Mr. Wizard Says: Use Your Flash Outside! - 11/19/07
I am a recovering television addict, having acknowledged my problem and cancelled my cable service. I think it stems from an adolescence in which I stared at "educational programming" for hours on end. I don't think it was really that bad, though, because I actually did learn a thing or two-like the time on Mr. Wizard's World when he explained that you should really use your camera's flash even when you're outside. "What!" you say? "Use your flash outside? That's ridiculous." Alas, it's not. Mr. Wizard was on to something. When you're taking a picture of your friend and that friend is staring directly into the sun, sure they may be well lit but their eyes are also squinted so tight you'd have trouble identifying them from the resulting photos. So turn your subject around, placing the sun at his or her back and shoot into it. With a manual camera, you can then adjust the exposure to open up for the shade that the subject is now creating, resulting in an overexposed background and a nonsquinting and nicely lit subject. Even better, or if your camera doesn't have manual controls, turn on the flash and let it work its magic. In fully auto mode, the camera should expose the ambient light to make the background appear normal and the subject's face (in shadow) too dark. But with the flash providing the fill, you'll see every little detail of their wide-eyed, smiling face. Best of all the backlight from the sun will provide a beautiful rim light to help separate your subject from the background. Well done, Mr. Wizard!
Wikipedia photo of Don Herbert, Mr. Wizard.