Monday, January 25, 2010

Beginner's luck

Would you believe that this image is not only an editor's first restoration, but his first digital editing project of any sort?  NativeForeigner asked me to help choose his first project a few days ago.  After discussing several options I pointed him to a series of lithographs about the Crimean War.  The Library of Congress owns a wonderful set created by William Simpson in the mid-1850s that's been well preserved.  He installed GIMP and Skype, we traded screen shots and shared ideas, and he performed most of the edits himself.  Here's a view of the unedited original.

NativeForeigner inspired me to think of this when he showed an interest in Roger Fenton's Crimean War photography.  The Simpson lithographs make wonderful beginner projects.

So today we'll share a few highlights from the collaboration.  NativeForeigner's first question was how to address the area in this screen shot.

How many of these marks are intentional, he wondered?  I sent back a draft edit of a suggested first pass to the section.  The key concept here is that it's easier to take away than to readd data.  So when something is uncertain, leave it for later and work on the easier material while you grow more familiar with the image and gain an understanding of its context.

NativeForeigner trusted my advice and did the first three passes himself.  He only really needed to pause for advice again to address a stain at the lower left corner: a dark spot surrounded by a fainter orange mark.  He corrected that problem with clone stamping.

After his third pass I found a damaged portion in the sky at upper right, which he corrected.  Then he transferred the file and I gave the image a pass to correct for scratches, creases, and subtle stains.  Then a Curves adjustment and a color balance provided the final touches.

We're creating the featured picture nomination together at Wikimedia Commons as I write this post.  Once it goes live we'll add the image to articles on Wikipedia.  This illustration, which was published in April 1855, shows the conditions that Florence Nightingale confronted when she arrived at Balaklava in late 1854.  Her work to improve care for the wounded and sick during that war established her reputation.  In many ways that turned nursing into a modern and respected profession.


hackaday said...

Wow!!! Great pictures.

Lise Broer said...

Thank you very much. There are many more waiting to be shared. :)

The Gourmet Frog said...

nice job! For a first, it is really good!