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Old 11-13-2005, 09:40 PM   #1
JVegVT
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: northern New England, USA
Posts: 510
Default My very challenging photo

Hi Everyone--

I haven't been around here as much as I'd like--too many irons in the fire and I'm having a lot of trouble keeping up with my e-mail and various forums. One thing I've been working on recently is a very challenging photo.

My 85-year-old uncle from Michigan is visiting my 87-year-old mother, who lives across the road. He brought along a snapshot that is about 73 years old and he's hoping I can fix it up.

It's 2 inches by 3 inches and in very bad condition, with creases, discoloration, and some surface damage. In the middle of this tiny photo is a group of three boys standing with their horse, cow, and goat. The boys are my uncles. They are so small in the picture that you need a magnifying glass to see where their faces are, and you certainly can't get a clear picture of their faces even with magnification. Most of the picture is sky and grass. My uncle wants me to enlarge the people.

I'm using Photoshop Elements. I've never had time to get good with this program--I've used it for quick fixes such as simple cropping and color adjustments. I've had to look in my various Photoshop books and I've also found some good how-to material on the Web.

I scanned the area I was interested in (the boys and animals) at 600 dpi, which is the maximum optical resolution of my old scanner. I got more than enough pixels through the scan to print the part I want at 6" by 4". The scanned photo needs a lot of work. The tone is very uneven because of the age of and damage to the picture. I have my work cut out for me!

Today I printed out some copies of one of my previous edits of this picture, which I was unsatisfied with and will not be using. I just wanted to see if there was any hope at all. To my surprise, my edited photo is much nicer than the original and you can actually get some idea of what the boys looked like. I think when I do what I can to get rid of the defects, work on the levels to get better tone and contrast, blur the background somewhat, and do an unsharp mask on the people and animals, the picture will be good enough to be meaningful to the younger generation of relatives. It'll never be a clear and detailed picture--there is too little to work with for that.

One good thing is that I'm getting a crash course in Photoshop techniques.<g>

I did another old photo project recently. I found an old page from an employees' newsletter put out by my uncle's company in 1947 with a wedding picture of him and my aunt. They are both dead now. I knew my cousin would cherish that picture and would like copies for her children, and my mother and uncle would also be happy to have such a picture. The picture in the newsletter was about 2" by 3". I scanned it at 600 dpi, descreened it, adjusted the tone, and fixed up some defects and then printed it out on photo paper. It looked really good and my cousin was so happy to get it. Fixing up that photo was a fair amount of work, but nothing like what I'm facing with the snapshot of my uncles as boys.
--Judy M.

   
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