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!!)
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This week I am featuring three art prints from my Floral/Still Life Gallery. For these prints, I used a set of fake fruit that we had in a large bowl as a center piece (for still life objects just about anything around the house with a visual appeal works). I have a small light box for such projects, so with a white background and base from the light box, I started arranging the fake fruit in various poses and alternated between the different colors and types of fruit (apples and pears to be specific and colors in gold, red and brown). Believe it or not the shoot lasted about an hour and a half…the fruit worked so hard and was so patient. From all of the configurations and colors used, I narrowed the shots I was going to use to about ten. I was really pleased with the captures I chose and then I began the next stage of the process.
The results were crisp, sharp captures of this fake fruit. What I wanted to do was soften the pictures up just a bit to give the final product a more casual relaxed look while keeping the details of the original photography. That’s where Photoshop comes into play and using the watercolor filter (you can control the levels and depth of the look), I chose just a light brushing to soften the edges and add texture to the white background.
The first two art prints are representative of the ten that I did, but I also wanted to combine four of them into a collage, which is the final print featured.
When I am taking photographs either black and white or color, I am constantly visualizing the most interesting way to frame “the shot”. My framing visualization is always looking for interesting angles and unique presentations, not necessarily to show entire subjects or broad landscapes. I try to peak the viewers interest and evoke an interest in what they are seeing. The best example I can think of is macro shots of flower blooms and buds. By taking just a section and focusing on that portion only, you see the detail of the bloom that you wouldn’t necessarily see when included with a garden shot or total plant shot.
I used the same approach with the attached three photographic art prints. The common theme between them is two-fold: they are all classic/vintage forms of transportation and all three highlight specific shapes and colors to draw your eye in.
We start with “Black Propeller”. This is a single engine prop plane from World War Two. I took a number of shots of this plane from almost every angle. I kept coming back to this “macro” shot of the propellers. The thing that drew my eye in was the color of the black propellers in front of the bright yellow casing of the engine. That was the starting point and then the intricacy of the engine and finally the detail reflected in the chrome center cap of the propellers. You can see people and their shadows looking at this plane.
“Green Classic Truck’ was another shoot that I did from all angles. This shot in my perspective told the story best of the truck (what you don’t see are items in the back flatbed that weren’t pertinent to the era this vehicle represents). This particular shot and the angle tell the story of this deep green classic/vintage truck with the wood doors and curved running board becoming the fender. Your eye gets pulled to the bench front seat over to the windshield with the single wiper blade. I also liked the positioning which allows a peak of the activity behind the truck. The people under umbrellas at tables added an additional element.
We end with “Pale Green Classic Chevy Truck”. Of course I had to present the front grille to start the visual journey of this beauty. From the grille your eye travels down to the wide white-walled tires up to the visor at the top of the windshield. I was fortunate in this shot that there wasn’t any distracting items or activities immediately around the truck to take away from the look of this classic/vintage vehicle.
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This week I wanted to take a look at three very different black and white photographs and tell you what I see.
As I have mentioned in my posts, I shoot everything in Raw format which means I shoot digitally capturing tremendous detail. It does take up memory and believe me my portfolio and archives have their own hard drive because of it. The reason I shoot with that much definition is that it allows me to “play’ with the end picture more.
The first picture is a cityscape of downtown Seattle with the Space Needle featured front and center. What do I see? I see the downtown towers and Space Needle sharply defined…very bold straight edges. I see the architecture dominating the capture because of that factor. As an additional element, I see the sharp contrast of the cloud formations from the high level clouds to the puffy cumulous in the background. I see an architectural statement of Seattle with the subtle element of weather which Seattle is known for.
From a cityscape to a farm. What do I see? I see a mood created from an abandoned farm highlighted by showing it in black and white. I see barren tree branches and collapsing buildings that have a lonely element with no life. The black and white presentation allows this mood to be front and center without getting distracted by pops of color.
From the farm to Old Point Loma Lighthouse sitting on the entrance to San Diego Bay in Cabrillo National Monument. What do I see? I see the top of a lighthouse where the simple architecture of the structure points your eye upward to the light. I see what is a deep blue sky not taking center stage because the presentation in black and white makes it a supporting gray backdrop to the white structure and the intricate architecture of the top of the lighthouse.
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.
This simple message has been true throughout human history. It seems so relevant today with all of the negativity and anger we are exposed to daily, but the reality is….that environment has been with mankind always. None of us are perfect and we all have our agendas, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a step back and hear a message we were given long ago.
Love is very powerful, even amongst the chaos of negativity. I chose these two pictures to use with an overlay of this message as a perfect fit. I took both shots as summer afternoon monsoon thunderstorms were dying down here in the Arizona desert and the sun was setting. Both shots depict a small clearing in the sky with brilliant color reflecting off of the powerful and chaotic thunderstorms. Simple, yet powerful message amidst the chaos…..