Thursday, October 7, 2010

Friday Shootout – Reflections

Walking into the studio to work on Friday’s shoot, I find Bagman and Butler sitting cross-legged on the floor. I ask them what they are doing.

BUTLER: “We’re reflecting. At least I am reflecting. Knowing Butler, I suspect he is actually refracting.”

BAGMAN: “Hey! You insulting me!?”

BUTLER: “You don’t know what refraction means, do you?”

BAGMAN: “Well…no…but it sounds sexy!”

At this point Bagman jumps up, grabs an air guitar, and begins singing in his best Howlin’ Wolf impersonation:

“I’m a refract-tor man! I’m a refract-tor man!
The men don’t know, but the little girls understand!”

I roll my eyes up in frustration and suddenly notice a reflection of a toy box in the middle of the ceiling fan.

After posting it, I turn to Butler to see if we have any other pictures for the reflection shootout.

BUTLER: “Thousands! All of them! Don't you know that everything you shoot is light reflected off something.”

I think about that for a moment and realize I might have actually thought of something that Butler missed. It doesn’t happen often.

“How about sunsets? The sunlight is coming straight at the camera and not reflected.” Butler pauses to consider this but Bagman loves the idea..

BAGMAN: “Yeah! The sun is a refraction! Like me! Hot!”

He bursts back into his song:

“Went to the doctor…shot full of holes.
Nurse cried out, please save his soul!
I’m a refract-tor man! I’m a refract-tor man!

Realizing this could go on all morning, I force myself to concentrate on posting some pictures of plain old normal reflections.

BAGMAN: “Brought up for murder…first degree. Judge wife cried out, let that man go free! I’m a refract-tor man! I’m a refract-tor man! The men don’t know but the little girls understand!”

BUTLER: “Who is Howlin’ Wolf anyway?”

I don’t respond but wonder out loud: “What about rainbows? Are they light reflected light off raindrops or light refracted through raindrops?”

BUTLER: “Both! The light is first refracted entering the surface of the raindrop, then reflected off the back of the drop, and again refracted as it leaves the drop. Because the back of the drop is curved, it reflects back in a variety of angles.

Whoa! Stop! Why did I ask?  Two much information! Or TMI as the texters would say!

BUTLER: “But some folks might want to know!”

Well at least save it for the end of the blog so people can read it later if they want.  Realizing that I have lost control of this blog which is now shooting off in two opposite directions -- Delta Blues and Mr. Wizard -- I just slam in the rest of the shots as fast as I can while Bagman is twirling his coat above his head and Butler is setting up a PowerPoint presentation on optics.


There.  Period.  I'm done with my part of it.  If anyone wants to stay for Butler's rainbow lecture, they are welcome to do so, but I'd rather mow the lawn.  Bagman follows close behind me. 

BAGMAN:  "I'm outta here!  Butler's rainbow lecture is rated "G" for Geeks only."

At least Bagman has stopped singing.  We slam the door leaving Butler with his pointy stick beginning to speak.


BUTLER (adjusting his bow tie and clearing his throat):  "If you recall, class, we were taking about how light bounces off the back of a raindrop at various angles.  The angle is independent of the size of the drop, but does depend on its refractive index. Seawater has a higher refractive index than rain water.  This explains why the radius of a rainbow in sea spray is smaller than the radius of a true rainbow."

Wow!  Who among us hasn't wondered about that mystery?

BUTLER (Continuing):  "The amount by which light is refracted depends upon its wavelength, and hence its color. Blue light (shorter wavelength) is refracted at a greater angle than red light, but due to the reflection of light rays from the back of the droplet, the blue light emerges from the droplet at a smaller angle to the original incident white light ray than the red light.

"You may then think it is strange that the pattern of colors in a rainbow has red on the outside of the arc and blue on the inside."

Wow again!  I'm sure we've all lost sleep obsessing why red is on the outside and blue on the inside.
BUTLER (Ignoring the fact that two people in the front row have already fallen asleep): "However, when we examine this issue more closely, we realize that if the red light from one droplet is seen by an observer, then the blue light from that droplet will not be seen because it is on a different path from the red light: a path which is not incident with the observer's eyes. The blue light seen in this rainbow will therefore come from a different droplet, which must be below that whose red light can be observed.

Contrary to popular belief, the light at the back of the raindrop does not undergo total internal reflection, and some light does emerge from the back."

Popular belief?  Yeah!   Right! Just the other day I heard two guys in a bar arguing about whether light at the back of a raindrop underwent total internal reflection.

BUTLER:  "However, light coming out the back of the raindrop does not create a rainbow between the observer and the Sun because spectra emitted from the back of the raindrop do not have a maximum of intensity, as the other visible rainbows do, and thus the colors blend together rather than forming a rainbow.
"A rainbow does not actually exist at a particular location in the sky.

Which explains why I’ve never been able to find the pot of gold.

BUTLER (Raising his voice above the snoring): "Its apparent position depends on the observer's location and the position of the Sun. All raindrops refract and reflect the sunlight in the same way, but only the light from some raindrops reaches the observer's eye. This light is what constitutes the rainbow for that observer. The position of a rainbow in the sky is always in the opposite direction of the Sun with respect to the observer, and the interior is always slightly brighter than the exterior. The bow is centred on the shadow of the observer's head, or more exactly at the antisolar point (which is below the horizon during the daytime), appearing at an angle of 40–42° to the line between the observer's head and its shadow. As a result, if the Sun is higher than 42°, then the rainbow is blah blah blah below the horizon and usually cannot be seen as there are not usually sufficient raindrops between the horizon (that is: eye height) and the ground, to contribute blah blah etc.

Blah blah...ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"


  1. Ah yes but however. Hmmmmm. . . . does Butler ever give up pontificating?

  2. That one at the beach where you turned it upside down? Trippy! Really this whole post is quite dizzying, starting with the fan and ending with the refracting rain drops...are you okay?

  3. you took me back to a time I rather not be, studying for exams, I don't think I know what is refraction and reflection. Thank goodness, I am too old for that.

    Top marks to the photo of the family on the beach. I like to learn how to take that,

  4. I love that beach show where you turned the picture upside down,a clever idea!

  5. Wish I could have understood the lecture, maybe I would have learned something. Love the first and last shots. And, are all cars so clean where you live?

  6. I really like the ceiling fan and the beach scene, oh and the header. Very clever of you. I wonder how many others will notice.

    As for the lecture..... I did read through it but found my mind wandering just a bit. I must just be tired because it's nearly my bedtime.

  7. Like the people who have commented before me, I think the one with the family on the beach is great. My favourite is, however, the one with the heron (it is a heron, isn't it?). But that's because I do have a thing for herons (nothing perv, I assure you!).
    And since I never went to uni, I actually enjoyd the rainbow lecture and did not fall asleep. Wouldn't rate myself G as in Geek, only N as in Nerd.

  8. Butler is a weird -- he reminds me of my Brother - the conversation has gone on and he keeps talking about the topic which interests hime from an hour ago.... too weird. Ditto Pauline I tried reading Butlers lecture hoping for a word of wisdom.... gave up mid way.

    Love the beach reflection. Love it the most.

  9. I had to go back to see why JarieLyn said she liked your header.... I didn't even notice. I don't take enough time to ... reflect.

  10. I wish YOU had been my science teacher. I might have actually learned something!

  11. I think the ceiling fan is most usual and thinking outside the box. Good one. When I saw your link I thought we had a new participant.... :)

  12. Yes I noticed the header. You never know what you might get when you drop in at your place. I do was struck by the beach scene. I am assuming you just rotated the picture. The fan reflection is great. I did read the spiel but, of course, way beyond me. LOL

  13. Excellent post, Mark! I really love the shots that have been turned.
    But rainbows are often double, as well. A fainter bow outside of the bright one. And what of rings around the sun. Isn't that the wrong direction?

  14. Giggle...loved the header:) I also loved the upside down shot at the!!!

  15. I'm totally internally reflecting right now. Can you see it?

  16. Love the way you "reflected" your header as well, Mark. Loved this week's entry and my favorite (as you might guess) is the heron's reflection. Great post, as usual.

  17. Actually, I believe that's an egret now that I'm looking more closely.

  18. All of these are great! What about the reflection in your glasses? :)

  19. I like the reflections! Especially the reflection off that car and the round mirror.

    That family photo up there kinda creeped me out for some reason, haha!

    So many interesting facts too, I like the rainbow thing.

  20. it's kinda fun reading the lectures :) love the piece of cloud on the water and the rest are wonderful too.

  21. tceffe rorrim ruoy evoL

    nuF. .oot lanoitacude

  22. you are just too much fun Mark. love your posts. the family shot seems to be a fav, and yes of mine too! yep, an egret. all are awesome reflections.

  23. oh yes..... noticed your header shot right away. that is the first thing I check when coming to your page. seems you change it with the themes. great job!!

  24. Great photos - especially the water fav!!

  25. Thank you for the lesson. I liked your refections.

  26. Great reflections! My favorite would have to be the one of the little guy on the beach. Love how you've got the reflection right side up for a change. And I'm with Bagman on the Howlin' Wolf air guitar!!!