Evening Picnic at Huntington Beach, 1937.


Colorized black and white photo of a beach picnic in Huntington

Original black and white photo comes courtesy of The Huntington Digital Library and was taken in 1937 by photographer Dick Whittington. If you look closely at the newspaper the young man is reading in the bottom right of the photo, you can just make out the headlineNazis behead U.S. citizen in bomb plot”. This refers to Helmut Hirsch who was executed on June 4, 1937 for his part in a bombing plot intended to destabilize the German Reich. A second headline reads: “Nine trapped & burned to death as big California bus crashes”. This refers to a Greyhound bus crash near Redding, California which was also on June 4. This information was noticed and pointed out to me by redditor notbob1959.

This photo provided quite a few challenges. Since the photo was taken at night, it was somewhat difficult to work with. To avoid a “flat” looking colorization, the color opacity must be adjusted accordingly with the shadows. Sometimes lowering the saturation in the shadowed areas will provide a decent result, but this photo required a bit more work to pull it off. Another challenge in this photo was achieving the lighting from the fire. With the help of multiple vivid light layers and some creative trial and error, I was able to reach a result that I was satisfied with. Let me know what you think.

Below is the full size original black and white photo as well as my full size restoration and colorization. 

Black and white photo of beach picnic, 1937Photo colorization and restoration of a group of people having a picnic at Huntington Beach.

All photo colorization found within Metacolor is completed by hand using a Wacom Graphic Tablet and Adobe Photoshop CC software. All website design, writing and photo colorization/restoration found within Metacolor.org is the sole work of Wayne Degan.


  1. Marie Phillips
    June 4, 2017 at 2:06 am

    My compliments to you on the colorizing. It really captures the moment and breathes extra life into it.

    May I have your permission to post the colorized version in our goup? I’d also like to invite you to join the group US Remembered, where we share photos and memories of our families’ personal histories.

    • MetaColor
      June 6, 2017 at 11:53 am

      Thank you for the kind words.

      Sure, feel free to share it. I will check out the group you mentioned.

  2. David
    February 14, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    This is a extremely good looking colorizing, beautifully done! How did you establish the color of the cars?

    • MetaColor
      February 14, 2018 at 4:31 pm

      Thank you. I chose the colors of the cars mostly using judgement on this particular photo.The shades in the black and white photo gave me a good idea which direction to take them.

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