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Showing posts from June, 2011

Restoring a very old photo (with a free moral)

Wow, this is impressive.

The commentary by Bob Rosinsky of Top Dog Photography is detailed and quite interesting. I don't do this sort of thing. Well, when my brother-in-law and I worked on a movie almost seven years ago for my mother-in-law's ninetieth anniversary, we had a lot of old photos to go through and I cleaned up a few of them, but that was child's play compared to what Rosinsky did with this nineteenth-century photo.

I wonder if this sort of thing will be possible for photos taken today, say, 150 years from now. I doubt it. The tintype that Rosinsky worked on didn't require either hardware or software format conversion, at least no conversion was necessary for the photo simply to be viewed. It could be viewed with the "naked eye." Digital photos, not so much. Rosinsky's client brought him a 150-year old tintype and he was instantly able to see the image and quickly assess the amou…

What "post-processing" means to me (and you, if you're my client)

I usually put photos online for clients with only minimal processing. If you are a client reviewing your online gallery, what you should look for, as you decide which photo to order a print of, is the smile, the pose, the background — the look of the photo in a general way. And don't be troubled if the photo looks a bit flat. It usually does. When I shoot, I do only "raw capture," that is, I don't ask my camera to generate nice output, I take the raw data that the camera's sensor captures and then I go to work on it myself. And while I admit that sometimes I do process photos so they will look as good as possible online, most of the time — especially when I'm working on photos for clients — I'm working to produce a master file that will result in the best possible print.

Before and after
This photo of my daughter Catherine at the Dallas Arboretum is as close to an "original" as I get, but it has already been processed by Adobe Photoshop Lightroo…

War on Photography

A few years ago, I spent the morning on the campus of UT Southwestern Medical School here in Dallas, photographing snowy egrets in the rookery there. I drove into a public parking garage (well, it is "public" in the sense that you don't have to pay to drive in and no one challenges you when you do), and went up to the top floor, which overlooks the rookery. Within minutes, a campus police car rolled on to the top floor, the officer got out and challenged me. I had business cards with me, which seemed to mollify him, and he was actually fairly pleasant about it. My having a big camera with a big lens was proof enough that I'm photographer, but that wasn't the issue: I think the business card somehow proved that I'm not a terrorist. Anyway, he explained that the campus is very concerned about security and he advised me not to turn ninety degrees to my left and take photos of the hospital, implying that if I did, he'd be back and perhaps not in such a good m…

City critters

It was a slow, slow weekend at the Arboretum. I'm not just commenting on the fact that I was not busy, I'm observing that the Arboretum itself seemed to be empty most of the weekend. On Saturday, the majority of folks walking around were accompanied by pro photographers. On Sunday, well, there were fewer photographers and a few more guests, but the place still seemed pretty dead. Surprising for a holiday weekend, or perhaps not. After all, it was over 100ยบ each afternoon. I think people just decided they'd rather go bowling or see a movie. Can't blame 'em.

Anyway, the lack of crowds seems to have emboldened the wildlife. Now I know we have a lot of critters in the area. At the Arboretum or in the area of White Rock Lake, I've seen coyotes, raccoons, and opossums. (I'm just mentioning non-domestic mammals. Too many interesting birds around here to get started.) Arboretum grounds manager J. Glore tells me that he has seen a bobcat at the Arboretum. But most of…

Father's Day Weekend at the Arboretum

I'm pleased to announce that the Dallas Arboretum has asked me back this weekend to take family portraits again, for Father's Day. I've worked Mother's Day weekend for the last many years but this will be my first Father's Day. I will be working 11-3 both days: Saturday, 6/17/11, and Sunday, 6/18/11. If you are thinking of coming by, my advice would be, come by earlier in the day rather than later, as it's going to be absurdly hot by 3pm both days.

Early color photos

Although color "photographs" were being made from fairly early in the history of photography—starting in the mid-nineteenth century and continuing into the twentieth—color photography didn't really become practical until 1935/1936 when Kodak and Agfa began to produce "modern" color film. Here's a link to some interesting color photos taken mostly in the early 1940s in the western USA: