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Friday, August 11, 2006

Foto Friday: Amateur Fauxtography

Yesterday I was talking about the need for color adjustment. There's also a need for a nice, relaxing image. Fortunately, I have both.

Niles had a business trip to Maui in 2003, and I tagged along. I blogged about it here (keep scrolling up) (if you know what's good for you).

On that trip I shot three rolls of slides, which is about 110 slides. I love the colors you get with Kodachrome. Usually I get two or three pictures per roll that are worth looking at, but with slides that goes up to four or five. I'd shoot only slides, except that then you have to go to an extra expense to get them made into prints.

Recently I had thirty of the slides made into prints and scanned onto a CD. I was excited when the day came to pick them up, because many of them were terrific, and I was anxious to see them full size. But when the prints came back, most of them looked kinda like this:

Pu'u Kukui from Kihei, Maui, Sep. 2003 (Original)
Pu'u Kukui from Kihei, Maui, Sep. 2003

What the hell is that? Why's it all blue? The slide didn't look like that; it was more colorful. It wasn't the printing process; that's the digital scan. This is a good camera store we went to, one that still understands film, and they've always delivered good prints before, though I think that this is the first time I've had them print slides.

Fortunately, though, I have those digital scans, so I was able to turn the dull blue scan into this:

Pu'u Kukui from Kihei, Maui, Sep. 2003 (New and Improved)
Pu'u Kukui from Kihei, Maui, Sep. 2003
(New and Improved)

Now that's more like it! Perhaps not the greatest picture ever taken, but still pretty, in my biased opinion. And much more like the original slide. I asked myself, is this cheating? And the answer was: it looks so darned good, I don't care.

Of course, my print still looks dull. I can take the fiddled image in and get it printed, but it'll cost me more dough.

(That was the view from our crummy hotel room in Kihei, by the way, after Niles's conference was over. The conference was in Wailea, and that hotel and view were gorgeous.)

I would like to get a dedicated film scanner like this one, but they run $500 for the basic model. Flatbed scanners with slide and negative capability are much cheaper, but I doubt they'll do as good a job as a dedicated film scanner. On the other hand, I do have old prints to scan, and our current scanner doesn't do a very good job on them

Mono Lake and Mt. St. Helens were both scanned from prints and don't look too bad, but I have many lovely photos that I can't show here, because the prints just suck. I found later that we had professional scans of Mt. St. Helens done at processing time; if I run out of photos (unlikely) I might show a comparison between those and the scanned print in that first Foto Friday.

In any case, enjoy the only-slightly-faux tropical breezes!

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