Colorizing the Santa Barbara Mission

I chose this photo because I’ve been to the mission in Santa Barbara several times and I wanted to try and see what it would have looked like back in its earlier days. This project was much harder than I expected it to be, partly because it was difficult to do the mission and the land it sits on justice and align it with my own experiences. I also had trouble trying to bring it to life as it would have been in the 19th century in which this photo was taken. I started with a different photo, one of pioneers at what is now Sequoia National Park in 19th century California. While working on that photo, I decided to find something different; the image was too grainy for me to work with with my limited photoshopping skills. I encountered many of the same issues with the mission photo, but I liked the final product of this one much more than the colorized Sequoia product. The biggest problem I had with colorizing the mission is that there was a small flare in the original photo (see below) that became more pronounced as I colorized the image. I took some more artistic liberties with my colorization than the automated site did, adding some flowers and more color contrast. Overall, I’m happy with how it turned out but I could probably make it more realistic if I worked it more.

Image Citation: Reed, Norman H, photographer. The Mission, Santa Barbara, Cal. / Reed, photo. California Santa Barbara, ca. 1890. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/91726134/.

Original photo, c. 1890