Tag Archives: sepia tone

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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Victorian Hallway – Excerpts From a Photo Shoot

The excerpts from a photo shoot I want to share today are of a hallway in the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia. The shot was taken a few years back on an excursion to that beautiful city. We stayed at the hotel and enjoyed the Victorian elegance and tradition it is known for. You might ask me what why I took a shot of a hallway and that would be a legitimate question. It’s the visual depth the architecture of the hallway has. I actually took a number of shots; vertical, horizontal, zoomed in, normal, etc. All of that said, I haven’t done anything with the shots until now. I came across them recently and find them intriguing, so I thought I would use this one in particular to demonstrate an example on how you can take one photograph and create a variety of looks of the same subject.

Original

Original

The first shot is the original. I didn’t use a flash and depended on natural lighting. It isn’t the most technically correct shot, but it does have an interesting element to it (and yes the hallway really is that wide and that long). The natural lighting creates a shot with strong golden hues. The color works with the style as it lends to a warm comfortable feel.

Sepia

Sepia

The second shot is with a sepia tone. The sepia tone element is easy to do and lends itself well to the age of the Victorian hallway. Using this tone plays on the history of the Victorian Era. The sepia format was the look of photography in that era.

Black and White

Black and White

The third shot is in black and white. The black and white aspect doesn’t play to the style of the hallway and the era it depicts, but to the architectural elements of the hallway. The strong lines and contrast work very well when you take a color photo to the world of black and white. Notice how it presents a totally different look to this shot.

Fresco Watercolor

Fresco Watercolor

With the fourth shot, I went a few steps further. As I have stated, I haven’t done anything with these shots, but there is an element to them that appeals to me. Trying to figure out how to pull that out in the best manner to tell a story is the fun part of what I do. A lot of it is trial and error with most of it being archived or deleted. With this last print I used a fresco watercolor technique highlighting the architectural lines and the warm golden tones.

From one photograph, we now have four different looks to the same hallway. Two of the three changes were easy with the fresco watercolor a little more challenging. 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.

Please visit my main gallery: TheWallGallery (All domestic orders over $60.00 – free shipping!)

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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!)
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The Shack – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

A couple of weeks ago, I was out on a shoot when I spotted this old shack. I have a fascination with old buildings in general, but dilapidated shacks seemed to have a photographic appeal. I especially like them in a sepia format as that gives the picture a dated and historical look. Today I wanted to share some of those steps starting with the original capture.

Shack Original Photograph

Shack Original Photograph

From the original, I cropped the frame to have the final product focused on the shack in the center of the picture….

Shack Initial Cropping

Shack Initial Cropping

So, we now have the shack more prominent in the photo, but all of the electrical lines distract from the main goal…old rustic look….

Electrical Lines Removed

Electrical Lines Removed

With the electrical lines removed, the look speaks more rural, but I think I want to crop one last time to pull the shack in better….

Final Crop

Final Crop

So with my final crop done, I like the framing of the shack and now turn the print into a sepia tone print…

Sepia Shack

Sepia Shack

The final print looks like a picture taken years ago of an old ranch house abandoned in a very rural area. When in reality, the original picture was just taken two weeks ago and the abandoned farm-house sits a few blocks off a major freeway in a high growth area near Phoenix.

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“Plug The Roof” The Art Print of the Week

I updated my Sepia Gallery this week and the art print of the week is one of the new additions. This print is a shot of two dilapidated farm buildings (ok, let’s be candid…shacks). The back one has an obvious roof problem. The front one has moss covering the roof. I originally spotted these buildings from the freeway one day and they stuck with me. Later, I decided to get closer to them for a photo shoot which required hiking through a very marshy field to get the angle I wanted. I decided to use the sepia tone on this art print because of the obvious aged condition of the structures and sepia unto itself reminds us of old photographs. Actual location is just outside of Issaquah, Washington in the foothills of the Cascades.

Plug The Roof

Plug The Roof

source:  Sepia Gallery

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