Tag Archives: sepia prints

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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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 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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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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