1. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    People who think that there is something wrong with the world sometimes point to the sky and say it's different. It was bluer a decade ago, and certainly bluer when they were children.

    Was it bluer? Probably not. Probably what they have is simply a memory of bluer skies, a memory that natuarally gets more intense with age, because that's what memories of color do. Look at the research:


    And sky was bluer in your recollection. The colors in your memory tend to be brighter and more colorful than they are in reality, or in the photos you take.


    30 or 40 years ago our color memories were magnified by one of the the most popular film around at that time: Kodachrome. The way the film responded to colors gave them an overly saturated look. Blues looked bluer. But we did not mind, because that's how we remembered them. For us older folk, these are the holidays, the vacations of our youth.


    (image source: http://intelligenttravel.nationalgeographic.com/2009/06/25/kodachrome_tourism/)

    But over time the Kodachrome reinforces our color memory, and we start to think that indeed everything was more colorful in our childhood. The vibrancy of our past increases with the passing of time. The present naturally seems pale in comparison.

    And it's not just memory - your color vision actually does fade with time.
    So with these two effects combined, it's no wonder people think the sky was bluer when they were younger.

    [Update] There is some evidence of a slight whitening over the 20 years from 1996 to 2007, see post #73. However, it's does not seem like this would be something people would notice, with natural variation, and the other factors mentioned.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
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  2. MikeC

    MikeC Closed Account

    Although [conspiracy theorists say] ... chemtrails make skies bluer


    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2019
  3. solrey

    solrey Senior Member

    What are the physics describing refraction of "dark"? Is dark not the absence of light? If the atmosphere used to reflect light, rather than refract it, was there perpetual darkness on Earth at the time? Is this where god stepped in and said "let there be light"? Didn't god really dig the light and determine it was good? So did god create chemtrails to bestow light upon the Earth in order for humans to quake before his image? If god created chemtrails to shed light upon the darkness...isn't that good?

    So many questions... :rolleyes:
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2019
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  4. AnonymousATCO

    AnonymousATCO New Member

    Cloud in that second photo looks awfully suspicious.... :p
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  5. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    One reason why I picked it :) I don't know the date on the photo, but probably from the 1950s. I don't think it's a contrail though.

    I have an orb in the first photo too.
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  6. Danny55

    Danny55 Member

    Looks more like that hidden planet Mick....... Nibiru?
  7. GregMc

    GregMc Senior Member

    Following on from Mick's memory comments, everyone probably remembers the famous James Bond scene in
    "Dr No" (in fact one of the most famous sequences in cinema history) when Ursula Andress first emerges from the sea in a bikini in the Caribbean.

    Who can forget the glorious blue Caribbean sky, sun-drenched beach , sun sparkling water and radiant Usula dripping wet in front of an ogling Sean Connery?

    I'm pretty sure that's how most folks remember that scene, and it was mimicked by Halle Berry in "Casino Royale".

    But go check an old copy of the film in any format and check if it matches the popular memory of the scene. The reality is far different.
    That's what memory is like and why it's so unreliable.
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  8. solrey

    solrey Senior Member

    "I can assure you my intentions are strictly honorable". :rolleyes:


    I've watched that scene about a dozen times in a row now still trying to catch a glimpse of the sky but all I seem to notice are those big Conchs of hers.

    But cereally. I think most of those people who say all they remember are clear blue cloudless skies simply weren't paying much attention to the sky until recently. I've always been fascinated by weather and clouds so I've been paying attention to the sky for as long as I can remember. I recall hazy summer days, storm clouds, contrails...and I also remember perfectly clear blue skies all day were the exception rather than the norm not only growing up in Indiana but anywhere I've lived or visited. In fact, cloudless blue skies are rather boring, imho. Then again I am a certified member (#27984) of the cloud appreciation society. :eek:
  9. Nighthawk

    Nighthawk New Member

    The question I always ask these guys when they talk about the blue skies is why is it that for the last several decades Navy ships are painted "Haze Grey" instead of sky blue?

    For some reason I never get an answer.
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  10. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Here's the DVD version, and a paler version. I suspect the paler version is closer to reality that day.


    Of course, in both versions the sky is not especially blue, and nor is the sea.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  11. MikeC

    MikeC Closed Account

  12. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    There ends up being a vast range of color reproductions of various things. This web site takes all the reproductions of a particular image it can find, then than creates a new image with various segments from the different reproductions


    What is the "real" color?


    Color perception can be greatly influenced by context. Consider these illusions.



    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  13. JRBids

    JRBids Senior Member

    Sky looks pretty blue to me!

    DSCN7271.JPG Front. Home1.
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  14. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    It varies by camera too. Lots of consumer cameras now default to more saturated colors, as it looks nicer. There was a period of years where digital cameras were on average a lot more muted than they are now, and compared to film. Camera settings make a huge difference, and often the more expensive the camera, the more boring (and realistic, but not as you remember it) the photo is.

  15. JRBids

    JRBids Senior Member

    I took all the home photos. As long as the sun is behind me, the sky is brilliant blue. Sun behind the house = white sky. I have a $400 Nikon Point and Shoot.
  16. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Still your images are not too saturated. this

    Could end up like this in your memory
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  17. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

    I've painted many skies, from 40' tall backdrops to small paintings.
    All of these were done indoors, so the sky blue paint I mix is from memory.
    I will go outside to check my guesses. Of course over the years I've learned to get fairly accurate because I've done it so many times.

    But that was not the case when I first started mixing "sky blue"....or anybody mixing paint for a typical "sky blue" for the first few times.
    It is guessing, based on preconceived notions.

    Generally I've found there are 3 big mistakes when people try to guess the color of a "clear blue" sky.
    1) They guess way too dark .
    2) and too saturated. (intense blue).
    3) They do not realize how much "violet" there is in a "blue" sky.

    Here I am speaking of people in the painting business and artists that should know........ and even they get it wrong, from "memory".
    (.....think about the average person, they are even farther off when trying to guess.)

    I think people have many notions of "sky color" from advertizements, TV and films....where colours are often "boosted" in software, or filters on camera lenses. (polarizing filters, graduated filters, etc)

    Also, people tend to "remember" that glorious clear blue sky right after a 3-day rainstorm.....they "store" that image in their memories.
    Sure, the rain has washed most of the airborne particulates away and it may indeed be ultra clear.....plus the damp ground prevents dust from being kicked-up temporarily.

    But I think why it seems "so clear" after a 3-day storm......is the contrast. They were covered with cloud-cover for 3 days, and when the sun finally shines on a blue sky....it "seems" more intense blue, and they store that in memory.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2013
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  18. JRBids

    JRBids Senior Member

    Color is a very hard thing to remember in any case. I used to work at a makeup counter. People would come in with a lipstick they wanted to match and unless you held theirs right next to it, it was impossible to do.
  19. Cairenn

    Cairenn Senior Member

    All the art/craft work I have done had given me a more acute sense of color. Years ago, I had a piece of grey plaid that I wanted to use as accents on a black tunic. After trips to at least 5 fabric stores, trying to find the right color of black (in a cotton or linen blend), I gave up and ended up with using it on a pink tunic, (it only took 2 stores to find the correct pink).

    I accidentally discovered the pink glass that comes from Europe and (also most from China) uses a colorant that has a orange undertone, but the Japanese use one with a purple undertone.

    Irish setter breeders will see red, chestnut and mahogany colors in Irish setters, and the mahogany ones can have red, blue or purple undertones. I had one dark mahogany setter with purple undertones that almost impossible to photograph (pre digital times) It took a professional show photographer several tries to get a decent representation of him. The camera saw him a black dog.
  20. scombrid

    scombrid Senior Member

    Here is an interesting "memory" of past skies from facebook:


    Yellow sun? Yellow sun occurs when there are particulates refracting the light. When it is really clear the sun looks blinding white. Its been so clear here in Central FL the last few days that you can see the moon in full day light. It almost reads like his memory of the sky is from pictures many children drew in kindergarden with the solid blue sky and the wedge of yellow sun in the corner of the page.

    He was responding to this pic from GnarlyCarly:


    The colors in that photo are pretty true (Carly and I are practically neighbors). Sky looks appropriately blue to me.
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  21. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I think this might literally be true in some cases. The sun is too bright to look at, so we rely on standard conventions of what it is "supposed" to look like. Since you can't draw a super bright light on white paper, people have adopted the convention of a yellow or orange sun

    Clip art search for "sun"

    And here's the clip art results for "sky"
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  22. Balance

    Balance Senior Member

    Co-incidentally, yesterday afternoon, travelling back home I noticed the sun through the trees, seemingly larger and whiter than I'm used to seeing it. It struck me just how white it was. First time this happened in my decades of existence.
  23. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014
  24. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

    It's quite amazing that most of the "clipart sky"......the colours are very turquoise blue (a greenish blue).....when in fact the actual daylight sky is a reddish blue (violet blue).

    Greenish blue seems "warmer".....reddish blue seems "cooler".
  25. JRBids

    JRBids Senior Member

    Mick, GMTA! I was just about to say this is what the sun looked like when I was a kid!!

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  26. Chew

    Chew Senior Member

  27. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Not easily, unfortunately. At least not within the site. Possibly there exist make-your-own quiz sites?
  28. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

  29. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

    I doubt the initial question ( blue vs pale) is available as an on-line exercise. Too may variables and atmospheric conditions would preclude a reasonable answer.
    There would be no answer, to any satisfaction.
    A haze-filled sky would seem more semi-white.........a cirrus-filled sky would seem whiter......and both together would seem whitest.
    So where is any starting point ?....
    One would have to prove that "haze"....is a false notion, and that cirrus is but a modern phenomenon.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014
  30. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I like the Prokudin-Gorskii photos for this. Over 100 years old, several color photos with hazy sky in them.

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  31. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

    yes, early first color photos.
  32. Trigger Hippie

    Trigger Hippie Senior Member

    Off topic, but I just had say thanks for the link. What an absolutely beautiful picture collection!
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  33. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

  34. Mark Barrington

    Mark Barrington Active Member

    Beautiful photos. I wasn't aware of these before. The linked article explains how the process works, with exposures for the three primary colors taken in quick succession with filters. You can see in the first picture that it creates some color distortion in the waves, as they moved a bit between exposures.
  35. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

  36. ralph Leo

    ralph Leo Member

    Comparing present day sky to photos is unrealistic because of filters used in photography. I remember my old 35mm camera days, I carried around a polarizing and uv filter just to make the sky bluer.
  37. JRBids

    JRBids Senior Member

    worldsfair. I just came across these two photos from the 64-65 World's Fair.
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  38. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Interesting color wheel for the sky from 1787
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  39. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    OT (sorry) you should make one of those quizzes on FB everyone loves called "What type of contrail are you?"
  40. JesseCuster

    JesseCuster Active Member

    I've digitized hundreds of old family photos from 35mm slides from the 1960s and 1970s. There is in general a very vivid oversaturated look to all the colours, not just the sky. Primary colours likes reds, yellows, greens, blues, etc. just pop out. Which is actually great for photos of your childhood holidays, etc. No-one wants dull grey photos of that kind of thing. I suspect that the film makers did that deliberately, kind of like how old Technicolor movies have a very vivid saturation to the colours.
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