Sanya, Hainan 23rd August 2010
On the way to Hainan a tropical island in the South of China, I read a report about the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore where they claim to have held the first ever open air night time diving event. Under the heading “diving under moonlight” it gave some accounts from the sportsmen and their experience. Now obviously it was not really held under moonlight only (it s nearly full moon by the way as I write this) as the event is broadcast worldwide, so certain lighting levels had to be achieved but what came out specifically was that most participants felt the contrast between the sky and the water was much better at night. Some of them struggle to see the difference between the blue sky and the blue water when making their dives making it also difficult to judge distances. Apparently the night sky provides a clear contrast helping them with executing their dives…I am not a diver but I believe them 🙂
It got me thinking of things associated with moon light. Moonlight is obviously reflected sunlight and on a full moon clear night the moon provides enough light for us to see our way around. The moon lighting levels are only about 0.25 lux, but somehow our vision adapts allowing us to see. Unfortunately a full moon only happens about once a month if you are lucky and not have cloudy weather or polluted city skies obscure the light. But a full moon on a clear night is always beautiful wherever you are.
Moonlighting is also a lighting technique where we install a spot light high up in a tree and have the beam shine through its branches and leaves creating the illusion of the moon shining through the tree projecting a magic interplay of light and shadows on the ground. But we can use the moonlighting effect also in buildings that have sky lights for instance or open courtyards. On stage in the theatre moonlight is generally simulated by a bluish light hue coming from a theatre spot somewhere in a corner high above the stage.
Finally there is the expression of “moonlighting” in the sense of secretively doing some extra work on the side, sometimes even illegally. The expression coming from the thought that that work can’t really see the light of day…hence moon lighting….