Wednesday, December 28, 2011

More photo restoration work

My photo restoration project before Christmas was such a hit with my in-laws that I now have another couple of photos to work on.  These new photos are not disintegrating like the last one (and I still need to try and slow/stop the process) and are primarily very faded and were drawn on with pencil/pen. 

Have to say I'm enjoying the "other" side to photography and working to save/restore old images that hold importance for someone.  New images and photos are certainly important but saving the past is more important as they can never be replaced as the people, places and moment have long gone.  It's also interesting to try and see the moment that the photos were originally taken, or to try and see things from the eyes of the photographer.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Photo Restoration - update

I just finished restoring the old, damaged photo for my mother-in-law.  I left some of the "defects" in the image as I didn't want to make it too clean and take away from it's age.  A bit of a judgement call as to how much you repair/restore and how much you leave as-is.  Hopefully I chose the right point to stop.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Another photo post

I decided to post another photo from my old 35mm negatives that I have been scanning.  The films date from the 80's and 90's and bring back memories of another life in another country for me.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Photo restoration

I mentioned in a post earlier today that I was currently undertaking a photo restoration project and that I would post a before image.  Well here it is:

This is a 72dpi copy of the image as scanned prior to any restoration work.  What isn't so apparent in this lower resolution copy is that there is a lot of small cracks and spots over pretty much the entire image.  Stay tuned for my updates on this and the final photo.

What I'm up to currently

Time for another emailed post as I'm not at my "home" computer. Currently
I have a photo restoration project and I will post a before shot here later
when I am not at my day job. Alas, photography is not my day job and bills
need to be paid....maybe one day things will change and I can pay my bills
via my photos.

Not much underway photo-wise, although I do have a photo essay proceeding at
my day job, which will pick up steam as the construction gets underway.

Finally got everything together for my NYIP course unit photo assignment.
Now to dive into the next (and final) course unit - got some ideas, just
need to find/make the time.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Website updates

Carried out a couple of quick updates to my website and blog. In my efforts
to maintain a brand image I have changed the header to include my
website logo. Looks good in a computer browser but for some reason it is
not displaying correctly in my phones browser; so this will likely have to
be switched for a graphic.

There is also a new addition to this page in the shape of a QR Code that
links to my main website

And on the Home page on my main site I posted an update to say I have
temporarily taken down my Portfolio images, while I update the image library
so they display better. I will also take the opportunity to change some out
and to also post more images.

In all there will be changes to both sites/pages as I "polish" the rough
edges away.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I'm still not 100% happy with how my website is currently and it is definitely a work in progress while I fine tune everything.  Part of my changes will be concerning my photo galleries as I just realised that the reason the gallery images are no bigger than the thumbnails is because of the image size I set on the uploaded files!  I will need to make them larger to enable a larger gallery view once someone clicks through from the Portfolio page thumbnail.  Also I am still a little underwhelmed at the general appearance of my Home page.  Not sure how I'm going to change this yet but I know it needs to be more eye catching to get the attention of browsing viewers.

Once this is all done, I guess I can add web page designer/developer to my list of creative skills, as my entire website is self created. 

Friday, November 25, 2011


After spending a long time, a lot of ink and paper I have to finally come to
the conclusion that I will have to have my printers print heads
professionally cleaned. The black ink is still not printing correctly even
after swapping in a new ink tank.

For the time being I will just have to not print anything or insure that I
print something with no shadows or dark elements to it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Website finally growing

I am finally getting things together on my website ( and will continue to grow it and this blog.  I am also finally putting examples of my photo work out in front of a wider audience, which is something I have tended to shy away from in the past.  Now it's time to stop hiding and let myself finally grow more as a photographer by letting people see my work.  I know there will be a mix of reactions, some will like my current photos while others won't like them so much but that is the whole point of art and two people view the same image the same way.

I hope that anyone browsing through my blog will stop by my main website and check out the photos.  Even better would be if you like what they see while you're there!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Learning fast

I have certainly been learning fast this last few weeks where scanning and
printing are concerned. I was under the impression that I was sufficiently
knowledgeable in these areas and that I could produce high quality prints
from scanning my film negatives. Oh how wrong I was.

I essentially learnt the following points through online research and trial
and error:
1 - You don't need to scan at max resolution to get good images. Scan at
appropriate settings for file size, printing resolution and final image
2 - Inkjet printers are fickle devices and your inks will dry up, clogging
your nozzles. Keeping them powered off when not in use will help mitigate
the drying out. Also, having a humidifier in the room will help prevent
drying out the inks on the print heads and nozzles.

Sent from my Motorola Smartphone on the Now Network from Sprint!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ongoing printer issues

Seems my progress in correcting the printer banding was only temporary.
Thinking I had cleared the issue, I printed a black and white photo of
Smeaton's Tower lighthouse and the shadow areas were banded.

Getting a little "gun shy" over printing at the moment as I am getting
frustrated at the wasted ink and paper from all this. Also now wondering if
I need to have some kind of humidifier near the printer to prevent any kind
of drying of ink in and around the nozzles.

I'll keep on re-scanning my old negatives - and my new negatives, but will
for now abstain from printing them. Instead I will compile them into a
gallery for my website.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Printing better

After doing some online research I found what at first seemed a little too
simple a way to clean the print heads on my Epson printer. Essentially you
take a small folded wad of tissue (I used some heavier shop towels), soak in
hot water and place this on the ink pads where the print heads sit when the
carriage is at rest. You do need to initiate an ink tank replacement cycle
to get the carriage out of the way.

I did the above cleaning twice last night and the banding issue is almost
completely gone. I will likely run this process at least once more and
then, after replacing the now low yellow tank, I will also run a normal
cleaning cycle on the printer too.

Now all I need to do is rescan all the negatives that I trashed the digital
files for thinking there was a problem with the files.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Troubleshooting and irritation

Over the last week or so I have been working to scanning a lot of my 35mm
negatives. My goal is to have them electronically archived AND at a good
resolution to minimize size but still give high quality prints. This
however seems to be where I've hit a stumbling block. Every test print I
have made has suffered from "banding" in areas of shadow or darker toned
areas. This has lead me to throw out a lot of scans and use up quite a bit
of ink and paper as I try to get the print quality fixed.

I have scanned and printed from my main workstation running Windows XP and
also from a (borrowed) Macbook Air and dispite there being some subtle
differences, the banding is still there. To this end I have looked more
closely at the scanning settings. But it doesn't seem to matter if I scan
at 300dpi or 1200dpi, or if I leave the image scaling at 100% or push it to
1000%. All that changes is the file size.

Up to this point I had not looked excessively at the printer as it doesn't
appear to have banding when I print a digital photo from my D-SLR.

As a finally step before I ran out of patience and emptied my ink tanks I
decided to try a different printer. At work I have access to a large format
printer from a different I loaded some scanned negatives
on a thumbdrive and printed a couple out. And guess what? NO BANDING!! So
after all this, it really is something not right with my photo printer that
is causing the banding. Still can't figure out why a digital photo printed
okay and had no quality issues when I examined it. Guess I will need to try
and do a thorough print head clean and test print again to see if things

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Results of test film

I finished my test film roll this weekend and had it developed so I could determine if I was happy with my new camera purchase - and to stay within my 10 day return period if I wasn't.  Not that I will be returning the camera as I have been very happy with it so far.  Also it's been refreshing to be using film again...although loading film for the first time in over 10 years was certainly a little awkward as I had lost the "muscle memory" to do it quickly and smoothly.

Here are a few images from the first film that gave me a chance to test out how the camera and lens performed, which as they are both 54 years old was something I was very curious about.

This first photo was primarily to test the Jupiter 8 lens to see if it was able to produce good bokah and as you can see, it passed the test.

The second photo was to see how the Jupiter 8 lens handled flare in contrasty lighting.  As you can see it handled it pretty good.

The third was to see how colours were handled and again, the aging Jupiter 8 lens handled the task well.

I will end on a small plug for a great website for anyone interested in cameras from the former Soviet Union (FSU) such as Kiev, FED and Zorki among others.  If any of these interest you check out and who knows, you may be like me and be shooting with an aging Kiev rangefinder too.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Working with film negatives

I have been searching through my old film negatives and been scanning images that I took on my numerous wanderings around the city of Plymouth in the late 1980's, early 1990's.  This was a time where I would just grab my camera and photograph what caught my eye.  The image above is part of the railway bridge at Camel's Head - original image is in colour but this is a quadtone I made in Photoshop as part of my experimentation into B/W imaging for printing.  I really like the overall look to the image and using a red filter as part of the conversion to B/W in Photoshop helped to bring out the cloud formations in the sky although the contrast between the highlights and shadows are a little more extreme than they needed to be but then again, the lighting was pretty contrasty in the original too.

Edit: On further examining of techniques for converting colour images to B/W I will be returning to this photograph and making some changes to improve the contrast and overall look.  The photo posted here is good but it could be better.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Returning to film

I started out my photography "career" with an aging used 35mm camera and spent several enjoyable years teaching myself the art of photography. I also spent a lot of time just experimenting with composition and exposure - including reciprocity failure from long exposures in low light.

Skip forward 20 some years and I am entirely digital with a Nikon dslr setup....but I don't feel my photos are as good as my experimental period with film. Hence my recent purchase of a used Kiev IIa rangefinder camera (circa 1957). It is currently undergoing pre-sale servicing by the reseller and I am eager to get hands-on with it and shoot with film again. Hopefully it will allow me to capture the magic and creativity I feel is lacking in my
recent work.

I also intend to work primarily in black & white films, most likely from Ilford (FP4+, HP5+ and Pan-F+) as I really like printing on Ilford Gallerie inkjet paper for my digital work. To this end I have been examining ways to incorporate B/W film into my digital workflow and how to print "good" photos on my inkjet printer.... without the expense of additional software, inks or dedicated printers. I think I may have found my answer with using duotones within Photoshop. I will certainly be experimenting to see how well things print as compared to a normally B/W print on a colour inkjet with it's characteristic colour cast.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Home studio

As I go about cleaning out my garage at home I am planning out a small home
studio setup for portraits, still-life and product shots. Won't be anything
too fancy but will be nice to have a bit more space to move around.

Been having some hardware technical issues lately. My computer has been
giving some weird behaviour that is telling me it's time to rebuild with a
fresh install of the operating system. My camera has been having fits
periodically for a while but I am not really in a position right now to have
it checked/serviced by Nikon. My 20mm Nikkor is having a sticky diaphragm
again...and to top it all off my printer was having issues lastnight with it
not wanting to load paper correctly. Really frustrating to deal with all
this but hopefully none of it will entail any major expenditure.

Oh well, will just keep working around them all and keep taking photos.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Website link

After posting about my website I realized I forgot to include a link to my

Pretty simple and easy to remember address. Kept it fairly short as I don't
like having to type in long website names.


Finally moving forward with my blog and my website. I have got rid of the
"coming soon" placeholder page and have at least got my name and links to my
blog and Twitter out there. I also have a uniform look to both my blog and
website to hopefully create a clean look and ease of reading.

With a little more work I will get more samples of my photography on both
sites and create a larger online presence for myself and my work.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Reworking my blog

I will, as time allows look to reworking my online presence some more. I
have a domain and website behind this blog that would allow me to display
higher resolution photos than I currently post here on my blog. I am
thinking that I may do better to create photo albums on my website and look
into tying the two sites together with links between the two.

Whatever happens, there will be more activity from me and more photos taken
and posted.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Some regrets

Some 20 years ago I picked up a used Zorki 4K rangefinder camera at a good price and spent a few years experimenting with the different techniques required in using a rangefinder as apposed to an SLR.  As I was unemployed at that time I eventually re-sold it.  Now I look back with some regret, as I once again feel drawn to using a rangefinder camera to "simplify" things and immerse myself into the art of photography without having to worry about all the electronics on a modern digital SLR.  That and film still has the edge on image quality in a way that digital still has not quite matched.  Not that I intend selling off my digital camera and lenses....I just fully intend to once again add a rangefinder (or more!!) to my collection and once again shoot some film.  Plus, I have a pretty nice scanner so I can digitize the film negatives/slides to have digital backups and to be able to share images here.

Stay tuned for developments.

Going to be posting more photos

I have mentioned it before and I have been meaning to do this for some time but today I am finally following through and posting a couple new images.  And I fully intend to keep on posting more images from now on.  The photos I am posting today are from my initial forays into portrait work and are photos I submitted as part of my NYIP Professional Photography course.  Both these portraits are taken with natural light - the first, outdoors under a tree at dusk to capture some of that wonderful lighting; the second, indoors next to a window to capture the sunlight while a reflector helped fill in some of the shadows.

Friday, May 13, 2011

More coming soon

For anyone who may be interested, I do intend to make this blog more of a repository for a selection of my photographic work.  Time permitting, I will try to keep things a bit fresher on here and post more often.

I will still be posting random thoughts and other stuff when the mood strikes me.