Saturday, December 10, 2011

Handcoloring, again...

Several years ago, i did a post about hand-coloring B&W prints:
and a follow-up page on my site:
There's loads of info on these pages about basic techniques & materials, I don't need to repeat them here/again.

But first, the 'whatever catches my eye' file:

Bottle Tree Ranch is a folk art 'forest' in the Mojave Desert
Elmer Long's two-plus acres are crowded with hundreds of metal sculptures adorned with colored bottles and just about anything else one could imagine.
By Mike Anton, Los Angeles Times
December 4, 2011
(Photo: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times ),0,4510530.story

Selling Books by Their Gilded Covers
Published: December 3, 2011
By Julie Bosman
"...If e-books are about ease and expedience, the publishers reason, then print books need to be about physical beauty and the pleasures of owning, not just reading...."

Snipping the bud: Prep work is a payday in the marijuana business
An international, countercultural labor force prepares pot on its path to market. Trimmers can make $200 a day plus lodging, sometimes 'with a crazy guy in the middle of the woods with an AK-47.'
By Joe Mozingo, Los Angeles Times
December 2, 2011,0,2941044.story?page=1&track=rss

The Pot Republic - Frontline/ PBS

Shoot Stunning Night Photos Like a Pro

by Jakob Shiller - for 'Wired' mag., 11/30/2011


Sand has superhero qualities, as far as geological deposits go. Behaving at times like a solid, at times a liquid and at times a gas, it is a master shape-shifter. Formed by wind and water, sand allows large-scale geography to play out in miniature: settling into ripples, channels, canyons, valleys and deltas.

Learning To Spot the Photoshop
By KJ Antonia | Posted Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011, at 10:30 AM ET at

Field Notes - Making Sure No Guest Is Forgotten
Published: October 21, 2011
After five hours of preparation, Terry Gruber was putting the finishing touches on the creation of a single, 12-by-20-inch black-and-white group portrait known in its heyday as a banquet photo. Most popular in the late 1880s, when Mr. Gruber’s banquet camera was made, until the late 1960s when it began fading from vogue, the large group photo all but vanished in a Nikon nanosecond.

Photo - Earl Wilson/NYTimes

James Durston: Photography has ruined travel
Next time you pack for your vacation, leave the technology behind
15 November, 2011

"......So here’s a challenge: get lost. Seriously. Next time you’re in a new town, ditch the phone. Disable your GPS. Close your eyes, point, then open them and walk. If you need to find somewhere, ask someone."

One of the best rolls I ever shot was made when taking this advice. I woke up in some small town in SE Arizona, and did my usual road trip routine - 'wake, bake, coffee, and hit the road'!
I was heading for Chiricahua, it was a off the beaten track backroads route... and I drove thru this town that looked like it was a-dying on the vine, so to speak. Here's what I shot, I got a number of montage images out of this simple row of vacant storefronts, all perfectly lit by morning sun.

Being at the right place, at the right time?.... that's magical.

It Started Digital Wheels Turning
Punch cards for the never-completed Babbage Analytical Engine, and Charles Babbage, the "father of computing," who kept refining his design.
Published: November 7, 2011 - NY Times
By John Markoff

Someone who took it to the next level: Alan Turing, during WW2:

Camera Lost at Sea Returned with the Help of Social Networking

Now, on to some photography, and the hand-coloring thing!

I recently traded a few emails w/ an old photographer friend, from back east, where i used to live in a previous incarnation, until 20 years ago.
One of his questions to me was 'how are you integrating digital into your work flow (=montage work)?' - Good question.
Up until recently, the answer would have been 'not at all'.
On the splash page of my website, i say:
"FYI/FWIW - A majority of the images on this site are made in a traditional / chemical B&W darkroom.
That includes everything in the 'Coast & Desert' Portfolios, & 'Assignments' above.. and obviously all the 'Darkroom 2001....2010' pages below.
And I'll continue to do so...until there just isn't anything traditional to work with."

Whereas that is still true, i have started to take darkroom prints into digital, and 'put some icing on the cake' so to speak. I'm sure I'm not alone in doing this, i know of a few people who do things similarly, and that's just the few people I know.'s two images that had darkroom origins, had really good hand-coloring possibilities, and were dragged into P'shop... and what happened then - "Coffee Shop" and "Ottta Gas".
I also did traditional hand-coloring on both, let's take a look at how it all worked out.

"Coffee shop" was inspired by a neg I took in Blythe CA., not too far from Joshua Tree. It's one of those desert towns that seems to close down at sunset. The coffee shop sign was still brightly lit at 7 PM... I took a few frames, moved on... had some dinner.
The table w/ coffee cups was taken in Marin Headlands, many years ago, as a display of US military stuff. I did this one in the darkroom, and knew that it was a candidate for hand-coloring. I decided to try the 'hand' coloring digitally (with the hand being on a mouse).
I can do some things w/ this, digitally, that i can't do in traditional/chemical darkroom - i can fix the bottom of the 'c' in coffee shop, for one. And once you get into fiddling w/ an image in P'shop... well, I've heard many photogs say, in so many words, the same thing: 'the best thing about P'shop is that you can do anything; and the worst thing about it is? can do anything (and get lost in the possibilities!)'.

I think being focused in advance on what you want to accomplish is very important, and I had a good idea of what i wanted to do w/ this one: the glow of the coffee shop signs needed to be reflected by everything on the table, lots of yellow/orange colors.
So here's a look at the digitally colored:

..and the handcolored.

Yes, there's a link at the end of the post to a page on my site w/ larger images, and a small P'shop file so you can see how it was done.
"Outta Gas"
Not sure where i took the photo of the defunct gas station, it was that kinda road trip... i know the sky/horizon was taken in AZ. Here's the darkroom print:

I didn't do a digital hand-color on this one, but i did scan the traditionally hand-colored, and worked on that in Photoshop.
(The photoshop tweaks are too subtle for the image size here - click the link below to see larger images)
Suffice it to say that none of the photoshop tweaks are sea changes - they are really 'tweaks'....

As usual, larger images, a few more comments, on a page at my site:

Oh, BTW...have yourself a merry 'christ-moose'!!

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