Old Photos Revisited

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

February 2011 – Olympus Stylus 410 Point & Shoot

Going through the archives this morning – while looking for a photo to use on my Facebook wall, I came across this 2011 picture of my son playing pool.

There was no special reason for the capture, other than to get a picture of him.  I never intended to make “something artsy.”  What I ended up with however was unexpected and looked kind of cool, showing the track of his shot in slow motion.  The whole scene was captured in half a second, with a simple hand-held 4MP point & shoot camera purchased off Craigslist for $35:

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At the time this Olympus Stylus 410 was my only digital camera; my higher-end Olympus C4040 had died in 2009 and this one was procured to fill the void until I could find something better.  The pictures taken with the 410 weren’t the best quality, but they were something.  It documented our family times, and was always reliable.  I did have plenty of film cameras, but it was pretty hard to beat the convenience of this little silver bullet.  The camera itself was small, light, and still handy to have around for pictures that don’t need to be 850 Magoogapixels (we still have it, and it still works).  A couple months later I bought a Canon Powershot S70, and then replaced them both with a Canon 20D DSLR a year later.

The pictures taken with the Stylus 410 were mostly forgotten.

But because I’m a visual guy, I could never completely leave them alone.  The picture I ended up posting on Facebook this morning was taken on the same vacation with the same point & shoot, depicting an ocean scene at sundown that cleaned up pretty well using simple editing tools. It was testament to what I’ve learned about post editing in the last couple years, as I was able to use some tricks I didn’t know about back then.  Composition also makes a huge difference, even with point & shoot photos.  The results were so satisfying in fact, that I revisited the rest of the file folder from February 2011 to see if I could work some edits into another photo.

This billiards shot popped out at me.

In its original format, the colors were overly warm – due to the indoor lighting and slow shutter speed.  But the ball track and the existence of one red ball in the middle drew me in.  Although it was a big fuzzy and discolored, the image to me was still compelling.  Making it black & white would have been too simple and, quite frankly, would take delicate detail out of the image.  No, a “toning” was needed.  So I clarified the picture a bit, then added some contrast and vignetting, before cooling off the colors and desaturating it just a tad.  The resulting work was more interesting than the original:

Ball Track

Same shot edited and filtered

I love going through the older stuff.

Often I find images I had forgotten about or discarded mentally due to the image quality. Sometimes, not all times, I can edit them using my current skill levels and make something decent out of them. Others remain untouched longer, possibly waiting for better tools or better skills. The key is to always learn and always have fun!

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