Tuesday, April 30, 2013

September Rain - 1969

It was a rainy day in September of 1969.  The large picture window in my parent's living room provided a great view of the park across the street. When I noticed this woman in red walking into the park, I thought it might make a decent photo.

I ran upstairs, (yes, in those days I ran up stairs) attached a 135mm telephoto lens to my Pentax Spotmatic and made it to the front porch in time to take two photos.  Then, the woman and her red umbrella disappeared behind the low hanging branches of the trees as she walked deeper into the park.

When I picked up the processed and mounted Ektachrome slides few days later, the results were disappointing.  In the first slide the woman was looking directly into the camera.  In the second slide, the focus was a bit soft and the composition was not what I had envisioned.  So, the slides went into a box and were forgotten for several decades.

The digitized version of the slide has been on my disk drive for a few years.  The red coat and umbrella always grab my attention as I scroll past the older photos in my library.  Saturday I decided to play a bit.

A few adjustments in Lightroom restored the color that had faded over the years.  Changing the aspect ratio to fit an 8x10 frame altered the composition enough to please me, but the focus was soft and a lot of dust had embedded itself into the emulsion of the original slide.  Photoshop has no magic (yet) to fix a poorly focused image and I had no intention of removing all of those dust spots. 

It finally occurred to me that the feeling of that rainy day doesn't rely on sharp detail.  I decided to channel the spirit of Bob Ross and obscure the remaining problems with the broad brush strokes of Photoshop's Oil Painting filter.  I'm sure most people won't mind.  After all, look at the popularity of Instagram.  Millions of bad photos obscured by strange filters are submitted  every day.

The finished photo is certainly not what I had in mind when I pressed the shutter in 1969 and nobody will ever describe it as a great work of art.  For me, but it is a nice reminder of that rainy September day.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Wing or Sprinter?

The transition from Winter to Spring is taking a long time. Maybe it should have a name. Joining "Winter" and "Spring" doesn't seem to work. "Wing" sounds too uplifting. "Sprinter" implies something moving fast.  Neither seems right.

The lawn is green and the weeds have already invaded the rock beds. It snowed the day after the lawn was first mowed.  The temperature hit a record low the night after I sprayed the weeds.  The prediction is for sub-freezing temperatures again tonight.

The weather guy says Spring should be here in a few days.  I hope he's right.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Dad, the Philco and a Swivel Chair - 1959

That's my dad.  I shot this picture with his Argus C-3 when I was about 8 years old.  No, I didn't have great photography skills.  I applied a little Lightroom magic to improve it a bit.  The original is in the inset below.  A little straightening, cropping, color correction and way less dust removal than is needed needed, but the resulting photo is a little bit nicer than the original snapshot. 

That Philco TV in the background  was only 6 years old when the photo was taken.  I say "only" because it would provide 16 more years of service before it was finally retired.  Things lasted a lot longer back then.  Whenever that TV developed a problem we would call Leonard Herdzina, the TV repair man.  He would roll up in his station wagon and either fix the TV on site or, if things were really bad, take it back to shop.  I remember his name because he was as important to the family as our doctor.  In those days, they both still made house calls.  Visits to Leonard's TV repair shop were how I got interested in electronics, but that's another story.

​Check out that haircut on Dad.  They called that a flat-top.  It looks a little long.  He was probably due for a trim.  We went to the barber (Ray Watson) every other week, regular as clockwork.   I'm not sure of the real color of the shirt.  It's pretty washed out from the flashbulb.  

That rocking chair is a classic.  It rocked AND swiveled.  My cousins and I used to sit in it an spin around until we were dizzy.  It must have made Dad a little annoyed because he eventually removed the swivel mechanism.  After that it was just a rocking chair and was not anywhere near as much fun.​  ​
The swivel mechanism showed up much later in a table that he made.  The top looks like a big gear and rotates.  He attached the table top to the pedestal base with the swivel mechanism.   The top and feet are laminated from reclaimed pallet wood.  The pedestal is part of an old support pillar left over after he remodeled our front porch.  Dad didn't throw a lot of stuff away.  He was pretty good at finding new uses for stuff.​

Times have changed a lot.  TV's don't last as long, we replace instead of repair, doctors don't make house calls and the list goes on.​

By the way.  I just replaced the rocking chair in my family room.  It rocks ​AND swivels.


Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Highland Park - 1969

Highland Park in the Fall of 1969

I lived across from the street from a small park when I was in high school.  It was a convenient place to practice my photography technique.  This is from a roll of slides that must have been shot when I was working on silhouettes. 

This slide sat in a box for about 40 years before I finally ran it though the scanner.  In that time a lot of dust embedded itself in the emulsion.  The high quality scan shows all of that dust and film grain the size of boulders.  It also needed a bit of work to restore the faded colors.

All in all, it's not a great shot.  I probably like it because I remember how much I enjoyed walking through the park on those cool Fall days.  I enjoyed taking the photo and enjoyed restoring it 44 years later.


Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Pattern Interrupted

Jay Maisel says a pattern in interesting, but a pattern interrupted is more so.  I doubt that he had mailboxes in mind when he said that.