just an old-fashioned girl

Hello and welcome. I'm glad you dropped by. If you´re looking for something a little nostalgic of bygone eras with a timeless elegance and a little modern twist – in other words, something slightly “retro” – then you should feel right at home here in my shabby chic room. Month by month, there will always be something new to see so I hope you´ll enjoy your stay and come back again soon.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Grey Days And Sepia Photos

Most of September has been warm and sunny without the suffocating humidity of summer and, as usual, the garden has been calling my name and, as always, I´ve been responding. It couldn´t last of course but I made the most of it while the weak autumn sun was shining. The past week though has been mostly rainy with horrific thunder storms with a sound like large pieces of furniture falling downstairs. At the first indication of a storm I always raced around the patio grabbing my beautiful gerbera daisies and putting them in a sheltered place where they couldn´t be battered down by torrential rain. Ditto Dora who´s always reluctant to come indoors in any weather!

So much for outdoor activities. When the weather´s really bad like today I find the best way to forget about it is to do some photo editing.

Some of you may remember that I had to fly to Scotland on Christmas Day to arrange my mother´s funeral. It was a sad occasion made even sadder by the discovery of several photos of my mother which must have lain forgotten at the bottom of a drawer for many years. I brought them home and put them away and it´s only now that I can bear to look at them. There´s one I´d never seen before which I find particularly appealing in which she´s standing in a garden, obviously so aware of the fact that she´s been told not to move that she´s standing at attention like a little soldier. 

As you can see, considering how old it is, the photo is remarkably undamaged.
However, it´s very faded and has very little contrast. I´m no expert at photo restoration and usually have to resort to lots of tedious and frustrating trial and error (mostly error) so I was amazed when I immediately discovered that Auto Tone worked instantly by adding the necessary contrast.
Unfortunately, it also meant that the photo lost some of its vintage sepia colour in the lighter parts like the dress and the sky. Again I was amazed that my very first attempt, namely the use of the sepia photo filter, restored just the touch of the warm colour it needed while toning down the rest of the photo.
After studying it for a while with a critical eye it occurred to me that all those little spotty white dots in the foreground rather distracted the eye from the focal point. I used a combination of the appropriately named spot healing brush and the clone tool to edit them out...and that was it really. What I deliberately didn´t do was try to remove all the blotches and scratches, mainly in the sky, only those which were distracting as I´ve learned from experience that overworking an old photo can deaden it. Anyway, for better or for worse, here´s the final result.
I know that all vintage photos aren´t as easy to improve as this one – you may remember my struggles to edit THIS horror! - but if you´ve never even attempted to edit a photo I hope this will inspire you to at least give it a go.

5 comments:

  1. Great job on the restoration of the photo... I hope you will have some sunny days soon. :)

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  2. I love the transformation of your photo restorations. I flip repeatedly between the "before" and the "after" just looking at differences. Great job as always! And such a cute picture... all that pretty wavy hair!

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  3. Lovely restoration. Your mother's curls an stance reminds me of "Shirley Temple"! I love old fences and so my eyes were really draw to the background here...love it. Unfortunately, Tony took down on of our old falling down fence much to my dismay. But, luckily I have scrapped a number of photos taken with the fence and have lots of the girls with their families photo session taken by the fence. Mostly excited that you feel well enough to complete this project...wonderful memory of you mother.

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  4. Wonderful photo, love how they alwys stood in front of a fence in those days. So like so many of the photos we have.

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