Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Photo Archaeology

Man By TracksHere's a scan of a 37-year-old negative. If I remember correctly, I tried to print this one back in the day, but never got a good image out of it. The negative actually is fine, with a lot of detail. If I had to guess, I didn't have paper that was high enough contrast to do it justice.

I took this picture one Sunday at Penn Station in Baltimore, back in the days when you could wander around the platforms without causing anyone any anxiety. It was just a few days after I bought a Leica IIIc and a Canon Serenar 50mm f/1.8 lens.

Tonight, I scanned this negative, along with some others, on my Epson V500 scanner. I've only used the scanner for documents up until now, but its raw specs implied it would do a good job on negatives and slides. I cranked up the resolution to its maximum, 4800 dpi, and it yielded a 28-megapixel file. I noticed in Photoshop that it was 26" x 17" at 240 dpi. Just a little manipulation in Photoshop to adjust the blacks was all it needed to make a compelling image. I didn't even apply any sharpening, as the scanned image just didn't need any.

On-screen and on the web, I think the image looks great. I'll have an 18x12 print made from this file to see how that looks, but for the time being, I'm very happy with the film-scanning ability of the V500.

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