Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for December, 2007

Chilly commute this morning

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

It was 12 degrees when I set off on my commute this morning. I put knobbies back on my old mountain bike the night before last in anticipation of the snow we were supposed to get. The snow didn’t come, but I was still glad to have the knobby tires because there were some patches of ice on my way to work. Nothing I couldn’t have handled with slick tires, but I felt a little more secure with the knobbies.

I anticipate the old mountain bike being my main commuter during the winter, but it became abundantly clear this morning that it’s not up to the task in its current state. I couldn’t shift most of the time, and my chain skipped a few times. I think those are two separate problems: a worn chain and cassette, and substandard shifters. I know many of you would suggest going with a single speed or fixed gear, and I have to admit, I’m considering it. The only thing stopping me is that I still want to be able to ride this bike on road rides in addition to commutes and around-town errands, and I don’t think that would be an option with a single gear in these hills.

Fortunately I fared better than the bike, staying fairly warm. My scarf came loose at one point though and I either need to find a better way of securing it or get a neck gaiter. I have a balaclava but I prefer not to wear it when it’s not absolutely necessary. I’m constantly surprised how warm my core stays with just a wicking T-shirt, wool sweater and my Descente Element jacket. These three layers, in various combinations, can keep me comfortable down to at least 12 degrees and probably lower than that, and all the way up to summer temperatures.

Scanning cross-processed negatives

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

My first attempts at scanning cross-processed negatives with my cheap flatbed scanner were plagued by a strange yellow color cast. (By “cross-processed,” I mean E6 slide film processed in regular C41 print chemicals.) The yellow color cast was an interesting effect, but the colors weren’t even close to those in the prints. I tried using the Levels tool in Photoshop to adjust the white balance, but it just didn’t work. After thinking about it for a while, I came up with a solution.

Smith and Third
First attempt

Smith Road and Third Street
Better scan

The trick I discovered is to set my scanner to Positive mode (usually used for slides), even though the image I want is negative. After scanning the image, I invert it. Then, I use the Levels tool, sometimes hitting Auto Levels and sometimes doing it manually, to get the exposure I want. I also adjust the white balance sometimes; in this case, I clicked on the white minivan to get the colors as neutral as possible. Since it’s cross-processed, the colors still look funky.

This technique seemed counterintuitive at first because inverting an image twice yields the image you started with. However, this is not the same as inverting an image twice.

In regular color negatives, the film has an orange mask, and my scanner compensates for the orange mask when set to Negative scanning mode. Cross-processing slide film leads to a negative image, but without the orange mask. So, in Negative mode, my scanner was attempting to compensate for a non-existent orange mask. Setting the scanner to Positive bypasses the mask compensation, giving accurate colors — you just have to invert the image.

A couple more examples:

Bicycle

Bicycle on bridge

Barn II

Barn

Corrected photos from my last ride

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

I figured out how to scan cross-processed negatives and re-did them. I’ll post some of them here. I’m going to leave the yellow versions on the original post for posterity. It’s pretty interesting to compare those scans with these.

Later, I’ll write a post about how to scan cross-processed negatives. Note to self: re-scan the Moore’s Creek Road shot and the one of Lake Monroe.

Smith Road and Third Street

Smith Road I

Field and Road

Tibetan Cultural Center gate

Me, riding

My bicycle by Lake Monroe

Bicycle on bridge

Barn

Hanging around

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