Category Archives: Sepia Photography

The Oyster Farm – Featured Art Prints

When we were in the Pacific Northwest last June, on our way over to Henry Island, we stopped at an oyster farm on San Juan Island. I have to say…that was a first. I truly didn’t have any preconceived notions of what an oyster farm would look like or how it worked, so I found the entire experience fascinating. The operation is so incredibly interesting, but not much in the way of a photo shoot opportunity. That said, the old buildings and equipment immediately spoke sepia tone for that rustic and vintage look. I finally settled on the attached four shots and just recently added them to my Sepia Photography Gallery.


The first one is the main facility where the offices and transactions are handled. The red “Oysters” creates a subtle focal point (on a project I worked on for a client earlier this year, they bought a series of sepia tone prints and asked me to create a subtle red element in each one….I liked the look, so added that to three of these).


 

 

The second shot is a storage shed on the property that they were talking about tearing down (they have since decided to keep it and upgrade it).


 

The third capture is netting on the dock with flotation balls. Again, I used the touch of red as an additional element.


 

The fourth print is of a small crane on the dock used to lower and raise the containers of oysters in and out of the water.

Thoughts??


 

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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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Comfort – Featured Art Print

“Comfort” is an art print I am featuring from my Inspiration Gallery. The art print is done with a quote from 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 as an overlay on a photograph I have done using a sepia tone of a rural farm nestled in the backcountry of Oregon.

Comfort

Comfort

The creation of this inspirational print was a request by a client. They have purchased a few of my inspirational prints and recently contacted me with a desire for a print that would inspire them and be a daily reminder concerning a situation in their family. She was looking for a biblical quote that supported the concept of being there for a hurting family member, to help lift them up and at the same time support their own personal grief. The other part of the request was a farm related photograph.

Not one to back from a challenge, I started racking my brains and researching key words in a bible reference section. I know a lot of people can quote verses like they are always on the tip of their tongue…well, not this guy…I can barely quote what I had for dinner the night before. I remember concept and can tell you philosophically what is what, but to be able to say “Yes, that would be in the book of…chapter…verse…” not from me in this lifetime. My brain just isn’t wired that way. So the search was on.

I found a verse that fit the bill. So the next step was the print. I seek to make sure that the biblical quote I am using is a good marriage with the art print I put it on. In this particular case, when I settled on the verse I wanted to share, I went searching for the correct print. This particular print stood out in my head as I had just worked with it recently. The next step was the font style and placement. That always requires a lot of trial and error and ultimately what I think looks like the best fit. I am pleased with the way this print came together.

The setting for this particular art print is a farm in the backcountry of Oregon. I came across it when my wife and I were doing a photo shoot of covered bridges in Oregon. The farm was nestled in a field surround by a forest. It was early morning with light rain on and off. The scene was very peaceful with a wisp of low clouds or fog drifting down the hill. I liked the sepia finish to the scene as it gives it a time tested look and for this print doesn’t distract from the bible verse, but allows it to take center stage. Thoughts?

I have my inspiration prints in two locations. I opened an Etsy shop to utilize a feature they have that I wanted to test before adding it onto my website and that is the ability to download a print, keep it in electronic form for background on computers as an example or print at your own convenience. For smaller prints I thought it was a great idea for international sales as there aren’t any postage costs. Also on Etsy, I am offering these prints in an 8X10 size pre-matted with white matting and backer board ready for an 11X14 frame.

On my main gallery website, I offer the same prints in four different sizes all giclee prints on professional grade gloss photo paper.

Etsy: 8X10 downloadable version of this print.

Etsy: 8X10 pre-matted and mounted for 11X14 frame.

My web site: four sizes to choose from.

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Sepia Photography – Featured Art Prints

My featured Art Print this week is actually four of them from my Sepia Photography Gallery. They are: “ Logging Tools” – “Mine Cart” – “Wagon Wheel Hub” and “Cedar Rapids Barn”. I’m featuring four prints to illustrate some examples of the type of shots I think make good sepia tone photographs.

Dating back to the 1880’s, sepia toning was a chemical change used on black and white photographs to give them a warmer look and to enhance the archival qualities. Today, we associate the look with old historic photographs. With the advent of digital photo manipulation, it is very easy to recreate that look on any photograph. I use it to support a look that I associate with the tone as being old, historic and rustic. The type of subject matter that I convert to a sepia tone fits into that category and is what comprises my Sepia Photography Gallery.

My first example is from the Issaquah, Washington Railroad Depot Museum, which was built in 1889. This particular train station was an important stop between the mountain towns in the Cascades and Seattle. Issaquah became a point of export for timber, thus the example of tools used to handle the transportation of timber. By it’s very nature, this shot depicts elements dating back to the time of sepia, so it seems pretty natural to show it with those tones.

The next photograph is from the same museum, but depicts a different industry that the area was well-known for; mining. This is another obvious use of the sepia tone to create that old rustic look.

The third shot is an old west wagon wheel I found as part of the ambience for shops set up like an old west town in Cave Creek, Arizona. Again, this seems obvious due to the historic factor of the subject matter.

The last shot is an old barn I found by accident in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In an area on the outskirts where large homes with multiple acres of land have taken over, I saw this barn out of the corner of my eye off the main road behind some trees. Doing my usual, I processed what I think I saw in a short flash, found a place to turn around and drove back to where I had spotted it. It was a short hike through the trees, but I got some great shots. The barn isn’t as old as the use of sepia tones, but due to the condition of the building, I liked the look that this tone gave it.

Maybe these shots seemed like obvious subject matter, but not everything that is “obvious” really looks good in a sepia tone. I think the tone enhanced the look of these subjects and made the final print more interesting. Sepia, just like black and white photography has to have elements of contrast and lines to make a photograph “pop”. The other interesting aspect of this type of art print is how it has been used in interior decor. I have been surprised to see a number of these “old rustic” shots used in more contemporary interior design where warm earth tones are important elements to the overall look. So much of the final look depends on the matting and framing. Thoughts?

 

I invite you to come into the gallery to view the addition of new art prints to the collection in Sepia Photography Gallery

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The Mining Cart – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

Using one of my recent photo shoots (Jerome, Arizona to be exact), I wanted to walk through a process to turn some of your photos into “old” prints. Lately, I have seen a lot of interior designs that use this type of look for their art prints. It may not be everyone’s taste, but there is a place for it and I thought I would show a couple of quick easy tips.

To start with, the most important thing to take a look at is the subject matter itself. Does it say old or rustic? For this example, I am attaching a shot I took in Jerome, Arizona a little while ago (If you follow this blog you will remember two earlier posts around a classic car and an abandoned building). The first attachment is the original shot of an old mining cart from the mine, which Jerome was built around. Of course I had to try for an artistic shot of this relic, so it meant all but laying down on the track. I was pleasantly surprised to see a couple of tourist do the same thing after watching me. 🙂

Original Mining Cart Shot

Original Mining Cart Shot

So the subject matter qualifies as old and rustic, we can all agree on that.

Mining Cart - Black and White

Mining Cart – Black and White

The first process I took a look at was black and white. Black and white photography doesn’t by itself create an old look since it is used today to create some very modern contemporary art prints. That said, with the right subject matter a simple change to this monochrome look can create the “old” photo appearance you might be looking for.

Mining Cart Sepia Tone

Mining Cart Sepia Tone

The next approach is the sepia tone photography. This alone creates an instant old look as we associate the sepia tone with pictures from the 1800’s in photography’s infancy. It works well with this subject looking like it could have been one of the original shots when the mine was up and running for business.

Mining Cart Sepia Tone with Texture

Mining Cart Sepia Tone with Texture

This last attachment is the same shot with some texture (compliments of Photoshop) added to create a look of a photo on old paper (the texture is very subtle and difficult to see on this size). The point of all of this is to show you how easy with some simple steps, you can turn one of your photos into an art print for your wall assuming this a look you are after. Not to confuse the issue, but one last comment. An original old shot from the era my subject matter comes from, would have slightly different lighting with the center being brighter than the edges. That look can also be incorporated, but I didn’t want to make this a process that got cumbersome and the final result (which I also played with) was very subtle in the changes it made. Thoughts?

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Green Wagon – Featured Art Print From My Sepia Photography Collection

The art print I wanted to feature today is from my Sepia Photography Collection titled “Green Wagon”.  The print is a sepia photograph of an old wagon used to haul goods and produce between town and the farm or ranch, circa 1800’s.

I liked the look of the wagon in this shot, and wanted to focus on the wagon bed and wooden wheels. The wagon has a long bed to haul a week or more of supplies between town and a farm or ranch. Conversely, it is built to haul produce in large quantities from the farm or ranch into town. Since time didn’t permit daily trips, you needed to be able to load large quantities when you did go into town. Notice the detail of the wagon from the steel side supports to the large wooden wheels. The wagon was built for endurance in its day, but today sits protected along the streets of an old west town fenced off from people trying to climb on board.

Because of the subject matter of this photograph, my inclination was to convert it into a sepia tone print. Sepia photography is the brown color tones we associate with very old photographs. The look is a result of the technique used in developing photographic film during the 1800’s and early 1900’s. Today we can create that same look digitally.  My first step was to convert this photograph into sepia, which I did. I also liked the color of the wagon and the wheels in the original shot, so I played with allowing some of the green and red to bleed through. I liked the effect with just a light touch of color. To finish off that old west look and feel, I added some subtle texture for added warmth. Thoughts?

I invite you to come into the gallery to view the new additions to the collection in Sepia Photography.

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Wagon Wheels – Featured Art Print From my Sepia Photography Collection

The art print I wanted to feature today is from my Sepia Photography Collection titled “Wagon Wheels”.  This art print is a sepia photograph of two wagon wheels on an old west wagon. The wagon dates back to the 1800’s in the heyday of the “Wild West”.

I liked the wagon in this shot, and wanted to focus on the wooden wheels rimmed with steel. Notice the wood grain even in the spokes and throughout the back of the wagon. The original leaf spring can still be seen supporting the back structure of the wagon on the axle (not that they ever really made a ride smooth between the ruts in the dirt and the unforgiving wheels). The position of the wagon on a dirt street completed the look I was after for an old west art print.

Because of the subject matter of this photograph, my inclination was to convert it into a sepia tone print. Sepia photography is the brown color tones we associate with very old photographs. The look is a result of the technique used in developing photographic film during the 1800’s and early 1900’s. Today we can create that same look digitally.  My first step was to convert this photograph into sepia, which I did. I also liked the color of the wheel in the original shot, so I played with allowing some of the green to bleed through. I liked the effect with just a light touch of color. To finish off that old west look and feel, I added some subtle texture for added warmth. Thoughts?

I invite you to come into the gallery to view the new additions to the collection in Sepia Photography.
Please visit my main gallery: TheWallGallery (All domestic orders over $60.00 – free shipping!)
Follow my work:
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