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LAMP - The complete unit of an artificial light source, including filament or electrodes, bulb, base and other components.
LANDSCAPE - A picture of the land and its aggregate natural features from a single viewpoint. Scenery is the subject of a landscape image.
LARGE FORMAT - Film format having individual frames of 4" X 5" or larger.
LATENT IMAGE - Image recorded on film that is made visible by development.
The image in the viewscreen of many cameras appears as a mirror image, or LATERAL REVERSAL image, requiring the photographer to move the camera to the right to see more on the viewscreen's left.
LATERAL REVERSAL - A mirror image, as seen in the viewfinders of some cameras where the scene appears flipped from left to right.
LATITUDE - Commonly “Exposure latitude” - The range of brightness, including shadow detail, that a film can record in a single image before the highlights wash out or the shadows become muddy. Fast films generally have greater exposure latitude than slow films. Knowing a film’s latitude lets you know how much exposure can be varied and still produce an acceptable image.
LCD - Liquid Crystal Display - A small flat image-viewing screen in a digital camera.
LEADER - The part of film at the beginning of a roll that will not be exposed to make an image but is used to attach the film to the camera’s take-up spool. 35mm film usually has a leader that is narrower than the rest of the roll - its shape originally designed for bottom-loading Leica cameras.
LEADING LINES - Lines that direct the viewer's attention to an image's center of interest.
A camera lens is actually an "objective" composed of a number of lenses.
LENS - A true “lens” is a single piece of glass (or other transparent substance) having one or more curved surfaces used in changing the convergence of light rays. What we commonly call a photographic lens is more accurately and technically called an “objective,” an optical device containing a combination of lenses that receive light rays from an object and form an image on the focal plane. However, dictionaries have come to accept the usage of the term “lens” to mean the entire photographic objective itself. A photographic lens will always be called a lens, even though it is not a lens, but has a lot of lenses in it. A camera lens collects and focuses rays of light to form an image on a digital camera's sensor or a traditional camera's film.
LENS AXIS - An imaginary straight line through the center of a lens.
LENS BARREL - The part of a lens that is cylindrical and that holds the lens elements.
LENS HOOD or "Lens shade" - An accessory that attaches as a collar to the front of a lens to prevent stray light from striking the surface of the lens, causing flare.
LENS-SHUTTER CAMERA - A camera that has the shutter built into the lens itself.
LENS SPEED - The widest aperture at which a lens can be set. A lens with a fast speed has a very wide maximum aperture, such as ƒ/1.4, for example, and transmits more light than a lens with a slow lens speed, such as ƒ/8.
LIGHTBOX - (1) A enclosure containing white-light balanced fluorescent tubes behind a flat translucent glass or plastic surface on which transparencies or negatives are laid in order to view them. (2) A lightbox on the internet is a website intended for a photographer's clients to view or download the photographer's image files. Note that a lightbox can be used to photograph an object placed on it so that it does not show shadows.
LIGHTING RATIO - The brightness of the main light (key light) compared with the brightness of the fill light(s). A ratio of about 3:1 is normal for photography. It can also be described as the measurement of the degree of contrast between the shadow side and the bright side of your subject.
This is a hand-held incident LIGHT METER, different from a camera's built-in reflected light meter.
LIGHT METER - An instrument used to measure the amount of light reflected from or falling on a subject. The measurement is usually expressed in shutter speed and aperture combinations that will render an acceptable exposure. (Also known as an "Exposure meter.")
LIGHT TENT - Translucent fabric attached to a frame that surrounds a subject. Typically used to reduce reflection from highly reflective subjects. The light source is outside the enclosure, but the lens pokes through a hole in the fabric.
LIGHT-TIGHT - Impervious to light
LIGHT TRAIL - A line recorded on film resulting from movement of a point of light (or camera movement) during the exposure. Star trails are one example.
LIGHT TRAP - An opening through which light cannot penetrate, useful for ready access to a darkroom. Typically, the entrance is u-shaped, with a light baffle built down the opening of the “U”. A person walks around the baffle, which blocks light, to enter and exit.
LOCATION - A photography site that is outside of the studio. The often-heard term "shooting on location" refers to taking pictures at such a site. The term "field" is also used in place of "location" when the location is outoors, as in "shooting in the field."
A LONG FOCUS lens is indeed a long lens, and often requires its own tripod mount to keep it steady.
LONG FOCUS - A lens of relatively long focal length with a narrower angle of view than a normal lens, but with a more enlarged view of the scene.
LOOP LIGHTING - A common type of studio portrait lighting. The objective is to create a shadow from the model's nose that points down towards the corner of the mouth, but does not touch the corner of the mouth.
LOSSLESS - Occurs when saving a digital image file in a format that does not result in a loss of data. See "LZW" below.
LOSSY or Lossy compression - A form of image compression when saving an image that discards (loses) data from it. Saving a picture as a .jpg or .jpeg is a method of lossy compression.
LOUPE - A small magnifying glass used in viewing transparencies (slides), negatives and contact sheets. Generally a loupe's magnification is eight times.
LOW KEY - Describes a mostly dark image, with few highlights.
LOW-PASS FILTER - In a dSLR, one or more low-pass filters are located in front of the imaging sensor to: allow the lowest-frequency waves through and cut off the highest, effectively reducing the amount of detail getting through to the sensor, resolve aliasing that causes jagged edges when photographing circular objects and diagonal lines, and to protect the sensor from dust (most have an anti-static coating to discourage dust from sticking).
LUMINANCE - The intensity or brightness of a light source.
LUMINOSITY - Emitting or reflecting light.
LYTRO CAMERA - An innovative camera introduced in 2011 that takes pictures without focusing. Selective focusing is accomplished afterwards, on a computer when your images are downloaded. The camera doesn’t measure its images in standard megapixels, but rather in mega rays – the number of light rays captured by the camera’s light-field sensor. It is promoted as a light field camera that captures light throughout the scene in front of the lens, as opposed to the cameras consumers are used to, which bring a particular thing into focus first. The result is an image that can be focused after it is taken.
LZW - Lossless compression when storing digital images. The file size is much larger than a "lossy" compressed image (like a JPEG), but no image data is lost, resulting in the highest-possible quality in the stored image.