everyday light

unexpected glimpses of natural light phenomema

shadow sharpness

The sharpness of shadows in daylight allows us to intuitively gauge relative distances. Because the sun is not a point source of light – but a disk with surface area, shadows appear sharp or fuzzy depending on the object’s location. Varying crispness of shadows may aid our perception in developing a full 3D sense of the landscape. Here’s a convenient demonstration of a range of shadows:

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But what if all shadows were sharp? Would the added sharpness provide a sense of ultimate awareness? A recent solar eclipse provided a momentary experience of shadow clarity. With only a portion of the sun visible behind the moon, light behaves much more like a point source than we typically experience. A similar experience happens everyday at sunset. Does the momentary clarity of shadows heighten our perception? Maybe it’s one of the factors that makes sunsets so enjoyable?

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This entry was posted on October 7, 2012 by in everyday light.
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