Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Photo Restoration 2

A second photo restoration challenge was presented by the following image scanned with a consumer grade table top scanner and emailed to me. The photo was from my mother's photo album and was taken of her and her siblings when they were much younger than they are today.

The main challenges of the photo, were very heavy grain/noise and the overall darkness of the image, with a lack of detail in the shadows. I think the photo was taken at noonish as there are strong shadows under the eyes and under the caps. In addition, the photo (or at least the scan) is not critically sharp anywhere, so I was faced with a challenge to restore detail while trying to keep the noise from getting out of control. Most techniques which lead to greater sharpness or perceived sharpness will cause the already heavy grain/noise to be magnified.

About 1.5 hours of work, starting with cropping, noise reduction, followed by spot removal and then contrast/detail enhancement, and finally toning, led to the following image. The final image (this is a reduced for web version which has lost detail as a result of downsizing) should make a nice 4.5 x 3.5 print (trust me- it looks much nicer before being downsized for the web). It could of course be upsized to make a larger print, though I wouldn't push this image too far... I also made a more extravagant framed version which you see below. This could be suitable for a legacy print hanging on a salon wall.

Angel #2

Taken at the same time at the one below, Élysia was 27 months old when this photo was taken.


At the same time that I was shooting baby Charlotte pictured below, my kids jumped in and wanted to be photographed. This was taken while we were setting up, and essentially I used Élysia to get the lights right. I was using one off-camera SB600 shot through an umbrella, very close to the floor. She is lying on a background fabric of black velvet.

A Walk in the Park

Since I'm on a roll... this is another photo taken in the Park on Sunday. Élysia was enjoying a free ride..she was officially a wee bit tired...

November Challenge #2: Oil Tank #1

Another 'find' on our sunday outing in Gatineau Park was an ancient, discarded oil tank (or something like that). I took a few quick bracketed images and have worked up a quick, grungy take on the oil tank. This is a bit of a new technique that I'm experimenting with. Not sure this is anything really special but it is a different perspective on a discarded relic of a bye-gone industrial era.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Baby Charlotte

In late August some friends came down from Montreal and we took some pictures of their adorable little baby girl Charlotte. I was starting to process some of the photos and rather liked this one.

The last rose of summer...

In fact, this may indeed have been one of the last roses of summer for us. As the rest have been rather fried by the frosts. I played around a bit with some framing on this...not sure about the squiggles..but...

November Challenge #1

First up in my personal challenge to take 4 pictures outside during the month of November, is a photo taken on a sunday afternoon walk in the Gatineau Park with my family. Our kids love going for walks in the forest, and Mattias, like so many children, loves to find 'treasures'. If he were being all 'artsy' and grown-up, he'd call them 'found objects'. Instead, these are simply 'treasures'.

Matt's a pirate of course, and pirates have treasures. Matt's also a child, and it is really true that the eyes of a child see the world so completely differently, so innocently, so curiously...than we do as adults. Mattias found these items - a rock and a leaf - while walking in the forest - the enchanted garden of his youth.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

November Challenge

November is not typically a month that folks get excited about: winter's setting in, Fall's symphony of colour has past, most of the leaves have fallen and the emerging dominant colour, in much of Canada anyway, is drab brown. Given this relatively hostile environment for inspiration, I have decided to set myself a challenge in order to get myself shooting, and to get myself outside. Here's my project:

During the month of November I will shoot at least four photos outside that I am happy with enough to post on this blog. Notionally this means that at least once a week during the month of November I must shoot outside and shoot enough to have a 'keeper'. Beyond that I have no rules. They can be landscape, environmental name it. The goal is to shoot. And raise the bar. And get outside.

Photo Restoration

The photo above is of my grandparents, John and Lily Johnson, taken on their wedding day in the early part of the 20th century in Wetaskiwin, Alberta. My father scanned this in with a cheap desktop scanner and sent it to me, so I thought I'd give it a quick run to see what I could do quickly. In the space of about two hours I fixed up most of the obvious scratches, stains etc, and fixed the colour balance to bring the wedding dress back to white. I did a number of other fixes, including adjustments to the density, tonality and contrast, as well as some noise reduction (the scan is full of colour splotches for some reason). I'm relatively pleased with the result which I think should make a decent print - and a much much better print than the original. I don't actually know the size of the original, but the scanned file was 4x6. The final below, with added canvas and framing, will print at 8x10.

Newborn 2

I think it was some recent events in my larger family (health scares, relationship virages) that led me back to older photos of my children. When the status quo is threatened we cling to what we have? I know as a parent I often find refuge inside the family - in the incredibly unconditional love of my children.

This photo was also taken when my daughter had just been born and was being introduced to her 'big' brother.


I've recently been looking at some older photos and applying new techniques to them. In this one, I've taken a photo of my daughter as a newborn, shot during the day, and reinterpreted it to give it a nighttime feel. Feeling that it was a bit cold though, I brushed on some warmth to the cheeks/face area of mother and daughter.