Monday, November 20, 2006

Photos Lost and Found

After the rain and wind stopped last week, and the power was restored, we turned on our old PC, the one that Roger's been using like mad lately to do his Habitat for Humanity database, and found that the computer was dead. Mmm. The first thing Roger discovered when he took the box apart was a fried power supply. The computer had been turned off, but not unplugged. The power surge must have really surged in a big way. We went to the local computer repair shop and purchased a new power supply. It turned the box on, but the monitor stayed black. We rigged a way to test the monitor by wiring it to his old mac Powerbook. The monitor worked, which meant that the hard-drive must have been fried as well. That was really a shame because I've been using the PC as my backup for photographs. I just put 2000 photos on it about two weeks ago, and deleted them from my Mac iBook. Bummer.

Not every picture is worth saving. I really know that. I just don't know how to sort out the good from the bad, unless the photo is completely out of focus. I think any photo has potential. So, I save them, all of them.
Even this picture, which really is about as non-descript as it gets, provides a really fine background for an experiment in Photoshopping. We took a walk Saturday and were surprised by the sight of Mt Rainier on the eastern horizon. It really didn't seem like a clear enough day to have that kind of 100 mile visibility. But there it was, looking so much like Mt Fuji bathed in soft pink sunset light, even at 11:00 in the morning. I snapped a few pictures just to see what details I might find with the zoom lens.
I started Photoshopping by selecting just the mountain and playing with the hue and saturation, trying to see if I could bring out any information that was hiding in the pixels. Unfortunately, nothing interesting was to be found. Just more gray.
So, I gave up trying for enhanced realism, and plunged headlong into color. That green mountain is what Photoshop gave me when I did an auto-curve on it. I thought it was dazzling. So I auto-curved the sea and the island of trees. It was stunning to find this brilliance in such a dull photo. So, I kept at it.
The sky now seemed much too muted and understated for these new colors. A simple auto-curve adjustment added this brilliant wash of blues, greens, tangerines and pinks.

Suddenly, I wanted to see birds. So, I took this mallard pair from another photo, and sent them flying through this image.

Yes, I was finally satisfied.

See why I save even the dullest photos? Well, I mean saved. I'll just have to start anew by adding to the 2700 I still have my iBook.

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