Ambient light is an encompassing indirect light that envelops the object it illuminates while revealing rich otherwise unseen colors in those objects. Ambient light is warm. It’s romantic. We often assign a romantic feeling to something illuminated with ambient light. We say it has an ambiance. Take a look at this shade for example.
I recently entered this room in the middle of the day to grab a book. Suddenly, I wanted to curl up and take an afternoon nap or pile all the throw pillows together to curl up and read my book in that room. The light source of the sun behind these beautiful blinds created warm ambient light that filled the room with an unexpected, warm, and wonderful ambiance.
Now take a look at these blinds up close.
See how you can pick out many shades of color from bright white to winter white, heather gray, darker gray, and even yellow. These shades derive from the obvious posts and slats of the window behind the shade. But, they also come from reflections of the items outside the window. Although we would likely never evaluate the multitude of colors delivered by ambient light, these colors enhance this visual experience and create a wonderful mood or feeling.
So, in selecting light, when we are able to identify light that does not cast a bright spotlight, but rather yields a warm romantic glow, we will create and effect and an ambiance just through the positioning of the light.
Take a look at these roses.
This was a fresh bouquet of bright red roses. With the ambient light, they look spectacular. The natural light cascades over the natural depth dimensions created by the petals and creates the effect of a wide array of colors from dark black to light white. The brightest light shining on the front rose even pulls out or gives the effect of yellow on the tips of the petals.
At Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, we design out outdoor lighting to have this exact effect. Our goal is never to spotlight something but to cast a broad enveloping soft array of light to bring out the natural warmth and beauty of the outdoor landscaping, architecture or outdoor structures that the lighting is illuminating.
Take a look at this deck.
Although the deck light and garden path light are made of beautiful copper and very attractive fixtures, the outdoor lighting plan is designed to almost conceal the fixture. We believe that great outdoor lighting design focuses on your home, your garden, your yard, your pathways, your deck, your pool and all the outdoor areas of your home. Our goal is to help you see those better and most importantly to make them even more beautiful.
In the deck picture above, take a look at the deck slats and the array of colors that is created by the subtle deck light above it. Also notice that there is no “spotlight” effect onto the deck. The deck is merely gently illuminated.
Now take a look at this garden.
At first glance, you may just notice the beautiful garden house, or bird cage, or even the stunning rock landscaping. But look more closely. Look, for example, at the garden house. Look at the effect that the affixed uplight fixture makes on the house. It makes a star effect above and gives a giant “hot spot” on the garden house. Good lighting does not create “hot spot” effects. A hot spot is a bright splotch of color for lack of a better word. A hot spot indicates poor lighting design because it causes the observer to focus on the fixture or on the bright light instead of focusing on what is being illuminated.
Now, still looking at the garden house, look at the shadow of the shrubbery on the white door. The outdoor lighting is designed in such a way to cast soft shadows. Take a look at the gorgeous dome light in the forefront of the photo. This copper light is a stunning fixture. Look at the glow that the fixture casts. It’s even and warm instead of “hot”.
Look finally at the tree to the left of the garden house. See how gently the young tree and the mature tree are illuminated. The light envelopes the area gently making it easier to see the beauty while making it safer to walk around the area.
Lastly, look at the image below. Good lighting design creates the beautiful tree shadows in the pond. The lighting creates depth, romance, and ambiance.