methow grist 2011-2014 archive

Primitive Photoshop

Of course you know, know about or have heard of Photoshop. If not, it is simply (?) a digital means of doctoring photographs, among other uses. I have not a clue, and do not intend to have one. I am too lazy and too anti-computer to sit in front of the monster for hours tweaking a picture.

I got my first camera for my twelfth birthday. That was 1946, the camera was an Ansco Pioneer that used 620 film and produced a huge negative. The first picture I took was of a snowstorm at night, a stop sign capped with inches of snow. I was hooked on photography.

The years went by. I studied the art somewhat and as time passed I upgraded to better cameras. In high school I graduated to 35-millimeter, an Argus C-330 still known today as “The Brick.” It was that, but it had all these chrome dials to turn for various photo situations and a screw-on flash that used bulbs the size of a household 40-watt. I wrote sports news for a local paper and wore a fedora with a PRESS pass I had made in the hatband.

Leaping ahead through the calendar, I graduated to Nikons, sold some prints and was destined to be a colorized Ansel Adams. Well, not quite. Getting serious when we moved to the Methow, I produced a few pictures published for supporting art, a couple of magazine calendars, a few covers and my own greeting cards. That last was 1982, in The Woodsman, a small store where the cops now reside in Winthrop. This led to wedding photography four years later and thankfully I retired from that endeavor last year.

What has this to do with photshop? Well, back in the pre-digital days, serious photogs used slide film. I have over 22,000 slides in four file cabinets, the only thing in my life that is mostly organized. There is a category for each subject and in some case, sub-subjects. For example close to a hundred shots of the moon, in all phases, a variety of shades of moonglow, and in all positions and phases. Why this?

The simplest out-of-lab technique for doctoring a photo is called ‘sandwiching’. What you do is place the slide film of the moon over another subject, remount both in a new mount and make either a print or a new slide out of it. One card I make is a full moon over and to the side of Siver Star Mountain. Snow-covered, it was shot in bright daylight, but the sandwiched moon shot gives it a nighttime look.

I have to confess carelessness because I noticed when viewing the new slide that the shadows did not jibe with the position of the moon. Anyhow, that was a pre-digital/photoshop exercise. Nowadays it can be done, viewed, changed in every way with clicks of a computer. A bride’s zits can be eliminated, the stain where the groom threw up on his jacket before the wedding can be adjusted to the color and weave of his clothing. Amazing.

One more leap, not to far the past, but more current - just a few days before Christmas. We don’t send many cards, but this year we got quite a few and half seem to have a picture of a family or a couple. I thought I would send cards. We have few pictures of Gloria and me together other than in a canoe someplace. So I sought a picture and found one taken of us about seven years ago at a wedding I shot. With scissors I cut around that print, and then with tiny scissors carefully trimmed around our own selves. I placed this on a background of Silver Star, and another of The Early Winters Spires, with a background of snow, glowing aspen foliage and magnificent peaks.

These just went out in the mail. I expect to get responses about how young we both look. Eat your hearts out, classmates.


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