Sunday, May 1, 2022

White, Red, Green, Blue

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
A few weeks ago I talked about a head lamp with red and green lights. I thought that now would be a good time to talk about the benefits of each type of light. 

White Light
This is what you get when you turn on a regular light. Your eyes are optimized for it, so even a small amount can be seen quite far away; I've read in multiple sources that a healthy, average eye can see the flicker of a candle from over a mile away, which makes it ideal for signaling for help. It also allows you to see all colors, which can be important if you're reading a map. 

White light also has its downsides. Its incredible distance means it can easily give away your position if you're trying to be stealthy or spook animals when hunting. It also causes your pupils to contract, which means anything not illuminated by the light is effectively invisible, and if you shine your light into someone's eyes you can temporarily blind them and leave them seeing spots. While this is a great prank on campouts, it can have tragic consequences in emergencies.

Red Light
The most common nonstandard light, red light has a much lower intensity than white. This means it doesn't cause your pupils to contract as much, preserving your night vision. It also doesn't travel as far, making it useful for when you need light but don't want to be obtrusive, such as when you're threading your way through tents on your way to the latrine. Many animal species aren't spooked by red light. 

On the other hand, because red light isn't as energetic as white it doesn't throw as far before it begins to diffuse, which gives it a less effective distance. I've found that red is best saved for close-up work unless the lumen output is 500 lumens or more, and even then I prefer a different color. For me, red is a "ten feet or less" light. 

Green Light
The human eye can discern more shades of green than any other color, which is why night vision devices use that color. While it doesn't preserve night vision quite as well as red, nor does it throw as far as white, it's an excellent compromise between the two. Additionally, green light doesn't seem to spook most animals (including fish), so it's ideal for night hunting.

Its limitations are also a compromise: green goes further and seems brighter than red, so it's easier to dazzle or disturb people with it, and while it provides good contrast there are times you need to see different colors and not just shades of green. 

Blue Light
I confess that I don't have much experience with blue light filters. I am told that it is ideal for tracking wounded prey, although I would have thought that since red is the opposite of green, blood would be a starker contrast under green light rather than blue. What I will tell you is that orange, specifically signal orange aka hunter orange, is practically fluorescent under blue light (or at least under the blue filter of my headlamp). I'm also told that blue light cuts through fog, but I have no experience in that regard. 

Blue is a high-energy wavelength, so it has nearly the same drawbacks as white light in terms of dazzle, disturbance and loss of night vision, while at the same time damaging night vision. 

If you have experience with a blue light, please weigh in. 

In addition to the Red/Green/White LED headlamp I reviewed here, I bought a set of red, green, and blue screw-on lenses from Amazon for $14.

While they are designed for the 1,000 lumen $56 Eagle Beam headlamp, they are completely compatible with the much cheaper $15 Dland headlamp reviewed here. In fact, given the near-identical nature between the two, I believe the Dland to be a knockoff of the Eagle Beam. 

In an emergency, you can also wrap colored cellophane (or packing tape colored in with markers) over your light. While inexpensive, these lack durability but will do in a pinch. 

In Conclusion
Regardless of whether they are filters or colored LEDs, every prepper needs a lamp capable of producing red, green, and white light. Blue seems like a luxury to me as I am not a hunter, but having options (especially lightweight and inexpensive options) is a good thing. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to