Philosophy Magazine

Friday Fotos: In Search of Beauty on September 12, 2011, at Sunrise

By Bbenzon @bbenzon
On September 12, 2011 I got up early in the morning, as I usually do, got my camera, and went out to photograph the sunrise. That's not so usual, but it's not uncommon either. Of course, you don't alway get a nice sunrise when you're looking for one. I was fortunate this time. I went to Liberty State Park in Jersey City, where I was living at the time, went atop a low rise, and took this photo at 6:24 AM:
If you look closely near the bottom of the photo you'll see little white specks. Up close I rather imagine that each of them might look like this:
That, of course, is not a photograph. It's a frame grab from one of my favorite movies, Walt Disney's Fantasia. In particular, it's from the episode built atop "The Nutcracker Suite", one of the most beautiful film sequences ever made.
Here's another photo:
Look at the bottom. You can see the dew sparkling on the grass and you can see the out-of-focus dandelion heads. We're getting closer.
Now the dandelion heads are quite distinct:
I believe the building that frames the sun is on Ellis Island, which is quite close to Liberty State Park. I was probably on my belly when I took that shot.
As I was for this one:
I'm thinking that I'd like to get a shot of a dandelion silhouetted against the sun where the dandelion is crisply outlined. Camera's do not function well when pointed directly at the sun. (Neither do your eyes. Lots of blinking and spots before my eyes.) Maybe I'd have to put a neutral density filter on the lens to stop down the light. But that would affect the rest of the shot. No easy way.
These photos raise interesting issues about color. Just what is the real color, anyhow? As I've already explored the issue at some length, I'm not going to do so here. But if it is difficult to look directly into the sun with the named eye, and it is, then how can you tell what the real color is? And if you can't really tell, then what do you do with a photo taken directly into the sun?

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