Gorgeous skies this afternoon. Looking to the southwest towards downtown Bakersfield…
Yep. Dried cherries macerating in dark rum and waiting to go into a fruitcake I’m making tomorrow… Mmmmmm!
Wandered around town today with my camera in my hand… and I see that Ed has been here before me.
It’s been a while since my last post. I guess I got caught up in the holidays and the hullabaloo of the election. But it’s a new year and I’m trying to get back to posting on a regular basis. Likewise, I decided to return to Photo-A-Day, or PAD, after a nine month break. In case you don’t know about PAD, it’s where you commit to taking a picture and posting it every day. At least, that’s how I practice it, others are a little more loose with those rules, sometimes banking shots or skipping days. I like shooting and posting each day and composing in camera. It’s not always easy to follow through with with the daily grind but it’s good for the discipline of picking up your camera every day and shooting. The results aren’t always pretty, either, but that’s not the point. The saying is “Dance like no one is watching” and sometimes PAD has to be approached the same way.
Anyway, here’s a few of my favs so far:
I spent much time last night on the phone talking to far-flung members of my extended family. All part of my current project, scanning old family photos and posting them on my photo site. Many of these pictures were from when dad and the aunts and uncles were kids and I wanted to let the family know the photos were up and could be viewed now.
Most of these photos have been in an old, crumbling album that was in the family for who-knows how long… After both mom and dad passed away it fell into my hands. A couple years ago I was concerned about the safety of these old pics so I transferred them all into a new album with acid-free paper and so on. Not an easy task, as somewhere along the line someone had either taped or glued many of the photos onto the pages. How does one recover from that? I looked everywhere on the net for some advice but found nothing directly related to what I was going through, so I opted to leave well enough alone and simple cut each pic from it’s mount and slipped them into the new sleeves.
Over the fourth of July weekend, with the bad air (I live in California and the forest fires rage nearby) and the heat (we’re looking at 100’s!) I opted to stay in and start this project. I probably got about a quarter of the way through the black and white photos, scanning each at 300 dpi. I probably could have gone higher on the resolution, but I don’t think it would make much difference. After that step, I opened each in Photoshop and started a restoration process: Duplicate the image onto a new layer for spotting and cleanup, then duplicate that onto another layer for levels adjustment and any burn and dodge to even out the photo. I saved that and then exported the photo to a jpg for posting on the net. This step showed me that the brightness of each photo was exporting too dark, so I added an additional step of adding a brightness adjustment layer in PS to compensate. I’m assuming that exporting from the original file in 16 bit gray level to jpg in 8 bits was the culprit here. No problem, adjusting the brightness by 10 or 15% lighter seems to work and saves the original at the best quality for the time being.
Almost every photo showed signs of wear and time. Many had scratches and spots, wrinkles or cracks and the evidence of fingerprints and the aforementioned tape. I chose to deal with these in Photoshop by using the spot-healing tool on the spots in the open areas and the stamp tool in the tight spots. I tried to be very careful not to change the the feel or look of the original image. My levels and burn/dodge were done to even out the faded places and the poor printing of the original.
All in all, I’m happy with the results so far. The scans look good, the old photos are safe, the family are getting to them and we may even figure out the who/what/when/where of a few of them. I’ll be adding more photos to this gallery as I get them scanned and cleaned up…
I carried my camera with me yesterday for the first time in weeks.
I’ve made a point of taking a break from pictures since ending my Photo-A-Day project. In march I completed four years. Four years of taking a picture (or more, sometimes many more), processing and posting it that same day. Four years of good shots and dumb shots, early morning epiphanies and late night deadlines. Four years of crystalline observations and uninspired snapshots. A few real-keepers. More than a few out-of-ideas self portraits. For four years I tried to take a photo everyday. I missed a couple times here and there, but it was a frame of mind and a way of thinking every single day. Towards the end there were more than a few uninspired shots. So when I stopped at the end of March this year, it was for a breather and some time to collect my thoughts and see where I wanted to go next.
So what of all this? Well, it’s only been a bit more than a month since the end of PAD, but these last few days I’ve started seeing pictures in my head again. A couple of times I went for my camera only to remember that I didn’t have it with me. Ah, missed opportunities. Yesterday I headed out the door and, as I did so, grabbed my camera bag. I’m not sure how long this feeling will last, but for now I’ll endeavor to make the best of it…
So, after four years of self-inflicted Photo-A-Day (PAD), I posted my last photo on Friday, the anniversary of my starting PAD. I didn’t pick up a camera on Saturday or Sunday, and I was fine. But Monday came, and on my way out the door, I stood for a minute with my hand on my camera bag vacillating about whether to take it or leave it. I’ve been carrying a camera with me everywhere I’ve gone for four years now… I wasn’t sure I could just leave it now. But I did. I left it. On my way to work I must have seen half a dozen shots on the street and in my head. At work, I looked over at where my camera bag usually sat and saw an empty space. I felt naked most of the day. And when it was time to go to bed, it was an odd feeling, I hadn’t posted a photo…
I decided that four years of PAD was enough; at least, it was enough for now. I feel like a break is due. I’m taking this time for a little rest, time to recharge. Past that, I have a few things I want to focus on, things I promised myself I would do. First, I need to sort and reorganize my photo collection. Second, I want to collect my favorite pictures from these last four years and try to put together a photo book. Third, I want to spend time working on a some photographic projects I’ve had milling about in my head for a while. Lastly, I’ve been working on building up a good lighting kit, and I want to finish that.
Today, as I left for work, I looked at my camera bag… the tug was still there. I came to a compromise. I left the bag, but grabbed the Olympus Trip 35 and stuffed it in my briefcase…
Here are a few from the last couple days that I’m pretty happy with: