Violet Flower

Violet Chicory Flower

I see a violet flower. The camera sees a blue flower. We argue and I take more pictures, adjusting the white balance and other settings of the camera but can not get it to show the colors of the flower as it really is.

I check on my computer screen which is better than the little screen on the camera. It says blue too. Odd how the camera doesn’t capture all the spectrum. I’ve noticed this with other cameras. Some other colors don’t show well such as the day-glo orange of “Don’t-Feaking-Shoot-Me!” hats we wear in the fall and the street signs put in during the Barre uglification project a few years ago. At least the consumer models don’t have the range of spectrum nor the depth of sensitivity as our eyes. Pro cameras probably do better.

Imagine my surprise when I went to look at the description of Chicory on Wiki and other places where they describe it as a blue flower! Okay, so we don’t all see the same colors. Truth be told, my left eye and my right eye see color slightly differently so I guess it is understandable. Together I have excellent color vision, just different. Both eyes see the chicory flower as violet of blue. My kids see a violet blue flower too.

So what do you see when you look at chicory flowers? Not photos, but the real thing.

By the way, chicory is planted for the pigs. It’s part of the forages we planted to improve the fields.

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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16 Responses to Violet Flower

  1. DrFood says:

    I think of that as a blue flower, and call it “waiting by the way.”

  2. Sailorssmallfarm says:

    Blue – mostly. I do find that some are darker blue than others, depending on where they’re growing, how old the blooms are etc. Gotta say, I don’t think I’ve every seen one that I would call violet. How interesting that you see colours differently with your different eyes – and that you even know that! I’m going to have to go experiment…

  3. Sharon says:

    I live in the desert and have never seen a chicory! I have had similar issues with cardoon flowers though. I keep meaning to plant some different herbs in the garden. Maybe next year.

    I wonder if the misrepresentation has to do with the fact that RGB cannot represent all of the colors. Maybe it is out of the range and the camera is doing the best it can. That was one of the benefits of film over digital although, if I remember correctly, different film recipes had their own color limitations.

    Wikipedia has a picture, showing which colors RGB can represent The grey area is a theoretical representation of the colors humans can see.

  4. Marsha says:

    As I read this, my first thought is that YOU might see the color differently; I have always seen chicory as blue, actually a little lighter blue than your photo, which has probably been taken in such a way as to highlight/boost any violet that it possesses. To me, your photo looks somehow doctored. But I think a field of violet chicory would be nice! It would probably make me stop and exclaim – Wow, look at those violet chicory flowers! Have you ever in your life seen violet chicory!?! A bit of joy and surprise in the day is always good!

    • Travis M Childers says:

      Um, that can’t be the case, otherwise Walter wouldn’t see the flower as blue in his photographs. I mean, sure, he may still see the colour differently from someone else, but that doesn’t explain his problem here. Clearly a camera issue.

      • That was what was surprising. In the photos, both on the camera’s small screen and on my computer, I see the flower as being blue, almost cyan in fact. But in reality, in the field, the chicory flower looks more violet. At first I thought I must have the settings off so the camera was adjusting for an overcast day or something like that (e.g., white balance) but no amount of adjustment of the camera’s settings in manual mode would make it right. I’ve been doing photography for about 40 years and am very familiar with photographic techniques as well as with this little pocket camera (Casio Exilim EX-V8 compact digital camera) which I almost always have with me. Occasionally I run across colors like this which don’t render right. Goldenrod flowers are another that I can never get the camera to agree with me about the color.

  5. Pam R. says:

    Blue. Love the “blue” of a stand of chicory. :))

    Discover magazine had an article about people who can see far more shades of things than the general population. I wonder….

  6. Jella says:

    I saw the discover article [ ] to. Maybe your a tetrachromats male. In the article they only talked about females being tetrachromats.

    • Janet says:

      I will bet that you are seeing into the uv spectrum. Bees do. Birds do. I had a boy friend who did. He got headaches from overcast days and would wear sunglasses the uv blocking kind all the time to help.

      • Diane N. says:

        I think this happens to me with many different blue-purple flowers and shades. Violets (the flower) almost seem to glow with an afterimage – not that obvious, but somewhat like that.

  7. Bob says:

    I too have noticed that my eyes see colors slightly different. Sometimes that maybe due to the difference in the light angle reaching your eye.
    I am a serious amateur photographer, I have a very nice Canon SLR (60D) and there are some colors that it is more sensitive to.

    As Marsha said, it looks doctored. That is because the camera does a lot of image processing when it converts the image to a jpg. I shoot in Raw format, which captures all the sensor data, and does not convert anything. I make all the choices myself.
    With my camera I have trouble with orange flowers. Blues seem to be accurate though. Some of these color issues are due to sensor sensitivities, the raw to JPG conversion, and the RGB palette is limited.

  8. Sheil says:

    I’ve noticed this too that colors in my camera a DSLR are not the same as what I see — more limited.

  9. Victoria in CT says:

    A camera image cannot be compared to what our eyes “see”.

    And, it is natural for us to “see” and “feel” colors differently from each other. It would be odd if we didn’t!

    I’m a graphics designer in print publishing and color matching has always been a challenge. There are just so many variables that come into play when colors are being viewed – emotion, health, age, lighting – the list goes on.

    Color perception is a fascinating subject – like spoken languages, music and emotions. We all have a slightly different take on them.

    I’ve included a link to an interesting article that gives a bit more information regarding the “sensation” of color.

    Walter, your attention to the small details of everyday things is one of the (many) reasons I like to read your blog. Too often people never take the time to notice simple things, much less think them interesting enough to toss into cyberspace and share with others.

    BYW – I “see” pale violet chicory every morning on my drive to work. Not blue. It seems to be a biannual.

  10. Sue says:

    Could it be your eyes see more color in the natural light vs. in artificial light?

    • Definitely. What was interesting was also that the books and Wiki describe it as blue rather than the pale violet. At first I just figured that was imprecision of language since there are no names for most colors. But when I did a Google Images all the images I found had the similar blue color which made me suspect the cameras are universally not seeing color that we see. The explanations people gave above in other comments make sense with this.

  11. Trey Jackson says:

    This is the obligatory post mentioning the Mantis Shrimp.

    I wonder what they see when they look at a Chicory flower.

    I wonder what kind of camera they would design….

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