POTD: The Color of Black

POTD: The Color of BlackThe Color of Black Bozeman, Montana 2014

This is the same raven as in the black and white image from two days ago. I processed this shot in color to show the beautiful subtle blue/purple shades that actually go into making a black raven black. I have two computer monitors that aren’t calibrated the same way, a laptop, and my smart phone that I can view images on and every one of them renders an image somewhat differently. In most cases the differences are relatively subtle, but for some like this one there are big differences. The colors look too subdued on one screen and too bright and saturated on another. So I struggled with the adjustments, trying to hit a happy medium on the look across the screens. Still I fear some of you will be thinking I might have well just done it in black and white as the colors aren’t very obvious at all while others will feel like I cranked up the colors to a garishly unbelievable point. Such is the life of an artist in the digital age.]]>

8 thoughts on “POTD: The Color of Black”

  1. I’ve noticed the use of the purple hues to highlight costumes worn by “villains” or in dark snake and dragon skins in art and film. It may be a subtle way to have the viewer linger on the image and so emulate a subconscious attraction, which is a theme in portraying evil in art and literature. Or to paraphrase Freud -maybe it’s just an oily sheen to protect and shed water off feathers.

  2. The colors are looking good on my calibrated laptop screen, Larry! You did a good job with this. I also admire the irridescence of magpie feathers.

    1. Thanks Kathy. The colors of crows and ravens is of the same hue as that of magpies I think, but certainly much more subtle. That seems to makes them more interesting in a way.

    1. Bruce, I think images such as this one are a good way to survey who’s using a calibrated monitor and who isn’t. Of course it’s also the case that some monitors are pretty darn well calibrated right out of the box. But one of the biggest issue with subtle colors like these I think is the brightness setting on the monitor. A secondary issue is what the ambient light in the room is like as well. I mentioned previously and Steve mentions here the difference between viewing images in a bright room vs. a darker one.

  3. Looking at this image this evening after sunset the colors really are more vibrant than when I looked at the image this am with lots of sunlight in the room. Same monitor.

    1. Steve, based on your observation you can imagine why they recommend that serious work on computer images be done in a windowless room (or at least one with good blinds that can be closed) with highly controlled lighting. I generally can’t get myself to do that–don’t like being closed off from the world. So I have a lot of windows on one end of my studio. My computer is on the other end so I’m shaded from the light to some degree and blinds help as well. But mostly I try and reserve the serious work on the computer images for either early in the morning or late in the evening when I can control the illumination with the various lights I have around the room. Oddly though, I like evaluating prints in the middle of the day when there’s a good portion of daylight contributing to the room’s illumination. Using light bulbs of specific color temperatures helps a lot, but it’s just not as useful to me for making critical comparisons among prints I’ve been tweaking.

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