A word about shooting in fluorescent light.

Unlike Tungsten light, which stays on and glows in between cycles, Fluorescent flashes on and off 60 times a second or more.

This means two things to photographers:

  1. Light may vary during a cycle
  2. If the flashes are short, your shutter needs to be all open when they occur. Meaning you need to stay well below your flash sync speed.

The second is most obvious.

Look at these images, shot at 1/320th second just now:

See what’s happening? They vary and from top to bottom the brightness is different in both. This is because the (vertical!) shutter is not all open when the brief flash happens.

So when shooting fluorescent,

  • stay well below the sync speed
  • if possible, stay at a discrete multiple of the light flash frequency.

If you do not know what “discrete multiple” means (how would you – you’re not an engineer!) then just stay at 1/30th second (and often 1/60th will work as well). and you are safe in both cases!

Shooting hockey? Well then just shoot a lot, and you’ll get lucky for some images. Fortunately, hockey lights flash at a higher frequency, so the problem is much less common.