rh18 wrote in post #13865411
There's a good post about this on the strobist blog
. In fact, he uses the same sun example. For some reason, I've had a hard time wrapping my head around this concept. The part about closer light = softer light seems counter-intuitive to me.
Anyway, thanks for the clarification!
Are you equating softness of light with brightness? If so, that may explain why you're having a hard time with the concept. Instead of brightness, you should equate softness with the type of shadows produced by the light. The closer the light source is, the larger its apparent size and the less contrasty the shadow generally is. The farther it is, the smaller its apparent size and the harsher the shadow becomes. An example of a small light source, as used previously, is the sun on a clear day which casts very harsh shadows. An example of a very large light source is an overcast sky which casts very soft shadows.
The reason the shadows cast by large light sources are soft is because light is coming from a wider range of angles. Light from a small light source comes from one or a very narrow range of angles and hence casts harsh shadows.
For a given size of a light source, the closer it is to the subject, the larger it appears relative to the subject being light by that light. And the farther it is, the smaller it appears.