Practice for Cloudy Nights
Posted 16 June 2009 - 08:43 PM
1. Toss either a cooking pot (easy to find in Uganda) or a dog dish (easy in the US) about 6 feet away. In early morning or late afternoon or at night with a light to the side of it, sketch it from about 2 or 3 paces away. Define an outline first....outside of bowl, inside of bowl, and edges that can be seen. Proceed to outline shadow areas. Label the outlined areas in light pencil (L=light, M=medium, D=dark). Blacken the D areas; leave the L areas; lightly blacken the M areas. Keep looking at the dish or pot to correct as you go. Now notice any transitions where the areas are sort of in between. Use a finger or cotton swab or an eraser to meld those transition areas. Once satisfied that overall shapes and lights and darks look like you want, if there is not enough contrast then darken the darkest areas and use an eraser to make sure the white areas stand out the most. Net result: homemade crater.
2. Kids love to play in dirt or sand. Adults often do but don't admit it. Here is your chance. In dim light or at night, get in a soft dirt or sand area. Make an uneven set of furroughs just a few inches deep. The pattern does not have to be regular in terms of height or distance apart. Four is enough. Put a candle or small light in a flat area adjacent to the furroughs so the light is real low (less than a foot). Either stand or sit on a stool or in a tree (kids love the tree part) so that you are looking down or at an angle down toward the little furroughs. Pretend: the deep parts are valleys, the high parts are mountain peaks. Draw an outline of the lightest ridges; draw outlines of the darkest valleys; draw any marks or shapes for ravines or chunks of dirt; label the lightest, darkest, and medium areas (like the dog dish), work on the transition areas. The result: a homemade mountain range.
For both exercises, one kid or two gets to throw the dish or make the furroughs. However things are done, no one can change it....draw whatever is done. If its children, make it a race: they have 10 minutes to complete the drawing. If it is many kids, divide them into two groups to draw so it becomes a competition for each team to get done with the best they can.
For adults, one has to be a little more patient, because they get fearful or self concious. If directing the group, you just make like anyone can do it after you do a quick demo, and keep going.
When the folks get in front of a real telescope or binoculars, you remind them of the exercises and say: you've done this before, look at the shapes you see, do the same thing!!
Posted 16 June 2009 - 08:52 PM
Posted 17 June 2009 - 05:19 PM
Very good ideas here. They will work for sure.
Posted 17 June 2009 - 08:55 PM
Very good suggestions on practicing drawing craters (shadows) and rides/mountains. Practice does make one perfect as the old saying goes. Thank you for sharing them with us all.
Posted 17 June 2009 - 09:30 PM
Posted 17 June 2009 - 10:05 PM
Posted 17 June 2009 - 10:30 PM
I think it's the engineer in me looking for precision on the finest of details and I just can't get away from trying to make the image perfect...but I'll keep trying (one of these day's I'm going to have that epiphany and realize what I was doing wrong...)
Posted 18 June 2009 - 09:38 AM