Tag Archives: color

Taking a Second Glance at Eye-Stopping Landscapes

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Robert Schlaug.

Robert Schlaug would like for you to spend a little more time looking at his work.

“I think our consciousness is exposed to an incredible number of daily stimuli,” Schlaug explained via email. “Every minute we take on a variety of images—only exceptional images remain in our minds. I think we have lost the glance at the little things along the way. With my images I want to work against this.”

One of Schlaug’s methods of getting people to slow down is to view his series “Limited Area.” It’s a series of landscape photographs that have been digitally processed and manipulated. Schlaug acknowledged that many critics have said the series isn’t technically demanding and requires little effort, but that’s inconsequential to Schlaug.

“I think it’s not about the complexity of the technique or manipulation but the feeling and the emotions that trigger the images,” wrote Schlaug.

In 2009 after experimenting with the possibilities of digital photography and image manipulation, Schlaug came up with the idea of “limited area.” It is one of three series that deal with the manipulations of landscapes (“High-Speed Landscape” and “Blurred Sea” are the other two). He traveled around Germany and Spain looking for landscapes to photograph for the series.

From Germany, Schlaug is a self-taught photographer “with longtime experience” who began shooting sports photography before turning to architecture and landscapes.

“As a photographer, for me it’s important to go with my eyes open through daily life and develop a glance for the mundane and banal,” Schlaug expressed via email, “to see things that others no longer perceive in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and in times of total sensory overload.”

Schlaug feels his images appear as a cross-section of landscape that lure the viewer into believing they are seeing something below the surface of the land. It’s an intentional trick that is meant to keep the viewer looking at the image for a longer period of time.

“In a more intense sense … I think my series deals with the human experience of limitation,” wrote Schlaug. “Sometimes we think we run into a wall, stand in front of a precipice, not knowing how to proceed further … even our thoughts and our imagination constantly find limits. My series tries to pull all these experiences together visually.”

“Some years ago the title of one of my exhibitions was ‘Second Glance.’ This expresses exactly what I mean: the second glance I want to achieve with my photographs. It would be great if the viewers of my images gave them a second glance.”

“I think our consciousness is exposed to an incredible number of daily stimuli,” Schlaug explained via email. “Every minute we take on a variety of images – only exceptional images remain in our minds. I think we have lost the glance at the little things along the way. With my images I want to work against this.”

One of Schlaug’s methods of getting people to slow down is to view his series “Limited Area.” It’s a series of landscape photographs that have been digitally processed and manipulated. Schlaug acknowledged that many critics have said the series isn’t technically demanding and requires little effort, but that’s inconsequential to Schlaug.

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limited area 34.Robert Schlaug.

“I think it’s not about the complexity of the technique or manipulation, but the feeling and the emotions that trigger the images,” wrote Schlaug.

In 2009 after experimenting with the possibilities of digital photography and image manipulation, Schlaug came up with the idea of “limited area.” It is one of three series that deal with the manipulations of landscapes (“high speed landscape” and “blurred sea” are the other two). He traveled around Germany and Spain looking for landscapes to photograph for the series.

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limited area 20.Robert Schlaug.

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limited area 03.Robert Schlaug.

From Germany, Schlaug is a self-taught photographer “with longtime experience” who began shooting sports photography before turning to architecture and landscapes.

“As a photographer for me it’s important to go with my eyes open through daily life and develop a glance for the mundane and banal,” Schlaug expressed via email. “To see things that others no longer perceive in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and in times of total sensory overload.”

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limited area 05.Robert Schlaug.

Schlaug feels his images appear as a cross-section of landscape that lure the viewer into believing they are seeing something below the surface of the land. It’s an intentional trick that is meant to keep the viewer looking at the image for a longer period of time.

“In a more intense sense…I think my series deals with the human experience of limitation,” wrote Schlaug. “Sometimes we think we run into a wall, stand in front of a precipice, not knowing how to proceed further…even our thoughts and our imagination constantly find limits. My series tries to pull all these experiences together visually.”

“Some years ago the title of one of my exhibitions was “At Second Glance” This expresses exactly what I mean: the second glance I want to achieve with my photographs. It would be great if the viewers of my images gave them a second glance.”

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limited area 07.Robert Schlaug.

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limited area 04.Robert Schlaug.

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Tetrachromats

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Tetrachromats

by admin on March 19, 2012

Tetrachromats-infographic

Women have a reputation for having a great eye for design and color. While this is not true of women everywhere, we can see that many interiors designers, artists, etc., are, in fact, women. How do women instinctually know what colors go well together? There is a scientific explanation for this called tetrachromacy. Tetrachromacy is “the condition of possessing four independent channels for conveying color information, or possessing four different types of cone cells in the eye.” People with tetrachromacy are known as tetrachromats – they’re extremely rare and have a super-human power. The first tetrachromat woman was discovered by researchers at Cambridge University in 1993. This is perhaps the most remarkable human mutation ever detected.

8% of the US male population is color blind – 95% of them with red or green receptor problems.

Being a tetrachromats is like being a super taster of color. Organisms that are tetrachromats see the sensory color space as four-dimensional; meaning, in order to match the sensory effect or arbitrarily chosen spectra of light within their visible spectrum, it requires the mixture of four (at minimum) different primary colors. So these people would see four clear ranges of color, instead of the three ranges that most of us possess.
A good example of this is, when looking at a rainbow, a woman with tetrachromacy can separate it into approximately 10 different colors; a trichromat (with three iodopsins) can only see seven (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet). For a tetrachromats woman, it was found that green was assigned as jade, emerald, olive, verdant, bottle, and 34 other shades.
The majority of birds are also tetrachromats; thus, we can surmise that several species of fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and arachnids are tetrachromats, too.
To understand tetrachromacy in layman’s terms, you must know that an organism’s retina has four types of higher-intensity light receptors; these are called cone cells in vertebrates, as opposed to rod cells, which have lower intensity light receptors, and have different absorption spectra. This means that the animal may be able to see wavelengths that a typical human being cannot; they also could distinguish colors that to a normal person may appear to be identical. There is obviously a small physiological advantage over competing species.
Certain animals, as previously stated, are tetrachromats as well. The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is a tetrachromats. They have cone cells that are sensitive for green, red, blue, and ultraviolet light. Species of birds, like the Columbidae and Zebra Finch use the ultraviolet wavelength (which is between 300 and 400 nm)that comes with tetrachromatic color vision as a ploy to lure mates and in foraging. When choosing a mate, ultraviolet plumage and skin coloration mean a higher level of selection.
Colors found in flowers are divided into two main wavelengths of light: 360 – 520 nm and 400 – 500 nm. Flowers can reflect four large domains of wavelength, including 300 – 400 nm, 400 – 500 nm, 500 – 600 nm, and 600 – 700 nm. These wavelengths have the colors ultraviolet (UV), blue, green, and red respectively within the color spectrum. Flowers will use said wavelengths to separate color patterns within a species. It has been found that these differences in color patterns are utilized for behavioral attractions in pollinator insects, which increases survival. Several trichromatic pollinators like honeybees use blue, ultraviolet, and green wavelengths. Increases in the wavelengths that flowers reflect happen when the color space within insects becomes more and more filled. Pollination is a mutualistic relationship between pollinators, like bees, and plants, like flowers; this leads to a very high competition level. This competition created a coevolution between foraging insects and plants, thus increasing the color variation in both orders, which then leads to directional selection.
Insects that are foragers can see all four color wavelengths. Plants can show an ever-increasing different amount of color variation, which extends into the ultraviolet color scale. Plants that have higher levels of color will attract higher levels of pollinators. A pollinator with a wider range of color can use tetrachromatic color vision to raise and keep a higher foraging success rate versus their trichromatic competitors. For tetrachromatic insects, background displays are important in terms of viewing flower color variation. Flowers that show pure color hues are more easily recognized by a pollinating insect. When a pollinating bug sees a flower, it can differentiate the flower from the background by noting the reflectance in the petals. This use of reflectance then draws the insect in closer towards the plant’s reproductive organs.
Humans and their primate relatives usually have three types of cone cells and thus are trichromats, or animals with three different cones. But at low light intensity, the rod cells could help color vision, which gives a small region of tetrachromacy in the color space.
For humans, two cone cell pigment genes are found on the sex X chromosome, the “classical type 2 opsin genes OPN1MW and OPN1MW2.” Women have two different X chromosomes in their cells; so, some women could carry some variant cone cell pigment. This makes being born as a full tetrachromat and retaining four different at-once functioning kinds of cone cells (each type with a specific pattern of responsiveness to different wavelengths of light in the range of the visible spectrum possible. There is a study that suggests that 2 – 3 % of the world’s females may have the type of fourth cone that is between the typical red and green cones, which theoretically means a significant increase in color differentiation. A similar study states that as many as 50% of women and 8% of men could have four photopigments.
In order to verify tetrachromacy in humans, we need to conduct more studies. We do know of two potential tetrachromats: “Mrs. M,” an English social worker, was found during a 1993 study, and an unidentified female physician close to Newcastle English, was found in 2006. Neither case is completely verified.
In cone pigment genes, variation is common in many if not most human populations, but the most common and obvious tetrachromacy comes from female carriers of major red-green pigment anomalies, usually classed as forms of “color blindness” (deuteranomaly or protanomaly). The biological reason for this is “X-inactivation of heterozygotic alleles for retinal pigment genes, which is the same mechanism that gives the majority of female new-world monkeys trichromatic vision.”
For humans, preliminary visual processing happens within the retina’s neurons. We don’t really know how these nerves respond to a new color channel, i.e., whether or not they could handle it separately or just put it in an already-existing channel. Visual information exits the eye through the optic nerve. It’s unknown whether the optic nerve has the extra capacity to handle a new color channel. Much of final image processing occurs in the brain. We don’t know how the different areas of the brain would respond if give a new color channel.
Typically, mice, who only have two cone pigments, can be “engineered to express a third cone pigment, and appear to demonstrate increased chromatic discrimination, arguing against some of these obstacles; however, the original publication’s claims about plasticity in the optic nerve have also been disputed.”
People who have four photopigments have been proven to have higher levels of chromatic discrimination compared to trichromats.
How do you tell if you’re a tetrachromats?
You’re more likely to be a tetrachromats if you meet the following criteria:
– You’re a woman
– You have a son, father, or other man in your family with red or green colorblindness.
But to truly verify whether or not you fit the definition of a tetrachromats, you need to take a genetic test. Also, Dr. Neitz, a well-known color vision researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin, states that “only women have the potential for super color vision.” This is, again, because the genes for the pigments in green and red cones live on the X chromosome, and only women have two X chromosomes. Dr. Neitz estimates that 2 – 3 % of the world’s females have four types of color cones that lie right in between the typical red and green cones, which gives them a major range.
While scientists can do all the genetic testing they please, proving that a woman can see tens of millions of additional colors is, at this point, not possible – though through the utilization of further testing and technology, the future looks promising.

Read More Heavy Science on Tetrachromacy

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A Berry So Shiny, It’s Irresistible (And Inedible)

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A Berry So Shiny, It’s Irresistible (And Inedible)

The shiny blue berries of the tropical Pollia condensata plant rely on their looks, not nutritional content, to attract birds to spread their seeds.

EnlargeSilvia Vignolini et al. via PNAS

The shiny blue berries of the tropical Pollia condensata plant rely on their looks, not nutritional content, to attract birds to spread their seeds.

The shiny blue berries of the tropical Pollia condensata plant rely on their looks, not nutritional content, to attract birds to spread their seeds.

Silvia Vignolini et al. via PNAS

The shiny blue berries of the tropical Pollia condensata plant rely on their looks, not nutritional content, to attract birds to spread their seeds.

 

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September 11, 2012

That fake fruit in the wooden bowls that hotels love to decorate their lobbies with never looks quite right. No, apparently it takes nature to make a fake that looks even better than the real thing.

That turns out to be the case with the amazing berry of the Pollia condensata plant. A physicist in Great Britain was looking at the reflectivity of tulips and buttercups (yes, scientists get paid to do that sort of thing) when a colleague at Cambridge University told him to check out this weird blue berry from a tropical plant called Pollia condensata.

“In fact,” says Ullrich Steiner, “I wasn’t terribly impressed because [the berry] is not very big.” It’s much smaller than a blueberry. But close up, the blue color was incredibly luminous and intense.

Steiner measured that intensity. It’s the result of how unusually reflective the berry’s skin is. Most surfaces reflect just a small percentage of the light that hits them. However, this berry reflects 30 percent of the light.

In the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Steiner says its reflectivity is more intense than any living thing. “We find that it is more intense than, for example, the morpho butterfly, which is usually cited for being one of the most brilliantly colored animals.”

The morpho butterfly and the scarab beetle are the only living things that come close to the Pollia berry, in terms of color. And as with the beetle, the berry’s skin has no pigment — no colored cells. Rather, all the cells are coiled in a peculiar twist. The cells form sheets, like the skin of an onion. Light filters down through those layers in a way that creates something called “structural color.”

“So what they do, basically, is they bounce back the blue light, and they let the rest of the light through,” Steiner explains.

But to give the color some kick, there are just a few cells in the berries’ skin that do reflect other colors, and that gives the fruit what Steiner calls a “pixilated” glow.

Of course, you’re wondering why a plant would go to all this effort. Well, it needs birds to take the fruit and spread its seeds. But its berry has no nutritional value. The scientists at Cambridge think its beautiful advertising is what makes birds pick it up and use it to decorate their nests. It’s just a bauble — but so bright that it fascinates birds as well as physicists.

Men & Women Really Do See the World Differently

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Guys’ eyes are more sensitive to small details and moving objects, while women are more perceptive to color changes, according to a new vision study that suggests men and women actually do see things differently.

“As with other senses, such as hearing and the olfactory system, there are marked sex differences in vision between men and women,” researcher Israel Abramov, of the City University of New York (CUNY), said in a statement. Research has shown women have more sensitive ears and sniffers than men.

“[A] recent, large review of the literature concluded that, in most cases females had better sensitivity, and discriminated and categorized odors better than males,” Abramov and colleagues write Sept. 4 in the journal Biology of Sex Differences.

Abramov and his team from CUNY’s Brooklyn and Hunter Colleges compared the vision of males and females over age 16 who had normal color vision and 20/20 sight — or at least 20/20 vision with glasses or contacts.

In one part of the study, the researchers asked the volunteers to describe different colors shown to them. They found that the guys required a slightly longer wavelength of a color to experience the same shade as women and the men were less able to tell the difference between hues.

Related: Your color red really could be my blue

The researchers also showed the participants images made up of light and dark bars that varied in width and alternated in color so that they appeared to flicker, a measure of participants’ sensitivity to contrast. Compared with the women, the male volunteers were better able to identify the more rapidly changing images made up of thinner bars, the researchers said.

Abramov explained in a statement these elements of vision are linked to specific sets of thalamic neurons in the brain’s primary visual cortex. The development of these neurons is controlled by male sex hormones called androgens when the embryo is developing into a fetus.

“We suggest that, since these neurons are guided by the cortex during embryogenesis, that testosterone plays a major role, somehow leading to different connectivity between males and females,” Abramov said. “The evolutionary driving force between these differences is less clear.”

Previous research found that men and women also focus differently. In experiments at the University of Southern California, researchers found that men are likely to fixate on the mouth of a person in conversation and also are more likely to be distracted by movement behind that person. Meanwhile, women tend to shift their gaze between a speaker’s eyes and body, and they are more likely to be distracted by other people, the researchers found.