PHOTO RESTORATION – Preserving Family Treasures

I recently discovered just how much I enjoy photo restoration, that is,  restoring treasured images of family members.   I am excited to offer this as a new service in my business.  In September 2008 a women approached me and pulled a small wallet sized photo from her wallet.  “Can you do anything with this”  she ask almost apologetically, “this is a photo of me with my girls, I have had it is my wallet for 13 years. ”  I looked at the dis-colored, faded, orange spotted photo of years gone by and ask if I couldn’t create a portrait of her with her daughters now.  “No she replied, we want this photo”.  I can do it, I told her, and I took her tiny treasured  photo with me.

Faded, discolored, cracked photo to be restored

Weeks later I called Joanne to see a 16×20 full sized proof of the restored portrait.  She was delighted and she ordered

three 16×20 portrait canvases, one for her and for each of her girls.  Joanne flew to

New York to deliver her Christmas gifts to her daughters in person.

There was great excitement and tears at the unveiling of the portrait.

It was the treasure of her family she knew it would be.

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George saw my work while displayed at the Athletic Club in town.  He decided to commission a portrait of his

daughter and her year old daughter – both of whom he adores.  After seeing the beauty of this portrait,

he wanted a portrait of his wife.  She had not yet consented to have her portrait created at the time

I had Christmas dinner in their home.  At the end of the evening, however, Barb said to me,

“I don’t have any good image from our wedding 22 years ago.  Can you do something with some of the

images I do have?” I left with their album andthe one 8×10 she had of this very special day.

After careful scrutiny, I selected the above image

because I loved her expression and beauty.

George looked handsome as well.

The photo was challenging as most photo restorations are

This is the final restored photo

It was mid January.  I called George to view the image on my computer.  I suggested that if a woman chose

to have a wedding portrait as her special portrait after 22 years – perhaps it would be a great Valentine’s Day gift for her.

George agreed and added that he had proposed to her on Valentine’s Day.  I love it when I get it right!  He then told

me of his plan to gather friends at a favorite restaurant on Valentine’s Day and at the appropriate time he would have

the restored and enhanced portrait presented   to her.  It was a  perfect plan.  I had the portrait printed,  framed and ready for its debut.

I was in New York for this Holiday but I checked in when I returned.  The tears had streamed he told me.

It was the perfect gift. They were happy and so was I.

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Not all restorations are from old photos

Image taken with a cell phone which would be restored

This image was taken with a cell phone when Alice traveled to visit her mom.  Although the image quality was very poor,

Alice loved her mom’s expression and decided it was an image she would like to have corrected, enhanced and preserved.

I loved the idea of restoring a special portrait of Alice’s mom.

No doubt each of the siblings would want such a restored photo also.

BLOEDEL GARDENS, Bainbridge Island, WA

Only 10 minutes from my home exist one of most beautiful conservation gardens in America.

USA Today named it one of the top ten greatest botanical gardens in  the Unites States

There are forest and ferns, moss gardens, waterfalls, a reflection pool, a bird refuge,

trestle bridge and board walk across a bog.

I often bring out of town guest there.  They are amazed to find such a place “in my back yard”

This is a public garden supported by donations. It was formally a residential estate.

Although it is full of horticultural specimens, no labeling is allowed. You can wonder dreamily for hours

or be very attentive to the vast plant specimens, birds and other natural features which abide there.

If ever you have the opportunity, I would highly recommend a leisurely day in the gardens.

3 MONTH BABY ON THE ROOF

“Hello everyone.   I am liking this perch”

On a farm you can just about see anything but who would expect to see a 31/2 old baby on the roof of one of my sheds.

“Don’t drop me dad … Hold a little tighter!

It was quite a sight.  the fact is than although the shed looks a normal height in a  front view,

there is a hill behind it making it quite simple to take an easy step to access the backside of the roof.

“An apple, what’s an apple?”

Charles, Emily and baby Landon will soon live at my farm and will own it an love it and care for it as I have – there is no doubt.

Emily, is already challenging engineers about what she can and cannot do and she will for certain

host weddings in the gardens again. Charles has fallen in love with the 2 remaining llamas and when

he is out to sea he signs his messages “llama , Charles” instead of  Love, Charles.

Emily doesn’t mind.

“Hey dad, can you keep that sun off of me?”

“Wow, it’s a long way down there.”

“Here I am new to this big world, independent and unassisted.”

” Where is my mommy? Oh yeah – right behind me – you’ve got my feet!  Thanks mom.”  Landon

A MOMENT IN TIME

It is pretty amazing the images you will capture if you keep that camera at hand. This one was taken

in Red Rock Nevada while out with a group of photographers.  I smile each time I see it.

Red Rock Nevada

Likewise this image taken while headed for the ferry while in Victoria B.C.

I was shooting to get the horses when there occurred this convergence of

transportation sources including pedestrian.

Both just representing

a moment in time.

COLOR MANAGEMENT

My Beginning in Color Management

Since early in my photography career I have been aware of the need for color management and have used some system for calibrating my monitor for years.  I have always loved printing as well, color management meant controlling the management of color from initial image capture through the printing process. Until now, I had stopped short of creating  custom profiles seeking, with mixed success and great effort  to obtain  them from various print media companies for my specific printer.  In the year 2000 I took a Fine Art Digital Printing class just after I took my first photography class.  I paid $700.00 for the10 week class.  I had an Epson Stylus Pro 2000 and wanted to print. I love printing.  But my images were coming out horribly.  I knew absolutely nothing.  I can remember at the end of my first class thinking that that class alone was worth the $700.00.  It had introduced us to “COLOR MANAGEMENT OFF” and the concept of profiles and custom profiles. My printing has improved progressively since that night.

The profiles I create are only as good as the data I feed the X-Rite devices. That means understand the drivers and settings of the device I am working on.

Moving Forward

With my  recent  use of X-Rite’s ColorMunki Photo and the even more sophisticated i1XTreme, all of the  sufficiency and control that I need to  create accurate  profiles and printer and display matched color is at hand.  I am having success with this process.


The profiles I create are only as good as the data I feed the X -Rite devices. That means understand the drivers I? and settings of the device I am working on.

Calibrating the  monitor using the default settings is a “piece of cake” and got me close to matching my monitor to my print within moments, without me having to make any adjustments to my monitor at all.  While the color was beautiful, the prints were a bit too dark.  That means my Monitor was too bright. I have a LaCie 324 Monitor with hood and work in a consistent light environment.  I contacted X-Rite about my “brightness issue”  and was told that this probably meant that my target luminance was  too high. X-Rite suggested that I use the ColorMunki in its ADVANCE mode.  This mode gave me the opportunity to measure ambient light and to create a target luminance level for the device to factor in, which  adjusted my monitor brightness appropriately upon my new calibration.  These X-Rite devices are  amazing when fed the information they need.

To create a custom profile for my printer for a specific paper means creating color targets to scan with the ColorMunki Photo or i1XTreme.  Again, the new profile will only be as good as the printer settings I select for  my target print.  I must say that I found creating printer settings for my Epson printers to be far easier than creating settings for my Canon printer.  With Epson, there is the ability to choose printer  “COLOR MANAGEMENT OFF”  – and it’s done. With Canon, I felt that I had to learn their language for managing their drivers and found it was far less clear and even confusing in making some selections.I must say that persistence is one of my greater qualities. After sufficient trial and error I selected printer settings such that when the color targets were printed and scanned with the ColorMunki Photo, I am getting good monitor and print match.

I will describe my settings:  In the initial PRINT dialog box my printer is selected. In the column to the  right of this I have the choice of Color Management or Output. I selected Color Management – we don’t want Output Management.  (I had hesitation there because in the Epson system you want to chose ‘NO Color Management”)  But now there comes the choice for COLOR HANDLING.  Choose Photoshop Manages Color as opposed to Printer Manages Color.  I found the following a source of confusion. Just under the option to allow Photoshop to manage color there is a yellow warning sign which reads “Remember to disable the printer’s color management in the print settings dialog box.” this of course is exactly what I wanted to do but I never found such option in Print Settings and will welcome feedback from anyone who points out where this option resides.  Under Rendering Intent, I chose Relative Colorimetric .  I then went into the Print Settings. I chose a Media Type with characteristics closest to that which I will be printing on (in my case, when creating my initial profile, I chose Photo Paper Plus Semi Gloss because I was going to create a custom profile for a luster paper which I had 250 sheets of). It was recommended that my Print Quality remain at Standard. At some point I will experiment with “HIGH” , which creates slower ink dispersal on the paper for potentially finer detail – but the paper salesperson  suggested that the “HIGH” setting might put down too much ink and should likely be left for a high gloss paper. I left all of the image enhancements options unchecked.  I left Color/Intensity at AUTO.  Confusing to me On the Page Setup Page were the options under PRINT OPTIONS – read them if you like but my experimentation suggest to leave the options unchecked, however, and this turns out to be the defaults.  I saved these settings and named them a name which reflects the use of my intended paper.  It is very important to do this because it is this set of settings which will be used to print the target and to print future images using this media.


I am in the midst of exploring the full capacity of  i1XTreme. I decided to start by calibrating my monitor once again but using i1XTreme’s even more advance profiling capability. I decided to do this in the advanced mode right off the bat. Well, the question is “How great is my capability to move around and adjust my monitor settings to feed it the information it needs to do a refined calibration?”   I have to work on that.  Mean while when I did my ambient lighting reading with this device, I was given a range in which my ambient light levels and the color temperature should fall for best monitor and print viewing. I have to tell you that with respect to both I was not in the ball park – not remotely so.  The ambient light in my workspace was far too low – did not even register at the low end of the ambient meter measurement scale, and the color temperature of my workspace was far too warm.  The remedy for both was very easy. I purchased daylight bulbs and simply upped the amount of the light until both areas measured as adequate.  I have far yet to go. I want to calibrate my monitor using i1XTreme’s most advanced features. I will also create new paper profiles.

Both ColorMunki Photo and i1XTreme will allow me to calibrate my projector which desperately needs to be done.  I will be excited to have my presentation screen match my computer screen during my presentations to my clients or during workshops and training.  I will do this in a  relatively short time and let you know how it goes.