We must’ve had our own hair-raising moments in our earlier camping days. And as anyone who’s ever been camping deep in the woods can tell you, once out there in the blackness of night, your best friend is the campfire. No buts about that.
We’d love to share many a tale of the supernatural with you, but for now, let’s want to focus on something entirely different – light.
It can be said for a fact that light is taken for granted these days. You walk into a dark room, and with a flick of a switch, voila! It’s the story of Creation all over again. There’s scant difference between day and night, thanks to fluorescent lighting. In the day, your living room is illuminated with sunlight. At night, it looks exactly the same with artificial light.
But before electricity was commonplace, light and its many moods used to enjoy a seat of reverence by all people, not just photographers and artists. It was more than just a matter of physics – have light, will see – rather, it formed a kinship with man, a source of comfort, a symbol of myriad meanings. Light was personal.
Back in the days at kampung house, a single hurricane lamp hung from a corner of the living room, casting animated shadows that cavorted and pranced about, sometimes seductively, sometimes menacingly, dictated by the wind. On the other hand, a single candle transformed tiny bedroom into an experimental theatre of sorts, with shadow characters of animals acting out an impromptu script on the wall.
It could be the still reflection of candlelight gleaming in your kid’s eyes as she gazes at her birthday cake, that warms your heart. Or the twinkling lights of a distant town welcoming a weary traveler as you trudged on out of the dark wilderness. Or the soft glow of the moonlight casting a silvery tint on everything it touches. Aren’t most of us have had a fulfilling romance with light?
Garden of Light
Of course, for practical reasons, light has been industrialized and commercialized and made readily accessible for most people today.
However, your garden still remains an ideal setting where you can enjoy light’s various moods.
A funny thing about lighting up your garden is you want to see it and yet you don’t want to see it. The secret thus, is to know which features or area to highlight, and leave boring or regular spots clad in the shadows.
Position and types of lighting are also important to create the desired overall effect, taking into account the size and shape of your garden or area of illumination.
Basically, there are two kinds of lighting – floodlighting and spotlighting. Whereas floodlighting produces a diffusion of light to a wide area, spotlighting is often used to highlight certain features or plants, leaving the surrounding area contrasted in darkness.
Both types of lighting differ in the amount of spread, and not so much in the strength of the beam, which should be another consideration altogether. Anyway, after having selected the appropriate type, the next step is deciding whether you want a romantic feel for your garden, a dramatic showcase, or a combination of both, creating stunning silhouettes that tells its own story.
Downlighting is a technique that bathes your entire garden or specific area in a warm glow, giving you a serene, romantic look. Uplighting, however, gives the opposite effect, transforming simple shrubs or furniture into an exciting showcase of contrasts. Backlighting is normally for bigger gardens where space can be utilized to make silhouettes stand out, creating an unusual character for your garden which depends a great deal upon the position of the light source.
Another aspect of garden lighting is the introduction of aquatic lights, usually in a variety of colors, placed beneath the surface of ponds and water features. The result is an effect akin to dancing flames as the light is diffused and distorted by the movement of water.
As you can see, garden lighting is not to be taken lightly (pun unintended). Always remember that the whole idea is to create the right mood, and not to illuminate your garden like football stadium.