Day 534: True Colors

I just discovered something, which I could characterize as a real problem, causing me worry and anxiety.

All the photos I’ve taken and shown here for three weeks —  since Day 511: All-request Weekend — have the WRONG colors.

How did I find this out?  First,  I noticed that the “revert to original” button was turned on, for a recent photo, even though I didn’t think I had cropped or otherwise altered it in any way.  When I clicked on that button out of curiosity, I saw the photo transformed, for the better. When, I further explored, I discovered the full extent of the problem.

I surmise, at this point, the following:  while I was snapping photos during my adventures in Central Square, Cambridge, I — unaware and accidentally —  pressed something on my iPhone which altered the colors on every photo, from then on.

Realizing that — and I know this is a strong word — horrified me, to think that I could so easily screw things up, for all my photos, and not know.

And as I have restored — in the place where these photos are stored — each image to its true colors, I have seen the full extent of the screw-up. Each one looks so much better  — richer, fuller, livelier, much more beautiful — once I correct for my error.

I shall now state this simply: every friggin’ photo I’ve posted, in the last 23 days, has been notably wrong. And each “wrong” photo is still there, in all those posts.

And here’s the funny thing: When I posted those photos, I was happy with them. And readers have expressed happiness with them, too.

So, what should I do, now that I know the truth about these flawed photos?  How should I react to the knowledge that dozens of photos that I presented to you here  — innocently and with good intent, believing that each was as perfect as possible — actually could be better?

When I discovered the problem, this was my first impulse: I should replace each and every photo with the “correct” version.

Then, I thought … no.  The photos were good enough for me — and, apparently, for my readers — when I posted them.   Why not leave them, as they are?

Perhaps that decision is easier for me for this reason: I’m not a professional photographer, so my sense of self is NOT tied up with photographs.

In any case, here’s the course of action I am choosing:

  1. try to figure out why the heck this started happening
  2.  fix the problem, if I can, and
  3.  make sure the photos I post from now on have their original, full colors.

I confess: I also had a moment where I wondered … should I even tell my readers about this?  Speaking for myself, now that I look back at those photos (which originally seemed good enough to me), they  look … dingy.  Disappointing. Lacking.  Should I keep that to myself, lest others look back and be disappointed, too?

But as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, my natural interpersonal style is “transparent.” I feel better, when I tell the truth.

And to keep being transparent, I’ll show you an example of the color difference, with this photo that appeared in a recent blog post. Here’s the “wrong” version, is it appears in that post:


Here’s the photo with the color corrected (by my pressing “revert to original” where the photos are stored):


Again,  photo posted in previous post:


Same photo with true colors:


Another one, posted here:


And with colors restored, correctly:


Arrghh!  For some reason, all the photos with true colors are disoriented like that, when I try to re-post them here. And I can’t seem to fix that, either, no matter how I try.

Time out, for a typical worst fear: Am I losing credibility with you?  Am I seeming less than competent, with all my admitted screw-ups?

I am letting go of those fears, now.

Sometimes,  you know, EVERYTHING seems to go wrong. Last night, while I was driving home from dinner with my son, I got a flat tire.  We got home safe and sound, but I’m still figuring out how to solve that issue, and get to work on time today.

With all these things that are “going wrong,” I now have a calmness and faith that I will figure out ways to resolve each of them, effectively enough.

And what’s the worse that could happen?  Will any harm come to those I love? Will any permanent damage happen to me — with imperfect photos and a spare on my car, that needs changing soon?   I don’t think so.

Who cares, if things aren’t perfect?  Who cares, if I can’t fix these things right now?

Not I.  I hope you don’t care, either.

How should I end this post, about true colors and calmness in the face of problems?

I want to focus on Susan, who also works with me:


I am so pleased to introduce you to Susan (and pleased to announce that I figured out how to fix the color AND the orientation of that Very Important Photo).

Susan, in that perfect-as-can-be picture, is pointing at her final surviving cat, the beautiful black and white one, named “Sweetie.”

Until a few years ago, Sweetie was one of a trio of cats, much beloved by Susan.  Tigger, shown above Sweetie in that photo, died on 12/9/11. Nine months later, Susan lost Lucky (below Sweetie), on 9/12/12.

Here’s another view of Lucky, who was a cantaloupe junkie:


Sweetie is terminally ill now, too. When I’ve been speaking to Susan during this challenging time, she has been telling me incredible stories about how she is being, as much as possible, in the moment with Sweetie, enjoying her good days with her, and observing Sweetie’s quality of life every day, ready to make the difficult decision, when the time comes.

When Susan speaks of the cats she loves and has loved — whether she’s talking about their wonderful vet, or revealing their unusual food loves (Sweetie, in her final days, is still devouring potato salad) — she always shows her true colors, as you can see in that beautiful picture.

Here’s something Susan said to me, yesterday:

Every day with Sweetie is a blessing. I savor every moment.

Many thanks to Susan,  to creatures everywhere who display their true colors no matter what, to those who tolerate unexpected and challenging realities as best they can, to people who solve problems and let go of judgment about their choices,* and to you — of course! — for bringing all your gorgeous colors here, today.

* In calmness, I  have discovered that I accidentally reset the filtering on my iPhone. Correcting this was far easier than I expected.  There will be true colors here, from now on.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 29 Comments

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29 thoughts on “Day 534: True Colors

  1. Michele Seminara

    Ann, I prefer those accidentally filtered photos. So you never know what constitutes a ‘mistake’!

  2. Luis Del Castillo

    That happened to me too, I was actually going to tell you the next time I see you about the filter on your photos, my older daughter every time she takes my phone changes the settings on it and then when I take a picture it ends up with the wrong colors, she knows how to open the camera app and change the settings, and she is not even 4 years old!
    I recently posted on FB some pictures of the new electric car that I was invited to test drive and two days later I realized they were the wrong color!
    Anyway, your pictures are great as they are so don’t even worry about changing them or anything


    • As usual, Dr. Del Castillo, you help me let go of worry. And how cool is that, that you got to test drive a new electric car!

  3. Debbie Terman

    Oof, all it takes is touching one wrong spot on a handheld device and mayhem breaks out! I’ve been there too. Especially if I am taking or handing off a phone to someone else. Or picking it up off my desk. Or out of my purse. Etc. Glad you found the cause. (And I didn’t notice any color problems in the original postings. The differences are only apparent when the old and new are presented side by side.)

    • Thanks, Debbie, for this helpful comment. I love the way you wrote that mayhem breaks out so easily, with handheld devices. Now I feel understood and validated. I am not alone, dealing with such mayhem!

  4. I don’t think you need to fix anything in the past. You’ve learned how to do it better and you are moving forward. As long as we keep trying to improve there is never any harm.

    In regards to photos I think it’s important to ask the following question: Can any photo actually capture your experience? My guess is probably not. I am not a big picture taker for that reason, because when I look at the pictures I’ve taken they seem hollow in comparison to what I experienced at the moment. But anyway, you are trying to bring that experience to us readers, but that experience is more than just the colors. It is the subject of what you are taking a picture of, the framing and perspective. Your photos appear in the context of some subject you are talking about. All these things are part of the photo in addition to the color. And you still brought us color, just slightly washed out color.

    It’s also important to remember that nobody experiences color in the same way. What I say is blue might be your royal blue, or steel blue. What I say is red, might be your cherry. I have the red-green color blindness that men get, and thus I see colors but they look a little different than they might to somebody else. I have trouble contrasting certain colors that are near each other, and miss slight tints of red and green in certain colors. I suspect everybody’s rods and cones are tuned a little bit different. So everybody’s true colors are a little bit different anyway. No need to worry! 🙂

  5. I too actually do prefer the ‘altered’ photos — interesting how a tad of colour can change your whole perspective!

    Hugs to you, your friend Linda and to Sweetie. Blessings and love.

  6. The photos on my blog sometimes go wrong, but I tell myself it’s primarily a writing blog, I’m not a photographer, and as long as I do my best with the photos that’s all I can do. I must confess I did notice a greenish tinge in your recent photos, but I thought it gave them a calming, dreamlike quality!

  7. Thank you and blessings to Susan and Sweetie for showing us, Ann, that true colors of love mean so much.

    The photos were just a blip on the screens of life. Truly. They looked fine. The reverted to original ones are more vibrant, sure, but the unoriginal ones appeared to be one-of-a-kind when I first saw them, Ann.

    I hope you can find a new tire to replace the donut and any stress about that, Ann.

    • Thank you for your lovely hopes and vision. Mark. I am still riding on a donut, but my car will revert to the right kind of tire, tomorrow.

  8. I’ve been wondering about that! The recent pics have definitely had a green/blue hue to them, but I thought it must be an artistic choice of yours. Glad you figured out what happened!

    • Thank you for noticing, for giving me artistic license, and for celebrating my solution! I love the true colors you bring here.

  9. Ann, I think the “wrong” photos have this very appealing antique hue, great! And they supplied a topic for a post. 😉 Hugs.

  10. I really like the ‘wrong’ colours. Looks kind of arty to me.

  11. I’m actually really relieved you mentioned to photo problem. I was finding the colours a little low-key and wondering whether it was you, me or the weather. Understanding a problem (even a little one), and having clarity, just takes one of the pesky little weights of one’s mind.

    • Thank you for this extremely helpful comment, Hilary. I agree — it helps a lot to understand and have clarity (especially when we’re not sure where the problem lies). I am so glad you read and comment here.

  12. Pingback: Day 535: Making sense of it all | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  13. Gene Phillips

    Once I got Cyndi Lauper out of my head, I could read this with great interest since I fuss with every picture I plan to post somewhere. Like you, I would be horrified by a similar discovery and have the same temptation to go back and fix all of them, but I hope I could stifle the urge and go forward with the pleasurable thought that, from here on out, my pictures would be EVEN better.

    • Thanks, very much, for this comment, Gene. I feel grateful and understood because — as usual — you showed your true colors.

  14. This is the most amazing post! What an intriguing thing to have happened.

    I thoroughly enjoyed all the photo outings you took us on the past few weeks and never noticed that the colours were off. I noticed, instead, what an eye you have for detail and human experience.

    When you posted the “improved” photos, I could of course see the difference. My first reaction was to doubt my powers of observation. Why hadn’t I noticed the change in colours in your photo essays? (My visual memory is getting progressively worse and I worry about that sometimes even when there is nothing to worry about.) But then I realized that what is coming through in your photos is something very powerful and clear and that it transcends hue and contrast. It is your world. Your heart. Your day.Sometimes your wonder or joy or angst. And I pick up on that, I think.

    You have poignantly if accidentally demonstrated that we don’t have to be perfect (perfectly observant or perfect in any other way) in order to sit with someone for a little while and be part of their world. We don’t even have to be aware of what we are missing or not good at, as long as we bring ourselves as full-heartedly as we can.

    Your post makes me feel a whole lot better about some of my losses. And a whole lot better about not being perfect.

    • Your comments help me feel a whole lot better, about a lot of things.

      I am glad this post made you feel better about not being perfect; however, this comment seems perfect to me.

  15. Pingback: Day 540: I Spy | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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