The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

No, you're not imagining being damp

We'll know for sure in the next couple of hours when yet another line of storms comes through, but at the moment it looks like Chicago will break its May rainfall record today:

[T]he approach of yet another vigorous weather system spells more storms - possibly severe - for waterlogged northeast Illinois. Only 10.4 mm of additional rain will catapult this May's rainfall, currently 182.6 mm, to 193 mm and the wettest May in Chicago weather history.

Squish, squish, squish.

Photo of the Day

(Aside: Apparently the Photo of the Day has become a feature of The Daily Parker. Oh, the pressure.)

Today, another comparison between a photo I printed in a darkroom with paper and chemicals and the same photo "printed" using digital image editing tools. This is a friend from high school, photographed in March 1986 on Kodak Tri-X film, and printed on 8"x10" Ilford #3 paper:

VoilĂ  the rescanned negative processed through Lightroom:

As with the other photo, I didn't duplicate the original print exactly. Both modern versions show more detail and a greater range of tones than the paper prints, partially because of the generation loss from scanning a print, but also because printing a photo on an easel is a sloppy process. After six or seven attempts, with a cycle time of about 20 minutes, using smelly chemicals, after school, in a darkroom in the school basement, with homework to do, I just moved on. With digital editing, if I don't like the result I can simply change it. Burned in a spot too much? In 1986, throw the print out and start over. In 2011, hit +Z.

In fact, just looking at the comparison, I see a couple more things I should do...which will take about 5 minutes. And no smelly chemicals.

Thanks to the model, Lauren Spain-Bondi, for permission to publish.

Photo of the Day

This won't actually show off my work or entice you to buy a magnificent image for your commercial advertising campaign at a surprisingly reasonable price. No, this merely shows a place Parker and I both enjoy for precisely the same reasons (sitting outside with popcorn and good beer). Four Farthings has their patio set up, and after I get back from a short bike ride, the dog and I are heading over:

Photoshop Version 0.0

In May 1986, I went to Boston with my school choir (all 130 of us, plus chaperons) and took about 240 photos. Here's one of them:

When I got back home, I printed the shot. This took about five hours, and some help from Mr. Sylvester, the photography teacher, because instead of Photoshop I used an actual darkroom, with an easel and Ilford #3 paper. Here's the result:

Now, in 2011, I've finally scanned the negative, and in about 20 minutes with Adobe Lightroom, produced a reasonable facsimile:

Not only did the electronic editing take less time than the paper-and-developer method, but it also smelled a lot better.

Public Garden, Boston, 10 May 1986. Kodak Tri-X 400, ISO 320, exposure unrecorded, Canon T-90.

Rescanning the tulip

Monday night I played around with one of my favorite slides from 1986. Today at lunch I rescanned the slide at 3600 dpi, after giving it a good dusting, and with the scanner's Kodachrome corrections. Here's the result:

For comparison, here's my previous attempt, using the 1200 dpi scan I made during my first pass:

The differences are much more apparent at full size, especially since the top photo's dimensions are nearly four times longer than the bottom one's.

Public Garden, Boston, 10 May 1986. Kodachrome 64. Exposure unrecorded.

Old photos and HDR

As I play around with high-dynamic-range imaging, I remembered a photo I took in 1991 while driving through North Dakota. I remember taking about a bunch of bracketed shots because of the scene's wide exposure range. Last night I looked for the image and found that one of the two negative strips covering the bracket is gone. Not only gone, but I wrote a note to myself in May 1992 on the negative holder pointing out that it's gone. Without the full bracket, an HDR image won't work.

Fortunately, I have the first image in the series, which I took using the camera's recommended exposure. A quick rescan at 3600 dpi, then a few minutes in Lightroom, and voilĂ :

(For comparison, here's the raw image from my scanner:)

I'm still about 60 rolls behind that image in the scanning project, unfortunately, so other photos from the trip will have to wait a while.

Kodachrome 64, 20 July 1991, near Sturgis, N.D. Exposure unrecorded.