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Quick and easy backyard light shields

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#1 mkothe

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 12:08 PM

I’ve avoided setting my scope up at home since my neighbor “fixed” his motion-activated driveway lights that are on a hair trigger now and the town installed new streetlights, but I missed those quick sessions with the convenience of observing from home. My solution is a setup using extendable pool poles and a 12x25 foot tarp cut in half. I’m using 2” PVC pipes pounded into the ground, that are a perfect fit for the 1.5” poles. One is in a concrete-filled bucket to allow flexible placement of one side of the barrier. The tarps are attached via carabiner clips and eyelets screwed into the poles. This can be set up and taken down in minutes and takes up very little space for storage. The extendable poles make it easy to adjust the height of the tarps if objects low in the sky are observed.
 

This setup is not good for windy conditions due to the large surface area of the tarps. The pole in the bucket needs to be secured via a rope to a tree or other fixed structure to prevent the bucket from tipping. The tarps can be secured from blowing in the wind in a manner of different ways (bungee cords or weights), and by securing from eyelets further up the force on the setup can be adjusted. This will be less of an issue with smaller tarps, but I needed this coverage to block all the lights. With a little more work it should be possible to improve the look of this, especially by fully burying the pipes so they are hidden when not in use. I was thinking to eliminate the droop in the middle by stringing a rope through the eyelets, but it works well as is, so I decided not to complicate things. 
 

Clear skies,

Michael

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#2 REC

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Posted 27 August 2020 - 01:03 PM

I’ve avoided setting my scope up at home since my neighbor “fixed” his motion-activated driveway lights that are on a hair trigger now and the town installed new streetlights, but I missed those quick sessions with the convenience of observing from home. My solution is a setup using extendable pool poles and a 12x25 foot tarp cut in half. I’m using 2” PVC pipes pounded into the ground, that are a perfect fit for the 1.5” poles. One is in a concrete-filled bucket to allow flexible placement of one side of the barrier. The tarps are attached via carabiner clips and eyelets screwed into the poles. This can be set up and taken down in minutes and takes up very little space for storage. The extendable poles make it easy to adjust the height of the tarps if objects low in the sky are observed.
 

This setup is not good for windy conditions due to the large surface area of the tarps. The pole in the bucket needs to be secured via a rope to a tree or other fixed structure to prevent the bucket from tipping. The tarps can be secured from blowing in the wind in a manner of different ways (bungee cords or weights), and by securing from eyelets further up the force on the setup can be adjusted. This will be less of an issue with smaller tarps, but I needed this coverage to block all the lights. With a little more work it should be possible to improve the look of this, especially by fully burying the pipes so they are hidden when not in use. I was thinking to eliminate the droop in the middle by stringing a rope through the eyelets, but it works well as is, so I decided not to complicate things. 
 

Clear skies,

Michael

If I ever did that my wife would go nuts on melol.gif Looks like it works well.



#3 mkothe

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Posted 27 August 2020 - 03:38 PM

Since it folds down quickly, there were no objections 😁.

Could/might work on concealing the PVC pipes.

Michael

#4 mikerepp

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Posted 28 August 2020 - 01:10 PM

For hiding the pipes try something like a lawn gnome that has a hole drilled in the bottom.  Just slip it over the pipe when not in use.   It will also keep the rain from filling the open pvc pipe.



#5 JoeBftsplk

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Posted 28 August 2020 - 01:49 PM

I've learned that if I park my pickup in the right place and set up my grab-and-go telescope behind it, that the truck blocks the headlights from the nearby highway. Lowering the tailgate gives me a sturdy observing table.

 

This will work until I forget about the scope and back over it.


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#6 The Ardent

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Posted 28 August 2020 - 01:56 PM

I used landscape timbers fixed in 5 gallon buckets of concrete. The buckets are in the ground . I can pull the bucket out and rearrange. Unfortunately the 8x50’ privacy screen from Amazon isn’t opaque. It mitigates, but does not block out all the light. 
 

The next step is tarps. 

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#7 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 28 August 2020 - 02:13 PM

What about using one of those patio table umbrellas close to the scope? Many have poles that allow you to tilt the umbrella at an angle and also have adjustable height (plus you could cut down the pole so it sits lower). They come in a variety of sizes and are easily collapsible and take up no space when not in use. If you kept the scope mostly under it, it would also help with dew control.

 

abba-patio-market-umbrellas-ap9388ctl-66


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#8 Sky_LO

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Posted 30 August 2020 - 04:07 PM

I used a clothesline and a black sheet.   

 

The neighbors put up a "party porch"  and they leave it blazing all night 

It is totally ridiculous - I can't see a darn thing when it is on. 

It is absolutely blinding.   .    

 

I found the party porch is a motivational tool to get me to go out to dark sites.  So in the long run the party porch is a good thing, and I can use my sheet to hide behind when I need to.     

 

-Lauren    

 

ps - they just added a big outdoor movie screen.  Great !   More motivation  !   smile.gif

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Edited by Sky_LO, 30 August 2020 - 04:11 PM.


#9 DSOGabe

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Posted 30 August 2020 - 04:17 PM

This was my solution. Neighbor turns on lights and leaves them on for hours at a time. Did an actual field test about a month ago and it did a good job at blocking the lights. Its a tarp on a frame of 3/4 inch EMT. The EMT is secured to the white iron fence and its been up for weeks. It takes me about 10 minutes to set up or remove the tarp. 

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#10 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 30 August 2020 - 04:58 PM

When my neighbor put this up

 

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I built this around my shed and pad

 

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Not quick and easy, but a permanent solution to the problem, and better than the conduit and blackout curtains that I was using. 


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#11 jcj380

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Posted 31 August 2020 - 08:01 AM

I've started using an 8-ft closet rod / pipe for my horizontal curtain support.  The advantage is that it's very rigid and only needs two vertical supports - one at each end.  I had been using 3/4-in PVC which needed a middle support since I was using two 4-ft sections with a connector.  I might try 1-in PVC to see how well that works.

 

I'm keeping the 3/4 PVC for traveling though.  One of my dark sites is close to a curve on a rural road and while traffic is very light, I've been lit up a couple of times when a car rounded the bend just right.


Edited by jcj380, 31 August 2020 - 08:02 AM.


#12 Sky_LO

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Posted 31 August 2020 - 12:26 PM

jcj380.....I know that feeling.....

We have fun with it....cover your eyes and yell      CAR !!! CAR !!! CAR !!!  until it passes.   

smile.gif



#13 mrki233

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Posted 31 August 2020 - 03:29 PM

I used a clothesline and a black sheet.   

 

The neighbors put up a "party porch"  and they leave it blazing all night 

It is totally ridiculous - I can't see a darn thing when it is on. 

It is absolutely blinding.   .    

 

I found the party porch is a motivational tool to get me to go out to dark sites.  So in the long run the party porch is a good thing, and I can use my sheet to hide behind when I need to.     

 

-Lauren    

 

ps - they just added a big outdoor movie screen.  Great !   More motivation  !   smile.gif

That's pretty bad.  I certainly gives a new meaning to what  'accent' lighting means.

 

Invite the neighbor over some time to have a look through  the scope.  They might get a clue and realize how annoying the lights are and turn them down or off when the porch is not in party mode.  



#14 SonnyE

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Posted 31 August 2020 - 05:41 PM

That's pretty bad.  I certainly gives a new meaning to what  'accent' lighting means.

 

Invite the neighbor over some time to have a look through  the scope.  They might get a clue and realize how annoying the lights are and turn them down or off when the porch is not in party mode.  

Invite the neighbor over and have the telescope aimed at their lights...

blackeye.gif

 

Our town has an ordinance against lights going onto adjacent Properties. I've used it to stop Condoland from aiming their area lighting at mine and my neighbors homes.

 

https://www.cloudyni...ight-pollution/



#15 Sky_LO

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Posted 31 August 2020 - 06:01 PM

Nope, no invite from me.   I find them just a bit too intimidating.  

Biggest house on the block. 

Also teens in the house - harder to get whole house on board.

9 cars.   2 Giant Dogs,  Woodshop Humming all the time.  

All the toys, RV, Boat, Pool, Motorcycles, ORV's Motor Home. 

Constantly firing up this engine or that to play / tune it.   

Illegal fireworks launched at 4th of July over my roof.  

Parties about 3x per month.

Lots going on all the time.  

I just get the feeling they do whatever they want 

whenever they want. - I feel terribly out gunned.  

 

I am a wimp I suppose, and find it easier to hide behind my curtain rather than confront/discuss.  

Yes I have heard the "invite them over" theory. 

They don't deserve to see through my scope.

I can't bring myself to like them per se or invite them over.   

I don't dislike them personally - I just don't like all the annoying goings on all the time.  

The party porch is the tip of the iceberg. 

I don't want to be known as the nagging old lady next door either    

 

There have been a few times when the porch light went off when I put my curtain up.'

They may be catching on that the light is bothering me. 

Maybe there is hope for a conversation down the line.   

 

 

-Lauren     


Edited by Sky_LO, 31 August 2020 - 06:20 PM.



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