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The Science of Lighting

By Mike Gambino

As I see it, successful landscape lighting is a two-part process:  First, the designer applies aesthetic principles that create the art, then he or she supports that artistic vision with scientific and technological savvy.  One without the other doesn’t work:  You can’t effectively practice the art until 
you’ve mastered the science.
In my 17 years as a lighting designer, I’ve encountered lots of professionals who have the artistic part of the equation down pat but fall well short when it comes to working with electricity.  The plain fact is, you can use the best fixtures in the world and understand the aesthetic issues like the back of your hand, but if you can’t consistently deliver power to those fixtures at correct, reliable voltages, the overall system will not perform properly and has the potential to become a maintenance nightmare. 
There’s no way a single article can bring anyone up to speed with all of the issues involved in the science lighting.  Instead, my intention here is to introduce watershapers to a basic, commonsense approach to laying out low-voltage, halogen lighting systems, the goal being to enable you to converse intelligently and persuasively with [more

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