Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

How do you sketch at night without losing dark adaptation?

  • Please log in to reply
18 replies to this topic

#1 gamma_ari

gamma_ari

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 64
  • Joined: 16 May 2020
  • Loc: Berlin, Germany

Posted 09 May 2021 - 06:23 AM

Hey sketching experts,

 

when I sketch deep sky objects with pencil and paper, I get blinded by my own red light reflected off the paper. Every time I add details to my sketch, it will take my eye a couple minutes to recover full dark adaptation, which makes sketching a tedious process.

 

Too keep my dark adaptation, I would have to dim my red light to a point where I can't see what I'm drawing. There doesn't seem to be a sweet spot in terms of red light brightness, at least I haven't found it.

 

How do you handle this?

 

Thanks for your input,

Viktor


  • gustavo_sanchez likes this

#2 jcj380

jcj380

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,371
  • Joined: 08 Jul 2014
  • Loc: Hellinois

Posted 09 May 2021 - 07:35 AM

I have the same problem using some atlases, so I'm curious to see what solutions people suggest.  I'm considering trying a dim yellow or orange light.


Edited by jcj380, 09 May 2021 - 07:37 AM.


#3 Asbytec

Asbytec

    Guy in a furry hat

  • *****
  • Posts: 18,434
  • Joined: 08 Aug 2007
  • Loc: Pampanga, PI

Posted 09 May 2021 - 08:03 AM

Easy for me, but maybe not everyone. I don't use any light at all, not after star hopping with Sky Safari. But, I make copious notes and mini sketches only me and a pharmacist can read. I never could finish a sketch at the eyepeice, anyway, so I compose my notes on a PC immediately after the sketch while my memory is still fresh. After all, I just spent an hour studying my subject. So...
  • rodelaet, Warmvet and j.gardavsky like this

#4 Jef De Wit

Jef De Wit

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,037
  • Joined: 06 Mar 2009
  • Loc: Hove, Belgium (51°N 4°E)

Posted 09 May 2021 - 08:30 AM

I get blinded by my own red light reflected off the paper. Every time I add details to my sketch, it will take my eye a couple minutes to recover full dark adaptation

You will always loose some dark adeaptation. But if you need minutes, it means you use to much light. If you use the absolute minimum it will only take a handfull of seconds. It is also very important to use real dark red light. Most commercial red lights are not really red and have other collors in their spectra.

 

@jcc380: yellow or orange light isn't a good sollution


  • rerun, mdowns and Warmvet like this

#5 asterope62

asterope62

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 156
  • Joined: 09 May 2015
  • Loc: Brigham City, Utah

Posted 09 May 2021 - 09:36 AM

I sketch on black sketch paper,  that helps. I also lightly trace what I'm sketching,  then fill in the sketch once under normal light.


  • E-Ray, Warmvet and j.gardavsky like this

#6 Asbytec

Asbytec

    Guy in a furry hat

  • *****
  • Posts: 18,434
  • Joined: 08 Aug 2007
  • Loc: Pampanga, PI

Posted 10 May 2021 - 08:36 AM

Oh, the OP specifically asked for Sketching Experts. I defer... :)
  • rodelaet likes this

#7 erick86

erick86

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 366
  • Joined: 05 Feb 2017
  • Loc: Canada

Posted 10 May 2021 - 06:10 PM

I have been finding some ways of overcoming this challenge.  The most effective way I've found is to phase the sketch into three distinct passes.

 

First pass - plot the stars and their relative brightnesses. 

 

Second pass - sketch the rough shape and extent of the object.  By this time this might be by memory, because the dimmest detail is already being washed from view by the light required by sketching.

 

Third pass, it's lights out!  This is the time where I am really straining for every bit of detail possible, making mental note of any mottling, dark lanes, areas with brightening, and limits of extent.  Then the light comes back on and adjustments are made to the sketch.  If it's just a faint fuzzy galaxy, there's usually not much detail to add once the general shape and core brightening gradient is captured.  But -- some objects require a repeat of this step many many times if there's a high level of complexity visible (like the Orion Nebula or Andromeda Galaxy). 

 

When using a filter on nebulae, I find it useful to sketch the star field first with no filter, then put the filter on for the second & third passes to capture shape and extent.

 

I also find it very necessary to fine tune yet again once back in daylight, as soon as possible after the session.  No later than next day so that you still remember what the intent was.

 

Eric


  • Special Ed, rodelaet, mdowns and 3 others like this

#8 hbanich

hbanich

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,344
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2005
  • Loc: Scappose, Oregon

Posted 10 May 2021 - 06:20 PM

To keep my observing eye dark adapted, I close it while my red light is on, and sketch with only my non-observing eye open. It took a little practice, but it feels pretty natural now. 


  • Special Ed, frank5817, mdowns and 2 others like this

#9 Special Ed

Special Ed

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11,276
  • Joined: 18 May 2003
  • Loc: Greenbrier County, WV 38N, 80W

Posted 10 May 2021 - 10:23 PM

1) You must keep your red light as dim as possible.

 

2) Observe the target for quite a while before you start to sketch

 

3) Use an eyepatch over your observing eye to preserve your night vision.


  • frank5817, mdowns, Warmvet and 1 other like this

#10 alder1

alder1

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 258
  • Joined: 19 May 2014
  • Loc: North Central Vermont, USA

Posted 11 May 2021 - 04:02 AM

I like to do rough sketches and copious notes at the eyepiece (with my red headlamp), then fill them out after. I do accept some loss of dark adaptation. So I try to really LOOK at the object before I start drawing. I suspect there’s no really good solution though. 


  • rerun, mdowns, Warmvet and 2 others like this

#11 Kasey8404

Kasey8404

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 85
  • Joined: 17 Dec 2020
  • Loc: South east Idaho

Posted 14 May 2021 - 02:16 AM

Black paper man it helps a ton.In the past I used  a dim reading light and painted it with copious amounts of red nail polish that I clip to a board while sketching. Rigel system also makes a nice flash light with a really good dimmer on it that I use frequently these days the lanyard on it is a bit long though.


  • Warmvet and Raul Leon like this

#12 gamma_ari

gamma_ari

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 64
  • Joined: 16 May 2020
  • Loc: Berlin, Germany

Posted 14 May 2021 - 05:27 AM

Thank you for your great suggestions! In the last nights I sketched with a ballpoint pen instead of a pencil, which allowed me to dim the light further. I will definitely try closing my observing eye, that might solve the problem altogether.



#13 GGK

GGK

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 224
  • Joined: 04 Jan 2021
  • Loc: SouthWest Florida

Posted 14 May 2021 - 07:17 AM

Im no expert sketcher, but had the same problem.

I view through a C8 SCT. I now pull an eyepatch over my viewing eye when away from the eyepiece. Then put my glasses on and use my other eye to sketch, write notes or read. If I’m viewing something very faint, I use that same eyepatch over my non-viewing eye anyway. The eyepatch slides from one eye to the other without issue. I know this helps because when I go back to look at a faint galaxy or nebula, it’s invisible with the eye used for sketching under red light, but plainly visible with the eye blocked from the red light. Bought the eyepatch at CVS for a few dollars.

I also bought red translucent plastic, cut two small circles out and glued them both over the red flashlight lens. It really cut the brightness of the light and stops it from reflecting off the paper so much.

I like the idea of the black paper and white marker.

Gary
  • Warmvet likes this

#14 Warmvet

Warmvet

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,974
  • Joined: 24 Aug 2014
  • Loc: Hawaii

Posted 14 May 2021 - 02:12 PM

What great suggestions! I am always picking up something I hadnt tried before and learning something new on this forum. I forgot about my eye patch!

 

Cindy 



#15 Napp

Napp

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 3,102
  • Joined: 26 Jul 2015
  • Loc: Northeast Florida, USA

Posted 14 May 2021 - 02:19 PM

If you want a dim red light that can be dimmed all the way down to zero then I recommend the Ken Fiscus red light.  It provides the dimmest red light I have seen.  Ken is a member of Cloudy Nights.  PM him if interested.



#16 hbanich

hbanich

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,344
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2005
  • Loc: Scappose, Oregon

Posted 14 May 2021 - 10:53 PM

Hi Mike, I just tried to send a PM to Ken using his full name but that didn't work - what's his CN name?



#17 Napp

Napp

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 3,102
  • Joined: 26 Jul 2015
  • Loc: Northeast Florida, USA

Posted 15 May 2021 - 12:35 AM

Hi Mike, I just tried to send a PM to Ken using his full name but that didn't work - what's his CN name?

Try kfiscus.


  • kfiscus likes this

#18 hbanich

hbanich

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,344
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2005
  • Loc: Scappose, Oregon

Posted 16 May 2021 - 08:06 PM

Thanks, that did the trick.



#19 Uwe Pilz

Uwe Pilz

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 3,296
  • Joined: 16 May 2008
  • Loc: Leipzig, Germany

Posted 16 May 2021 - 11:12 PM

I have a very dim red light primary for reading charts. I use that for sketching too. At the eyepiece, I only make rough sketches of deep sky objects and comets. I make a real sketch form it as soon as possible.

 

Even that dim light disturbs when observing. I switch it off when lookin in the eyepiece. But it does not destry dark adaption, at least not to a large degree. May be my eyes need 5 or 10 seconds for beeing adapted again.

 

It is important that you have a glare-free torch. It should not be possible to look into the bulb or LED. My torch has a semitransparent shield in front of it.


  • rodelaet likes this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics