Category Archives: gallery

San José Obon

Another summer means its time for San José Obon again. The boys are finally getting old enough to make it through a few of the dances—we might even get the eldest to dance next year—but they’re still really in it for the shave ice.

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June Backlog

Continuing from May.

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May Backlog

Continuing from April.

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about:blank is my Light Table

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While I was traveling this summer, I shot a bit of film. Since I didn’t have a scanner with me, I ended up hacking together a mobile contact sheet workflow so I could share some shots before I got back home to my scanner. Doing this required an iPad,* iPhone, Photoshop Express, and Snapseed.

*I’m working in Appleverse so these will all be within the iOS space. Nothing here requires Apple stuff however since Google makes Snapseed and Adobe makes Photoshop Express.

First, pointing the iPad toward about:blank is a super-simple way of getting a light table. This is useful in general for previewing negatives or slides and once I started doing that the obvious next step was to use my phone as a loupe and take photos of the negatives.

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When I’m doing this I set my iPhone to invert colors. This is a standard Accessibility option and only changes the phone display—the camera and even the screenshots all result in the non-inverted colors. Inverting the screen allows me to get a better sense of the negative and even adjust some of the camera exposure settings before I take a photo. The hardest part is minimizing the reflection of my phone off the negative sleeves.

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The resulting image should look like a decent negative. I didn’t worry about cropping or even getting things super square since I can fix all that later on in Snapseed.

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I use Photoshop Express to invert the negative. It’s one of the basic looks and there’s not much to say about it. Open the app, select the photo, invert, and save the photo. If I screwed up and reversed the negative on the iPad I often flip it here. But that’s something Snapseed can do too.

Since this is just an inversion, it won’t work with color negatives. Removing the color mask is a lot more complicated than a global color correction can handle so this workflow only works with black and white film.

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The result is a low-contrast positive image. This is sufficient for sharing and previewing but I like to run it through Snapseed and adjust the levels to reflect just what’s in the film. No recipes here. I adjust the crops and perspective correction until it looks square enough. And I play with the image tuning so that the histogram covers the entire gamut.

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I don’t push things too far though. I like seeing the negative borders and keeping a sense of “contact sheet” to these. They’re supposed to be roughish and prepare me for scanning them for real. I just want them to be nice enough that I enjoy sharing them too.

April Backlog

Continuing from March.

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Philadelphia Zoo

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So we bought a membership to the Philadelphia Zoo this year. Looks like we should have a lot of fun visiting it. I’ve had my rants about zoos before on this blog and I stand by the idea that I’d love to see more local animals at zoos in the same way that aquariums tend to focus on local sealife. At the same time, I have to admit that zoos are much much better than aquariums when it comes to collecting animals from the wild and breeding them in captivity.

Anyway, I should have fun photographing the animals all year too.

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Too Windy

We took a trip to New York in early April. The plan was to do the Statue of Liberty cruise. Unfortunately it was too windy so all boats were cancelled. So we got to wander around Battery Park and see the National Museum of the American Indian instead.

Oh, and we took the PATH train in to the new World Trade Center station. So that was fun.

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