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Friday Slide Show: Art & The Automobile Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

6 May 2016

We've been deep into our testing of the OpticFilm 135 using VueScan, as you may know from our Ekachrome and Kodachrome sneak peeks, not to mention our Yosemite slide show a few weeks ago. This week we did our second roll of Kodak Gold color negatives.

Kodak formulated a number of Gold color negative emulsions at various speeds. Our first roll was ISO 400 but first generation. This roll was also ISO 400 but third generation. Fortunately, VueScan knows the difference.

Took us a while to find the negatives because they were among the last we took. They had been processed by our local Quality One Hour Photo Finishing joint. Vogue Graphics. You got a second set of Jumbo prints free when you paid for processing and printing one set.

Because these were color negatives, we just took one pass at them with VueScan, skipping multiexposure. And since we were saving JPEGs we paid a little more attention to the Color settings than we do when saving DNGs for processing later.

The important scan settings were to set the Color Balance to Auto Levels (we went through the list to see what worked best), shift the Curve High a bit and get the Negative Type right.

VueScan. Our color negative settings.

Then we just let it fly. After Previewing a strip, we hit Scan, which saved the data in memory to disk without running the scanner again. So we were able to remove the holder and reload while the data was being saved.

We started at 5:06 p.m. and finished at 5:52 p.m. scanning 26 negatives. Figure an hour a roll.


So what was this event?

We rolled up our sleeves and went back into the archives, scaring away a small family of rodents, to find out.

No we didn't. We enlarged the last image of the little car driving away with two big guys in it until we could see the sticker on the license plate. It said, "1993." April. So this would have been 1992, we figured. Not yet expired.

Then we rolled up our sleeves and descended into the archives where we found the original program.

Art & the Automobile was the name of the Concours d'Elegance sponsored by BMW or North America to benefit the Leukemia Society of America's Northern California Chapter. It was held at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco on Sunday, Oct. 4, 1992.

It was just the third year the show, which included artists as well as the vintage autos, had been held. The theme of the 1992 show was "Roadsters and Classic Convertibles." There were 62 cars on show from an 1886 Benz Replica to a 1992 Dodge Viper.

But one show car was special to us. The 1949 Triumph 1800 Roadster of Robert and Ruth Garbarino, our uncle (and Godfather) and aunt, had been restored down to the nuts and bolts.

The first few images of the slide show are of the Triumph.


The venue was classic, of course, but the October sun was a bit much for the ISO 400 film to handle. A few of the images are unavoidable high in contrast.

We shot the event with a prime we still use today, a Nikkor 50mm f1.4 on a Nikon FM2.


Once we had JPEGs, we imported them into Lightroom and made some color adjustments.

Everything looked a little off, a bit too green, so we selected them all in the Library module and used the Auto white balance option to snap them out of it.

A typical exposure problem was the Palace overexposed in the sunlight while the car itself in the shade was nicely exposed. The solution was just to darken the highlights with the Highlight slider.

On a few images, we opened the shadows, too. Typically these were all in shadow.

We did add Clarity to everything. We can no longer help it.

We did a lot of syncing of our edits, selecting the image we had just worked on in the Develop module's filmstrip and adding to the selection similar images before clicking on the Sync button at the bottom of the tools panel. That saved a lot of time.

We still fiddled a lot with color, especially Tint. And in a few cases we tapped into the Color sliders to adjust luminance by hue, which helped give some dimension to bright car paint. That's something we never do with digital images.

So our effort to scan good JPEGs worked as far as it went but we got much better images editing the JPEGs in Lightroom.


Scanning old color negatives is not unlike working on a vintage vehicle. Lots of tinkering. And even then, you're not sure they're going to go anywhere.

But as Aunt Ruth always says, "Beautiful things are impractical."

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