used a bit of electrical light to even things out, the rest being shot with 'natural' light.

Would the use of reflectors be considered cheating when shooting with only natural light?
If you're outside with the sun behind you, all of the light on your face is reflected off of something. Ground, trees, buildings, clouds, whatever. How would using a man-made reflector be cheating?
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Old January 15th, 2016, 07:15 PM   #4
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Re: 'Natural' lighting - reflectors allowed?

Colin, it seems like your concern is that using reflectors, thus re-directing natural light, may not technically qualify as "natural light", if you consider "natural" light as being incident without alteration.
Most of the points made here hint that the "color" of the light source would not change, i.e. no electrical light source, no tungsten, no halogen, no LED, etc.,. thus, they point out that using reflectors would still qualify as "natural" light.
In simple terms, it seems more an issue of the light source than the manipulation of the source through reflecting, blocking, dodging, etc.
I've always been under the impression that natural light refers to the source (the sun and moon) and color rather than meaning "exactly as it falls on a subject".
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Old January 16th, 2016, 08:21 AM   #5
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Re: 'Natural' lighting - reflectors allowed?

Thanks for the answers.

I was beginning to think that it was perhaps rather a stupid question, but some futher reading leads me to believe that the answers might well be slightly different on a photography forum. I have read a fair few books on photography over the years and came from a background of 35 mm photography. My impression is that reflectors were not particularly common for photography outside the studio until comparitively recently. Perhaps it used to be the case that reflectors were seen as a rather less convenient option to fill-in flash and neither were within the spirit of using natural light.

I seem to be finding that photographic blogs and tutorials about use of natural light are all about chosing the location, time and compass angle for the desired effect on the subject rather than the manipulation (didn't mean that in a negative way) of the natural light by 'artificial' reflectors. Post processing techniques also feature in many discussions, but that's off topic for this thread.

I have used snow, walls, buildings, beaches etc. as 'natural reflectors' for both still and film/video images and would have considered that as part of the 'natural light'.

When using some white object (thanks to Kodak for the A4 grey/white cards!) to help fill in shadows to improve the picture I tend to feel I have lost my 'organic light' status to some extent, but undoubtably a better result ensues.

Perhaps people from a background of film think differently about this than those who came from photography, perhaps due to the expectation of having to light a scene rather than often using what's there already in the best possible way?

Ultimately, images in both disciplines are all about light.
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