Sensors for Picking Up Colours in the Surrounding Environment

I'll try to explain this to the best of my ability because it's a pretty obscure request.

I'm currently working on an artistic project about generative art. I'm attempting to put together something that is essentially a box that logs data from a large number of sensors over the course of a journey. Most of of the sensors I'm working with are pretty straightforward but I'm trying to come up with a way to measure the colours in the surrounding environment. I'm not convinced that RGB gels over photo-resistors will work because I think they will just wash out in broad-daylight without providing any interesting data, and I'm not sure an RGB colour sensor will have the range to measure the wider environment. Here's the weirdly specific bit though: I don't really want to take pictures unless I have to because I'm looking for more abstract data.

Is there any way to use a camera to deliver just colour data rather than pictures, or is there another sensor option I'm not aware of that might work?

Ta.

Steer28:
I'm trying to come up with a way to measure the colours in the surrounding environment

What are you after? a) prominent colours in a scene or b) the average colour of a scene ?

If you want the average colour for a particular angle of view you would need some lens arrangement to focus that part of the scene on a diffuser with an RGB sensor behind it.

Here's the weirdly specific bit though: I don't really want to take pictures unless I have to because I'm looking for more abstract data.

So, if you took a picture is the 'more abstract data' just the average colour of that picture ?

Yours,
TonyWilk

Take the raw image and average the colours.

Note: you can't do that with an Arduino (not enough memory).

I had thought about taking an average but my concern was that all you would ever get is a muddy brown result (although not necessarily). Prominence might work better but I've no idea how I would pull that off. The reality might be that I just have to invest some cash and experiment with different options. I was considering buying a Pixy CMUcam5.

Cheers for engaging with me on this.

Steer28:
I had thought about taking an average but my concern was that all you would ever get is a muddy brown result (although not necessarily). Prominence might work better but I've no idea how I would pull that off.

Yeh, this is what I was worried about - 'prominence' is a subjective thing, not easily measured.

The reality might be that I just have to invest some cash and experiment with different options. I was considering buying a Pixy CMUcam5.

No - I wouldn't get a Pixy cam yet...

Beg, borrow or steal a camera with decent zoom and manual focus. Zoom right in and make it as blurry as possible with focus. See what you get. Take some pics and 'gaussian blur' them a lot in PhotoShop or whatever.

I did try this with my Samsung S6 'phone and it sorta works... pinch-zoomed in and found the 'pro', 'manual focus' and messed with it.

I think you'll need a fairly narrow field of view (zoomed in a lot) to get 'less muddy colours' - so I wouldn't spend money on something which can't zoom yet.

Yours,
TonyWilk