Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Way They Were

I have a friend who from time to time brings me old family photos to restore. This is a photo of her daughter that was taken, well, a few years back. I know the daughter also, and even though she's younger than me, I'll be a gentleman and not give away clues as to her age. Anyway, the photo has been displayed in a frame for all these years, and has faded considerably. It looks to have been made in one of those department store studios that were once so popular. Their materials weren't always the best, and this kind of fading is typical.

My job was to try to get it back to the way it originally looked. That would, of course, involve restoring the color and contrast. That's easy enough with modern software, but the challenge is, how much? It's easy to get carried away and overdo it, ending up with clownish colors that are nowhere near the original. Not knowing what the original looked like, I just try to use my best judgement, using whatever clues are available. Personally, I think it's better to err on the side of understatement on the vibrancy of colors and the contrast. I try to get the skin tones looking natural, and let the other colors fall where they may.

This photo did not have any other physical damage, so color and contrast were the only two factors I had to deal with. After much tweaking, I came out with the above result (click on photo to enlarge). I think it looks very much like portraits of that era, and printed on archival paper, should endure the passage of time with more grace than the original photo. I enjoy restoring these old photos of loved ones, and giving back clearer memories of the way they were.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Another Overnighter

I went on an overnight backpacking trip with some friends Saturday to the Pink Beds area in Pisgah National Forest. We camped just off the Pink Beds Loop trail, a short 2 mile hike from the pic-nic area parking lot.

This is me in full pack. It might look like a lot to carry for an overnight trip, but I like to eat, and I like to be somewhat comfortable in camp. I'm willing to carry a little more weight since we usually only a hike a few miles in.

Here's Shannon setting up his tent and putting his gear away. We've learned not to pitch our tents too close together since some of us snore rather loudly in the quiet of a forest night. Or so I've been told. Personally, I've never heard a thing.

In the area we chose to set up camp, the forest floor was covered with ferns. It made a soft, cushioned surface for sleeping. This is my tent set up in a shady area among the ferns.

Owen was able to get a good fire going so we could cook our supper. We were a little worried because all the wood on the ground was very wet from last week's rains, but Owen had things blazing in no time.

There's a price to pay for carrying all that weight, but a soak in the frigid waters of a mountain stream gave me some relief.

Here's the crew before setting out to hike back to the truck. With no tripod, I balanced my camera on top of two walking sticks, and walked softly to my spot so as not to knock over the camera. Got the picture, and the camera survived. Left to right: Owen Hockenberry, Shannon Blaylock, and John Roberts. Good friends, and good hiking buddies! (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Car Show Leftover

Inside The Beast, Waynesville, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

This is one of the photos I had left over from Woodland's car show last month. An annoying reality of car shows (for me) is that most owners display their car with the hood up to show off the engine. This is understandable, as many times, the engine is as much a work of art as the exterior of the car. However, I prefer the hood down for an overall shot of the car. It's another reason I go for mostly detail shots at car shows.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Some Kids Never Grow Up

Antique Fire Truck, Canton, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Just as when I was a kid, I still get excited at the sight of an old pick-up truck. If it's a fire truck too, so much the better!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Little Queen

Little Queen, Canton, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

From the Canton Labor Day parade a couple of weeks ago..

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Seen At Every Parade . . .

Parade Junk, Canton, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

I don't think I've ever been to a parade, anywhere, that didn't have several of these guys roaming the parade route. They all have the same "borrowed" shopping cart loaded with colorful, plastic crap that is irresistible to the eyes of young children. Every item is guaranteed to break or pop shortly after getting home from the parade. Parents know that, but we whip out our wallets anyway. (Yes, I've wasted my money too.) Where do these guys come from? Where do they go? Who knows? One thing is for certain, they'll be there at the next parade.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Niece

Annamarie, Hiram, GA  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

This was just a grab shot while watching the football game Sunday afternoon. The dim light in the room required a shutter speed of 1/3 second, giving a little motion blur to the photo. Instead of thinking of the softness as a defect, I made it an asset and went with a vintage look, reminiscent of a portrait from the early 1900s.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Deja Vu All Over Again

While exploring the Photogrammar website, I found the photo below taken by Walker Evans in Charleston, SC in March, 1936. I immediately recognized it as a decorative eagle that I also had photographed on a trip to Charleston in April, 2012.

Gilded Pediment Eagle, Charleston, SC  -  1936, Walker Evans

My version (below) is not as tight a crop as Evans' photo, but the shooting angle is almost exactly the same, meaning we both shot from the same spot, 76 years apart. Well, maybe you're saying, "Big deal", but I thought it was kind of cool that I unknowingly picked the same spot and angle to photograph something that one of my photo heroes chose all those years before. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Gilded Eagle, Charleston, SC  -  2012