The Color 9


They say we can only see 32 shades of grey, and yet there are over 250 of them around.

Millions of colors and yet to some we are still primaries. Secondaries. A color wheel.

My camera, the extension of my eye, sees the world different than I do. It sees more.

My eye is influenced by sound, by smell. By motion. The camera blinks when told.

Nine points of focus, each one seeking something to hang on to. Zzzzzzzt. Zzzzzzt.

Tripod, arms, truck hood and sometimes a contortionist position is done for it.

I see the colors in the image, and the camera does not. I growl. I take more shots.

Once in editing, I move the scale. Back. Forth. Right Left. More. Less. This. That.

And I see what I didn’t see. The camera, with no discernment, catches it all. All.

The apple tree I wanted was out of focus, because the camera saw the bird fly.

A bird in flight cropped becomes the image, the colors, that I never planned.

The camera sees the lines. The wrinkles. The color 9 that smells of my life. Mmm.

It builds me a treasure box of smiles. Memories of laughter. The colors of sound.

The colors of feeling love. Joy. Excitement. Tension. Joy. Wonder. Awe. All of it.

Colors become the breath between each shot and memory. Color becomes feel.

Color immerses me in sound. Texture. Taste. Memory. More than shades of this.

More than colors of that. It is an impartial eye, preserving like a historian.

It becomes a comedienne.  Laughing at the foibles of memory catching. Caught?


Abhra Pal has us thinking about immersing in color, being inside or being colored on the outside.  Poetics is about how we get colored, and become the colors. Join us for Poetics at dVerse!



  1. March 26, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Ah.. very nice… the objectivity of the camera.. still withour our changes how could we ever capture the smell.. the gleam of love… and yet.. the camera might capture things we never intended.. I like the prose form a lot.. it added an intensity to the poem that I found really nice.

  2. claudia said,

    March 26, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    i often think that watching something through a camera objective gives it a total different feel…and true… we do not only capture with our eyes but with all the senses mixed together – and that gives a totally different picture

  3. March 26, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    I’ve always been amazed by the fact that cameras capture a moment in time; give some physicality to our memories with photos… you captured the magic of the camera’s lens perfectly…

  4. Mary said,

    March 26, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Wonderful, just wonderful. And unique. Interesting that there are really 250 shades of grey. Who would have thought! I like the idea of a camera being an extension of one’s eye. I feel the same way. Sometimes what I ‘see’ is caught differently by the camera, and then I question just which is the correct way of seeing; and I realize both my eye and the camera is. So true that the camera catches all. We may not see all the camera sees, but the camera captures it. Impartial indeed. What annoys me about the camera is when it takes a picture of ME that looks like my mother! Sigh. I enjoyed your take!

  5. Grace said,

    March 26, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    I didn’t know there were that many shades of colors (grey) ~ Specially like these lines:

    It builds me a treasure box of smiles. Memories of laughter. The colors of sound.

    The colors of feeling love.

  6. Brian Miller said,

    March 26, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    it is interesting how our senses play together to fill in the whole picture…though there are textures we dont pick up on that the camera surely does….looking back at pictures though, there are details only we can get because it is more than just the image…

  7. lynndiane said,

    March 26, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    A photo, like poem, can (often does) turn out differently than we expect but that adds to the artist’s surprise…i like your idea of color sounds!

  8. Abhra Pal said,

    March 26, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    Nice – I am a hobby photographer too and I can exactly relate to your words here Shanyn. Very nice.

    Colors become the breath between each shot and memory. Love it.

  9. Glenn Buttkus said,

    March 27, 2014 at 2:32 am

    Like you, sweet lady, photography has become a huge part of the joy in my life. I’m still amazed how much more, especially in the distance, the eye sees more than the lens. I delete about 30% of most of my distance shots; poor lighting, focus, contrast; some of which can be edited. I use a 5000 image card. My road trip to AK last summer was testament to my clicking shutter. What the camera sees better than the eye are the macro-shots; perfect clarity close-up, creating new realities beyond what I hoped for. Don’t get me started.

  10. Madhura said,

    March 27, 2014 at 4:54 am

    Laughing at the foibles of memory catching.. beautiful! Everything the camera picks up better than the eye, you said it all! Lovely.

  11. Susan said,

    March 27, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Color tracking like scent, like sound, leads back to self and its emotions. I love this snapshot of that journey.

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