Many cameras have a built in flash which can be used in more creative ways than you may think.
The flash, found on the front panel of a compact camera or as a pop-up unit on top of the SLRs viewfinder, is used to supply illumination when the ambient lighting conditions drop below a certain level. This level is determined by the cameras exposure meter and most cameras will automatically activate the flash when they think it is necessary. This is usually when the shutter speed falls below a safe speed to handhold the camera, which could result in camera shake. A shutter speed of 1/30sec or slower is usually the cut off point. Some of the more sophisticated models will also detect when a subject is surrounded by light - a person backlit, for example, and will fire flash when it would normally not be necessary. The flash light would then illuminate the darker areas by providing whats commonly known as fill-in flash.
You can, however, be more creative and select from a range of flash modes to override the automated settings. These override modes include flash on, flash off, red-eye reduction and slow sync or night scene modes.
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