We do not see light directly unless we look directly at a light source. What we see is light that is reflected off a surface. If something appears brighter than something else it is because of the difference in contrast between the two objects. This is referred to as relative brightness and it is important to proper lighting design as we will discover in future postings.
|Driving at Night
One of the most common examples of relative brightness is the automobile headlight. Have you ever been blinded by super bright headlights? That is because the eye’s pupil can not adjust fast enough when going from total dark to really bright. This is especially problematic for older eyes.
Reading is another example of relative brightness. Reading black type on white paper is much easier than reading navy blue type on blue paper. That is because the black/white contrast is much greater than blue/blue. Even in moonlight the contrast between black type and white paper makes reading possible.
Be sure to visit FoggLighting.com to see some really great lighting ideas. Follow me on twitter @lightingfogg.