I think children are like pancakes. You sort of ruin the first one, and you get better at it the second time around. —Kelly Ripa
Ask the cats and they’ll tell you I’ve spent the past 30 minutes yelling and cursing at the computer. Right in the big middle of trying to edit some photos that require detailed attention, another application decides that it needs to update RIGHT FUCKING NOW and takes over the desktop until it’s done. My response was sufficient to send all three cats running for cover under the bed.
Since I was momentarily disabled, I grabbed the laptop and decided to play with some old images that have been bugging me for years to see if we could give them a second chance at life. This is the advantage of being connected to the cloud. I was able to access my archives and pull down the offending images just as I would on the desktop and Photoshop pulled in all my presets so that everything I use was available on the laptop. No problem. The only issue is that I’m lousy at detail work on the laptop and I really didn’t want to go to the trouble of connecting the Wacom tablet. So, I limited my work to the changes I could enact globally without destroying the image in the process.
What has always bothered me about these images is the amount of noise. I didn’t have all the equipment necessary when these were shot and as a result they are so full of noise that I’ve not been able to render a satisfactory image out of the entire set. I thought this would be a good chance to try out some new noise reduction filters that would allow me to pinpoint the problem areas. The good news was that they did better than any previous attempt at reducing the noise. The bad news was that there was still a level of noise beyond what I prefer.
Second step: use a different black and white conversion process. When I was shooting film, I was rarely a fan of FOMAPAN because it had a higher grain spread. For this set of images, though, that seemed to be a perfect match. The amount of noise left after the filter was on par with what FOMAPAN naturally produces. After making that adjustment we then put the images through our LAB process and came out with something much closer to being acceptable.
Note that we still didn’t mess with the details. There’s one image where some foreground stuff is visible and others where little shadows or other inconvenient details were ignored for the time being. Should we ever decide that we’ve reached a quality of production where we might print these I would need to clean those up. I don’t think we’re quite there, though. They don’t look horrid on screen, but I’m not convinced they’re ready for print.
Philosophical note: People, like old photographs, often deserve a second chance. Given some time and application of different circumstances, the person you thought was a complete asshole may not be quite so bad. Not saying they’ll be perfect, but some of them definitely deserve a second chance. The exception would be the serial abuser. Kick that jackass to the curb. They don’t change.
Anyway, the fucking update is done now, so here’s the pictures we managed to get finished while we were waiting.