Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

When sodium is bad

Unintentionally, as in not have preplanned the observations, I’ve made (and probably will now continue to make) posts that praise the rapid and wide adoption of LED street lighting as a matter of local policy by most councils, on main roads at least.

Probably more of an economic decision than anything else on their part, since such lighting (depending on how it is deployed) should at least half their electricity bill – it should do considerably better, but there are unknown factors, and the changeover is far from complete, so they are still paying to run the older types with their higher power consumption.

There is also the initial cost of the installation of the new lighting, but that is at least partially offset by the age of many old fittings, which would have to be replaced anyway.

And those old fittings are far from being anywhere near as reliable or long-lived as solid-state LED devices, which should not need the same level of ongoing maintenance and replacement to keep them in service.

This all came to mind as I snapped what I THOUGHT would be a cute Christmas pic.

But I had forgotten I was standing in a street lit by sodium lighting when I had that thought.

The actual thought had been that a little Santa figure standing in a window looked more like ‘Santa in Hell’ than the usual jolly character, as the string of lights around him were quite a vivid shade of red.

But – this was what the camera (as opposed to my ordinary, yet still fairly clever, human eye had perceived) saw:

Santa In Sodium Hell

Santa In Sodium Hell

It’s a pretty vivid reminder that once ALL night photography was much like this (no wonder nobody really bothered, or had to become a dedicated expert). And expensive, since you had to buy film, the pay for D&P (developing and processing), or set up a darkroom. Either way, most shots often ended up in the bin. You could not make instant corrections as done with digital today, and even a quick D&P session could eat at least an hour.

I haven’t done anything to this image other than try to recover some sharpness (yes, sodium lighting messes with focus too), but this also took more than 1 second to capture).

Actually, I couldn’t do anything even if I wanted to, other than maybe change into a B&W view.

Analysis of the colour content shows that most of the pixels are RED (presumably a result of the red lights in the window).

Half of the remainder are GREEN.

And the BLUE count is so near zero it might as well be forgotten.

And since we all know mixing blue light and green light gives yellow (surprise), with no blue content, there’s no manipulation option, or any way (other than by creating mixing layers, and nobody’s got time for that) to produce white by altering levels/mix.

Oh well… back to the main streets!

As a footnote, would it come as any surprise to learn that there are some residents in the US campaigning to have ‘unnatural’ LED lighting removed from their neighbourhoods, and have their sodium lights reinstated?


24/12/2017 - Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | ,

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