Right In Your Own Backyard

“I don’t have to take a trip around the world or be on a yacht in the Mediterranean to have happiness. I can find it in the little things, like looking out into my backyard and seeing deer in the fields.”—Queen Latifah

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

At a FOTOfusion conference a few years ago I conducted a workshop called “Right in Your Own Backyard” which was based on the premise that you didn’t have to travel halfway around the world when you can find photo ops closer to home. When showing an image made, literally, in my backyard, one of the students asked, “How did you 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 decided to show how a specific photograph was made.


This portrait of my wife Mary was made in my the back yard of a former residence, not Daisy Hill, using a Hasselblad Xpan film camera and is the full image of the 35mm panoramic frame. It was created as a homage to the work of Phil Borges who is not only a gifted photographer but 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 o 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 but it’s much easier to accomplish using digital techniques and layers. Here two layers were created; one was toned, was not. Then I erased everything on the “toned” layer but Mary’s face. To top it off and give a real film look, I applied one of Kevin Kubota’s Sloppy Borders effects.


My book “Creative Monochrome Effects” is available from Amazon for a really low price right now. If you’ve been thinking about creating black and white images, you can pick up a new copy for less than five bucks with used copies available at virtually giveaway prices.

Author: Joe Farace

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