Nope, not the neighbourhood, but the lens hood.
Look at this picture of a group of students here in Mono, Ontario at a recent workshop:
See what I see? Apart from the fact they are all quite rightly aiming their flashes behind them onto walls, I am struck by the fact that they all have their lens hoods on.
- A lens hood means you get more contrast, since no stray light gets in from the side.
- If you use a filter, this is especially noticeable.
- Less flare too (the worst case of contrast loss).
- And finally: a lower chance of damage when you knock your lens into things (as you will).
So my mini-lesson for today: always use the lens hood that comes with your lens. It has to be that one – the shape is designed to avoid vignetting, i.e. dark corners.
Oh. Yes, it can increase the circle of shade that you get from the lens when using your popup flash. But you do not use that popup flash anyway, do you? Please tell the speedlighter that you don’t!