Sepia Selenium Cyanotype . . . Theres a song in there somewhere!

Lots more fiddling with the sliders, Oh I loves a good fiddle me. Went to a historical military Doo Dah a couple of years back in aid of the charity Help for Heroes. Was a great bash with loads of re enactment types ranging from Hoplites through to WWII, lots of photo opportunities, and the old re enactors really dont mind you getting in their face, and strike poses all over the shop, great fun.

Now, in a previous post,    I got me hapless subjects holding long poses in order to get a bit of a wobble on so as to add a wee bit of that there authentic orthochromatic wibbly wobbly look. I was trying for the orthochromatic look, lightens blues and darkens reds, after I red an article in the “Black and White Photography” magazine, and thought that I would give it a bash. I used several presets in various software packages, once I had achieved the look that I was after, to add grain or tone and all in all I was fairly pleased with the results.

With that in mind I wanted to try and improve on past efforts. Delving in the archives I came a cross a set of images of the victorian, Crimea era, Lancers. Now the re enactors were pretty tip top at gettin the authenticity right, but when taking images, full glaring colour does seem a bit incongruous as you have to remember that photography in that era was blokes in top hats lugging around massive great wooden camera bodies and tripods, and pretty much still in its infancy. So I had a go at trying to mimick some of the Crimean war photographs that I have seen. Good examples of those taken by pioneering photographer Roger Fenton can be seen here  There are some cracking Beards and sideys a goin on in some of them.

Lancers Colour Original
Lancers Sepia

First of all after the initial mono conversion I tried a light sepia (above). I then tried a selenium tone which I personally found more pleasing. I then added some grain and some white vignetting (below).

Lancers Selenium

But after looking at the Fenton images I took a rubberized mallet to the sliders to get the really heavily sepia’d effect below. I think all it needs now is creasing up and some dirt and scratch effects, I was going to dig out some textures and give  it some blending but not enough time today, so I shall leave it out for the cats 🙂

Lancers Heavy Sepia

Lots more practice (fiddling) needed I fear, good job I do it for the love 🙂

19 Replies to “Sepia Selenium Cyanotype . . . Theres a song in there somewhere!”

  1. That’s exactly what I would have done, and for the same reasons too. Isnt it odd though that we have a b/w perspective of life from that era, just because of the media it was recorded with, when all along it was just as colourful as your original colour pic.

    1. Yes the uniforms of that era were very colourful. Follow the link to the crimean war images of Roger Fenton on the post and in your minds eye imagine the colours of should be there. 🙂

  2. I’m a big fan of sepia and I can tell you are too. It does give this photo a more authentic look and a texture layer would probably be a good addition. Get back to work!

    1. The range of sepia tones from the actual Roger Fenton images from the crimea is quite remarkable. From almost selenium through to orange. Take a look at some of his work its remarkable 🙂

  3. Take back some of the heavy Sepia in the last shot…and you shall certainly have a winner!

    BTW, you can rectify the colors you see in your monitor…and I perceive yours is a bit off. Click Computer and go into the control panel…and check your monitor settings. I do this as a necessary precaution…having worked in this medium (Digital Photography) for more than 12 years now. It used to WYSIWYG…what you see is what you get…but if your monitor is not properly attuned, others may have a problem.

    I love the shot, supremely…and no one could possibly find it anywhere but here!

    BTW, are you using Photoshop…or something else?

    1. Hey Ho! Cheers for the interest 🙂 Just gone through the monitor calibration sequence for my mac and tweaked it a tad.
      Yep the heavy sepia does look a bit over the top, however if you take a peek at the remarkable work of Roger Fenton (follow any of the relevant links on my post) some of the images are almost orange. They range from a dark sepia through to glaring orange brown. So I was trying for the more orange end of the range. Also it does look a tad too clean, so I have been fiddling about with both textures and brushes to age the image up a wee bit. I shall post that later once I think its done.

      The software I used to convert to mono, then add grain, toning, vignetting etc, was silver efex pro 2. An excellent software package.

      Thanks for commenting, all constructive criticism and advice gratefully accepted 🙂

      1. Wonderful! Though I am, of course, the Photshop (TM) freak of the year…any year! I don’t know silver efex, but thanks, I shall check it out.

        As I syated, I DO love the shot…it is quite exceptional,

        But…what I love the most is that you are a fine photographer–experimentig, as we all should. If we just let it at candids, where on Earth would we all be these past years, hmmmm?

        My advice to everyone is : “KEEP GOING!”, and I hope you shall?

  4. If you imagine seeing the Heavy Sepia shot only –

    It’s possible to imagine there is probably red and maybe even blue involved in the uniforms. But what colour are the horses? I would never have guessed that 3 of them were black.

    That’s what makes this shot better in sepia (I think anyway). I’m made to think about it and therefore get further into it. That means I make up my own mind what I see, I’m not just reacting to what is put in front of me.

    Love it, well done.

    1. I totally recommend following the links on my post and taking a look at at the images from the crimean war taken by Roger Fenton, they really are quite remarkable and also a a source of inspiration for a fiddler like me.

      Cheers for looking 🙂

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