January Doldrums

January is a tough month for me as an outdoor photographer. Here in New Jersey, the weather has been mild without any snow. The landscape is uninspiring for the most part with everything rendered as shades of black, gray and white. In an attempt to try something different, I went out to look for some subjects that would work well as sepia toned photographs.

I have always liked the warm brown tones of sepia over the look of black and white. Sepia tone refers to the coloring of black and white prints that have been toned with a special sepia chemical toner. There is no one color known as “sepia”. The term refers to the mixing of yellow and brown.

Today, this old time look of the 1800s can be reproduced directly in many digital cameras by selecting the sepia option in the menu system or it can be produced automatically in many less sophisticated image editing software programs. If you are using Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, try these settings in the Hue/Saturation dialog box: Hue = 27 and Saturation = 21 and check the colorize box.

Sepia tone works best with images that are associated with old things. Some examples include weather beaten old barns, old cars, farm equipment, and antiques.

The images presented below show how effective sepia toned images can be.

Canon G6,  All images (copyright) by Adam Turow

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One Response to “January Doldrums”

  1. Dawn Del Guercio Says:

    I saw one of these in the store the other night and wondered what it was about- I agree that the sepia tone is a lovely rendering of a photo. I’ve never tried sepia in my film days because I worried about having to use a whole roll of sepia and not being able to take any color shots. With the advent of digital I do not have any concerns about that, so now I have an assignment for mid-winter..

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