Guest post by Joe Farace

I don’t always have any specific goals and objectives in mind when making an image other than “I’d like to make a nice photo,” but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. My friend Matt Staver is a talented, young photographer who often asks me “what was your objective in making that photograph” but I seldom have a good answer for him.

At the FOTOfusion conference a few years ago I conducted a workshop called “Right in Your Own Backyard” which was based on the premise that you needn’t travel halfway around the world when great photo ops are closer to home. When showing an image made, literally, in my backyard, one of the students asked, “What prompted you to make that picture.” Answering was difficult because it addressed the thought processes going on while an image is created but I never got that question out of my head and so decided to show you how a specific photograph was made.

Selective Toning by Joe Farace

This portrait of my wife Mary was made in my real back yard (in a former residence, not on Daisy Hill where I now live) using a Hasselblad Xpan film camera and is the full image of the camera’s 35mm panoramic frame. In this case, the portrait was created as a homage to the work of Phil Borges who is not only an extremely gifted photographer but is also a humanitarian. One of the techniques Mr. Borges uses is called “selective toning” which is different from split toning although the effect is similar because the image maker gets to determine which specific area of the photograph is toned in different colors or tones by using masking techniques.

In the traditional darkroom the effect can be achieved by coating the areas of the print that you do not wish to tone in that particular color with liquid rubber cement. You apply carefully this goopy stuff with a brush, let it dry and then immerse the print in the toner solution. After washing and drying the rubber cement peels off easily you can then apply rubber cement to the areas that you just toned and then re-tone the print in another color of toner. If all that sound complicated and messy, it is, but the effects can be dramatic. This same technique is much easier to accomplish using digital techniques and layers. After scanning the panoramic images, I created two layers; one was toned, was not. Then I erased everything on the “toned” layer but Mary’s face. To finish it off and give the portrait a real film look, I applied one of Kevin Kubota’s Sloppy Borders effects.

You can follow Joe on his own blog, Changing the World, One Pixel at a Time

5 thoughts on “Great Pictures Can be Made in Your Own Backyard

  1. Alex Stewart says:

    I totally agree with you that great pictures can be made in your own backyard. You managed a great portrait there.


  2. Tara Maynard says:

    You managed a great portrait of your wife in your backyard. I love it.
    I’ll try and follow your tips and can hopefully create better pictures.

    Thanks for sharing.


  3. ‘sate’…….. it’s the new short hand for ‘personal taste’

    1. I had a feeling…pretty good at detecting short hand! LOL. I call it fat fingering, others call it Thunder Thumbs! 🙂

  4. lovely shot of Mary says ‘crisp autumn morning’ to me but not a fan of the selective toning but that’s only a sate thing.
    It’s good to remind some of the ‘traditionalist’ that photoshop only makes these things easier, we have always manipulated our images one way or another

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