An Early Spring

Torso Study #21, in Sepia


Photographically speaking, my report is the same. Two short test sessions had been scheduled for the middle of last week. They were to test light in a new location which offers limited indoor and outdoor possibilities, but possibilities nonetheless. However, for reasons you’ll read about below, they were postponed.

Today’s image is one from the studio archives, shot in June of ’09, as I was winding down my studio habit. I don’t typically go for sepia images in my own work. This reluctance is largely a throwback to my film days. It doesn’t have as much to do with the noxious, toxic fumes of the chemistry as much as my own inability to deal with the process.

The issue for me was twofold. First, I never seemed to develop the eye for getting print contrast correct for a piece that was to be sepia toned. Second, I never got the timing right as it related to stopping the bleaching action, which is the first step of the toning process, on the print. So, I never did it unless a customer ordered it. Fortunately not too many did, and I’ll confess now that when they did, I almost always subbed out the job to a friend.

I’ve not done it often with digital either. I thought I’d try it here to see if it worked and to see how well I liked it. I’m still on the fence, but I’m interested to hear what you think.


For those of us in the southeastern United States, the season of spring means the season of pollen. Like many people the world over, my wife and I usually experience mild seasonal allergies. This year was different.

Perhaps it’s a result of the mild winter, but whatever the reason, spring was early in Savannah. And because spring was early, the pollen appeared early. The stuff gets everywhere; on everything. When the sunlight is at the correct angle, it can look like yellow, smoky, dust clouds swirling in the air. Windows stay closed when the pollen flies. Rain is a help, dampening the pollen and reducing its ability to remain airborne. But it gets ugly, leaving yellow watery streaks on every outside surface and turning the run-off a sickly, yellow-green. Typically, this usually doesn’t begin until April.

The tree responsible for most of the yellow particles we see is the southern loblolly or long-leaf pine. These pollen grains are big; big enough to see, and too big to aspirate and cause the allergies that afflict us humans. Nope; the culprits that drive us crazy are the oak pollens and grass pollens, microscopic little balls of organic matter that look like yellow-green medieval maces.

My wife and I began to feel the effects of our allergies a couple of weeks ago; stuffy, congested sinuses, watery eyes, and mild fits of sneezing. We’re usually over it in a day or two. Unfortunately, things lingered, eventually migrating upward into my wife’s sinuses and downward into my lungs. What started out as mild allergic reactions quickly became a sinus infection for her and bronchitis, verging on pneumonia for me. The past 7 days are but a Benadryl induced haze.

I’m delighted to say we’re both on the mend, albeit slowly. As my voice returns and I’m able to speak longer than I cough and as I recover from a week of sleep deprivation, things will return to normal. The loss of sleep is the toughest thing to recover from, and we are working diligently to catch-up.

There’s another confirmation that spring has arrived in the south – the distant booming of thunder and a sudden dark, gray pall outside the office window.

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One Response to An Early Spring

  1. Justin says:

    I like this one Bill.. The way the light falls, t almost looks painted.

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