Breckenridge 2016 Parade of Homes Photo Restoration

Backlit Print mounted in rustic-framed lightbox above bathtub.

The Summit County Colorado Parade of Homes features some of the finest and most inspired new and remodeled homes throughout Breckenridge and surrounding ski communities west of Denver Colorado.  One of the featured homes for 2016 was a 1991-built home along the Blue River remodeled into a vintage mine theme using mine track for lighting and stairway railing; a high "tin" roof for a mining shack themed rear bedroom; and an ore cart converted into a bathroom cabinet complete with long handled plumbing.

The home is owned by motorsports friends in the Denver region.  A couple years ago, early in the remodel, I was approached about an bathroom photography project that would place a library-archive mining photo in a lightbox above a bathtub. I had never retouched an existing image, let alone an image from a photo over 100 years old.  But I had extensive post processing experience with my own work and the digital tools needed to restore the image.  Once the image was properly scanned up to a high resolution size needed for the final print, I began the edit process.

The original image shown below shows mixed contrast along with numerous waterspots across the image.  The limited dynamic range of the plate chemistry is apparent in the harsh blacks; low detail in bright areas; and best detail found in the mid-range.  And given the likely long exposure, anything moving such as the mule's leg and the sitting dog has lost all detail.  It is nearly impossible to know what the lady is holding against the apron.

The original image scanned from an old photograph.

A sequence of images showing edit progression.

Photoediting tools such as Photoshop's Content Aware brush, Vivesa's DFine 2, Viveza 2, Color Efex Pro 4,  and Raw Sharpener were used over a several week edit to fix the image.  Some elements were redrawn and reshaped.  In critique, I could have lightened the black dress on the lady and man to her left to better match contrast.  I am happy most of the artifacts from aging and weathering have gone away without losing the original appeal of an old mining photo.


The Breckenridge mine-themed home includes a faux mine tunnel above the patio that can be viewed from the bathroom window.


The bathroom looks out over the mine tunnel, and a window to the past above the tub.

The primary lightbox and installation work was handled by the home builder's own resources local to Summit County.   While I was concerned about overtly humid conditions of a traditional bathroom, this particular installation is dry.  I visited my friends in early September on a trip to nearby Rocky Mountain National Park. A good and memorable evening was enjoyed as we toured the near-final construction of this wildly creative home featuring vignettes of mining past.

I do provide limited photo-editing services; as well as lightbox printing and mounting through my vendor in Longmont Colorado.  Please contact me for your special projects.

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