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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's not clear to me, Part III

This blog is about using math in adult life. The last two posts have dealt with transparency, glass and some aspects about glass that we can understand with even elementary math training.

Today I want to consider colored and shaped and textured glass. We can still SEE THROUGH this glass, but our seeing is affected by the features of this kind of glass. Here are a few small pieces (crystals for old watches) so you can imagine the impact of color and shape, corners, curves, arches, etc.

After some consideration, I went around my house grabbing everything made of colored glass, and shot these pictures out in the back yard. What can we learn from about light, refraction, translucency, opacity and so on? Take a close look at these 9 samples [click on the image to enlarge]:

Here are some thoughts:
  1. Too much red in the glass means I can't see green anymore (although the trees are visible, their color is changed)
  2. Dark blue means no green either
  3. Curved surfaces distort and reflect the image, and bring in light from other angles
  4. A folded seam causes the image to be out of focus, along a specific line
  5. Rippled glass makes everything seem warped and the sizes get confused
  6. Prisms or cut and slanted faces are less transparent, more reflective, and vary in color
  7. Green seen through green is still green; this glass seems to glow
  8. A bulls-eye effect is created when looking through the bottom of a cylinder
  9. Too much color or bubbles and dirt make glass translucent rather than transparent
I learned that my camera has much more trouble focusing on a reflective glass surface than my eyes. With selective cropping, I can see through small portions of small items (as if I was holding it to my eye). And the more that's going on with the surface, texture, color, and so on, the more difficult it becomes to see through it.

In other words, it's not clear to me.

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