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Peggy Spoon photo is study in two kinds of color in nature

About: Prettiest Spring Ever 2010: Eastern Tiger Butterfly and Lilac

By Billy Joe Fudge
This photo is a study in two kinds of colors generated by nature.

The Lilac flowers are a great example of color that is generated by pigments that allow certain wavelengths of light to pass through while reflecting others which allows us to see distinct colors. Generally speaking the color is the same even when viewed from different angles. Most of us are familiar with this type color.

Many butterflies are perfect examples of structural color. Iridescent color is structural color. Structural color is simply color that is generated by the way the surface reflecting the light is constructed rather than by pigments.

Parallel grooves and parallel layers cause particular wavelengths of light to be reflected in different directions thus as our visual angle changes the color we see can change.

Some other examples of structural color phenomenon are certain feathers such as peacock feathers, some beetle shells, oil on water, and even the blue of the sky is structural color caused by parallel atmospheric layers since there is no blue pigment in the air.

My feeble attempt to explain structural color is probably intensely insufficient. Hopefully however, I have whetted your appetite enough to cause you to do a little research on your own. -Billy Joe Fudge

This story was posted on 2010-04-15 16:18:18
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