24 January 2008

Color restorations, continued

A friend suggested that I consider just making these old slides black & white instead of trying to restore the color to an original I can never be sure of. So here's that same photo again, completely desaturated. It should would save time to do it this way, and I like the result. But there is also something to be said for the color restoration (imperfect as it is).

18 January 2008

Color restorations

Just wanted to show you the before and after on the color corrections for one of the slides I've been restoring. Here it is after I've touched up all the dust specks and scratches but before any color corrections:

And here it is after the color restoration:

Amazing what you can do in Photoshop, eh? I did this using Color Balance (sky) and Hue/Saturation (everything else).

17 January 2008

Scanning and restoring old slides

I have a big project I've been working on in dribs and drabs, and that's to scan a whole heap of slides that my grandfather took back in the 1930s and 40s, get rid of scratches and dust specks, and restore them to their intended colors. Most of them were taken on a Kodak Bantam Special on 828 slide film. It's hard to find anyone who will scan that stuff anymore these days, since it is larger than the standard dimensions of 35mm film (28x40mm as opposed to 24x36mm) and doesn't fit slide scanners. I bought the top of the line, a Nikon Super Coolscan 9000, thinking that would allow me to do them at home, but even that doesn't have a large enough opening in its slide holder. So I'll have to try to rig something up with one of its larger transparency holders, or else do them on my Epson 4870 flatbed scanner in transparency mode and manually crop them to the right size and rotate them slightly if I didn't get the orientation lined up just perfectly with no tray to hold them in (and that won't be ideal, because the focal distance of the scanning beam will be slightly off). For now I'm working on the few 33mm slides that are in the collection.

It's a labor of love, I tell you. It takes nearly an hour to do each one if there is a lot of color distortion and hundreds of noticeable specks. Photoshop can do a pretty good job of dust and scratch removal on sky, but on other things it sometimes adds too much blur which I don't like. So I'm going through and doing them all painstakingly with the spot healing brush tool. Even though it is time-consuming, I'm quite pleased with the results. Here are two of the ones I've done so far. One is my grandfather with his uncle and the other is his wife, my grandmother, with her aunt-in-law (the wife of my grandfather's uncle), with my dad as a little boy in the background. I love how vivid the reds still are in the flowers (I really didn't have to restore that at all) against the still somewhat muted rest of the photo of the women. Did their dresses have more blue or green in them? I can't tell. I got the skin and hair and grass colors looking right, and that's about all I can hope for. I have chosen to keep the slide mount backgrounds on, to reveal the origin of these photos.

16 January 2008

Candle in the Night

I'm always mesmerized by candle flames. I shot this with my Canon G9. If you stare at the dark space between the wax and the flame, where the wick is, or just a hair above that, at the bottom fringe of the darkest orange part of the flame, after a while you'll begin to see the flame shrink from the bottom up, as if it's climbing up the wick.

OK, I've been at the computer too long. I keep forgetting that I've started the kettle boiling for a cup of tea. I'm now heading down to flip the switch for a third time! Maybe I ought to just sit down there and read until it boils this time.

10 January 2008

Singing off the same hymn sheet

That's what they say in the UK when people are what we in North America would call "on the same page" (or "wavelength"). These lovely sisters in my church gave me permission to post the photo I took of them in one of our services. We are one of the few churches around which still sings in four-part harmony. It's wonderful -- like being part of a heavenly choir! Congregational singing has been a big part of my faith over the years, and like a friend of mine once told me, hymns are part of my prayer language. I've been invited to document our church's worship through photography on a couple of occasions. All the photos in the mini slide show that flips by on the home page were done by me. If you're in the Vancouver area and looking for a church that seeks to integrate faith and the arts; peace, justice, and biblical truth; heart and mind; spiritual formation and mission; people of all generations; lay men and women in ministry...come check us out: Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Fellowship.


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