Category Archives: Sepia Photography

Covered Wagons or the Family Car sure has changed

I use the sepia filter in my photography for old vintage subjects to reinforce the historic look.  Today I am featuring two covered wagons I came across in Oregon when I was doing a photoshoot of covered bridges. They were on the grounds of a local museum and of course I couldn’t resist the opportunity to shoot them. Presenting them using sepia tone to duplicate the old chemical process in developing film seemed an obvious choice for the subject matter.

As I looked at these covered wagons, I couldn’t help but think how it would have been traveling cross-country in this type of transportation. To traverse across vast distances of landscape with your family and all your belongings for months, to start a new life blows my mind.

As a child, I can remember loading up the family station wagon, (mom, dad and four kids) traveling from the midwest to visit relatives in California. I can recall that we would always drive the desert stretch at night since this was before air conditioning was common in cars (ok…I’m old). We did eventually get a new station wagon during those years that had AC and us kids thought we were in heaven during those later trips.

I applaud our forefathers in the eastern parts of the United States and Canada that headed west in both countries with this mode of transportation. Some settled in the plains and others continued westward through the Rocky Mountains to settle in the far west of both countries.

(on a side note: for those of you that follow my blog…after two weeks as I write this, we just today finished unpacking all boxes from our move… it has been a grueling but wonderful two weeks. We have had the pleasure of “much” time with our granddaughter, our daughter and son-in-law!! After getting everything set up in the house, we now have a garage full of furniture and assorted storage boxes that will find their way into a storage unit. We downsized with the move, but have a number of “heirloom” furniture pieces from my wife’s family and mine that that we will use in our next move to Seattle in about three years. What I haven’t shared is that in May, my wife had knee replacement surgery and then during recovery found out a prior injury months before surgery was actually a bone fracture in same foot as knee surgery. Bottom line…she is now in a “boot”, but has she let that slow her down in unpacking, etc…nope!! Bless happy hour and wine…wine mostly me!!)

Thoughts?

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Vintage Sepia Photography – Featured Art Prints

I like playing with the sepia look in photography. It conjures up images of old vintage photographs. My wife and I had our picture taken in an old west jail years ago…they decked us up in clothes from the time period. It was done in the sepia format giving it that old look. That experience started my interest in the sepia look.

In my years of photography, I have turned a number of shots into a sepia format (example my Chichen Itza post from last year). I typically feature old items such as the old cash register and chair from another post. Today I wanted to feature three such pictures from my photo shoot in the Sharlot Hall Museum located in Prescott, Arizona.

The first capture is a desk and chair located in one of the log cabins. I like the two architectural elements together and felt that putting a sepia vintage look to them would fit the time period they represent.

The second print is of that same log cabin from the exterior.

The final capture is a pot belly stove located in one of the log cabins on the property.

Thoughts?

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Climbing The Pyramid When You Could – El Castillo in Chichen Itza

Sepia Mayan Pyramid – El Castillo as it looks without people climbing it

Chichen Itza came up in a discussion recently about how you use to be able to climb the great stairs of the pyramid all the way to the top. I was fortunate enough to have done that very thing when you still could. I’m not sure of the specific year when I did the climb, but it was somewhere in the very early 2000’s. My wife and I were down there with a group of people from work (annual reward trip). We were staying in Cancun and took a chartered tour bus to Chichen Itza. I love history, architecture and ancient ruins, so I was in my element. Of course I was not without my camera and took a ton of shots of the different ruins, El Castillo being foremost in my shoot. I was fascinated from a photography aspect of pictures with people walking up the steps of this famous pyramid.

Fast forward to 2007 and we were back down there with some close friends and our respective families. My girls had heard about climbing this pyramid and couldn’t believe their father who has a fear of heights actually did it. Imagine their disappointment when we found out you could no longer climb the pyramid. Due to an unfortunate death to a falling tourist in late 2005 and to the damage being done by the sheer load of people trudging up and down those steps along with the graffiti left behind by those same people, it was no longer permitted.

“Chichen Itza” El Castillo the day I climbed to the top

Those pictures suddenly started taking on a new element for me as something that will not be seen again. As I worked with them for my gallery I kept getting this circa 1930’s vibe and Indiana Jones feel from them. Sepia popped into my head and after converting them decided to add another element of that old vibe with some texture. What came from that process is these three captures converted to what I think looks like an old Indiana Jones element from that era (of course I realize he wouldn’t be discovering anything new in a place that had tourist climbing pyramid steps, but my vision of this look didn’t care about such details).

“Walking Up The Pyramid”   you can see people coming down using my technique and people walking down like it wasn’t an issue….but you get the visual impact of how steep those stairs actually are.

Now you can’t leave without me telling you about the wonders of that climb. I have a fear of heights such as the edge of the Grand Canyon (edge only), glass elevators that take you up more than 10 stories….I have some tolerance….ledges on mountains to name a few. I knew climbing the stairs wouldn’t be an issue as you are looking at the structure. I didn’t have any issues climbing to the top and was a little cautious about walking around by the edge at the top….ok…I stayed pretty close to the walls of the structure you see up there. The view is incredible and I was fascinated by the placement of the different windows in the top structure. Truly forgetting about how far up I was, it was time to come back down. You have no idea just how really steep and narrow each of those steps are until you go back down. For me it was literally too much to try and walk back down those steps…one trip or miss-step and you will literally fall all the way down (which is unfortunately what happened to the tourist I mentioned above). The best way is to sit down and slide your backside down each step.

I have toured the site multiple times and have learned new things each time. For more information about Chichen Itza – Wikipedia Here.   Chichen Itza is located in the middle of the northern tier of the Yucatan Peninsula between Merida towards the Gulf of Mexico and Cancun on the Caribbean side. Thoughts?

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Sepia Tone – Vintage Photography

I enjoy using a sepia tone for some of my photography, specifically if it will enhance the subject matter. The sepia brown tones originated with film photography as part of the process to develop the prints in the 1800’s. Today, we can recreate that same vintage look digitally.

I have attached two pictures I took at the Hollywood School House in Woodinville, Washington (just outside of Seattle). The school was established in 1912 and has been restored to its turn of the century charm. It is currently used for weddings and special events and is located in the heart of the Woodinville Wine Valley.

 

Both of these items caught my attention and I thought they would make great sepia tone photographs to highlight the aged vintage look they represented. Thoughts?

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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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