Science and Art of Light

Day 1

Posted on March 5, 2013 by foggs

Welcome to The Science and Art of Light.

This project is designed to blur the borders between art, science and social sciences using LIGHT as the theme. The science 12 curriculum includes Refraction of light, Snell’s Law, Lenses, Mirror and optics.

Science 12 is also meant to catch content missed from other science classes. In this case, we have a small hole in the Kinetics section. So we will look at traditioal dark room techniques and investigate temp, light and concentration on photography.

There is more thermal and photo chemistry in silkscreening, which is convenient given our newly created silkscreening press in the fashion and design class.

Finally, there is a huge amount of science involved with an SLR or DSLR camera including ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed, focal lengths, depth of field and freezing motion.

These four pieces form the science component of light, but what about the art?

What about the art?
What will be the subject of the photography. We are going to specifically look at portraits. Our artist will come and spend time with us to show us how to take good portraits, including lighting, operating the SLR, composition, and psychology of making models feel good.

What about the Social Sciences? We are inundated with media that tells us what beauty is and what we should all strive to obtain. If we cannot obtain this perfection, we are somehow less than. Furthermore, if we see people who look differently than we do, we tend to be defensive. I wonder how much bullying happens because of the way we look. The “No Show Joe”, “Plane Jane” and “Recapturing Beauty” movements parallel the “Dove” themes of beauty. How do people treat us based on our outward appearance? How do we judge people based on their outward appreance?

This project will use light as a theme to study Physics, Chemistry, Photography, the art of Portraits, the psychology of beauty and the sociology of outward appearance.

Day 2 Science and Art of Light

Posted on March 7, 2013 by foggs

Speed of light and Index of refraction
Today, students gathered around SMARTBoards and worked their way through a series of questions, examples and questions related to the Index of Refraction.
The speed of light (c) is 3.0×10^8 m/s in a vacuum and it is believed to be the speed limit of the universe. Nothing can go faster than light. However, when light enters a substance like air, water and glass, it slows down. We call substances that really slow down light, “optically dense”.
The index of refraction (n) is a number that tells us how “optically dense” a substance might be. The higher the index, the more it slows light. The formula for n is the ratio of speed of light in a vacuum with the speed in a substance.

Day 3: Snell’s Law
Posted on March 7, 2013 by foggs

Today, students gathered around SMARTBoards and worked their way through a series of questions and examples related to Snell’s Law. They used the SmartBoard protractor to measure angles of incidence and refraction to calculate (n).
When light enters a substance straight on, it is not obvious that the speed of light changes. However, when light enter a substance at an angle, the change in the speed of light is made obvious by the bend. When light enters a more optically dense medium, it bends towards the normal. The more optically dense, the more pronounced the bend, the more light slows down.
ni sin (o)i = nr sin(o)r

Day 4 Critical Angle

Posted on March 11, 2013

Today is a short lecture day followed by some catch up time.
Suppose you start with a ray of light in an optically dense material and shoot it towards something less dense. Snell’s law says that it will bend away from the normal. As the angle of incidents increases, the angle of refraction also increases. At some point in time, the angle of refraction is equal to 90o, which means the light does not escape. The angle of incidence at which this happens is called the critical angle. The light is trapped inside the substance and total internal reflection occurs, angle in = angle out.

What this means is, you can create “light wires” also known as fiber optics. The light will follow the substance like a wire as long as there are no sharp bends. This allows us to transmit Morse Code, on and off, 0’s and 1’s using light and plastic as opposed to electricity and copper. Electricity and copper produces much heat.
In addition, computers based on electricity use semiconductors to speed up and slow down electrons. It might be possible for light, fiber optics and optically dense materials to be used to create computers. If this were true, perhaps 1 CPU could truly multitask. Perhaps excel could be running with red light, while uploading youtube could be running green light etc… Perhaps we could have in essence, as many computers as you have wavelengths of light all combined in the same CPU.

Day 5 Lenses Diagrams

Posted on March 11, 2013

Use the plastic lenses and laser pens to shoot light perpendicular to the lens. Mark where the light enters and where the light exits. Connect the marks. Draw in the normal. Repeat this for a total of 5 times/ lens. Do a brick, triangle, convex and concave lens. Notice what happens to the exiting rays. Submit your diagrams.

Day 6: Curvature of Jello Lenses

Posted on March 23, 2013

Use the Jello that you made and cut out lenses of different curvatures. What happens to the focal length as the curvature gets more pronounced? Submit drawings to confirm your answer.

Day 7-8 Optics Bench

Posted on March 11, 2013

Use the optics bench to prove the optic formula. 1/f=1/di + 1/do and magnification =-hi/ho = di/do .

Use multiple lenses at multiple distances and find where the image is in focus. Use excel to calculate the focal length and how the magnification changes with distance.

Write a formal lab.

Day 9-10 Primary and Secondary Colours

Posted on March 11, 2013

Students gather around a SMARTBoard, and work in small groups to figure out the primary and secondary colours of light. They are asked, “What colour will be perceived when magenta light is shone on yellow paint and is viewed through a red filter?” This is a very difficult puzzle to solve. I could tell them how to do it in about 4 minutes and then let them practice. If the content was truly important, that would be efficient. However, if solving a puzzle and growing brains is the important part, then I will have them struggle with it. This is somewhat similar to an athletic trainer. The purpose is not to lift weights, but rather to have the athlete struggle and the trainer to encourage.

Day 11 Recapturing Beauty

Posted on March 23, 2013

Today we introduced the idea of “Recapturing Beauty”, “No Show Joe”, “Plane Jane” and “Dove” . So much of Hollywood has infiltrated our psyche. But most of this is fake. What does it mean to be beautiful? How are we treated when we dress, makeup, hair, show off, strut your stuff etc..??
This turns into a class discussion.

Day 12 Exposure

Posted on March 23, 2013

Stephanie talked about the exposure triangle of aperture, shutter speed and ISO. If you have a large aperture, you will get lots of light, but little depth of field. You may want a low depth of field so as to remove the distraction of the foreground or background. In other cases you will want to freeze the action and you will need a fast shutter speed. Panning can produce an interesting effect that high lights moving.
Students took pictures and emailed them to Stephanie. Stephanie spent significant time at home reviewing the student work and sending back feedback.

Day 13 Lighting

Posted on March 23, 2013

Stephanie talked about the effects of lighting. A face on flash will flatten faces because the shadow are hints to depth. A side on lighting from a 45 is usually most flattering. A 90 degree side on shadow will be very dramatic and should be used sparingly. Lighting from above casts unflattering shadows on the eyes and nose. So if you are at noon, try putting the subjects under some trees, or under some shade or use a reflector to fill in the shadows. What about backlighting? How do you use center metering to blacken the foreground or bring the foreground out. When would you want each of these?
Students took pictures, sent them to Stephanie and she again spent numerous hours reviewing and providing feedback.

Day 14: Composition / Cropping

Posted on March 23, 2013

How do you compose a portrait? The rule of thirds. Where do you place your subject? Where does your eye naturally draw? How can you use leading lines to draw your attention to the subject? How can you use triangles to balance the picture? Stephanie used many of the pictures that the students took themselves. This took much time to prepare, scouring examples to prove her point. It would have been much easier to use her own portraits, but instead she used student work.
Students took pictures, sent them to Stephanie and she again spent numerous hours reviewing and providing feedback.

Day 15 Psychology of a Nervous Subject

Posted on March 23, 2013

Today we joined the Fashion and Design class. Stephanie talked much about how do you make a nervous person feel comfortable having their picture taken? Give them something to do, make them laugh, tell a joke, put something in their hand for them to play with.
How do you pose people that make them look natural? If you can bend it, do it. Bend arms, legs, hands etc… Do not let the two limbs be symmetrical. Bend one close and one far. Bend a leg and keep the other at an angle. Shoot boys straight on so that you get the broad shoulders. Shoot girls side on to get their curves and thinness.

Day 16 Recapturing Beauty

Posted on March 23, 2013

Today we are to do a section on recapturing beauty. She talked about her project and being confident enough to redefine what beauty really means.
Students practiced taking photographs.

Day 17 Silkscreening

Posted on March 23, 2013

Today they look at the silkscreen results.Waiting for the results.