Sepia Tone in the Old West – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

It seems to me that whenever I come across photo opportunities that are of the old west, my mind immediately thinks “What would this look like in a sepia tone?” The sepia tone gives photography an old rustic look since it dates back to the 1880’s and is a familiar sight from photography taken in the old west. Living in the Phoenix area, there are plenty of opportunities to capture shots from that time period. A couple of weeks ago, we had family visiting and decided we wanted to go up to Tortilla Flats for lunch. None of us had been out there in a number of years and thought it would be fun. For those of you that are wondering what Tortilla Flats is, it is a replica of an old west town (and I use the term loosely) that houses a restaurant,  saloon, ice cream parlor, gift shop and small museum. Tourist attraction, you say…absolutely but based on actual history. It was a stagecoach stop and originated as a camping ground for prospectors searching for gold in the surrounding Superstition Mountains. Needless to say, there are numerous “Old West” photo opportunities. I wanted to share a couple of shots that I took that day and walk you through my “sepia” process to create that old rustic look to the photos.

Both shots actually look good in color, but for someone who wants an art print of the rustic old west, they typically are looking for the sepia tone as they decorate a room around that warm earth tone.

Old West Mine 1

Old West Mine 1

The first shot is of a fake gold mine; the “Lost Dutchman Gold Mine” which is rumored to be loaded with a cache of gold somewhere in the Superstition Mountains. This setting is part of the “ambience” of Tortilla Flats and created a great photo opportunity.

In this second shot, I converted the photograph to a sepia tone using Photoshop. The look now takes on an age by using this color.

The last shot shows the sepia tone, but with a light filter darkening the edges, creating a focal point, depth, and drama completing the look I am going for.

Old West Window 1

Old West Window 1

This next shot is of an old wooden window partially boarded up (again… ambience for the setting) and a great photograph. I like the color in this shot as it pulls the wood grains out, but for purposes of an art print portraying the look of this era, I convert to sepia, which is the next shot.

And then doing the same lighting treatment as in the first series, I finish up with an art print that has a touch more drama to complete the look I was going for.

Thoughts?

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Red Hibiscus – Featured Art Prints

I just completed (literally this morning) two art prints that I added to my Floral/Still Life Gallery. They are “Red Hibiscus Flower” and “Red Hibiscus Bloom”. Both prints were inspired by one of our Hibiscus bushes, which is now in full bloom. The blooms on this plant are incredibly large and very vibrant in their color. I worked on a couple of approaches to best compliment the simplicity and beauty of these tropical flowers and settled on a subtle watercolor technique. Thoughts?

I invite you to visit my Floral/Still Life Gallery to enjoy these prints and many more.

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Guide Me Back – A Featured Art Print

I want to feature an art print that was born as a result of my blog a couple of weeks ago. The art print is titled ” Guide Me Back” from my Inspiration Gallery. You might recognize it as “A Path In The Forest” from my Landscape Oil Gallery.

Guide Me Back

Wall Art Print: Guide Me Back

Let me back up for a minute….one of my more popular Inspiration Gallery prints is titled “Life is a Journey”.

Wall Art Print: Life is a Journey

Wall Art Print: Life is a Journey

It depicts a green forest and hiking trail with a personal thought and prayer of mine. A client who has that print and uses it as a daily reminder also reads my blog. They saw “A Path In The Forest” and contacted me asking if I would put my “Life is a Journey” verbiage on that print for them. I do a lot of custom work with that particular gallery (usually different bible versions of verses I have on my art prints) and said, “No problem”. I really liked the way it turned out and decided to add it to the gallery. Thoughts? 

I invite you to visit my Inspiration Gallery to enjoy this print and many more.

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The Bright Red Barn – Featured Art Print

The Bright Red Barn: a wall art print where I used an abstract watercolor technique creating this scene. This technique uses blocks of color shapes to create the subject, which creates a clean, modern look. This particular wall art print depicts a typical bright red barn.

 

The setting is rural Iowa in the area surrounding the Amana Colonies in eastern Iowa. The time of year is mid winter with just hints of snow left here and there. The starkness and barren look of the countryside as a backdrop against the bright red barn, creates a very unique perspective that I tried to capture in this scene. Thoughts?

I invite you to visit my Landscape Watercolor Gallery to enjoy this print and many more.

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A Path in the Forest and A Hiking Trail – Featured Art Prints

This week I’m featuring the remaining two wall art prints from the series I mentioned last week in my blog “Sun in the Forest”. These art prints are titled “A Path in the Forest” and “A Hiking Trail”. Both prints are recreations of scenes from my hiking time in the Cascade Mountain Range in Washington State. For both, I used a gothic oil technique that I like as it uses warm earth tones and bold brush strokes creating an old world look.

“A Path in the Forest” centers the path as it goes through the dense forest disappearing into the distance. There is just a hint of sunlight on the path and the trees illuminating the way.

“A Hiking Trail” gives just a hint of the hiking trail by using more red tones to delineate the path. By looking at the center of the picture, you see a hint of the trail again, suggesting that it winds throughout the forest. Thoughts?

I invite you to visit my Landscape Oil Gallery to enjoy this print and many more.

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Red Rocks – Green Desert: Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

Last week I posted some shots from a hike, my son-in-law and I did a few weekends back. We went to Camelback Mountain here in the Phoenix area for a hike. It was a beautiful Saturday morning with perfect weather. Camelback is well known for the steepness of the trail. You ascend 1200 feet in just over a mile. It’s very popular this time of year with the weather here just in the 80’s and not yet the heat of the summer. The area is beautiful and is known for the red rock outcroppings rising from the desert floor. Never one to be without my camera, I had a great time as we ascended the trail. What I wanted to share today is the contrast between the red rock of the area and the green desert around it. This is the only time of year the contrast is so vibrant. The desert plant life does maintain some green during the heat of the summer, but not as vivid as spring. With all of that said, I love the contrast between the two rich colors and wanted to share some of my shots.

Camelback Red Rock 1

Camelback Red Rock 1

This first shot shows part of the ridge-line that makes up Camelback Mountain. We took a side trail that leads into a small valley away from the main trail. Notice the green land rising up to the ridge forming a point. That portion of the mountain is softer rock and has eroded more readily over the millennium. It comes down into this little valley and you see it littered with large and small boulders.

 

Camelback Red Rock 2

Camelback Red Rock 2

This next shot is in the same area as the first photograph. Again, the contrast of the green plant life against the red rocks and blue sky creates a beautiful scene.

Camelback Red Rock 3

Camelback Red Rock 3

Camelback Red Rock 4

Camelback Red Rock 4

Camelback Red Rock 5

Camelback Red Rock 5

Photographs 3, 4 and 5 are the boulders that have fallen over the years and sit on the desert floor creating that spectacular color contrast.

 

Camelback Red Rock 6

Camelback Red Rock 6

This last photograph is away from the area of the valley and is along the main trail as it begins the ascent up to the summit.

Thoughts?

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Sun in the Forest – Featured Art Print

This week I’m featuring a print from a series in my Landscape Oil Gallery. The art print is titled: Sun in the Forest. The setting is a forest in the Cascade Mountain Range where the tree canopy creates a natural barrier to direct sunshine. Then suddenly you see it, a shaft of bright sun piercing the canopy and illuminating the undergrowth of the forest floor. The suggestion of birch trees frames the scene and adds depth to the setting. To recreate this scene, I used a gothic oil technique that I like as it uses warm earth tones and bold brush strokes creating an old world look to the art print.

Thoughts?

I invite you to visit my Landscape Oil Gallery to enjoy this print and many more.

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