DON'T MISS: Italian conceptual portrait photographer Sara Lando coming to US for two weekends of workshops in August.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Lighting 102: Introduction

Welcome to Lighting 102.

If you were around for last summer's Lighting Boot Camp, you will find this a completely different experience. Boot Camp went for the instant gratification of a quickie series of assignments. L102 is designed to be a comprehensive course that starts from square one and is designed to build a broader and organic understanding of how to control light.

There will be full assignments and small exercises. But where Boot Camp skipped straight to dessert, this time we'll eat our veggies first.

We will start by exploring the different ways in which light can be controlled. Along the way we will be doing exercises to build a strong understanding of each of those variables. As we start to get some of the control factors under out belt, there will be assignments that make use of what we have learned so far.

With each new subject, exercise and assignment, there will be discussion threads created on Flickr so you can easily ask and answer questions.

Photo classes typically have class review sessions, where the students just stick their assignments up on the wall and learn from each other. This one will be no different, except for the class size and the far-flung nature of the students. And the more people participate, the more valuable the experience will be.

And if you are reading this post sometime much later than June 4th, 2007, no worries. All of the above will be archived it in such a way as to make it easy to start whenever you want and work at your own pace. You may catch up to us, or you may not. Makes no difference. You'll still have access to the course material and the students' photos will be archived.

Like most courses, you will get out of this exactly what you put into it. You are not required to do anything. There are no grades. There will be no tests.

I will only make you one promise:

If you study the lessons, do the exercises and complete the assignments, you will build a stronger understanding of how to control light.

Some of you are already doing some fantastic lighting work. You guys may find the beginnings of this class a little boring and/or remedial. But I am not structuring this course to make a few Rock Stars that much better. This class is designed so anyone, at any experience level, will be able to learn to light better.

Okay, let me back up on that just a bit. You'll want to already be comfy with exposure, as in f-stops and shutter speeds and such. Because we will be leaving your TTL flash comfort zone behind in search of more creative control.

That said, let's get started.


First Things First: Be Willing to Change Your Thinking

The first goal is for you to be open to thinking about light in a different way. Depending on whether you are experienced at using flash or a rank beginner, this will mean one of two things.

If you are an old hand at this stuff, be willing to learn to approach it from another different direction. No one is asking you to forget what you know, or to abandon your tried-and-true techniques. But looking at a well-known task from a different angle can serve to strengthen your understanding of it.

If you are a total newb, your job is a little more difficult: You'll need to put aside any fears you have of learning about a subject as nebulous and intimidating as lighting.

We will be breaking this down into little chunks that are easily digestible. And you'll have many, many people who will be able to answer your questions. All I ask is that you go into this process with the confidence that you can absolutely learn this stuff. Because you can.

Here's a little secret: There are only a few things you can do to control light. Once you learn those - and learn them well - you are off to the races.

Conversely, I find it to be an amazing thing that so few controls can yield such an huge variety of visual styles for lighting.

When I wrote Lighting 101, it was pretty much created on the fly. I was a newspaper shooter with a decent grasp of a few lighting principles and tricks, and I wanted to share them.

Fast forward a year or so, and I am a completely changed photographer. That's the biggest advantage of being in the position of running a lighting blog: It tends to make you to think about light pretty much non-stop.

And you also find yourself at a vortex of a continuous stream of ideas being flung at you by readers. Every day I get new threads and emails pointing me to neat photos, ideas and tecchniques. That rocks. And any long-time pro will tell you that ideas are the valuable commodity in this business.

I can easily teach you lighting techniques. But what do you do with them after you learn them? That's the real trick.

The goal is to get you to the point where your only limitation is your imagination. If you can visualize a look that can be created with light, you can almost certainly achieve it. But that assumes that you can visualize it to begin with.

Once you learn the techniques, some of you will be limited by them - or to merely reproducing them and other techniques that are demonstrated by other photographers.

But some among you will find that having the techniques under your belt will free you so that you are capable of doing just about anything you want to do with light.

I do not spend a lot of time dissecting technique when I shoot. I don't think of light in terms of f-stops and shutter speeds any more. Lighting ratios are gone, too. Inverse square rule - never much fun to begin with - is history.

Now, I think of light in the same way that I think about music: Genre. Style. Volume. Ensemble. Mood.

Or sometimes I think of light in terms more like food: Flavor, spice. complexity, simplicity. Do I follow the recipe, or do I ditch it and improvise?

Food, actually, is a very good analogy to light.

Science tells us that we can only taste five things: Sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami. Don't believe me? Check out the Wikipedia page for more info. (And I didn't know what "umami" was, either.)

Yet, even with only those five tastes, the possibilities are endless. And the concept of food and cooking still captivates millions - billions - of us. How many magazines, books, TV shows, etc., are devoted to food? How many restaurants are there? How many years are spent in search of the perfect Bar-B-Que? The perfect red wine?

Here's the analogy:

Try as I might, I cannot come up with more than seven things you can do to light.

Seven simple little controls. Each with its own effect. Each with associated advantages and disadvantages. Each infinitely variable.

You learn those seven controls, and you have the Rosetta Stone. You speak the language.

You get so comfortable with them as to be able to manipulate them effortlessly, and lighting becomes merely another method of creative expression. And that's the real goal.

Each of the seven controls is very simple in both concept and execution. We will discuss each one at length, discuss them in Flickr threads and do exercises to drive the concepts home.

We'll do assignments throughout the process that incorporate what we have learned so far. By the time we get through all seven controls, they'll seem like old friends.

Do you drive a car? Or maybe ride a bike? Can you walk?

If so, you are clearly capable of calculating and controlling a simultaneous stream of variables. Lighting is way easier than any of those activities when you think about it.

So for today, your only assignment is to clear your mind of any fear you may have associated with learning to light. You can get this stuff.

Only a jerk would assign homework on the first day of class. But if you do want to learn more (or review) I have moved all of the L101 posts and the On Assignments to drop-down menus on the sidebar. They will be good references throughout the course, and now you can get to any individual post in one click.

As we get to concepts that also are covered in the book Light: Science & Magic, I will be referencing sections you may wish to review. So if you are stuck on a point, this should help you to get past it.

And if that doesn't work, there's always those couple of thousand other photogs in the Flickr threads to ask.


Next on Lighting 102: Seven ways to control light - an overview.


__________

Brand new to Strobist, or lighting? Start here.
Or, jump right into our free Lighting 101 course.
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70 Comments:

Blogger Joseph said...

Good start. Let's do it! Thank you for your work, humor, inventiveness and willingness to share. If you would also consider using a spell checker, I will nominate you for (incomplete) saint.

June 04, 2007 10:45 AM  
Anonymous Andrew Smith said...

Awww, you big meanie David! I've been counting the days, looking forward to some interesting challenge to undertake, and you give us... nothing! :-)

June 04, 2007 10:48 AM  
Blogger David said...

Alright, Andrew. If it'll make you happy, go out and shoot a headshot that can also be used as a cover shot. I need it by 3:00pm EST.

There. That was a heckuva lot easier than what I have been working up for L102 for the last few weeks!

June 04, 2007 10:51 AM  
Blogger Rafa Barberá said...

Hungry I'm very hungry and I only get a beautiful printed menu. Yes i'ts beautiful but it's only a printed menu! This is not food :-)

This L102 seems more worked that the last SBC. Thank you David for all the work you have done and you'll show us in a near future... we can wait a little more, until all the people fill the classroom :-)

June 04, 2007 11:09 AM  
Blogger Eneko said...

Hola mis amigos Upsss Hello my friends i been waiting for this since octouber 2006 , that month i found this inspiring blog that have me like a yonkee looking for more every 2 hours heheheheh. I did all the 101 assigments in nob¡vember by my own and been waiting for this thanks for sharing everythin and cheers from a Basque one living in LA
Thanks David and everybody for open minds to perception heheheheh

June 04, 2007 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Brent said...

Ha Ha! Let's get it started!

June 04, 2007 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Cham said...

I've been hitting the refresh button all day... only bad thing is... i'm off on holiday in dubai from tomorrow...

hmmm... great excuse to take my equipment with me lol

June 04, 2007 12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David, in your Flickr post earlier this morning, you said that you'd be putting up a new assignment every few days. I think weekly is probably a fast enough pace for most folks that have to earn a living doing something else.

June 04, 2007 12:37 PM  
Blogger SFMoe said...

woohoo .. lurker but whatever maybe ill work on one publicly this time ;)

June 04, 2007 12:38 PM  
Blogger Nicholaus Haskins said...

Sweetness with a capital frikking "S"! Lets get started!

June 04, 2007 12:41 PM  
Anonymous Andrew Smith said...

David: "Alright, Andrew. If it'll make you happy, go out and shoot a headshot that can also be used as a cover shot. I need it by 3:00pm EST."

Would it be really sad if I actually went and tried that? No, what would be really sad is that I failed! No willing models/victims available so I had to do a self portrait and the focus was waaay off in every shot.

I did discover a new gobo though so it wasn't a wasted effort. For reasons that would take too long to explain I have some large rolls of ribbon in the house. The spools are about an inch thick, 4-inches diameter, with a hole about 3/4-inch in the middle. So I elastic-banded one of those over the head of my flash and it produced a nice crisp spotlight effect. With some double-folded CTO over the hole it can be used to create a deep red circle of light, probably most useful as a background. (Or of course you could put the CTO over your main light, set your white balance accordingly, and get a nice blue background.)

June 04, 2007 12:47 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

I'm excited!!

June 04, 2007 12:57 PM  
Blogger Sean Phillips said...

I finally got my copy of LS&M, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. Are you planning to use it as a sort of read as you go text, or should I try to get it read before L102 starts??

June 04, 2007 1:03 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

Suspense is the tastiest of all dishes. It is a hungry man who has most appreciation of food (and a quicker gulp!) I for one will be grateful for a slow pace, but others would like it faster...

Oh what they hey ... I was never any good at philosophy or psudo Chineese proverbs.

Ready when you are David.

June 04, 2007 1:07 PM  
Blogger Jürgen said...

Exciting days. I look forward to the assigments...

June 04, 2007 1:33 PM  
Blogger Akshathkumar said...

i just completed reading L101 and boot camp and was waiting for some thing like this.. its great news..

i am very excited.. lets get the party started :)

June 04, 2007 1:41 PM  
Blogger craig said...

Excellent appetizer! As someone who has avoided learning lighting for years I can't wait to get started. Thanks for making this available.

June 04, 2007 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was in college, I took a computer programming course.

It was a nine week course, designed to be completed one assignment per week.

I was excited, and completed all the assignments in 4 weeks. (It would have been three, but I had to wait a week for the instructor to finish them.)

I don't want to repeat that with lighting. I want to remember what I learn, so I can use it better.

So, one project per week is fine with me.

June 04, 2007 2:09 PM  
Anonymous Martijn said...

Just got my Pocket Wizards in and started reading in Light, Science and Magic, so I'm al ready for it. :-D

June 04, 2007 2:55 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

So, for Light: Science and Magic, the library here in Chicago only has a 1997 edition. Would that be useful, or should I just wait until I can afford the newer edition?

June 04, 2007 3:31 PM  
Blogger Uncle Frank said...

After weeks of anticipation, all I got was another mysterious Japanese word/concept (umami) to put along side the universally misunderstood, misspelled, and mispronounced bokeh :-/. That's OK; I'll wait ;-).

June 04, 2007 4:32 PM  
Blogger Bruko said...

I feel like a kid on christmas eve :)

June 04, 2007 5:19 PM  
Blogger QorbeQ said...

Oohh .. now if YOU'RE taking part in the exercises Sara then I can't wait to see the results :-D

June 04, 2007 6:14 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

David, thank you for providing this great opportunity for myself and all the other readers out there. I am excited to be able to follow along and try to learn more about lighting than "Yup, there's enough light in the scene to shoot handheld" or "Oh, time to get the tripod out".

June 04, 2007 7:35 PM  
Anonymous Woody said...

To all the kiddies huddled around the fireplace on Christmas eve: Santa's already in the living room!

What more fun assignment than what David's already given us: Try to GUESS his 7 things you can do to light...

It's an interesting warm up and kept my brain occupied for at least 40 minutes. (And I'm still iffy on my last guess...)

But as much as you may want to, don't post your answers and ruin the game for others!

It's fun, and I learned a lot about how I think just trying to guess them...and maybe you'll come up with an 8th!

June 04, 2007 8:11 PM  
Blogger Jerome said...

i can't wait! that's a good suggestion woody, i think ill start!

June 04, 2007 8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can wait another day... nice introduction David. And you're not a jerk.

Thanks for the breather before we start. I've referenced your site for a while and I'm looking forward to participating in this workshop. Great kick in the pants to try continue the learning process.

June 04, 2007 9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been building my lighting kit, and just got a copy of Light: Science and Magic... The timing is perfect to kick start my adventure! Thank you David for sharing your passion for lighting technique and for making a low barrier to entry for us off camera lighing newbies.

June 04, 2007 9:59 PM  
Blogger Odyssey said...

I'm ready to go, and I desperatly need the instruction! I can't wait for tomorrow!

June 04, 2007 10:02 PM  
Blogger David said...

Uhh... this is not a daily occurance. The L102 posts will come every few days. These things are time consuming to produce, and I do have a day job!

June 04, 2007 10:07 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

David:

With the 12 hour time lag, sitting here in India, the suspense for the assignments and the material is heightened that very much more. As it turns out I will be travelling during the course of L102. Am looking forward to gathering no moss (or fungus) ...Lets start.s

June 05, 2007 1:16 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I've been lurking for some time and wished I had signed on during L101.

Looking forward to this.

Thanks to you for the wonderful and inspirational site.

June 05, 2007 1:26 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

What do I need to start?
Will one flash do?
What about stands?

Should I do 101 first?

Thanks in advance

June 05, 2007 6:17 AM  
Blogger Darby said...

Thanks a bunch for doing this. I'm excited to get going on this - especially since I actually have enough gear this year to realize more lighting ideas.

June 05, 2007 6:28 AM  
Anonymous Unfocused_Mind said...

David, Im sure that you must be tired of all the thank you notes and mails, but I have to say it once again you ROCK! you have broken with your incredible blog the selfish attitude of the pros toward knowledge and you have open a pandora´s box of possibilities both for you and for all your readers...I cant thank you enough and I just hope the rest of readers value this effort you do the way I do... Big Aplausse for you! And as for me...well Im ready to take the course and make some magic...

June 05, 2007 8:37 AM  
Blogger Eric Holsinger said...

David,

Thanks for your time, effort and willingness to share. I look forward to your instructions, and I'll try to participate this time. (I took a bunch of shots for basketball assignment, but wasn't happy with the results, I should have shared anyway.)

Thanks again.

-E

June 05, 2007 8:38 AM  
Anonymous Brentj said...

I just laid down the benjamins for my first two pocket wizards. That gets me started with 1 flash. Let's hope my wife never finds out. "Um honey, what are those?" -- "Walkie Talkies. I found them at a garage sale. They don't work so well"

Yeah right.

June 05, 2007 11:47 AM  
Blogger MarkA said...

I just placed an order for the "course material" :). Been meaning to pick it up for a while and now I have to!

Any of you from the UK, The Register has the book for the cheapest price (circa £15).

http://books.theregister.co.uk/catalog/browse.asp?advert=Froogle&ref=829311

June 05, 2007 12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, very new to the site. Please do not crush me for asking....but this IS the right page to locate Davids Lighting 102 "class", correct? I do not need to go to another URL or Flickr. I created the accounts as requested and am ready to roll.

June 05, 2007 5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I should take the course. All my family portraits are linked by my ability to make a subject look like he/she is under interrogation by the North Korean secret police. I find that direct, on-camera flash is good for this. I'm afraid if I improve my technique my family album will suffer. Hmmm, probably take the risk anyway.

June 05, 2007 7:29 PM  
Blogger D2 said...

Please don't complain....make a donation "be a solution to the problem" ...this site isn't free David is sacrificing a lot to do what we all love... PS I made a small donation today and will continue to do so when money becomes available !!!

June 05, 2007 8:14 PM  
Blogger Neil Cowley said...

I look forward to a more wholistic approach, I never could see ratios.

June 05, 2007 10:57 PM  
Anonymous Mike Wong said...

Yay I'm in =)

Looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with ;)

June 06, 2007 12:26 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

I am not afraid!

Thanks for all of your hard work at imparting your wisdom David.

June 06, 2007 12:13 PM  
Anonymous Marc said...

Cool, all this sounds very good, can't wait to see the light, just ordered that book too.

June 06, 2007 12:43 PM  
Blogger D2 said...

The answer to the first post in L102 is to answer what are the 7 ways to control light....which is in the book.

I think he wants us to learn the concepts before picking up the camera.

I'm going to look for the answer now.

June 06, 2007 4:17 PM  
Blogger Billy said...

Hi everyone... I'm Billy I'm bookmarking this site and will be participating as well. See you all here.

June 17, 2007 5:44 PM  
Blogger Photography Luna said...

It's incredible, the amount of flash-knowledge I am gathering here... I am really grateful to you!
I do my best to incorporate everything there is to learn here in my own work, but compared to you (and many others here), I am still a rookie...

http://photographyluna.blogspot.be
http://www.fotografieluna.be

July 23, 2007 11:47 AM  
Blogger orcmid said...

Oh wow! OK, I found the sidebar. And Lighting 102. So it will be a great collection of review material for the seminar and also some assignments to play with, adapt, etc. Yum.

August 19, 2007 1:14 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Okay, I've heard about Strobist over the last few months but truth be told I thought it was about making accessories for flash guns!

I've just read your introduction to lighting 102 and I dont get it. I mean I do, your writing is straight forward, easy to digest, friendly and supportive. What I dont understand is why you're putting the effort in to share all of this stuff with us. I've just bought my first SB800 and your blog seems like the holy grail of sites! Just as I thought having an off camera flash would transform my photography I think your blog is transforming my own expectations. Thanks already.

August 29, 2007 2:11 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

You have no idea how perfect this is, the timing couldn't be better i just purchased my first speedlight about an hour ago, then i run across this!
I think I'm starting to tear, thank you...

November 21, 2007 8:43 PM  
Blogger Quy said...

I've been reading strobist for about 2 months now, and can honestly say it's by far the most informative and readable source of photography know-how I've ever come across.

I'm a late starter (32 this year, picked up my first proper camera a year ago) and take photos for a 'clubbing' website in the UK. A lot of the time, you're restricted to on-camera flash because you're in the middle of a packed dancefloor with no room to swing a cat never mind find somewhere to perch your off camera strobe. However, I've kept reading because the odd bit here and there will be usable in the environment I work in, and sooner or later all this talk about f stops will click in my head and make sense.

E.g. you seasoned pro's laugh at bounce flash as such a basic technique but I was unaware of it before reading strobist, and it's made a huge difference already. This is one shoot I'm really pleased with the results and you can see the difference the bounce makes vs when I have nothing to bounce it off:

http://www.boocas.com/albums/view?event_ID=388&album=1158

Anyway, the whole point of this comment was to say it brings to mind a favourite quote of my violin teacher when I was a kid

"Technique is the ability to do what the imagination requires"

Thanks again for sharing all this with us.

Quy

January 08, 2008 5:48 AM  
OpenID lightweaver said...

David--I recently discovered Strobist. How exciting! I have been working with novatron strobes for a number of years, and have been looking for a way to be more effective on location. I've had a 580ex for a year or so, but never liked how photos looked with it on camera, so I haven't really learned how to use it. I'd been considering investing in the on camera master to use it off camera, but after finding your site I realized that I needed very little to get going (I already have PWs, umbrellas, tripods, etc.--I just needed an adapter, a cable, and the umbrella bracket).

To the point of the comment, though--I need to learn to use what I have more effectively. I see your Strobist Boot Camp and your lighting 101--are these ongoing things, or things of the past? I have so much to catch up on, and it would help to get feedback from time to time. Is it too late to do these exercises?

Thanks for everything!

Chris

January 13, 2008 3:36 PM  
Blogger TVTSteven said...

Can't wait for your next posts and NOW I REALLY WANT THOSE GELS FROM bhphoto.com to be back in stock!

May 05, 2008 3:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, the reason we can differentiate foods better than our sense of taste suggests...

... is because our sense of smell is our primary source for identifying food.

Don' belief me?

Hold yer nose pinched closed, while eating some small taste of something, and you probably won't be able to experience much, if any, flavor, that would be distinct to that particular food.

Unpinch your nose, and Voom!
richness of sense

June 02, 2008 3:36 AM  
Anonymous MikeNYC7 said...

Hi,
You state the following in the introduction: "You'll want to already be comfy with exposure, as in f-stops and shutter speeds and such. "

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "comfy". I know what F-stops are, they control light and DOF and exposures correlate. If this isn't enough is there suggested reading? Thanks Michael

August 26, 2008 9:49 PM  
Anonymous Josh Kirk said...

I thought we were all in line to get the D700. With the video/commercial review chase gave it, i wouldn't be surprised if the pros will be getting in line for this one. At least for a cheap backup body, i don't know how you can pass it up!

August 28, 2008 3:06 AM  
Anonymous Anon E. Mouse said...

lighting 102 in pdf would be way cool!
just an idea...

August 28, 2008 5:55 PM  
Blogger Mystic said...

hi, I'm new to photography and lighting, however i'm very eager to learn. so i'm starting now your program lighting 102.

thanks for such an online opportunity.

September 20, 2008 5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second the suggestion for "lighting 102" in PDF!
This site has been AMAZING!
Been Studing the craft for 3 years & this is awesome stuff.
thanks soooo much!

October 13, 2008 1:16 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...

L102 in PDF!!

November 07, 2008 6:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This would be amazing in PDF!

November 07, 2008 2:11 PM  
Blogger Nat said...

definitely would love a pdf!

January 21, 2009 6:28 PM  
Blogger David said...

I have not released the Lighting 102, in part because it contains work by other photographers and I would not reproduce their photos without their permission.

This is not the only reason, as L102 is also designed to be interactive in archive form.

For those reasons, and others, there are not immediate plans to produce it as a PDF.

For the commenter who said they had already done so, please respect the copyright of this site by removing the document from any web servers or file sharing services.

Thank you,
DH

February 21, 2009 5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi David,
sorry I did not realise I had infringed any copyright... All fixed now, nobody has ever had the link but you and I and the file is now removed so I hope it did not cause too much hassle.
Thanks anyways for what you are doing here.

February 22, 2009 1:20 AM  
Blogger The Candyman said...

Hello David,

I was reading you could not come up with 7 properties of light that you could tell people about.

I personally find light and much of visual arts tie back to what my art teacher in 7th grade taught me. It all has to do with the 7 properties of art.

Line, shape, volume, space, texture, value, and color.

Your 7 =D.

June 13, 2009 11:41 AM  
Blogger juleshs31 said...

Yeah, I third or fourth or whatever it's at now the request for 102 in PDF. I would do it myself if i knew how to do it properly. Please, Please, Please PDF-ify it! :D Have lighting 102 bound A5 in my kit bag, love the site. It's introduced my to a whole new level of lighting over and above what I used to do; on-camera TTL flash ceiling bounced :)

November 10, 2009 3:47 AM  
Blogger Blog said...

Did lighting 102 ever get output to PDF?

September 13, 2011 11:27 AM  
Blogger David Hobby said...

PLEASE READ THIS AND STOP ASKING ABOUT A PDF VERSION OF L102.


Lighting 102 has not been issued in PDF for, almost certainly will not in the future. There are a variety of reasons, but the most compelling is that there are many photographers' photos represented in L102. With L101, all of the photos were mine and of course I had the right to issue that as a PDF. But with L102 the rights are more complicated.

And obviously, I support and uphold the issue of photographers' rights.

Thanks for understanding. I will not be answering, nor even will I continue to moderate into publication, people asking about L102 being issued as a PDF in the comments.

;)

-DH

September 13, 2011 3:46 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

David,

There are only 5 major taste receptor types in the mouth as you say, but there are many more types in the nose and most of the flavor perception once you get past mouth feel (crunchy, oily, etc) and the big five in the mouth are through the olfactory receptors. They can even in some cases distinguish molecules as similar in construction as your left and right hand! Seriously Caraway seeds v. Spearmint are that similar and your nose nails it every time. Believe same is true for lemon and orange peel odor/flavor though obvious huge differences in sweet and sour for those two.

August 20, 2013 1:43 AM  

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