A long time ago I started this blog as a kind of personal “journal” that I was willing to have online so I’d actually write posts, plus have somewhere they’d be saved for a long time. Over the years the subjects of my posts has changed a lot so now I’m changing again.
Recently I got a new computer and a really nice new, large, high resolution monitor. It wasn’t just larger but the color fidelity was much better. So, over the years I’ve accumulated a huge number of digital photos from a variety of cameras. Some are just ordinary and only meaningful to me and some are a bit better. So I decided to try to find all my old photos and select the best ones and convert them all, cropping and resampling, to exactly fit my new monitor. I use them as backgrounds (I change from time to time) or in the screen saver. I’m actually amazed at the diversity of photos I have and how some have both good technical quality and are sometimes fairly nice.
Now of course today the Net is replete with photos, many from good cameras with HDR and good post-processing. So compared to what one can find elsewhere my photos aren’t that great or that interesting. But so what, I like my photos and I’ve never found any of the various photo sharing sites to be a good place to share them.
So I’m going to start putting them here. Out of the 20,000 or so I’ve ended up with 491 (about one out of ten) that I like. However, doing the post-processing is tedious so I have a long way to go to finish my backlog. But 491 would keep me going for a year before I need to process any more, so I figure if I target posting one a day (which I know I won’t routinely do) it’s an incentive to finish post-processing my backlog.
Now I’ve found putting images in WordPress posts to be confusing. I have trouble getting them to scale properly, relative to the actual image’s resolution, and often the resampling that is done for the posts makes the photos look much worse than I see on my monitor. So after some trial-and-error I think I found the way to resample the photos to fit the posts. But, that’s more post-processing work. Normally it would be silly to save the photo with far more pixels than can be displayed, but my current 491 photos (to fit big high resolution monitor) is still only about 500Megs and WordPress provides 3Gigs of space, so I’m a long way from exceeding my quota. So I’m just going to upload the full resolution photos even though most of the pixels will disappear in the posted image.
So in this first post I’m going to try an experiment. For some of my older photos I had previously cropped and resampled to fit an older lower resolution monitor. I was amazed, when I redid that set of photos, for my new monitor, how much better they looked. So in this post I’ll include an old (much lower resolution) and newer (much higher resolution) photo (with different aspect ratios) and see how they look.
Note: The photo I uploaded to WordPress is 1920×1080 (16:9) but it appears WordPress is resampling it to 640×360. Fortunately that is an exact downsampling ratio so it’s not butchered too badly but it appears my readers can’t see the full resolution photo.
Now you can also see that I modifying the exposure and contrast as well as changing the resolution so part of what looks better about the newer photo is just that change. My previous approach to photos was NOT to over-Photoshop them (which is not what I use now, but Photoshop is now a verb).
btw: Digital photography is an interesting personal story for me. Long before there were any digital cameras, long before there were any personal computers with real (24bit) color and long before high resolution monitors I worked at one of the few companies in the world building color photography workstations, to the tune of about $100,000. The only input was a studio grade analog video camera which then went through our custom hardware to produce a 640x480x24bit image. Long before Photoshop even existed I had created the long-forgotten software, called VasterLab, that had many of the Photoshop functions. My invention is forgotten simply because it was on very expensive hardware that only sold about 100 units versus the smarter choice to build Photoshop for cheap hardware. Otherwise maybe VasterLabbing would be the verb we use.
In addition to just posting photos, which in future posts will just be the “new” (and better) photo, I will tell a little story, that is my personal experience that produced this photo. I know no one will care, but this will just be my personal photo journal that quite possibly will still exist once I’m dead.
This particular photo came from a trip starting in San Jose California and extending to Portland Oregon. I was lucky that many of my photos on that trip were nicer and so I’ll be posting several from this trip. Since this was over 15 years ago I don’t remember the exact location but this was a California State Park in the vicinity of Crescent City California. Shooting in a dense redwood forest is challenging because so little light reaches the ground level so it’s hard to get a reasonable exposure (newer cameras with better CCDs could do better today). So the exposure bump I did in the newer image, while “unreal”, also just makes the scene look better. But a really good shot would both show the scene with good exposure but also that sense of darkness of the forest.