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Scanning Heritage Photos

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  #11  
Old 11-30-2004, 08:26 PM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
I do not think that I would be wiping down any kind of historical print till I found out a lot more about what that stuff would do to the print, both in the near and far time.

Mike
Thanks Mike. That's exactly what was in my head, but you put it in words. It is often very difficult to predict what will happen to a print in the future. Even fumes from painted walls can have devistating effects in the long run. We might not be aware of the fumes, but they're there. If I remember correctly, you shouldn't put prints on a wall for three or four years that has oil based paint applied to them. It's been a while since I dug out my books, but I'm sure long term effects are something to be concerned with.

Ed
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  #12  
Old 12-01-2004, 10:49 AM
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MBChamberlain MBChamberlain is offline
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More on extender

A few things to note about my post...

Marshalls Extender is listed as: "A colorless product of the same consistency and general properties as Marshall Oils. Makes color paler without thinning it. Excellent for cleaning small areas." It is a transparent oil paint specifically designed for use on photographs.

Thanks to Ed for pointing out some additional information on this. This is not a product that should be used in the conservation of old photographs. It is a useful trick when working in image recovery and restoration, but it must be noted that it can cause long term yellowing on most mediums.

That being said I should also point out that you should ALWAYS attempt to scan the photo or copy it without applying anything. And it is rarely needed. The photos I use it on are like the one on my original post, so badly damaged that there is very little of the original visible to the naked eye, let alone a scanner or camera.

I'm not saying that you should use it on every project, or that it is God's gift to photography. I'm just saying it is another tool that can be used. Weigh the pros and cons carefully before attempting to use this product.

Take care,

Michael

Last edited by MBChamberlain; 12-04-2004 at 10:56 AM.
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  #13  
Old 01-07-2005, 08:39 AM
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Beth McNabb Beth McNabb is offline
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Digital vs Scanq

Mike wrote:
"If you have the access, I would try a very high resolution digital camera, especially if the orginals have any silvering on them.
Mike"

This is what I was wondering.... I have a CanoScan Scanner (1200 x 1400 dpi - 42 bit) that is a couple of years old. When researching scanners awhile back, I read it wasn't one they recommeded for photo scanning... (although I have used it a bunch for that purpose) So, I have old family photos and was wondering if it would be better to scan or just take a digital pic. I have a Nikon Coolpix 8700 (8mgpixel). I am not a professional photographer so if pics are better, then I would appreciate some information on how to get the best picture to work with. I am much better at working with the pictures on the computer than taking them. (PSE3) Pretty sorry, huh?! But I am enjoying learning about the whole process and seeing the resulting smiles I get from others!

Thanks for the comments. I sincerely appreciate your input and advice.

Beth
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  #14  
Old 01-07-2005, 12:13 PM
Mike Mike is offline
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Beth

The basic idea of copying with a camera is to:

Keep the camera at right angles to the print.

Light the print evenly and start with the lights at 45 degrees to the print, one light on each side of the print.

For silvered prints, place a polorizing filter over each light, and over the lens of the camera. Make sure the plane of the filters on the lights are the same, and rotate the filter on the camera till the silvering disappears.

Filters large enough to cover the lights can be found at camera stores (usually expensive) or at stores that sell theatrical supplies (sometimes cheaper, as they usually sell in large sheets which you can cut up).

They make a device called a copy stand that helps one to do this easily, but if you do not have one or have the need to buy a piece of special equipment like this, one can use a tripod. Its easier to have the camera look down on the print than to try to place the print on some kind of vertical surface.

Your camera should be a SLR type.

In my case, I can and do shoot tethered to a computer when I do this. It makes it a lot easier to check the image on a computor screen rather than the LCD screen on the back of the camera. I shoot all orginals in RGB so that I can check the various channels to see which is the best to use when I get it into PS.

It all sounds kind of complicated, but once you have done it a few times, it isn't. And the quaility of the output is really great, without having to work for hours in PS trying to get rid of the silvering. Lets face it, to get a high quaility copy of a silvered print, you are going to have to put some time into it, either setting up a copy station or scanning and sitting at the computer.

Good luck and hope this helps

Mike
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  #15  
Old 01-07-2005, 12:24 PM
MaryLynn MaryLynn is offline
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Thanks Mike, for your great advice. Many of us who have old photos to digitize will benefit from your help.

Along these lines I have a further question. Many old photos are no longer perfectly flat, not necessarily bent but slightly curled. How do you handle this situation so that the photo is lit equally?

MaryLynn
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  #16  
Old 01-07-2005, 02:04 PM
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Beth McNabb Beth McNabb is offline
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Cool More questions

Mike,

Thank you for an excellent answer. I understood what you were saying. However, I have a few more questions....

"Light the print evenly and start with the lights at 45 degrees to the print, one light on each side of the print." - I don't have any professional lighting equipment. Is there something common from home I can use?

"For silvered prints, place a polorizing filter over each light, and over the lens of the camera. Make sure the plane of the filters on the lights are the same, and rotate the filter on the camera till the silvering disappears." ---What is "silvering"? I've had prints in bad shape before - mostly torn or aged. The ones I'm getting ready to use are thankfully not in too bad of shape.

"Filters large enough to cover the lights can be found at camera stores (usually expensive) or at stores that sell theatrical supplies (sometimes cheaper, as they usually sell in large sheets which you can cut up)." ---I purchased Richard Lynch's book "The Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements 3" and have been reading through it trying to learn. Mostly while I was traveling (someone else was driving ) and just now decided to see if there was a polarizing filter on it. Seems like I remember reading about it.... (I couldn't get everything to install, but don't tell him! I'll read up on it more first!) Would the PSE polarizing filter work? Probably. Would the real thing be better?

They make a device called a copy stand that helps one to do this easily, but if you do not have one or have the need to buy a piece of special equipment like this, one can use a tripod. Its easier to have the camera look down on the print than to try to place the print on some kind of vertical surface. Peter i Nova's (Mastering Nikon Compact Digital Cameras) ebook recommended a copy stand. Said it wasn't too expensive and you ought to give them as stocking stuffers. So I thought I would invest in one.

Your camera should be a SLR type.

In my case, I can and do shoot tethered to a computer when I do this. It makes it a lot easier to check the image on a computor screen rather than the LCD screen on the back of the camera. I shoot all orginals in RGB so that I can check the various channels to see which is the best to use when I get it into PS. --Thanks to Richards book, I think I'll be able to do this in PSE.
It all sounds kind of complicated, but once you have done it a few times, it isn't. And the quaility of the output is really great, without having to work for hours in PS trying to get rid of the silvering. Lets face it, to get a high quaility copy of a silvered print, you are going to have to put some time into it, either setting up a copy station or scanning and sitting at the computer.

Good luck and hope this helps

Mike[/QUOTE]

I'm looking forward to trying all of this. Thank you very much for a clear and practical anwer.

Beth
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  #17  
Old 01-07-2005, 03:03 PM
Mike Mike is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryLynn
Thanks Mike, for your great advice. Many of us who have old photos to digitize will benefit from your help.

Along these lines I have a further question. Many old photos are no longer perfectly flat, not necessarily bent but slightly curled. How do you handle this situation so that the photo is lit equally?

MaryLynn
No friend like a sheet of glass! I go down to the local glass store, and pick out a piece that is about 1/4 inch thick, has no "waves" in it, get them to cut it to a size I can use (usually about 11 x 14 inches or so, and have them grind down the edges so I do not cut myself while handling it. Keep it in a large envelope or box so it does not get scratches and keep it clean.

Mike
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  #18  
Old 01-07-2005, 03:34 PM
Mike Mike is offline
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Beth

Lights: Assuming you are copying a black and white orginal, then you can use just about any light source you want, BUT, you will have to work in B&W in PS because in RGB your color would be so far off as to be just about unusable. So a couple of incandsent bulbs would work. I have used a couple of the little flash units one usually puts on a camera. Set them up in the proper place, then to fire them, I put another flash unit of the same type on the camera, flipped it up at a wall, and when it went off, the others fired. One can buy incandesent photo bulbs that put out light at a constant color temperture. They are more expensive than just a plain old 60 or 100 watt bulb, but they put out a lot more light and can be eaiser to work with. I do not know where you live, but most communities have some kind of store that sells stuff for farmers. If you can find one, see if they any "chicken brooder" lights. The thing is a large aluminium reflector with a light bulb in it. Buy the one's with the ceramic light base. Now you have professional lighting gear!

Silvering is a condition that happens to old photos that can be seen when holding them at an angle to the light. Areas of the print will appear silver in color and when you photograph or scan them that area will reproduce as a dead black with no detail.

I am not familier with the polorizing filter in PSE. My guess would be that it will not work in this case, as what we are trying to do is cut off some of the reflection of the silvering before it gets to the film/imiger in the camera. We are doing that by limiting the plane the light waves are in. Once the camera captured the waves that plane is destroyed so I do not think that you could reserect the planes in the computor. Hope that you can kind of understand what I am trying to say, not sure I can

Good questions, hope this all helps and let us know how you do.....

Mike
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  #19  
Old 01-07-2005, 03:56 PM
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Beth McNabb Beth McNabb is offline
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Cool Lights, Camera, Action I hope!

Mike,

Can't tell you how I chuckled about the lighting suggestion I live in South Georgia. It's pretty and rural here (with surprisingly good cultural opportunities). There are a few good quality farm stores in the town too. I grew up on a farm in the midwest and know exactly what a brooder light is. Can't wait to have professional quality lighting! (Don't know that any of the neighbors would recognize it for that though.)

Thanks for explaining the silvering. I'll make the effort to find the polarizing filter.

I am encouraged by your answers. Once I know how to do something and know the results will be worth the effort, I am excited about trying.

Have a wonderful weekend!
Beth
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  #20  
Old 01-07-2005, 04:15 PM
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Beth McNabb Beth McNabb is offline
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One more question...

Is the filter a type of material? If so, can I drape it over/around and secure with rubber bands? (okay - at this point everyone knows what a novice I am! ) I've seen the polarizing filters sold by Nikon etc. But when you said it could be cut to fit, I pictured material....

Thanks again,
Beth
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