Sunday, August 26, 2012

My Past Experiences with Light

Over the course of my lifetime I have had many unique experiences with light. Some have come through exploration of my childhood while others have come through my education experience in school. Below are some of the lighting experiences I have had over my lifetime thus far.

School Light experiences:

1st year light box- Making slits in a box while using a light source of choice to see how light affects a space.

Light Study Project (light cycles from sun):

How light changes based on the movement of the sun and the times of day. These pictures are in order. First two pictures were taken afternoon and the rest the following day starting with early morning. As one can see not only does the intensity change but so does the colors of the space. (Blue, Yellows, Oranges) This study was taken at my neighbors driveway in Statesville, NC. 

Experiences with light:

Light shimmering through trees and light making water look solid

Light making water look solid... One night I went to the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh. As I was walking around the building a came across a really shiny floor between two walls of the building. It looked like a shiny concrete floor. As I was just about to walk on it a friend tells me it is water. Still in disbelief I placed my hand on it to discover in fact it really was. The way the lighting was around the water and on it, it make the water look solid. Very cool discovery!

Light changing based on location and nature. Sunrises in different places.

sunrise on beach

sunset on beach

Sketch Excersise- In Class Scavenger Hunt

For our first sketching assignment, we got in groups of two and went exploring for interior spaces that had characteristics following John Flynn's Psychological Aspects of Lighting. The two spaces me and my partner further explored were the hallway beside the Cone ballroom in the EUC and the gallery in the EUC. One space was more private and was a place for students and artist to present work while the other space was a place for circulation. We explored how these two spaces differ in lighting based off of their intended use.

Location: 117 Art Gallery in EUC

A hazy, small but open space providing a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere. It contained peripheral lighting which was uniform and dim. Lights focused on the walls containing artwork, but could be shifted to put emphasis on a sculptural piece as well. The space was inviting and was a peaceful getaway from the normal school setting.

Location: Hallway beside Cone Ballroom in EUC

An unfocused, large and open space providing a tense and unpleasant environment. It contained overhead, uniform, bright lighting that made the space contain a bright industrial lighting. However, additional lighting from East windows radiated on floor putting focus on the perimeter and wall. It helped to add some warmth to the space. The lighting made you focus on the long narrow path as a means of continual circulation.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

PAPER 1- 250 word summary

Light and its Health Effects
                Chronobiology, the influence of light exposure on humans in physical, mental, and behavioral ways has recently become a focus of research and discussion. Do light and its exposure affect humans? If so, in what ways? Light plays an important role in the health of humans. It starts with the ways our bodies react to day and night and our associations with that. We make these associations because it changes the levels of melatonin produced within our bodies. Melatonin is a hormone that helps promote sleep and helps us to alert appropriate times of day.  Levels of Melatonin are connected to the light taken in through the human eye.
Ganglion, a receptor cell in the human eye, senses slowly changing light patterns. It sends these changes to the nerves which matches brain and body responses to circadian rhythms. This transfer of information affects the body’s endocrine, immune, cardiac, metabolic, behavior responses, and more. Therefore, it is very important our bodies are taking in enough sunlight throughout the day.  If we do not get enough natural light, we can develop, SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a disorder where depression occurs due to the lack of light. We can also develop vitamin-D deficiency. This is where we do not receive enough vitamin-D our body needs.
                Because of these medical issues related to exposure to natural light, studies have started to see which lights help and which ones hinder us. One of the lights that have found to help is the LED blue wavelength lights. These light bulbs are found to slow down the release of melatonin. This allows one to stay awake longer and be more alert. They have also seen higher memory and cognition through people who have been exposed to blue wavelengths. However, though blue wavelength lights have said to be better, one has to consider the intensity of those lights. If a human is exposed to bright lights followed directly with no light without a transition it is not a natural cycle. Therefore, using a dim light to transition from a bright light to darkness is best. It will not take one as long to fall asleep.  
                Though blue wavelength lights and dim lights have helped humans in some way, we must also consider the time exposed to light at night in excess can affect a human’s weight. More hours awake and in the light, the more often one will eat and consume. This can create health problems too.
                Therefore, it is best to follow the natural rhythms and characteristics of light when designing a lighting environment. Allowing the light to be natural or follow the natural pattern is best for our health. By doing this human health can improve and we can still get the vitamin-D we need and can improve statistics of people with SAD.

PAPER 1 - 500 Word Essay

Light and Experience

Throughout the course of my life, I have experienced light in multiple ways in relation to many things; these being such factors as place, nature, climate, time, and task. Though some of these relations occurred by purpose of gaining more knowledge, others occurred solely by experience and memories. Therefore, it is through these moments that I am able to connect light to specific things.
Starting back to when I was a child, I loved playing in the woods and fields. It’s partly due to the culture I grew up in. My family heritage lies within the country, a land full of woods, fields, and old dirt roads. Few people, streets, and buildings were the only other things. The woods were the favorite place that many of us children were able to pretend to be in a mythical fairytale. Why is this? It is because the lighting inside the woods was drastically different. Before stepping in the woods, the sun would pound down on our heads and shoulders. However, as soon as we stepped within the woods, a glowing and glittery light would appear over and on us and make us cool. Spots were sometimes filled with light, yet around the corner was a dark hidden corner. One never knew where they would be as these areas of light and dark would change locations as the time moved on. What made this place appear so mythical were the sun and the effects of the sunlight moving over the trees. The swaying of the trees in the wind would make the light shimmer. This allowed for a perfect place to play hide and seek in the summer.  However, it didn’t make for a good reading spot. It was hard to read in the woods with light shimmering down on the page of my book.  So based on what I wanted to do and the task at hand, determined what area in the woods I would go to perform different tasks.
 This determination of where I wanted to be and felt most comfortable was also affected by the time of day, year, and the climate. As summer left, and autumn arrived many of the leaves fell off the trees leaving more areas of the sun to penetrate through to the ground.  The shimmering effects were gone. This made for the light to come further in and stay in one location longer. We children enjoyed this because it would help keep us warmer as the climate began to get colder, thus allowing us to play for longer periods of time.   But, as one knows, with the changing of seasons from summer to winter, the days also become shorter. With shorter days, comes longer nights and the darkness would soon come in. Finding ourselves in the woods in the dark was no fun. It was a creepy scary place to be. No light could be found except for the bright door light penetrating telling us to come home. The subtle amount of light that was present cast creepy shadows that would move as the trees swayed with a blowing breeze.   Inside our home was the safe haven of those cold seasons because that is where the light was. The Christmas season brought us back mythical shimmers of light by the Christmas lights hanging on the mantle and the tree.  What makes this mythical light so special is the rarity of it. Many days we as humans experience light. Mostly it is direct and overhead. Rarely does it sparkle all around. But if all we had was overall sparkle, we would go insane. Though the light surely didn’t shimmer like the mythical woods of the summer, it did still provide warmth and light. There was however, one period of time during the winter months that I and my friends could re-experience another magical shimmer and mystical effect within the woods both day and night. This period being when snow would accumulate on the ground, the way that the sunlight would glisten as it trickled through the ice-covered trees, transformed the woods into a totally different extraordinary experience.  Also, when there were snowfall covering the grounds of the woods, it was a more pleasant, and often magical experience walking through the woods at night under the glistening moonlight as it reflected off of the snow-covered ground. 
In conclusion, different light is needed for different times, tasks, and needs to be used appropriately. But for me it is those times when we as humans can experience something a little different that we appreciate all the varieties of light out there and the few special ones that make memories forever.