Family Project Started

This post is dedicated to the past generations who saved their memories for us, so that we could pass those memories on to our children.

All original copies are preserved exactly in the condition that they are in.  The photographs can be retouched as needed.  Some of the photographs are blurry and weathered but their meaning is important.  I thought that they should be preserved, with time allowing, along with the better images.  Written documents can be cleaned up and printed onto good paper if a replacement of the original is ever needed.

All information is compiled into PDF format and will need to be viewed in Adobe Reader.  Use the full screen command, located under view, in the top toolbar.  The arrow keys can be used to scroll through the pages.

A challenging experience is sure to come, but one in which I hope to gain a great deal of information.  The projects that I am working on will teach me more about the purely practical methods of converting photographs and paper documents into an easily accessed format, that will preserve the information in a high resolution digital copy that can be opened and used 100 years from now.  This information will be in a combined booklet format, with each booklet being of one content, and containing chapters of sub categorical information.

A good use of this blog, to start out with anyway, would be to use it as a forum to discuss all the different individual computer projects, that will be going on as I take about a steamer trunk’s worth of documents and photographs and digitally archive them.  I have only intermediate experience in many of the projects that will be taking place, so I will approach things from that perspective.  This will be a process of teaching myself, which makes it a great time to learn along the way with others.  We can share ideas and discuss methods.  I will post different projects periodically on this blog, and also make available for down load, sections of booklets.  I will post links or a site map to their location.  The information discussed will cover everything from; scanning, Photoshop retouching, optimizing and presenting in Acrobat, to Flash video and Dreamweaver work.  These are applications that all interested computer users will need to use at certain points in their projects.  I sounds like a fun category to discuss here on this WordPress blog.  WordPress by the way is very interesting in its basic approach to letting some one set up a blogging site with PHP and MySQL.  I have just installed it here for the first time on November 20, 2011.  I will be glad to discuss this procedure, and also what I am learning about WordPress anytime, just comment away…………

I have placed some pictures and a small slide show of some of the old photographs that I have come across in the first box of documents.  View the Photos Below.

Thoughts on HDR

Put a new emphasis on your photographic fun…….

I have long been interested in spending more time shooting high dynamic range images.  You never know quite how it will turn out; although the shadows will always be brightened and saturated.  Here is an example of the style of pushing the settings to the high strength point.  See the image below.

Clock Tower in River Front Park.  Eight combined images with tone mapping.

This technique works with any file format.  Although to achieve the best possible results, all images should be shot in the camera RAW file format.  More on that topic in later posts……….

Step 1:  Capture three to eight separate exposures of a stationary subject.

The way to do this is to setup up a tripod and choose a subject with warm natural light.  The scene has to be one in which no movement is occurring because you will need several, exactly positioned images.  Set the F-stop to the chosen exposure, and lock the focus.  I usually work from light to dark.  Lower the shutter speed until the light meter tells you that the image is way over exposed, +2ev or +3ev.  Take a picture at that speed.  Next, raise the shutter speed enough to darken the image in steps.  About .5ev or 1ev and take another picture.  Keep raising the shutter speed [don’t touch the F-stop] and taking pictures, through optimum all the way to very underexposed [dark, -3ev].  In step 2 you will blend the images together into a single high dynamic range image.

Step 2:  Combine images any apply tone mapping.

Once the image files are on your computer, there are several methods of combining them.  Adobe Photoshop is one of them, but until the release of version CS5, was always over shadowed by Photomatix Pro.  This program has always been the standard software for for HDR conversions.  It is reasonably price and recommended by the professionals [who ever they are].  To view this  companies’ web site [be sure to look at the different galleries] just click here.  Drag you images from that picture shoot into the program window, and experiment with the different settings.  By default the file is saved as a 16 bit tiff image, but 8 bit tiff and jpeg are also available.  The wonderful thing is that not much equipment is needed, just Photomatix software and a MAC or Windows computer.

Photographing a subject with a plane to go home and use a high dynamic range effect, is really fun.  HDR is very common and used quite a bit these days, look around for images that have been created using this effect.  I am posting two more photos with this effect that you can check out below………….

Office building in Spokane, Washington.  Image produced from five different exposure settings applied to five copies in the camera raw dialog box of Photoshop, and them entered into Photomatix.

A school building taken in the early morning using five different exposures.  Location, Five Mile Prairie, Spokane, Washington.

I will be posting a great deal more information about this type of photography, because it is so fun and interesting and makes for a good discussion………….