Rainmaker Revenge

Storm plume overshadowing mountains...

Soaked in Sepia

Mix in some Van Dyke brown please...

One of my favorite techniques in photography is the effect of sepia. In photography sepia came about in the mid-1800s as the first iron-silver based process, argentotype, to give richness to the color of a photograph unlike the stark contrast of black and white pictures. Prior to digital photography when we processed our own 35 mm film negatives and printed them, the standard printing paper we could purchase did not give a great variety of tone. The advantage to the process was the ability to use different types of paper for a variation of depth and hue from burnished to bronze and many shades in between. In photography it is referred to as the Van Dyke process after the Flemish Baroque painter Sir Anthony van Dyck and the color of brown paint he used.

With digital photography the way I achieve the effect is by using the sepia setting on my camera and then enhancing it through editing. The color has an appeal of its own that I like because although it is monotone it gives a full bodied range of warm vibrant brown. In the seventies I could process 35mm only in black and white and sepia at home, color required taking it to a camera store for developing. Practicing and playing with the color allowed me to enrich a photograph in a color I particularly like and be more creative. For that reason I am still attached to the quality it lends to an image.