Posts Tagged ‘Sepia’

Sepia Rosebud

annmariedwyer aka ‘Red’ left this comment on my Rosebud post:

*Idly hopes sepia is in the future* and here it is.

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I use sepia toning infrequently and sparingly. I see too many images that IMHO should not have been sepia toned or that have been toned poorly. Sepia toning, when done properly on carefully selected images can be lovely. Thanks for the nudge Red, I like the way the sepia version of my rosebud turned out.

How did I do this sepia toning? I used Picture Window Pro 5.0 (PWP).


I’m adding this information quoted from the PWP user manual. It describes the tint transformation using a sepia photo as an example.

“The tonality scale in a sepia photograph goes from black to a sepia color to white. We already have the black and white end points. We just need to create an intermediate sepia point. To create a new point, place the mouse cursor in the center of the range, hold down the shift key and click the left mouse button. A new point is created. Notice that it is assigned the number 2 while the end point is now number 3.
The new point 2 must be set to a sepia color. To set it, double click on the 2. The Color Picker is displayed. Select the sepia color you want. Lighter tones are generally preferable to darker ones because they preserve the most contrast. “

I’ve tried converting B&W to sepia using other photo editors and found the process tedious and not nearly as powerful as the tint transform in PWP.  By setting the new point to the midpoint, you are operating on the mid-tones of the image. The black point and the white point remain unchanged. There is also a percentage slider that you set for how strong you want the sepia toning to be. Most of the time, I set that percentage low for a subtle effect. This time I tried three different settings before I decided that 100% worked well with this image. 100% not only tones the image, it darkens the midtones as well, affecting the midtones the most while maintaining the gradual transition from black, through sepia to white.

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Julia turned eight on Sunday so I thought I’d celebrate her birthday with a portrait I shot more than six years ago.

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All the elements came together for this photo. Julia’s expression, especially her eyes and the position of her hands are the real clinchers. It’s been so long that I can’t remember when I made the picture or which camera/lens I used, but that doesn’t really matter anyway.

Julia went from being the youngest of our four granddaughters to a big sister when the twins were born in 2008. Now we have six beauties. And they will all be over for Easter dinner. Think I might have my camera(s) ready for them? I will or my name isn’t pop-paparazzi.

A big thanks to MaryT for hosting Sepia Scenes. Stop by and visit — there’s more.

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When you walk around with a camera you notice things. When you do, take your picture right then and there. Don’t ever say you’ll do it later — you won’t. And even if you did return to the same spot, it could never be quite the same. Almost doesn’t count.

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A few weeks ago, while hiking through Ceres Nature Sanctuary for the second time, I noticed the roots of this tree so I hunkered down and shot this image. I don’t remember if I noticed at the time, but I’m reminded of an octopus.

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I came across this huge tree a little further down (or up I should say because the way was getting pretty steep here) I couldn’t help but notice the mass of roots I was about to climb over. The next time I came by this spot I noticed differently and my image was much different.

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This tree is much smaller. The arrangement of the roots stopped me in my tracks and I really hunkered down to the level of the roots to get this shot. A grasping hand perhaps?

I was using a 28mm lens on my 35mm camera and moved in close. I found a pleasing composition and here it is. I was back to Ceres today and noticed this same tree but didn’t stop to make a portrait. Another time.

I was busy noticing other things today. The weather was great. Blue skies, morning shadows, quiet but for the sounds of a few birds. I noticed a pair of geese swimming in the lake. I couldn’t get a clear shot because of the undergrowth in the way. I was quiet so as not to disturb them as they climbed up on a small log in the water to groom themselves. I walked on looking for a better place. I found a few but the geese never came my way. Maybe on the way back I said.

While walking back (I’ll save some of the other things I noticed today until after I develop my film and post more images) I noticed a large turtle sunning on a log. Further on I noticed another turtle. I thought I heard voices and sure enough this old guy who I’ve seen many times riding his bicycle on the roads was sitting on his bike in the middle of the trail.

He was pointing to the lake. When I got up to where he was he pointed again to a family of turtles, one tiny one and two big ones all in a row sunning themselves on another log. I switched to the longest lens I had with me (85mm) and shot a couple of frames. Next time I’m bringing my 75-150 zoom.

Speaking of noticing things, I was carrying two cameras today, my usual camera loaded with B&W film and another loaded with color film. The latter just in case I noticed spring colors that begged for color. I shot about 12 color frames today.

Spring has sprung and the earth is awakening once again. It’s a beautiful thing, especially when we take the time to notice and to make new images.

So, when you notice something that intrigues you or makes you smile or pleases you in some way, stop and if you have your camera, make a portrait of the moment because that moment will never repeat.

A big thanks to MaryT for hosting Sepia Scenes. Stop by and visit — there’s more.

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I raided my archives for this image. Not only did I find an image that I sepia toned years ago, I found motion and the sheer joy of childhood.

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The parade was led by my grandnephew Tyler with Megan and Sara, two of my granddaughters, close on his heels. Was Tyler chasing his binky? Or did we catch him in the act of dropping the binky? You can see from the expressions of all three that they’re having a blast. Yay!

Let’s simply enjoy the moment and join the fun. I can’t remember the circumstances and they don’t matter anyway. Only the image matters.

A big thanks to MaryT for hosting Sepia Scenes. Stop by and visit — there’s more.

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I’ve published quite a few photos I shot during my one year (1966-1967) tour of duty in Viet Nam. Here’s a new image that I converted first to B&W, then to sepia, from an old color transparency.

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I shot this portrait of a young ARVN (Army of the Republic of Viet Nam) soldier one day when I was posted with him. Our Air Police outfit was responsible for the security of the sprawling Ton Son Nhut air base outside Saigon. We always shared the guard posts with the Vietnamese, some posts with soldiers, other posts with Viet Nam National Police (aka “White Mice”).

My original color slides are old and faded after 44 years so I’ve been converting many of them to B&W. This particular sepia toned image came out very well and has a timeless quality about it.

I’m fortunate that I’ve hung on to the photos I took all those years ago. My only regret is that I didn’t take more of them. I still have more that I haven’t published. I’m planning on rescanning many of the slides using VueScan which has built in filters to fix color shifts and restore faded colors. I’ll keep you posted.

A big thanks to MaryT for hosting Sepia Scenes. Stop by and visit — there’s more.

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Over the past week I’ve sorted and filed the negatives from dozens of rolls of film. Most of the latest batch have been from color film. I already had a scan of the two sisters. Not satisfied, I dug out the negative for a better scan now that I have VueScan installed.

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This image is better. The lady on the left is my mother, the baby sister. My late aunt Martie Ann is on the right. I took this candid portrait of the Sisters during a family get together over the holidays in 2003 with a Pentax Spotmatic and 50mm Takumar lens I had just won in an ebay auction. I’m pretty sure the lens was wide open (or close to it) for this hand held available light shot.

I used Kodak Porta 400BW, a black and white chromogenic (C-41 color process) film at 400 ISO box speed. I’m lucky that my shots were in reasonable focus because I discovered that I couldn’t get proper infinity focus. I took the spotty to the shop and they corrected the problems and gave it a good CLA in the bargain to bring it up to spec.

The built in meter was DOA but I expected that. Otherwise, the Spotmatic works as good as new. They built that camera like a tank. I remember reading an article with a title something like “Camera as a hockey puck” where the author talked about the ruggedness of the Pentax Spotmatic and the Nikon F. He said you could drop it on the floor, kick it around (like a hockey puck), then pick it up and it would keep on shooting.

I have a couple rolls of the latest Kodak B&W chromogenic film in my refrigerator. I’m anxious to try the new stuff. This film has an entirely different look from traditional silver B&W film. It’s not as sharp, but it’s virtually grainless and has a smoothness that makes it ideal for portraits.

Couple this film with the 50mm f/1.4 Tak and you have a superb combination for available light candid portraits. I bought a new body, a Bessaflex, about 5 or 6 years ago so I would have a modern body for my screw mount lenses. Aside from the built in stop down metering, the camera is 100% mechanical.

I use it instead of the Spotmatic because the Bessa’s viewfinder is much brighter and I can see the entire image while wearing my glasses. Shutter speed goes up to 1/2000 of a second and it’s lighter and smaller than the Spotty.

Drop on by The Monochrome Weekend, especially if you are a monochrome maniac. There’s lots links to some great monochrome photography. And some of the monochrome maniacs still use film like I do.

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Sepia Scenes: Begonia

Help is on the way. Yes, for those of us sick of winter (we’re under another winter storm warning for the next two days!), let’s dream of new growth, flowers and the magic of warm season light.

Sepia Begonia (Click to enlarge)

Begonias are one of my favorite flowers so I’d like to share a sepia vision of one of my best begonia images. Don’t worry about the colors, look at the shapes of the petals, revel in the glory of delicate tones, feel the textures and bathe in the light.

This is another of my early experiments at converting original color transparency scans to monochrome. First to B&W, then sepia toned. The leaves are still there, but they go dark so the begonia flower becomes the center of attention. Likewise, the dark background becomes a neutral third party to the celebration.

Not all flowers lend themselves to this kind of treatment — this begonia does. The color version is beautiful. This version changes the game by transmuting the distraction of color into a celebration of light and shadow.

Over the top? Nah, I’m simply having fun being a cheerleader for the wonders of monochrome photography.

A big thanks to MaryT for hosting Sepia Scenes. Stop by and visit — there’s more.

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This winter has been the snowiest on record for our region (South Jersey) and seems to be the “forever season” this year. I’ve contrasted a winter and summer image for this posting. The winter scene was shot last week, the summer scene almost four decades ago in 1970.

Morning After the Storm (Click to enlarge)

The sun shone brightly the morning after our second major snowstorm in five days. I took a lot of photos during the second storm but I saved about half the second roll of film for the morning after. I’m glad I did because I was able to “tame” the brilliant light and show a peaceful, shadowed scene before the sun melted all the snow from the branches. How? By exploiting the long tonal range of B&W film and using exposure compensation to ensure white (not gray) snow. The film was Ilford FP4+. The Camera, my Nikon F3 with 24mm lens.

Summer 1970 (Click to enlarge)

I found this image yesterday while rummaging through my archives. I had completely forgotten this scene. Judging from some of the other images on the negative strip, I think I shot this one behind (or next to) the Philadelphia Art Museum way back in 1970. It certainly looks like summer to me! The film was Kodak Plus X. The camera, my Pentax Spotmatic that I had purchased new a few months before.

I used the tint transformation in Picture Window Pro (PWP) to add sepia tone to both photos. The first image received 25% and the second 30%. Blacks are still black and whites remain white while the midtones take on the sepia tones. One of these days, I’ll publish a tutorial on how I tone my images using PWP. I’m still experimenting.

A big thanks to MaryT for hosting Sepia Scenes.

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Come see why I love available light photography and why kids, especially my granddaughters, are my favorite subjects.

Portrait of Maddy (Click to enlarge)

Here’s Maddy, one of my twin granddaughters, sitting alone in the big chair, totally engrossed in the TV. Does she look relaxed or what? She never noticed when I stuck my camera in her face and shot this candid portrait.

No flash, just the available light from the television and a few lamps in the room. My favorite 50mm lens, the f/1.4 screw mount Takumar gets a lot of the credit for the quality of the light and the buttery smooth tonality. The film? Tri-X rated at 1600 ISO and developed in Diafine.

I took this photo at Christmas time, finally finished the roll last Saturday (during our second major snowstorm of the winter) and developed the film Sunday. I’m always happy when I get at least one keeper out of a roll and this one goes into my “special” favorites files.

I got a couple decent shots of the snowstorm as well. We’re in the middle of the third major snowstorm as I write this article. I shot an entire 36 exposure roll of Tri-X about an hour ago. I’ll develop and scan tomorrow — fingers crossed. Digging out of these storms is a chore, but the snow covered world of white is so beautiful.

If you want to capture those precious unguarded moments, turn off your flash and get down to the level of the kids. Creaky knees or not, ya gotta crouch down to get the best angle.

A big thanks to MaryT for hosting Sepia Scenes.

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One of my daughters nick-named me Pop-poparazzi because I always seem to have a camera. I tote at least one of my cameras when we have a family gathering (or I’m just visiting). There’s always good subject matter, especially now that we have six granddaughters.

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I caught Em giving me the eye through the chair this time.

This is from a scan of a C-41 B&W negative I had developed and printed at the drugstore. Their prints stunk. They covered up their sloppy negative handing with over filtration and the people in the prints looked like the Pillsbury doughboy. When you sepia tone, you can make your own prints on just about any inkjet printer because a sepia tone is a color file.

I print mostly B&W though and when HP came out with the Photosmart 7960 inkjet printer that would print high quality B&W about 6 years ago, I grabbed one. It still works great and the B&W prints that come out are the real thing.

I used to print sepia toned prints on my old Epson because B&W prints always had a color cast. Some people swear by Epson printers but the print heads were always getting clogged on mine. Never have that problem with my HP.

A big thanks to MaryT for hosting Sepia Scenes.

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