CMMC January Color White

The two colors I find the hardest to get “right” are red and white. Red because the subtle variations in the color can be difficult to see and it changes depending on the light — especially between natural and artificial lighting. White is difficult because it looks blue, gray, or even dark red — again depending on light, but also on shadows, time of year, hour of the day, and whether it’s sunny or overcast.

Baby Goldfinch on a snowy rail

The sun changes color. It’s amber in the autumn — most amber in mid-October, at least in this part of the country. It’s the world best light for color portraits and for dark skinned people, that color of sunshine makes them glow in a beautiful way. Winter sunlight has a blue tinge and has a hint of red in summertime.

All my orchids are white with colorful centers. These look slightly pink, but it’s the sun through the nearly transparent leaves.

We don’t usually get spring around here, so who knows? I think it’s a bit yellow, but spring in New England last about two hours between late morning and the end of lunch — and then, it’s summer.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker and snow; white with white

All the different colors are considered white — but white isn’t really a color. It’s “all colors.” In theory, if you mix all the “basic” colors together in equal quantities, they would become true white, but of course, that never happens. You mix them and you get muddy brown or sort of gray or putrid greenish brown. Pure color is not the same as the colors on your color pallet.

I remember as a kid, after reading about colors, trying to create “real” white and “real” black. You can’t — at least not at home with your paints. In our reality, there is no true black. Maybe in deep space it’s true black. Black clothing — unless it was all dyed in the same batch using the same dye — won’t match. It may look gray or dark (very dark) navy blue, but it is never true black. It can be infuriating to try to match black with black only to realize while both are “black,” they aren’t the same color — or even close. I usually solve the problem by mixing black with denim or some shade of gray — or anything really — as long as it matches my earrings.

In theory, black is the complete absence of color while white is all colors. It’s just something to think about, even if it never applies reality.

Categories: #Birds, #Flowers, #gallery, #Photography, Cee's Photo Challenge, lily, rhododendron, snow, Winter, Woodpeckers

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10 replies

  1. These are all stunning photos, Marilyn. The baby goldfinch is precious and so delicate against the snow. I love the way the woodpecker stands out against the white too.


  2. Love the Goldfinch!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Goldfinch — like Cardinals (also finches) — are visible from a considerable distance even in summer with all the leaves up. They glow in summer. In winter, though, goldfinch are closer to almost a dull green-gray and don’t get all jazzy until May or June. it’s funny when they are changing colors and half of them is bright yellow and the other is kind of gray. i don’t think it bothers them much, but it’s pretty funny to look at. Makes weird photographs, too.

      On the OTHER hand, Male Cardinals are bright red all year — as soon as they shed their fledgling feathers.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m gonna tell you what I believe about colour (black and white). It is true that white is the presence of all colours, when you are dealing with light – but with pigments (e.g. paints), or objects, white is the absence of colour. It is also true that black is the absence of all colour when dealing with light. With pigments or objects, black is the presence of all colours.
    The logic is that if you are looking at a canvas or a car or any other object, the colour you see is a reflection of the light from that object. When all the colours of the spectrum reflect back at you – you see black.
    This is the way I understand it and maybe it’s all BS, but I love the dichotomy. Does it make any sense to you?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Does make sense the way you explain it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, it does make sense because “all colors” are never actually white unless you’re working with lasers or some other pure form of light. It’s why the Atlantic is grey, but the Caribbean is blue — as is the Pacific. It’s all about the sky above and the water below. I don’t think anyone has ever described the north Atlantic as “blue.” It’s at best slate gray.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I so agree with you on red and white being the hardest to capture. The one thing I do work on with these is light balance, especially on white. I’m so picky on wanting white to be white. Beautiful whites for this week. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you I also have a thing about white being white. If we start getting a few sunny days, that will really help!


      • Here’s to more sunny days with a dash of milder temps. Yes, I know it’s winter and we are in New England. Nice explainers on color hues.


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