a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: February 2023

Saturday, February 18, 2023

That White and Gold Dress (what? Blue and Black? No Way! (Visual or optical illusions)

SUMMARY: Brains are fascinating things. So are colors.

Things in shade or shadows take on a blue cast. In sunlight, they might appear blue or white or green or who knows, but also may take on a yellow cast.

If you know that an item is in shade or shadow, your experience and your brain know how to subtract the blue subconsciously--If you have the proper context.

Photographers and artists know this. 

Photo: Note blue shadows on backlit trees and the path

Painting: Shadows are blue or bluish
from Mark Mehaffey on Artists' Network
(I couldn't figure out how to just include this directly from the page, it's set up oddly)

The famous dress --
white with gold or
 blue with black? (Via Wikipedia) 

As a photographer, I'm very aware of the color effect of shade. For example, if someone wears a white and gold dress and I can see the whole person and the whole environment around them (e.g., it's sunny in the background but they are standing under the shade of a tree), your brain can subtract the blue tone from the shaded area and correctly see the colors--and ditto if you can also see the wearer's face and see that it is vastly overexposed like the background. 

But if you zoom in so that you see only a portion of the dress in the shade and everything behind it lit up, your brains (and cameras!) no longer understand whether it is a white and gold dress in the shade or a black and blue dress in the sun or very overexposed or WHAT.

I think that photographers and painters tend to see it as if it is in shade, which means it's white and gold modified by the blueness of shade. We know that it's blueish because of the shade, so we automatically subtract the shade to make it what it "really" is: white and gold. My mind has great difficulty accepting that it is anything other that that. Even after seeing photos of the actual black and blue dress. 

It's a fascinating example of how your experiences and interests might affect your perception, versus mine.

This professor of psychology and neurology notes that about 2/3 of viewers see it as white and gold (unless I got that backwards).

Here's a photo of a Disneyworld duck. (Because I paid so much to get to Florida and get into the park, I just want to stand there taking photos of ducks?!?) It was a sunny day, as you can clearly see.

But wait--that's not how the image actually came out of the camera. I asked Photoshop to adjust the coloring for a sunny day, because it was a sunny day but it came out of the camera quite bluish because it was actually in the shade on a sunny day. Which version is better? I like the former because it better shows what my brain saw, not the colors that the mindless camera chose to apply.

How do you see the dress?

Meanwhile, speaking of visual illusions and ducks: Can you unsee this once I tell you that ducks all wear a dog mask on their face?

Friday, February 10, 2023

Dogs or houses or what?

SUMMARY:  I am remiss!

My blog itself promises to be about dogs. My recent (not very recent) posts promised to talk a lot about my new house! I have done neither. Mostly I've been posting to Facebook. I have a backlog of things that I want to post here, and mostly in real life I am emptying moving boxes and trying to figure out where to put everything in the new house. Soon! Probably.