Deuteranomaly Sucks

by Jim on 2011/07/06

[Jimbaux is seeing some things getting farther away in his rearview mirror, and that’s a good thing indeed.]

I’m not even sure I got the right condition or diagnosis in the title of today’s post, but we’ll see soon enough why I selected it in the first place.  Anyway, I typed several of the below paragraphs last Friday, and I intended to get this post out – or go foaming  – then, but an invitation by Melanie to go hang out at the pool with her and some of her friends put an end to all of that.

Thursday evening, I received a message from my very wise pal BobE saying two things.

First, he alerted to me that one of the bridges in the famous pair of brides at Cisco, British Columbia, is ablaze!  He and I were there nearly two years ago ourselves in the scenic Fraser River Canyon photographing the action on the Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway (which is when I took the first two of the four pictures here.)

Second, and as is the subject of this post, he said that “your color rendering of CSX yellow is absolutely horrendous in this blog post.  It’s green.”  You will note that he is referring to the post with the pictures from around Pittsburg, Kansas, specifically the picture of the M-KCBM at Frontenac.  This isn’t the first time that he — or anyone else — has criticized my color correction process, as noted in this post from March too.  The astute observer will note that the photo in question from that March posting as well as the photo in question from yesterday’s post have one thing in common: they were both taken in the summer of 2007, before my color correction skills improved.  In both cases, while I did the Photoshopping of those just before the post (now in 2011), I did the raw conversions (using Canon’s Digital Photo Professional) back in 2007.

Why were my color-correcting skills so poor back then?  It could be the evolution of a photographer, but it could very well be something else, which brings us to the title of today’s post.

If You Like Trains So Much, Why Don’t You Just Work For A Railroad?

If I had five dollars for every time I was asked this question, I would never need to work another day in my life.

For one thing, I’d be scared that it would a waste of the gifts that I have been given in other areas; it would not be the best use of my talent.

Another reason is that I’m scared of turning something that is a hobby and a love into a job.  I have several friends who work in the railroad industry, and for many of them, working on the railroad has made working on the railroad far less cool.

I’m also not sure I’d be able to take the very demanding schedule that railroad work places on the lifestyles of railroaders.  Trainmasters are worked very hard, and road crews spend nearly half their ‘nights’ (which could be during the daytime) in hotels.

One Reason Makes The Rest Irrelevant

There is one reason why I do not work (in operations) for a railroad that makes all of the aforementioned reasons completely irrelevant, and it’s a subject of today’s posting.  Are you ready for this?  I would not be able to pass a physical examination.  The truth is out.

When I tell this to people in person, I generally get two reactions/responses from them.  First, they are surprised.  They don’t understand why a man who a year ago (and hopefully again in the future once I get my dieting and exercise back to what they were) could bench press 100 pounds more than his body weight and who sprints up overpasses with a telephoto lens in hand or climbs atop his truck to take pictures would not be able to pass a physical exam.  Second, after this surprise, many of them are reluctant to press further and ask why I would not be able to pass the physical exam, as if it’s some deeply personal reason, such that asking me about it would be invasive and disrespectful.  It’s not.

I’m not sure if the genetic condition listed in the title of this post is the right one, but, regardless, it’s close.  While I have eyes like a hawk and don’t need contact lenses to see things sharply from far away, I cannot discern colors like more than 95% of people can.  This is a condition that affects far more men than women as well, and it is inherited on the female chromosome; I have a maternal uncle with this same condition.  On a railroad, an inability to discern green from yellow and yellow from red can result in destroyed property and the loss of life.  Ergo, despite being more ‘in shape’ than some railroaders who are younger than I am, I cannot work in operations for a railroad.

“Horrendous” Presented Again

Anyway, here again is the exact same rendition of the image of the M-KCBM from that post:

While I can’t quite remember what I did in DPP four years ago, I likely only made the white balance a “cloudy” setting since it was, well, cloudy that morning!  What I did in Photoshop a few weeks ago was merely to use the “auto levels” and “auto color” features.  While you snooty photographers who think you are too good to use the automatic levels and colors tools get over your indignation and shock, consider that I often use those tools and get very good results, like this recent rendition of a train led by a CSX locomotive.  But what is different here?  Oh, it was a sunny day!  Do you see a theme developing here?  I do.


Here’s the shot straight out of the camera, only resized and rotated for the purposes of presentation.

How’s that?  I really don’t know what to expect from your reaction due to my condition, but, to me, it looks like garbage.  It needs a dynamic range adjustment.  As it relates to the nose of the locomotive, it looks almost exactly the same to my eyes as it does in the picture above it; however, your results will likely vary.


So, I went back to DPP and took the raw file to see if I could rework it, but I didn’t stop there.  When I got into Photoshop, I did the auto color and auto levels, but then I went to the saturation slider and upped the hues and saturation on the yellow.  Here is the result:

Is this better?  Perhaps I should have used curves instead, right?  Here’s what I don’t like about the above shot: because I used the saturation slider for the whole image, the locomotive nose looks okay, but the saturation trees look awfully artificially pollinated, don’t they?  Maybe if I wasn’t so lazy/busy, I’d try it again with the color curves.

Lasso It Up, Cowboy!

Notice how I mentioned that I used the saturation slider on the entire image, meaning I didn’t select any particular part of the image for its application.  What I did next is take the image from the post a few days ago, the same image at the top of this post, used the lasso tool and lassoed in the nose of the locomotive, and then upped the yellow saturation and hues.  Here’s the result:

How’s that?  Is that better?  Keep in mind that due to my condition, I can’t tell differences that you can.


And just for Ses and Gs, here’s a side-by-side comparison.

How’s that?  I really don’t know myself.  It’s enough to piss me off and just want to convert every cloudy picture to grayscale, but that would piss of the color purists in the crowd too, and, boy, have we ever had that discussion here on this site.  Anyway, what do you think?


I keep forgetting to plug and pimp my friends’ respective sites and artistic works.  Today, I’ll highlight my homie Moon and his musical work.  You New Orleans and Lafourche-Terrebonne folks should really go and check out his band the Americanos, and you can keep up with events by joining his Facebook fan page here.

While you’re at it, if you’re not already there, please join the Jimbaux’s Jounral Facebook fan page too!

All for now . . .



1 Mike July 6, 2011 at 15:55

So, why don’t we all work for the railroad? Well in my case I actually applied once with a Class One, they had an ad in the local paper looking for clerks, I applied, and was told to report on a certain date. I arrived to find about 70 others there, and thru the rest of the day we were given various math, typing, data entry and psychological tests that I passed with flying colors. Things looked good because there were only about 50 people left and I knew from an inside source that they were hiring 83. Then came the one on one interview and I did the dumbest thing that I’ve ever done in my life, I admitted that I liked trains. There were three interviewers; one blew a loud raspberry, another muttered “Oh my God!”, and third rather theatrically rolled her eyes, something I’ve never seen outside of a poorly written movie. I was then shown the door. Not too surprisingly I got a letter saying that I was not going to be hired, too many applicants was the reason given, and no doubt they have a nice “Do Not Hire” file with my name on it. the thing is I had 20+ years of transportation experience working in the traffic departments of major firms, and to them that was completely meaningless; I was a fan and therefore should not be hired. Weird.

2 roadgeek July 6, 2011 at 16:27

The results of your remixing efforts weren’t very good. While I am nearsighted my color perception is perfect, and the raw imagery you posted is the closest to the real thing.

3 PPA July 6, 2011 at 17:01

All of your color alterations are, well…still green. The best image of the bunch is the raw unadultered image. You might consider getting someone to be your color quality control person to give a second opinion when you are not sure the colors are not as they should be.

4 Howard Bunte July 6, 2011 at 17:47

Hey there, James!
Good to see the post…but as they all say, the pix, except the ”raw shot” , are all in varying shades of green. Only the ”raw” one is close to the true color of the CSX locomotive, on its “yellow” nose, that is…
and the trees, well they didn’t look too bad either, but… its the green/yellow thing…
Anyway, just back from three weeks in France, riding a tour bus much of the time from Paris south and then east to Nice, but the trains… and the subways in Paris… inspirational to ride along at almost 200MPH, better than 300Kilometers per hour… and the coffee in the cup is NOT jiggling…
Good to experience the ‘differences in culture’, as you did when at school in Mexico…
Glad to see you are ‘hanging in there’… HNB

5 R.J. McKay July 6, 2011 at 23:48

I am afraid the raw image is more accurate to true-to-life colors. Even the best color correction you did (closer to yellow so much that the trees start to look odd) made the nose way too bright. The CSX yellow is sort of an odd dull looking yellow. Probably should leave the color correction tools alone and just use the lighting adjustments. Digital cameras are pretty good at getting the color right to begin with.

Nice photo, though! –RJ–

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