Weekly Photo Challenge: YELLOW (Around the World)

“The colour yellow is a mystical experience shared by everybody.”

Tom Stoppard

( 12 photos)



This week Krista believes her “Yellow” challenge presents us with a curveball, since the holidays around the world seem to include every color BUT yellow. In a rare example of color-challenge-coordination, I’ve also linked this post to Ailsa’s “Golden” Travel Theme. Coincidentally, as my husband is driving us north toward our family holiday celebrations, I am passing the time reading Color by Eckstut and Eckstut, a fascinating read full of beautiful photography as well as information on the history, science and physics of color – including, of course, yellow. Serendipity!



“There are not more than five primary colors (blue, yellow, red, white and black), yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever be seen.”

Sun Tzu

Color’s chapter on yellow offers some very interesting insights that are perfectly suited for a challenge about its many shades. For example, did you know that the sensitivity of the human eye is at its peak when viewing yellows and hence can see more varieties of this color than any other? According to the authors, scientists believe our prehistoric ancestors saw far fewer colors, and the human brain has evolved to its current state over time. They theorize we are extra-sensitive to yellow because it helped us to distinguish yellow fruits from the green leaves around them.



“A single leaf turns not yellow but with the silent knowledge of the whole tree.”

Kahlil Gibran

I’ve responded to this week’s challenge with some favorite yellow captures from my travels, a few of which I’ve posted before, several I’m sharing for the first time. My two opening shots are from a journey to Southeast Asia several years ago. The logical next stop was China, where Color tells us yellow plays an important cultural role – it was seen in China as a color superior to all others. From the 7th to the 20th centuries, only the emperor was allowed to wear its brightest form, while subtler shades were reserved for his sons. It was widely used in China’s imperial palaces, such as the one above.



“And the yellow sunflower by the brook, in autumn beauty stood.”

William Cullen Bryant

Beyond the imperial palaces, yellows can be seen throughout China in her golden rice and barley fields, as well as in the many bright yellow sunflowers that grow throughout the country. Above, a pile of discarded flower-heads probably used for their nutritious seeds or oils.



“Magic lies in between things. Between the day and the night, between yellow and blue, between any two things.”

Charles de Lint

Of course, the most obvious choice for a photographer is the golden glow of sunlight, seen above in one of the beautiful archways of Dubrovnik.  Color explains that the sun is not yellow or golden, it is actually white. A phenomenon known as Rayleigh scattering, which causes us to see the wavelengths of light as they hit the tiny particles throughout our atmosphere, is what causes us to see it as yellow or red. Further, the book explains what most photographers know, that complimentary colors (such as the blue of the window in the shot above or the mix of colors in the capture below) add significantly to our viewing pleasure.



“All of us are navigating our own personal yellow brick roads.”

James Van Praagh

Perhaps the thing I found most interesting in my reading is the varying degree to which different creatures see color. Bats, for example, see everything in shades of black and grey because they need vision only at night. The average human can see 10 million colors, which is fewer still than the average butterfly.  As colors evolved, their influence on our emotions became recognized and marketers and advertisers got into the game. A “color forecaster” has thus become an important cog in the wheel of product development and promotion. The advertisement above for a concert in Vienna takes advantage of this concept with its vibrant colors, including this week’s yellow.



“Hello heaven; you are a tunnel lined with yellow lights on a dark night.

Lana Del Rey

Yellows are prevalent throughout the natural world, and where better to experience them than in Africa. Above we see a beautifully-colored Heliconia Rostrata, below an African Crested Barbet and a majestic leopard. Each offers a different example of nature’s yellow varieties.



“Yellow circles are friendly, especially smiley faces.”

Jarod Kintz



“Life is a loaded gun that looks right at you with a yellow eye.”

Billy Collins

Finally, three examples of palest yellow from beautiful Buenos Aires and the nearby Mendoza Wine region. First, a young man waits on the steps of a crumbling yellow building. Following him, a small thoughtful gift at a grave that has been long-neglected. Last but not least, a nod to the ubiquitous yellow pencil 😊 and a golden toast to the best of holidays wherever they may find you.



“Silence isn’t always golden. Sometimes it’s just yellow.”

Dorothy Grover Bolton



“Mystery is more evident in certain things than in others: in the sea, in the eyes of the elders, in the color yellow, and in music.”

Jorge Luis Borges



“Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot. Others transform a yellow spot into the sun.”

Pablo Picasso

My best wishes to all for a safe and happy holiday season. With a grateful nod to the sisters Eckstut for their informative (and for me, timely) book, I invite you to see the yellows of some other bloggers by clicking here. 

141 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: YELLOW (Around the World)

  1. That is about as nice of a diverse set of yellows one will ever see ~ love the discussion of color as the shading of colors is pretty fascinating. My office in China uses a spectrophotometer to measure color (all quantitative) because of the extreme differences humans view (and how we are affected by the surrounding colors as well). As for your incredible photos, the sunflower shots I admired the most. Would feel great at the end of the day if I had those to view as I walked home 🙂

  2. You have talent…not only in photographing the right moment in right light, but also writing apt lines and conveying strong messages in sublime words. Such a pleasure to see shades of yellow…a colour born from the Sun !

    • Thank you Svetlana. That was a very interesting moment as the monks all filed by the local people who offered them foods. Need to check the question re the last photo, will let u know when I’m back on my computer. Happy Hanukkah to you and yours!

  3. Just fabulous photos…and words!! Thank u for sharing your ‘new’ knowledge of yellow…very interesting!! So happens it a a favorite color of mine!! I find it to be very happy & warm! Merry Merry to u as well!!

  4. Here there is so much more to yellow than meets the eye 😉 Lovely lively post Tina . Blue and yellow magic .. oh yes I believe in that . Fabulous photos as ever .
    Wishing you and your family a very Happy Christmas Tina 🙂

  5. Fascinating post T and very timely as just this weekend celebrating Christmas with my new little MULLINS Man, we were researching colors that babies can really see! He was fascinated with my ” yellow/gold snow globe of an angel. Thanks ️always for sharing your creative and insightful perspectives. Merry Christmas my friends. Linda

    • Oh you lucky grandmom you! What a fun Christmas for your family with a new little one to share it with. The best Christmas gift ever!! Have a wonderful holiday and a bright, healthy New Year.

  6. Beautiful photos, and a beautiful read this post was, Tina. You certainly have a way with words. I feel like I’ve learnt so much more about “yellow” now. Love how you shared with us that rice fields in China come across as yellow – they are pale yellow, with the sun gleaming of them, and I never really thought of it like that. If you haven’t said that it was the sunlight that was making the Dubrovnik arches yellow, I would have thought that was the natural colour of the bricks. Nature is amazing that way 🙂

    • Thanks for your very thoughtful comment Mabel. Yes, as I said while I was posting from there, China was an incredible dream for a photographer. I was exhausted at the end of each day from the sensory overload and photography opportunities! Some day when you have some time, do a search on my blog for my posts about Dragon’s Back in Longsheng, and also about the rice fields in Dali and the barley fields in Shangri-La. Nature at its finest😊 thanks for your visit and Happy Holidays to you!

    • 😄 Thanks Ruby, she was adorable and her yellow against the building was too good to pass up! We were on a boat and she was on a houseboat so it’s not the crispest of shots but still blog worthy I thought!! Happy holidays to you and thanks for stopping by.

  7. thanks for including one of my favourite quotes from Pablo Picasso, right off the top.
    a beautiful presentation as well as representation of yellow. i was especially interested to see those golden arches of Dubrovnik, a place i have not yet seen but one which is in the plans for sometime next year. i will be watching for them!
    and here’s sending you cheers and blessings, wishing you a very merry Christmas too!

    • A very merry Christmas to you too Kris. Yes, Dubrovnik is magical in the early morning and early evening. The alleys and crumbling stairways are a photographer’s dream! Hope you get this this year. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. I always look forward to your posts and thank you for brightening up my life throughout the year. Delightful interpretation of the yellow challenge and I wish you a golden time over the holidays and a great new year!
    Jude xx

  9. Thanks Tina for your wonderful and informative post. It’s why I look forward to seeing Travels and Trifles each week. Not only is it always a treat for the eye but the quotes and written content are such a pleasure to read. I love the Picasso quote, and your toast to the holidays. Wishing you and yours the happiest, and a very Happy New Year. 2015! Hard to believe. 🙂

  10. Hi Tina 😊
    Truly outstanding and marvelous
    entry ! The photos are exquisite ,
    prose is a wealth of knowledge and
    quotes are so apropos! Love this
    entry ( as much as I love all your blogs)
    – so heartwarming during this
    Season ! Happy Holidays! 😀
    ( another ubiquitous yellow sign,
    so beloved universally)

  11. Such an array of yellow! My favorite was the Golden Arches in Dubrovnik–until I saw that crested Barbet. That look in his eye says it all: ‘ come closer, honey. I won’t bite!’ Safe travels and Happy Holidays to you too, Tina.

  12. Superb photos and wonderful information about yellow. And good for you educating yourself while hubbie does the driving. I carry my Kindle with me everywhere so I can read in spare moments. While all the images are splendid, the golden arches really stood out for me. Great work…. again!

  13. You have shown us a beautiful collection Tina. And the tidbits you have shared with us on colour are very interesting.
    My favourite photo? That would have to be the one of the monk (?) wearing the saffron coloured belt.

    • Young monk, but monk yes. Many young men get their education via the monks and then return to normal life. I believe the yellow sash means he’s not completed training. Anyway, thanks Colline!

  14. Loved this post. Your choice of photographs to represent of the various shades of yellow was extraordinary. And I learned a few very interesting facts about bats, humans and butterflies vis-a-vis “color”. Good to know for playing “Jeopardy”. 🙂
    Well done, Tina.

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