search for me


5 Miles of Blue

What color is the sky? In Michigan we usually say ‘gray’ this time of year. But today it’s a special shade of blue. But what exactly does that look like? Hard to say. I know in my mind what it looks like, I can see it there. But to describe it, or quantify it in any way other than to experience it would be doing this shade of blue a disservice.

That said, I did make a few photographs during my run. If you looked west the blue was distinctly different than if you looked east or north. My old iPhone may see the blue much differently than a new camera would. Cameras all have bias, as do our memories of the way things were. Photo psychologists (yes, there is such a thing) believe that photography alters how we remember things, how we perceive the world, and how we view ourselves. When we think of a blue sky, the blue we think of may indeed be colored by how our cameras record those blues.

So, what color is the sky in your mind? The images below are how the camera I carry with me everywhere (6S Plus from 2016) sees the color blue as it was today.

Is it your blue?

facing WSW.JPG

West South West

41º 50’ 50.70”N, 86º 18’ 30.99 W

facing east.JPG

East North East

41º 50’ 50.70” N, 86º 18’ 30.99” W

I am thinking of this because recently I had a client who wanted a bunch of blue sky images to look exactly the same. Sure, Photoshop can do that. And I happily obliged and made them look pretty dang near the same blue. But it got me to thinking about all the things that make blue sky different both in the experience of blue and how we remember blue in our minds. Different cameras, location, time of day, time of year, atmospheric haze, humidity, and the list goes on. I say let the blues be different, and let the experience of seeing a beautiful Michigan blue sky on January 5, 2019 be one that is repeated more often than is deserved.

Marc Ullom