A New Post-Cataract Perception of Colour

Friday, September 11, 2020

In this last year I have had a difficulty driving at night because my right eye cataract got worse and incoming headlights, particularly on rainy evenings, formed distracting halos on my windshield. Besides the fact that my right eye was always a poor one (probably because as a boy I liked to read in bed while leaning and covering on that eye) of late I could not really read street signs very well.

So on September 10 thDoctor Simon Warner removed my cataract and installed a corrective transplant cornea.

It has been a revelation to this obsolete, retired, redundant and inconsequential photographer.

It was my Portland bassist friend, Curtis Daily who quite a few months ago told me that a cataract modified how I saw colours. I did not believe him until one day I looked at puffy white clouds. I closed my good eye (it has the beginnings of a cataract) and suddenly the white cloud had a yellow cast. Using my old Kodak filters (in my mind’s memory)for printing colour negatives I calculated that the right eye was adding a 10 yellow and 5 red to the mix. Those of you who are photographers might know that the addition of yellow makes blues turn into a beginning of green. Puffy white clouds with all that UV in the sky become less “blue” cast.

Suddenly as my vision became better with my fixed eye the white doors and closet mouldings of our room were no longer cream. They were a startling bluish white, particularly when I closed my left eye. And if I closed my right eye I could discern a yellow warming of those doors.

On Thursday as I walked out of my oficina I noticed that one particular blue hosta was really blue. This past year and perhaps even on the other my built in yellow filter had greened the blue of that hosta and others.

On November 28 of last year my fantastic and slim model and friend Olena came to pose for me in our piano room. My goal was to achieve a correct skin colour that would show of her pale whiteness. I used the light coming in from outside and I adjusted at various settings my Fuji X-E3’s colour balance (in Degrees Kelvin). I was very happy with the results. These results would have been almost impossible using either negative colour or slide film. There is that one very big advantage in my books to digital over film. This is the ability to make the colours we see to be accurate when viewed on a print or on a well calibrated monitor.

Or so I thought! I am placing here that original corrected Olena photograph and a second one that I further corrected now that I have a good right eye. The moment I look at this photograph with both eyes open I note a warming of her skin.

Who would have known? I now know how personal our perception of colour is.

The colour of skin

Kodachrome and the nature of light

How orange is Donald Trump?

Originally published at http://blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.

Into Bunny Watson. I am a Vancouver-based magazine photographer/writer. I have a popular daily blog which can be found at:http://t.co/yf6BbOIQ alexwh@telus.net