Physics and the School Play

Posted in Just A Thought at 8:23 am

Taking Pictures at School

I attended a school play a few days ago to take pictures for a friend. Conditions were perfect. I’d gotten there early enough to get a slightly off-center shot of the stage, far enough back to get everything in my wide screen shots and close enough to zoom. The stage was well-lit, I wasn’t behind the school videographer, the air-conditioning was on (not ecologically perfect but it was 90 degrees outside).

The play started. So did the audience. A couple of families had turned out in their extend glory to see their student starring in the show. Several members from each family started moving around the theater to get the best shots of their darlings. Worse, (argueably) they were using their flash.

Physics Lesson

Light from a flash dissipates very quickly. If you’re not between 5-20 ft of your subject the flash has virtually no impact on your picture. It does annoy everyone else and shows up on the school video. Pictures taken with no flash (rest your arm on something to hold the camera steady) will be fine. Even if the lighting on the stage is low, digital pictures taken with a high resolution and adjusted will be fine (discovering equalize in Photoshop (TM) was a wonderful thing but many programs have a ‘digital flash’ feature now).

Sharing is Caring

If you have invited members of your family that might not be familiar with school play etiquette, have a planning meeting ahead of time. If everyone wants to take pictures (mistake – you enjoy the show more if someone else takes the pictures but . . .) station guests around the audience. Make a mutual sharing pack to pool the pictures for everyone. Don’t move during the show.


  1. JHS said,

    05.28.07 at 1:23 am

    Thanks for participating in the Carnival of Family Life this week. Your post is a great contribution to the Carnival!

  2. Colloquium said,

    05.28.07 at 2:50 am

    Carnival of Family Life…

    Everybody likes to talk about their family, especially if you have kids. Sit down, have a cup of coffee and enjoy the informative, funny and inspiring stories, insights and observations offered by the many gifted writers participating in this week’s ….

  3. Holly Schwendiman said,

    05.30.07 at 11:02 am

    So true, I think it would be nice if in general more people thought of those around them. The truth of the matter is though that 99% of people don’t know that they need to be that close to have their flash take impact so they just flash away.

    Here via the Carnival of Family Life 🙂