Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lions Can’t See Zebras and Ryan Can’t See Color

Unfocus Union Station-2

The title of this post is not precisely true, but they are motivating factors for writing this post and once again advocating for one of my preferences in photography – black and white.  My son, and near clone formerly known as mini me (had to drop that when he crossed the 6’ mark), is partially color blind.  I say partially, because although he often confuses colors (name vs. what the rest of us see), there are some colors that remain prominent.  Ryan is also a budding photographer and finds his challenge with color frustrating.  This is a particular issue during post processing when it is normal to make some color correction and adjust saturation.

Ship Graveyard Trinidad

Several months ago, Ryan approached me stating he was not confident in his photography because he sees colors differently than most of us.  He feared that he might make color corrections that are unrealistic or even destructive to the photograph.  I suggested two strategies.  First, he could consider having someone critique his work and offer their opinion regarding his fears of adjusting the color or saturation in a way he did not intend.  Second, I suggested that he avoid color – process his photography in black and white – an environment that suits his comfort and competence.  While accepting this advice in the manner of a thoughtful young man, he decided to continue pursuing his question with other photographers.  I think he expects to find a pair of glasses or a magic pill to remedy his color deficiency…he likes color and wants to maintain that aspect of his photography.  I don’t take this personally, and encourage my children to question everything.

Union Station Calling

Related to Ryan’s challenge is that of the lion in pursuing lunch – the zebra.  I was just listening to a discussion about lions and zebras that started with the premise that due to the stripes on zebras, humans (other than Ryan) see zebras sticking out like sore thumbs due to the strong vertical lines and the contrast between the black and white.  However, the discussion I heard stated that lions are color blind which makes the zebra’s stripes very good camouflage and confounds the vision of the lion as the stripes blend into the black and white surroundings.  The lion’s challenge is made even more difficult when the zebras are found in a herd.  Apparently the vertical stripes meandering in various directions further confuse the lions ability to distinguish among menu items.

Tug on Marine Railway Trinidad

The photography featured in this post has little relevance to the subject other than it is black and white.  Two of the photographs come from the Port of Spain, Trinidad, waterfront, and the other two are part of a project I regularly pursue – Unfocus on DC.  I find great beauty and interest in black and white photography and would be quite satisfied if that were my only option.  Like Ryan, the lions are challenged in achieving their objectives. The lions are still able to have lunch through either luck, skill, using other senses, or some form of adaptation overcoming their deficiency in perceiving color. I am confident Ryan will do the same.

Unfocus Union Station-3

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


No comments:

Post a Comment