light on the Horizon

Despite the noisy imperfections of indoor night scenes, I invariably do not resort to flash – not least because I can never handle it well enough to put to good use.

f3.2; 1/60; iso 500

As a result I also found that many of the photos had horizontal Venetian blind-like lines across them. Apparently it’s all to do with shutter speed not matching the  A/C phase cycles of artificial lighting and hence freezing part of the cycle (our eyes do not notice the on-off flicker of the light phasing)

f 2.8; 1/60; iso 320

<— f2.8; 1/60; iso 250


Recommended solution: Set the shutter speed at 1/50 (1/60 US/Canada) to match the cycle or at twice that 1/100 (1/125)to catch half of the cycle.
If you need to keep the shutter speed above 1/125, use flash which overpowers the artificial light (but keep shutter speed within the flash sync speed 1/200 – 1/250)

For all the gen on light cyles read further:
How to deal with light frequency issue

I did in fact have the speeds set at 1/60 most of the time but since I’m in a 50A/C country I might not have seen the ‘venetian blind effect’ if the shutter speed was set to that or multiples of that – I will retry in future with this speed equation in mind.

f2.8;1/25; iso 1600
Introspectives:  thinking out loud with an aim to improve and learn more about photography. Hence the images are not always for show – feedback is welcome.

9 Comments on “light on the Horizon

  1. It was never a problem in the days of the old fashioned incandescent bulbs but modern LED and fluorescent lights flicker. That’s why I try to keep some incandescent light bulbs around. I suspect that it’s also connected to how the sensor in a digital camera records the image because I don’t remember it being a problem in the film era. The only issue I remember was strange colour casts with some fluorescent lights because they have, or had in those days, a discontinuous spectrum. Which meant film recorded the colour of the light differently than the human eye saw it.

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  2. Thank you for posting this information. I’m inspired to seek out a similar experience in order to teach my eyes to see these shadows. I’m thinking about doing a comparison of setting the shutter speeds, 1/60 and 1/125 with a manual setting and then repeating with the camera set on aperture.

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    • Yes I made these shots mainly to look at shadows but in the process came across the horizontals! I’ll be interested to see your outcomes

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  3. It might be strange but I like the effect. Interesting series of shots.

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