Chasing shadows

Sydney, 23rd December 2009

That’s it. If you are on the northern hemisphere the days have started to get longer. In the southern hemisphere, its only “down hill” from now in terms of the length of the days. According to those in the know 21-22 December is either the longest (northern hemisphere) or shortest night (southern hemisphere) depending where you are in this world. The sun, during the day, is at either its highest or lowest position in the sky. For me, being in Australia, it was the shortest night with sun rising around 5+ am in the morning and setting after 8 pm with darkness only reached an hour later. With temperatures in the high 20’s, a delicious night with a nice breeze, perfect for an evening walk.

What comes along with the changing length of the day is the length of the shadows. We don’t realize this as the process is so slow and gradual, but as the earth moves around the sun shadows in our daily life become longer or shorter as well. With the sun now at its most southern latitude of about 23 degrees above the southern hemisphere, the shadows here are the shortest of the year. In the northern hemisphere the shadows are at their longest as the sun stands at its lowest above the horizon.  This interplay between light and shadow is what brings spice to our daily visual scenery.

Lighting design is as much about creating light as it is about creating shadows. The challenge as lighting designer is not always about what to light, but even more about what not to light!

23. December 2009 by Martin Klaasen
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