About Light and Color

Watching the landscape over time I have concluded it is all about light and color.  Light being the intensity and wavelengths of light from the sun filtered through the atmosphere that illuminates the landscape throughout the day and throughout the year, with or without clouds (creating shadows which add texture).  While color being the wavelengths of light reflected off the landscape as a result of the light.  While not a major revelation to most, the interaction of light and color is always producing something new to see which I find fascinating and struggle constantly with trying to create images that reflect what I see.

Since "seeing" is a combination of the biological components of vision and the processing of that information, it does not lend itself easily to study using a reductionist approach.  Rather I am forced to acknowledge that a holistic approach is required which incorporates both the biological aspects and information processing aspects of "seeing" when producing an image.  I conclude that the landscape views that I find so fascinating msut be the result of an emergent phenomena that results from the interplay of light and color interacting with visual processing creating something greater than the simple sum of its parts.

When addressing the information processing aspects of "seeing" I have no objective method for measuring what others see.  Instead I'm forced to post the image and measure others response to what was created.  While this semi-quantitative approach works it adds another whole layer of confounding variables.  The location where the image appears, the probability an image with show up in search engine rankings,  the biases associated with a specific audience that views the image, and the quality of the image reproduced on the viewers computer screen.  These additional variables impede the ability to understand how others "see" making it is difficult to tease out and concentrate on those aspects that would allow the creation of images with more universal appeal.

Below are 2 images both taken in the front garden of the Painted Pony Resort.  One is an evening view of the Yucca and Ocotillo taken with the long light of late afternoon.  While the second is an early morning view of a single Ocotillo stem starting to bloom.  These 2 images taken from essentially the same location (the single stem image is the Ocotillo on the left side of the first image) and at the same time of year demonstrate how differences in light and color affect the final image produced.  But in presenting these images (which I personally find appealing) I'm still no closer in understanding how people "see".

A view of the garden.

desert flower
A single Ocotillo stem beginning to flower


  1. Well said! I also do not understand vision and have had classes that teach about cones and rods but of course I remember very little.
    "red sky at night, sailors' delight; red sky at morning, sailors take warning" was explained

    1. "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament sheweth His handiwork" - Psalms 19:1

  2. Thank you. As a Biologist I have a grasp of the physiology of vision but as to the rest I still have no clue. There is something in the interaction of the biological processes with the information processing that produces an emergent property that I can only describe as "pleasing" and what is "pleasing" to some is not "pleasing" to others, hence the variability in the popularity of different images I create.

  3. Thank you DiAnn, the image of the Ocotillo did come out well.

  4. The Ocotillo flowers are more red this year, other years more orange in color; the orioles and a Western tanager among others are enjoying the nectar!

  5. It is good the here the birds are enjoying the nectar from your Ocotillos. I agree that the blooms are more brilliant this year, perhaps the result of the winter rains. I also noticed that a number of the Ocotillo set flowers before leafing out, it was the same for the Red Push trees on the estate. In addition, several of the Ocotillo started to generate flowers which did not open immediately but remained as buds and seemed to mature longer before opening becoming redder with time, hence 2 weeks of taking pictures of unopened Ocotillo flowers.