ART 53, day 38

This Is Fifty-Three, day 38

Scanning day!

Today I re-scanned the photos affected by Newton’s rings. A couple of the older photos, shot on Impossible PX100 black-and-white film, have deteriorated in the time since my original scans, necessitating some clean-up—and calling the time-saving aspect of re-scanning into question.

Here is one example, a photo of a couple of chairs at Oddfellows Café in Seattle. I shot the original photo on my phone, then used the Impossible Instant Lab to turn it into a Polaroid:

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 12.41.31

Depending on how you are viewing this post, the Newton’s rings in several locations in the original scan may not be immediately apparent, so here are some close-ups:

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 12.42.06 Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 12.42.20 Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 12.42.39

Retouching these in Photoshop would not be impossible, but the amount of space some of them cover would make it hard to do well; the variations in light and texture within the relatively small spaces leave very little to draw from for cloning purposes. So, rather than put in an inordinate amount of time working on retouching, I chose to re-scan.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned, the PX100 image has changed since the original scan. The earlier formulations of Impossible film were not as stable, meaning the chemicals would continue to change after development (even after using one of the Impossible Dry Age Kits). In this case, there was a significant sepia shift, plus the emergence of what appears to be some crystallization. This, combined with the use of an empty film cartridge to ensure no contact between the scanner glass and the image, resulted in a slight softening of the image. But—no Newton’s rings!

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 12.42.57

This meant that I could use Photoshop’s spot-healing brush tool, and not have to worry about doing any cloning. So, with stylus in hand, I set about making the fixes. It took a while, but I covered over the most egregious bits, then used the Dust and Scratches filter to get rid of the more minor flaws, and finished up with another round with the spot-healing brush tool to clean up the flaws that still stood out. Finally, I used the Black & White filter to counteract the photo’s current sepia tone, then opened my original scan to insert the corrected image into the original frame.

Here is the finished result:

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 12.43.16


As you can see, I got pretty close. I did forget to mask the part of the image the chemistry did not cover when I used the black & white filter, but that can be corrected without much trouble.

There was one more image shot on that same film that was similarly affected, but it did not have the same level of detail, so I ended up leaving most of the crystallized bits.

The other images I re-scanned were shot on newer formulations of Impossible film, so this extra clean-up was not necessary.

I have just realized, though, that I was so focused on retouching these new scans that I forgot to eat something for lunch—as my stomach is now reminding me. Soup time!

(20 July 2016)