In low light we see only black and white.

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Berkeley Mike, Nov 1, 2018.

  1. Berkeley Mike

    Berkeley Mike Member
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    Does that effect how we experience black and white images?
     
  2. cramej

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    Only if you wanted to view images with the lights out?

    You might experience an image quite differently if only lit by red light since the rods in your retina are not sensitive to red light and you retain dark vision.
     
  3. Vaughn

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    Cold-hearted orb that rules the night
    Removes the colours from our sight
    Red is grey is yellow white
    But we decide which is right
    And which is an illusion.
     
  4. MattKing

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    Yes, because the "colours" come from our minds.
    And Vaughan, the Moody Blues suits you.:whistling:
     
  5. Vaughn

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    Alas, I always wanted to be a knight in white satin.
     
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    Berkeley Mike

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    Hmmmm...let me try it this way. Since our only experience of seeing in black and white as we have evolved over millions of years is in low light, how does that effect the way we experience the black and white images we craft.
     
  7. Vaughn

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    About as much as the fact the sun rises and sets everyday, which of course it doesn't. Just another illusion.
     
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    Berkeley Mike

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    Are your BW images illusions?
     
  9. voceumana

    voceumana Member

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    No, the low light vision uses the rods in our eyes. They are more sensitive to light than the cones. The cones provide color, but the rods just provide light and dark variations. Detail vision comes from a highly discriminating central area of vision where we get a very sharp, detailed visual information and any subtle sense of color. Our eyes scan our field of vision and our brain pieces together the complete image which we perceive with overall sharpness and detail because of a "visual memory" in the brain.

    In bright light we mostly use the cones, regardless of the color content of the image.

    Once I was in my kitchen when it was dark, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw some light from the clock display of my microwave oven--it was from the background characters that were "unlit", but when I looked directly at it, I couldn't see that light. I realized that when looking off-axis, the rods were picking up some of the background illumination that was too low in intensity for my cones to detect.
     
  10. MattKing

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    I'm guessing that you mean "affect" rather than "effect" :whistling:.
    That being said, I meant my other answer.
    In my mind I do add or experience "colour" to and from black and white images, but not necessarily in the literal sense.
    "Colour" can include mood, and ambiance, and foreboding and all sorts of other things.
    Here is an example I've titled "Trailside". It may do nothing for you or, maybe, you will find it interesting. I think the lack of colours encourages me to wonder about what is farther down the trail, and in the distant shadows. In real life, I think colours distract from that.
    4-Trailside-810x810.jpg
    PS This is a scan from a print.
     
  11. Vaughn

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    The images are -- the prints are pretty solid.
     
  12. jnanian

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    hello berkeley mike

    ive read findings by neuroscientists and other smart people who say
    that when we sleep at night we dream in black and white and only after we wake up
    does are power plant colorize everything. not sure if this is true because some people dream in vivid colors
    ( even when they are wide awake ! but that's another thread ) but still ...
    so maybe low light isn't our only black and white seeing we dream when we are awake and live when we are asleep
     
  13. Andrew O'Neill

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    ...not if you are looking at Autumn foliage. The colours are more striking in low lighting.
     
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  15. jnanian

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    andrew -
    is that when you are awake or asleep ?
     
  16. macfred

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    ... What do you see when you turn out the light?
    I can't tell you, but I know it's mine ...
     
  17. Andrew O'Neill

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    More so when I'm sleeping lol
     
  18. Mr Bill

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    You should probably have a look at a book by Margaret Livingstone, which has some interesting ideas about human vision. I won't say that there's anything directly useful to a photographer, but I found it pretty interesting nevertheless. I suspect you would also.

    https://www.amazon.com/Vision-Updat...00122&sr=1-1&keywords=Margaret+S.+Livingstone

    There are a handful of online videos by Livingstone that give an idea of the general flavor of the book. I should probably try harder to "sell" the book, but hey, it's not my job to try to force education onto people. Maybe if it had direct photographic application, but again, I don't think it does. The cryptic Mona Lisa smile is discussed, for example, but the "mechanism" is more applicable to a painter than a photographer. Livingstone attributes things to a difference in spatial frequencies, aka fine vs coarse detail, which a painter can manipulate. She suggests that the "smile" is seen in coarser detail, which is what our peripheral vision sees when we are looking at her eyes. But if we shift our gaze to the mouth, then we can see the finer detail there, whicc does not show a smile. Interesting book, to me anyway.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
  19. Dali

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    In amateur astronomy, there is a deep-sky object named the "blink nebula" for this very reason. With lateral vision (off-axis), one can easily observe it. But then it disappears with on-axis vision! Move you eye (off and on axis vision) and you can "see" it blinking.
     
  20. Theo Sulphate

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    The Ted Turner post-dream colorization effect? Maybe those smart guys are describing Kodachrome dreams - initially B&W, but color couplers added upon awakening.

    It doesn't make sense to me, because I've had dreams where I acknowledged or was aware of a color as I was dreaming. Usually when I wake up, the details of a dream dissolve.

    We experience waking life in color, why wouldn't our dreams borrow from that experience?
     
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    Berkeley Mike

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    Yeah, yeah, yeah, peripheral vision, momentary or small higher light makes color.....not what I am talking about. You artsy-fartsy guys kill me. :smile:

    Okay...I think I see what is happening.This question, this issue, takes some tinkering to get the wording right. I am not talking about dreams or illusions or song lyrics. Let me narrow this down. We use just our rods below a certain light level; that is when we see in black and white. So, our most substantial experience seeing in black and white is, statistically, in low light.

    My question is:
    Does that effect how we experience black and white images?
     
  22. Saganich

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    Perhaps it means BW prints should look just as good in low vs bright light
     
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    Berkeley Mike

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    Assume perfect viewing light of the print.
     
  24. faberryman

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    I don't think it has any effect. Besides, I tone my black and white prints so they are color too.
     
  25. MattKing

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    The physiology has no affect on how I experience B&W images.
    Except in the limited circumstance where the viewing light levels are so low that it is difficult to see details in the photograph, when it may be easier to appreciate a black and white photograph than a colour one.
     
  26. Wallendo

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    My black and white images look nothing like my dark vision with my eyes, unless I really mess up the exposure. It is also my experience that my low-light vision is even grainier than Foma film. As a result, I don't really associate monochromatic images with darkness.

    On the other hand, my B&W images of bright scenes like the beach rarely convey the same brightness as images I get with color, so there may be some effect.
     
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