Observers can generally make reliable judgments of surface color in natural scenes despite changes in an illuminant that is out of view. This ability has sometimes been attributed to observers' estimating the spectral properties of the illuminant in order to compensate for its effects. To test this hypothesis, two surface-color-matching experiments were performed with images of natural scenes obtained from high-resolution hyperspectral images. In the first experiment, the sky illuminating the scene was directly visible to the observer, and its color was manipulated. In the second experiment, a large gray sphere was introduced into the scene so that its illumination by the sun and sky was also directly visible to the observer, and the color of that illumination was manipulated. Although the degree of color constancy varied across this and other variations of the images, there was no reliable effect of illuminant color. Even when the sky was eliminated from view, color constancy did not worsen. Judging surface color in natural scenes seems to be independent of an explicit illuminant cue.
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