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OK. Let me have it!

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  • OK. Let me have it!

    This was the first picture I picked from my grandfather's negatives last November. I've probably redone it 18 times. Everytime I learned something new in PS I'd go back and rework it.

    Well, its not perfect, never will be. But, I've mailed it out for Mother's Day so I am committed.

    Since then I've decided that this is my new career, so don't hold back on technique, ability, framing, toning, anythings fair. I need to learn. Fact is, it represents the limits of my ability today.

    A couple excuses. This was a 116 negative with a much larger aspect ratio. I really prefer that format but had to make it fit standard 8x10 for cost reasons. I thought the negative was beyond repair so I went with a new background that I built from other negs of his. I didn't have any good woodsy backdrops so I went for the 'studio' backdrop look. I now know enough to save the original but I was hooked on this idea. Whats your opinion?
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Can't understand why you've used a new background, as the one with the picture is easily recoverable.

    Your extraction of the figures has hard edges, and does not sit well into the new BG. Lighting looks to have too much contrast for a picture of this era.

    I've done a very quick job (about 15 mins) on your original, to show how the original can be retained. Obviously it is not a finished piece, and with greater time and care a much better result could be achieved.
    Attached Files


    • #3
      blue dog,

      ok, the first thing is somewhat a preferences thing but also somewhat a technical thing. too much sepia/reddish cast. the grass is sepai, the background is sepia, his moustache is sepia, the skins are sepia, the barrel is sepia, everything is sepia, even the rocks. it's just too much. it's overwhelming and a distraction due to the amount.

      the backdrop is neither studio nor woodsy. it's too blurred to be studio and too splotchy to be woodsy. so, it just doesnt work for me.

      the bottom of the barrel looks cut and paste.

      his moustache seems to have a ring around it, making it look a bit cut and paste. i can see some of that in the original, so i know it wasnt all your doing. but it shows even more in the second image.

      you kept the shadows... good, but, you cut them off at the rocks where they look like they would have extended up on the rocks a bit based on the original.

      i think it was smart keeping the original grass area.

      the retouching and restoring looks fine.

      mostly, i just have trouble with all the reddish cast and the background. part of that is that i'm just not a big fan of sepia toning, but in this case i think you went overboard with it, which is why i said part a preferences thing and part technical.

      i'll also add that on images like this i prefer to keep the image/character integrity, meaning, i dont like to change backgrounds and so on. i prefer to just restore. but, again, that's a preferences thing.



      • #4
        I have to agree with Gary and Craig about removing the original background. It's history and what it was is what it was and since this was not a studio shot I'd leave the background for historical purposes.

        Hear's the reason... A surveyor friend of mine told me about a case he had to testify to in court over a disputed property line. Turns out that the defendant had an old photo similar to yours that showed surveyor's stakes in the background and had a hand written date on the back that fell within one week of the date on the defendant's deed. Whithout that photo he would have lost a portion of his property to the other guy.


        • #5

          I think it is important to keep the original state only because that area of a house or yard may be very memorable to that person, and can make the memory much more enjoyable.

          But i do like the bkgd you placed in there, goes good with the shot.

          I played around with the shot to try some depth of field options to make the ppl in the shot pop a little more from the bkgd., also blur the noise a little and where they were silo'ed. Basically by blurring, and painting with highs and shadows.

          Pretty nice photo though.

          Attached Files


          • #6
            Here is a quick, down and dirty one.
            Attached Files


            • #7
              Thank you for your criticisms

              I knew this one would be controversial; that's why I picked it. I have a couple that I think most everyone would like. This one though has been my nemisis.

              1. Its pretty clear that the majority don't like the background. Oh, the lawn was built one square foot at a time too. I admitted that I made the mistake of falling in love with an idea. "I now know enough to save the original but I was hooked on this idea." Also, it did NOT turn out the way I invisioned it. KR1156, Thanks for liking the background.

              2. Kraellin: You didn't notice the nice complimentary Navy Blue tone!

              3. Swappy - so happens I was a surveyor in my college days! Oh the stories I could tell. To set you and KR1156 at ease, out of 700+ negatives, this spot in this yard at this house appears dozens of times. History IS intact!

              4. Everyone: I made specific attempts to rid the "hard edges". There must be something I don't know.

              Seriously, Thanks again!
              Last edited by blue dog; 05-09-2006, 04:59 PM.


              • #8
                Oh, Dan Ryan. I do like your far simpler approach (and result). It took you a far more reasonable amount of time than this took me. Again, some grandious idea got the best of me.


                • #9
                  umm, navy blue tone?? umm, ok.

                  i did forget one thing here. i do like that you brought the people out more with the crop and resize. if i were going to sacrifice historical accuracy for anything, it would have been that.



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