It was the patterns and textures to be seen on my walk this week through the woodlands of Stainton, Middlesbrough, that prompted me to try making some sepia comparisons to the normal colour shots I took on my iPhone 6s. Often a sepia effect is used in photography to present an impression of age or times past. Because of the effect time can have on photographic paper combined with the fact that, pre-colour photography, there were not many options to producing the image in monochrome, the effect, produced digitally today, seems a fair one to employ to gain the effect of age.
I cannot get away from the “age” effect in these sepia toned images but that was not the reason for using the technique. When I first converted from colour to black and white I found the the image to be too harsh or lacking in subtlety. Adjustments of tone and contrast can be made of course, but for me the appeal to my aesthetic came from bringing in a sepia tone. Rather than using a pre-built filter (I very rarely do that), I desaturated the image and then adjusted the colour balance, increasing the yellows and reds.
Try looking through the image sequence below – I find that looking between the monochrome and colour versions of the images increases my enjoyment of the colour. I tried a monochrome conversion of the last image of the dry grass pattern on the woodland floor but in the end decided that the subtlety of colour already in the image works better without any manipulation.