There is no true color for a flower: Rlc. Goldenzelle 'Lemon Chiffon' as example

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Goldenzelle is a 1982-registered hybrid of (Rlc. Fortune x C. Horace) and my plant is a first-bloom mericlone of ‘Lemon Chiffon’ from Waldors.

An objects color is based on what it absorbs and reflects from any light source. Natural sunlight is variable based on the time of day, how far the location is from the equator, and the time of year. The more overhead the sun, the bluer the light. When the sun is near the horizon, the atmosphere filters the blue and the light becomes more yellow and red. These changes have a substantial impact on the perceived color of a flower.

I took three photos of ‘Lemon Chiffon’ with my iPhone under three different light conditions with no adjustments. This first one is under an LED light panel with a setting for a Kelvin color temperature of 5000 K, which would be about 11:00 AM on a cloudless summer day.
5000.jpeg
The second photo is under a light panel set for 3500 K color index, which is an intermediate, neutral white, seen at about 9:00 AM on a summer day.
3500.jpeg
The final photo is under a Spider Farmer SF 600 LED panel which doesn’t have a color temperature, but the light spectrum reported for the panel shows a specific boost in the red compared to natural sunlight. This would be closer to what would be obtained with early morning or late afternoon sunlight. This photo doesn’t have the black background because the Spider Farmer fixtures are not over the location where the black velvet is mounted.
Spider.jpeg
I can't define the true color of ‘Lemon Chiffon’ – or of any of my orchids – but I know I can manipulate things to appear more to my liking by altering the light! My assumption is that orchid shows have a range of light sources that influence flower color descriptions and maybe even judging scores.
 
Goldenzelle is a 1982-registered hybrid of (Rlc. Fortune x C. Horace) and my plant is a first-bloom mericlone of ‘Lemon Chiffon’ from Waldors.

An objects color is based on what it absorbs and reflects from any light source. Natural sunlight is variable based on the time of day, how far the location is from the equator, and the time of year. The more overhead the sun, the bluer the light. When the sun is near the horizon, the atmosphere filters the blue and the light becomes more yellow and red. These changes have a substantial impact on the perceived color of a flower.

I took three photos of ‘Lemon Chiffon’ with my iPhone under three different light conditions with no adjustments. This first one is under an LED light panel with a setting for a Kelvin color temperature of 5000 K, which would be about 11:00 AM on a cloudless summer day.
View attachment 44316
The second photo is under a light panel set for 3500 K color index, which is an intermediate, neutral white, seen at about 9:00 AM on a summer day.
View attachment 44317
The final photo is under a Spider Farmer SF 600 LED panel which doesn’t have a color temperature, but the light spectrum reported for the panel shows a specific boost in the red compared to natural sunlight. This would be closer to what would be obtained with early morning or late afternoon sunlight. This photo doesn’t have the black background because the Spider Farmer fixtures are not over the location where the black velvet is mounted.
View attachment 44318
I can't define the true color of ‘Lemon Chiffon’ – or of any of my orchids – but I know I can manipulate things to appear more to my liking by altering the light! My assumption is that orchid shows have a range of light sources that influence flower color descriptions and maybe even judging scores.
Interesting.
 
Orchid Show photographers have a list of guidelines in order to promote uniformity in terms of photographing award images. Those guidelines include camera equipment, number of pixels, sizes of images, manipulation limits, etc. etc. etc.

It is true that in judging, we do evaluate things under room lighting, most commonly some type of fluorescent light source. If any question arises concerning the true color of a plant we are considering, it is taken outside, hopefully in some sunlight, in order to get a better grip on flower color. I do not know what more we can do.
When it comes to Cattleyas and their color, color can be effected by night time temperatures that are too warm or temperatures that are too cool.
 
Orchid Show photographers have a list of guidelines in order to promote uniformity in terms of photographing award images. Those guidelines include camera equipment, number of pixels, sizes of images, manipulation limits, etc. etc. etc.

It is true that in judging, we do evaluate things under room lighting, most commonly some type of fluorescent light source. If any question arises concerning the true color of a plant we are considering, it is taken outside, hopefully in some sunlight, in order to get a better grip on flower color. I do not know what more we can do.
When it comes to Cattleyas and their color, color can be effected by night time temperatures that are too warm or temperatures that are too cool.
I look at a good number of award photos and think they have become better and more uniform in the last decade, but without a standardized diffuse light panel at a defined height above each flower for the pictures there will be a problem. I don't think there is confusion with the basics – is it white, yellow, purple, etc., – but the subtle coloration differences and comparisons to previous cultivars of a species ("the darkest we have seen") or of a hybrid are a problem.
 
Are you trying to make judging into a black and white decision?
There are gradations of color all over.
You said that everything might be better over the last decade. Could that be 15 years? 15 years is when digital photography for awards took hold. Cameras have come a long way in 15-20 years. Especially the sensors!!!
That takes us into the manufacturers specs. When it comes to the chips and evaluation of how different colors are perceived by different camera manufacturers, there was variation back then.
Take 15 years ago. I brought my orchids in on a discussion I presented on “How to Photograph Orchids”. It was the purple of purples Vanda Mikasa. It was the deep
Purple color form. Yet every Nikon shooter in the Flushing Camera Club was capturing Delph blue flowers, not purple. Every Canon shooter like me, had images showing the true purple color!!! We had a nice little discussion about the results, that’s for sure.

As far as the “darkest we have seen”, no judge should really say that. It should be the darkest I Have Seen or the DARKEST ONE I CAN FIND AMONG THE AWARDED CLONES.
No ones eyes are perfect. We just try to do the best we can.
 
Oh, I had to re-read this. I still don’t understand completely what your point is exactly. We as humans, we as orchid hobbyists, we as judges can not determine what the true color of an orchid flower is?? Is that it?
But you are not really changing the flowers real color, you are manipulating the light only. And it judging, that does not matter.
Like I said, we encounter different lighting conditions all the time when we judge. We try to compensate for that.
The AOS award photographers have a list of requirements that they should follow. We try to keep color plain and simple. Is it clear? Is it bright? Is it saturated? The same holds for markings like stripes and spots.
If the color we see is bright canary yellow, that is what we record it as. It does not matter if it is really two ticks more orange or one tick more reddish. No one is going to see that slight difference.
Color is seen as what an individual sees. Nothing more, nothing less.
The point you are trying to make, if I understand this, makes no difference in scoring or judging.
 
Settling on a color descriptor is often one of the most difficult parts of the discussion. I know that when I am writing a description at the table I almost always leave plenty of space around the color(s) as invariably there will be several opinions to negotiate. When there is daylight we almost always use the natural light to determine color and texture. If no daylight available then the photographer’s lighting ( anything but fluorescents).
 
I think many of us make judgments and purchasing decisions based on flower pictures. I think my point was that lighting (and cameras) change the colors that are shown in a photo. We need to be cautious.
 
I don’t know how things are done at your center but at Great Lakes, our least experienced people write descriptions along with their advisor or an accredited judge. The entire description is presented to the team. We edit as we go. So when we approve it, we transfer it to the entry form. Color is decided towards the beginning of the process.
The measurements are taken and transferred early on to the entry form. They are usually taken by non description writers.
 
In judging, the colors can decide whether a plant is awarded. If one can get judged under beneficial lighting, even if the judges "take it out back", the lighting has affected the decision.
 

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