About Me

My photo
Narich specialises in creating simple solutions for sometimes complex problems using non destructive light and spectral techniques

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Safety in Colour

Ten days (And nights) deep in the Botswana Bush heightens the senses as the battle for survival shifts to more fundamental issues like eat or be eaten. Its times like this that highlight the advantages man has over animals biologically, one of the most important being the ability to see in colour. Both animals and man respond well to movement, but mans ability to also finely discern one colour from another offers a distinct advantage.

Humans are able to see very fine shades of green from drab olives to pale lime. This helps us spot a predator in the day with ease, but helps less in the dark especially if there is no moon. While camouflage breaks up the human shape, colour discernment is a key factor in our survival outdoors, to such an extent that our sense of smell is demoted to a back up third sense after hearing. 

Still in the bush, its not wise to wear bright white, especially those nicely optically brightened garments that look cool at a trendy night spot, but wave a challenge in the face of predators, or at very least scare of the more timid types. At the other extreme, I have experienced that downside of driving a black car. During the day in Kruger Park, while slowly coasting along looking for game, a large bird all but flew into the windscreen. Apart from it being an extra 10-15 degrees hotter in the car (Without aircon) I put it down to a bird brain mentality. It was only when shortly afterwards that a large bull elephant nearly walked "Through" our car did I realise the basics of colour physics in action. The Bull may have sensed our movement, but as we were all black, he basically "Saw:" a hole or shadow in the road ahead, and continued boldly on. Mutual surprise, followed by mutual trumpeting in and outside the car, and thankfully zippy acceleration, got us out of a hot spot.

Rescue workers on the other hand will always tell you to wave something white, yellow or bright red to be noticed at sea, in the bush, on a mountain or anywhere else in the wild. There are many tales that a chance glimpse of a colour out of the ordinary helped to save a lost person.

We now see a proliferation of Hazard and Safety gear from stripes on your Nikes to Yellow jackets worn by Police. Even the ragged car guard seems to grow some authority when wearing a Haz jacket.

Next time you are choosing a Fashion Colour, think where you may end up wearing it, and decide if it will be good to be seen, or ghide!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Join our Light Conversation!