The creation of sky marvels – August 2022 Newsletter

This article/blog post was originally written by Daniel Hammond for David Gilbey‘s d-lighting INSPIRATION BLOG. We are now happy to share this extended form of the article  and hope you find the article interesting & inspiring! Many thanks again to David & D-Lighting for giving Daniel the opportunity to share his passion of photography & sky marvels!


My fascination of natural light & sky marvel obsession was provoked when I first moved to Cape Town in 2006. To say the least the beautiful landscape triggered my passion for photography.

If you are not aware, Cape Town is a place famous for its mesmerising sunsets and dramatic landscapes. The city is bordered by two oceans, where the sun rises over the Indian Ocean in the East, and Atlantic Ocean to the West, where the sun sets over the sea. These two oceans along with the Cape Peninsula Mountain range and famous Table Mountain or Hoerikwaggo in Khoisan (meaning “The Mountain in the Sea”) create the ideal conditions for picturesque sunsets as the clash of barometric pressures from the two oceans create a variety of astounding clouds formations.

Table Mountain Sunset – Photo: Daniel Hammond

With that being said, what creates a sunset and a deeper question, what are the phenomenal physics that cause the beautiful natural light shows in the sky?

As the sun rises and moves across the sky throughout the day and then finally sets, we are gifted with a colour show of all the colours of the rainbow due to sunlight passing through the earth’s atmosphere. You may be thinking but what about green which is very rare to see with the naked human eye, however only on the rarest of occasions do we see a flash of green as the sun sets beyond the horizon.

Table Mountain Sunset – Photo: Daniel Hammond

Now focusing on the time of sunset to dusk, I will now answer the question I posed WHAT CREATES A SUNSET?

As the sun appears lower and lower to the horizon due to the rotation of the earth, sunlight needs to pass through more of the earth’s atmosphere to reach of eyes.

If you know about Sir Isaac Newton’s prism for refracting & scattering light, then think of the earth’s atmosphere as a giant prism. When the sun dips below approximately 1000 miles or 1600 kilometres above the horizon this is the time of day when the magic starts.

As the sun sets towards the horizon blue wavelengths of light, which we experience during the height of the day get scattered away progressively losing violets, indigos and greens as the sun gets closer to the horizon and finally yellow and orange wavelengths are scattered, leaving only red wavelengths behind as the sun dips below the horizon. The saturation of these colours are affected by the clouds in the sky and dust particles in the atmosphere.

The first picture illustrates when the sun has set beyond the horizon and our field of view but due to the fact the earth’s atmosphere bends light it showcases the deep red tones in the sky.

Image Credit: R Nave of Hyperphysics

Despite the red appearance of the sky the sun still produces violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red wavelengths whilst the sun sets. However, these shorter wavelengths refract slightly more than the longer wavelengths, meaning the red waves come in at a shallower angle than the rest, that come in a steeper angles as illustrated in the second image.

Image Credit: R Nave of Hyperphysics


In my biased opinion sunset & sunrise gifts us the best moments to observe clouds. At this time of day, we can observe contrast and dramatic colour changes in the clouds.

The contrasting colours are determined by the position of the sun in the sky, however there are general stages that are associated with the times from dawn to sunrise and sunset to dusk as I previously answered in my first question.

Colour determining factors include:

  • The height of the clouds, an importance influence on the length of time that cloud reflections occur.
  • The higher the cloud, the longer the cloud bases will be able to reflect light, high clouds can reflect up to 30 minutes before sunrise or after sunset.
  • Low clouds reflect light for around 5 to 10 minutes before sunrise or after sunset, the reason being is that low clouds are closer to the horizon.
  • As detailed previously the colours of sunrise or sunset occur in a set pattern, therefore at sunrise clouds will first begin to reflect the colours of red and pink and gradually to orange and yellow, adversely at sunset from yellow to orange and gradually to pink and red.

Lion’s at Sunset – Photo: Daniel Hammond

I hope this piece has stimulated your curiosity and the next time you observe the gift of sunrise or sunset your mind will throw you back to this article and remind you of the magical and wonderful world of physics that we live in. Many thanks again to David Gilbey, it has been an honour and privilege to share my interest with your followers & colleagues.

Finally I invite you to visit my Instagram accounts which showcase my passion for landscape photography, Cape Town Landscapes & Galicia Landscapes

Lladudno Rockpools at Sunset – Photo: Daniel Hammond

From the Principal´s Pen

Time is amazing! It is August already and soon the shops will start decorating for the festive season again.  I have come to the conclusion that Time Does Fly

I regularly challenge myself by asking myself what I can do that will be better or be more efficient.  Similarly, I continually search for ways to make the student experience even better than it has ever been.  I search for ways to make it easier to understand the science, physics and theory of light and lighting for students to help them to become the best illumination engineers and lighting designers no matter where they live and work.

The manuals for every module within the curriculum of the course, both for First Year and Second Year, are revised each year.  At the beginning of 2022, we introduced separate Online Student Support Sessions for First and Second Year students.  These sessions allow students to ask questions about any of the content, about any aspect lighting or to discuss any interesting lighting related topic.

Those students who have attended regularly, have confirmed the value of the sessions. One of the First Year Students seized the initiative and established a WhatsApp group for them to be able to share information, expand their support for one another and to be able to network more.

To those students who have not attended the sessions, I encourage you to get involved and attend.  The First Year Student Session always takes place on the LAST Wednesday of every month.  The Second Year Sessions always take place on the FIRST Wednesday of every month.  Sessions start at 18:00 SAST and last for exactly one hour.  This makes it possible for students to plan to attend without waiting for a system generated invitation.  It also makes it possible to plan their evening around that one hour.

Of course I do appreciate that it is more difficult for our Students in Australia and New Zealand as well as our student in Hawaii and elsewhere in the USA and South America to attend, although having said that, our student in Hawaii has attended although it was 06:00 HST (Hawaii Standard Time).  I guess that the old saying “Where there is the will, there is the way”.

When reading about new enrolments, it will be clear that BHA School of Lighting, continues to enjoy the support of leading lighting manufacturers, importers and distributors.

Take a moment to investigate the cost of lighting courses in other parts of the world, in 99% of the cases, with much less content or subjects covered.  It will be staggering to find that the costs vary from Euro19,500 or R331,500 for a live-in course under-graduate Bachelor Degree course at Wismar University, Germany that includes accommodation to the Lighting Education Trust Diploma Diploma in Lighting Design course at University College, London, United Kingdom for part-time study at GBP3,250 or R66,250.

We are proud that we can offer our Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering course which is equivalent to a Bachelor Degree which is widely recognized throughout the world, at such an affordably low enrolment fee.  Our easy instalment payment options make it possible for anyone to enroll if they are serious about improving their knowledge and qualifications to advance their career in lighting. The course is outstanding value not only in terms of money spent but also in terms of the international recognition.

Our next webinar will be presented on 25 August 2022.  The details about this webinar appear separately in this Newsletter together with a link to register to attend.

The webinar is not to be missed.

I wish you all great business and good health.

With best wishes

Happy Birthday to the following past & present students celebrating their Birthdays this month of August! We hope you all have a memorable day!

  • Paul Nel, Cape Town – 1 August
  • Jan-Hendrik Verdoes, Windhoek, Namibia, Graduate – 2 August
  • Justice Bhengu, Durban  – 3 August
  • Guy Rouillard, Durban – 5 August
  • Renaldo Du Pisani, Windhoek, Namibia, Graduate – 10 August
  • Mardi Hufkie, Cape Town – 14 August
  • Pieter Meyer, Gqeberha, Graduate – 17 August
  • Savas Seckin, Istanbul, Turkey – 20 August
  • John Tau, Pretoria – 27 August
  • Sicelo Zitha, Johannesburg – 31 August

Join me to welcome the following new students!

  • Brett Warren, Eurolux Group, Durban – BHASL001C20: Primary Lighting Course
  • Rochelle Losper, Eurolux Group, Cape Town – BHASL001C20: Primary Lighting Course
  • Vanessa Naidoo, Pioled Lighting, Durbam – BHASL018: RELUX Lighting Design Software Course

The following students are preparing to write their first year examinations before starting second year studies.  We wish you great success!

  • Ruben Trigaardt, Netherlands – as you prepare for the first year examinations
  • Thibault Fay, Johannesburg – as you prepare for the first year practical examination
  • Katherine Stead, Pietermaritzburg – As you prepare for Theory 2 and the practical examinations

Congratulations to BHA School of Lighting Students

  • Leshmook Maharaj, Matla Consulting, Durban – Passing first and on entering Second Year
  • Thibault Fay, Thibault Fay Architecture,  Johannesburg – Passing both first year theory examinations

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Upcoming Events from BHA School of Lighting

Join BHA School of Lighting’s “enLightened Community”.

Our series of industry accredited live webinars have been developed to share lighting industry knowledge with build environment professionals which cover a vast range of interesting topics from the world of lighting.

After each webinar attendees will receive access to a live recording of the webinar & a Certificate of Attendance which can be used to claim your CPD credits from your professional organisation.


Episode 8 – Lighting Design Pot Pourri (CPD Activity)


Cost: Free of Charge

Date: 25 August 2022

Time: 5:45pm for 6pm – 7pm (SAST)

Presenter: Phil Hammond, BHA School of Lighting

About: Many who have attended previous webinars requested that we cover certain lighting topics. In this episode, called Lighting Design Pot Pourri, a selection of those topics will be presented.  If you asked for a topic, then attend to learn more and have your questions answered.

  • Standards and Compliance
  • Harmful light and lighting artefacts
  • The influence and effect of surfaces, finishes and materials
  • Restaurant lighting – front of house and back of house
  • Office lighting
  • Lighting for education
  • Warehouse lighting
  • Lighting for factories and industry
  • Lighting for museums and galleries
  • Lighting for people with disabilities


CPD Activity Accreditations

BHA School of Lighting’s Webinars are accredited by the South African Institute of Architecture (SAIA), the South African Institute of Architectural Technologists (SAIAT) & the Consulting Engineers of South Africa (CESA).

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