Tag Archives: old west

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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Stagecoach and Wagon – Featured Art Prints

Red Stagecoach and Blue Covered Wagon are art prints I created using a traditional oil technique to create this look. This technique uses strong, but narrow brush strokes with bright colors. I liked the way it accented the colors and structure of both vehicles.

The inspiration behind these prints are a stagecoach and covered wagon I came across in the Sharlot Hall Museum located in Prescott, Arizona.  The museum structure houses these two modes of transportation along with vintage cars.

I can’t even fathom having to travel across the wide open expanse of the Western United States in either of these vehicles. Every summer I reflect back to what it must have been like traversing the mountains and deserts back in that era as we drive on modern freeways with our air conditioning keeping us comfortable. I applaud the determination of our forefathers who settled this vast territory.  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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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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Cave Creek, Arizona – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

Cave Creek 1

Cave Creek 1

The excerpts from a photo shoot I want to share today are from Cave Creek, Arizona. Cave Creek is located in the extreme northern end of the Phoenix metropolitan area and has become an extremely popular destination for tourist. Keeping the spirit of the “Old West” alive, the town has the look and feel of those days gone by.

I have attached four shots out of 90 that I took and they all come from a re-created old west town that today serves as shops for tourists. There are numerous carriages and wagons lining the main street next to the wooden walkways typical for an old western town. For a photographer, it’s a dream come true for creating old west art prints and photographs.

The first photograph is of a courtyard located towards the back of the town right off of main street. I like the look of the fountain and took a couple of shots to see what I would get.

The composition of the next shot gives you an idea of just how much “Old West” items are around this town. There are wooden wagon wheels everywhere and I loved the old outhouse at the end of the street.

Cave Creek 2

Cave Creek 2

The third photograph shows some of the shops and the wooden walkway with a carriage in front.

 

Cave Creek 3

Cave Creek 3

The fourth and final capture shows a replica of a Native American Indian teepee. The keynote here is replica, as an actual teepee (or tipi) was constructed of animal skins and was without wooden floors for ease of mobility.

Cave Creek 4

Cave Creek 4

 

I haven’t decided what I will do with these particular photographs, but wanted to share them. What I usually do after a photo shoot is take a quick inventory of the results to see what I am interested in doing something with. In this particular case, I was getting ready to update my Sepia Photography Collection, so that was foremost on my mind with this subject matter. I pulled a few of the shots and added them to that collection. The rest of them, I will sit on and go back to them at a later date to see what I visualize at that time. Most of my painting prints come from that process of waiting and then revisiting. Thoughts?

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