Belden Designs

Paintings, photography and jewelry

Creating the Vintage look in photography

  I have been ask  how I go about getting the vintage look I use in the horse photo’s, so I decided to put together a photo board showing the steps I use.   First off if I am photographing a race horse in training, I will shoot 3-4 shots as they run pass. I get what looks like a film strip of shots to choose from.

Four shots as horse passes

 Then I will choose one photo to work with ……

Sharpest of the four

 Turn this one into black and white………

Black and White copy

 Now I add a small amount of color back into the photo and soften it….

Selective color added back into shot

Now I begin adding texture on to the photo. This step takes the longest time and I will normally go through and change the photo many times before I feel good about it. Does it make a photo better? I don’t think it is better, just different.

Final shot with color and texture added.


August 7, 2011 Posted by | Horse, Photography | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keeneland -Vintage look

Though I would put up a few photo’s that were taken at Keeneland during the morning workouts. Photo’s were turned into B&W and then color layered back on to it. 

Morning worlouts at Keeneland

B&W with color layered back into it

July 28, 2011 Posted by | Horse, Photography | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Kentucky’s free roaming horses

It has been six months since my last trip into eastern Ky. looking for the free roaming / wild horses that live on a 20-30 square mile area of deserted strip mines.  Three of my grandchildren and I arrived at the highest point in the area, which is off Ky 1098, a 75% paved 25% gravel road. The area is laced with hundreds of miles of dirt roads that are slow going without a four-wheeler. We spotted the first bunch running through a valley that lay below us and watched as they made their way towards a dirt road. We found them feeding along side the road ( see first photo).


 We had moved about five miles from the first group and found a small herd of about 15-20 feeding along the edge of a field that was bordered by a forested area. Each group we found had 2-3 foals in them which looked to be 4-10 weeks old and very sly. This foals mother would come right up to us, but the foal remained back, never coming closer that 15-20 feet. We found a total of 200-225 horse this trip of the 600+ that roam this area. I’ll try and post some more picture this week.

Young foal hiding behind mother

July 19, 2011 Posted by | Horse, Photography | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Minimalist Photography

I have found when I am looking at art I’m drawn to the Minimalist look a lot of the time. Seen mostly in paintings and occasionally in photography, the Minimalist look as I understand it is to strip the art or photograph down to its essential components. Simply, anything that is not needed is removed. Well it sounds simple in principle, but seems for me it is going to take some time to work out what can go and what needs to stay.  I see in my mind when I look through the lens what I want the photo to look like, then reality sets in when I see the photo…… So I decided to look at some of my photos that didn’t stand up to what I had in mind when they were shot and try removing the unwanted after the fact,  opposite to the way most minimalist photos are created.  This first picture was taken in Amsterdam’s at the cobra Art Museum. I was drawn to the interior design of the building and took several photos that showed the curves and angles, but none lived up to what I had in mind. I began by turning it into a black & white and then started cutting…. this seem to be close to what I remembered. With the second photo, there were distractions in the background, so I began there and then removed the parts of the horse that I felt where not needed….  How much can you cut? I am still trying to figure that out… Seems to be different with each photo and what the mind will accept. 

Cobra Art Museum- Amsterdam


Horse - Keeneland



July 14, 2011 Posted by | Photography | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Daylilies – Photography

The daylilies seem to be doing great even though the hard rains have hurt everything else.

Daylily from the Arboretum


Nice daylily at Arboretum

July 12, 2011 Posted by | Flower, Photography | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heavy dew on flowers – Photography

I arrived at the Arboretum at 6am just before the sunrise and found heavy dew covering the flowers. The resent storms had not helped the roses, but I found a few nice flowers in the upper section that looked nice. Most of the time I use a 70-200L with extension for closeups of flowers, but today I decided to try an extension on a 17-40L and found that it worked good. It seemed to give me more dept of field, but required me to get very close. (2-4 inch)

Heavy dew on cone flower



July 11, 2011 Posted by | Flower, Photography | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pen Photography

    I had been shooting a lot of Horse racing  photography the pass two months, so it feels good to switch and do some studio work.  A good friend stopped by last week and dropped off some hand-made pens to be photographed for jury slides and I finally got around to working on them today. I shot the normal high key stuff the judge’s seem to want, not sure why, then I had some time to play. These shots were setup with a dark semi-gloss paper under the pens and with two lights set slightly above and behind to accent the edges, with a small reflector to add some highlights. Very selective focus and I think you get something much nicer than the high key stuff you normally see.

Hand-made pen by Randy Bates


Pen by Randy Bates


Hand-made watch parts pen


Pen by Randy Bates


June 25, 2011 Posted by | Photography, Product Photography | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keeneland Morning Workouts

I’ve been spending several mornings a week photographing the workouts at Keeneland. If you like horses this a great place to go and watch them training. It’s free and a beautiful place to spend a few hours.

Morning workouts at Keeneland- A little Ralph Lauren look with the processing.


The look away?



June 5, 2011 Posted by | Horse, Photography | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Abstract – Photography

We have been getting so much rain and wind the flowers are stressed out and really looking bad, so again I turn to the leaves. This time though, I’m putting the zoom to good use by ZOOMING! 

Iris Leaves - Abstract


Mint Leaves- Abstract

May 27, 2011 Posted by | Flower, Photography | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rose Leaves in Rain_ Photography

 Today makes 4-5 days of rain this week and the rose are showing signs of stress. They are starting to drop petals from all the wind which made finding nice ones this morning harder than normal. But as I walked around the Arboretum I noticed that the rain and heavy overcast had brought out the colors in the leaves.

Rose leaves in Rain- Lexington Arboretum


Rain on Rose leaves- Lexington Arboretum

May 19, 2011 Posted by | Flower, Photography | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment