Photograph Someone Blinking – How Likely is it?

Photographic Assignment

Here is your Photographic assignment. Find a busy location and take a photograph if people walking; but you must photograph them with their eyes closed. Pretty hard … or is it?

As a former Navy Photographer’s Mate, photographing medium to large groups of people was a pretty common task. Anyone who has tried to photograph groups of people know how frustrating it can be to compose the image and make sure that everyone is visible (even the people trying to hide in the back); all while being the butt of many comments. After the ‘shoot’, screening which image to ‘run’ usually involves trying to figure out which one has the least number of people with their eyes closed.

Well Dr Piers Barnes of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)  actually came up with a rule of thumb to help. For 20 or less people, and when the when the lighting is good, divide the number of people in the group by 3. This is the number of exposures required to have a pretty darn good chance (>95%) of at least one image where everyone’s eyes are open. If the lighting is not good, divide the group size by 2.

Read the article from the 2006 online edition of Velocity, published by ANSTO.

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