Palette of the Indies

One of the major visual experiences of living in paradise, is the intensity of the colour. Not only is the color more intense, but the continual sunshine heightens the saturation or the vividness of the color. For someone who is quite visual like me, just being outdoors is a treat, because of the colors of the landscape.

Yesterday I went to Jazz Beach, and I was wearing my sunglasses that The Lovely One bought for me last summer. I don't know what they do to the light other than polarize it, but it intensifies the colors when I have my sunglasses on. I was going to snorkel the offshore reef, so I left my shades in the car, and was amazed at the intensity of the colours without my sunglasses.

The ocean awaited, and I wanted to see if the reef was a suitable place to catch lobster. My interest was really whetted when I found bits of lobster shell on the beach.

I got into the water, and within a minute I saw a huge barracuda, the size of my leg swim past me. He had his jaw open, showing a mouthful of sharp ragged teeth. The barracuda swimming with his mouth open freaked me out. I snorkelled around the reef for a while and got out of the water, a little disquieted by the open-mouthed predator.

The first thing that I saw when I got out of the water was some sort of sea shell with yellow and coral on it. I put it in my mesh collection bag, because the colors were so intense, and I wanted to preserve and sample them in photoshop. I later digitally lifted those colors, and they are #1 and #2 in the color chart above.

Then I found a clamshell with purple on it, and it became #3 on my chart. The brown of #4 came off a little cowrie shell that I found that was the size of my thumbnail. Sample #5 came from a piece of aged conch shell.

Numbers 6,7,8 and 9 came from a green piece of beach glass that shimmered in the sun. Numbers 10, 11 and 12 were sampled from a fresher conch shell. Number 13 and 14 came from a lobster shell. Lobster shells turn purple and blue when they are very old such as this. The white square #5 is sand dollar white, and #16, #17 and #18 were sampled from a barnacle.

Obviously I am missing a pile of emeralds, greens and blues from the sea, as well as the red skies at night. However with the collection of colors, I began to wonder if it were possible to substitute my palette for a computer system palette and translate a picture from a normal color wheel to island colors. I think that it is possible, and when I get some time, I will research this. It would be interesting to see ordinary photos 'translated' to the palette of the tropical Indies.

After all, the colors of the land, sea, and the lifeforms that inhabit these West Indies are the signatures of the terroir to our observing eyes, and together they make the visual fabric of this land. And it is beautiful.

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