Bring back those nice bright colors

KodachromeThey give us those nice bright colors They give us the greens of summers Makes you think all the world's a sunny day...

 Paul Simon


Well what happens when those nice bright colors have all faded to a dull shade of gray?  As I am working through scanning all my family slides and negatives for the last 50 years, I keep seeing what happens when sunlight, time and imperfect chemistry fade the pictures.  Luckily for us, bringing back those colors takes just a few moments and will thrill and amaze.   I have a very low amusement threshold.


In most editing programs these days the first thing you have the opportunity to fix and the one which has incredible impact is the White Balance.   The human eye automatically processes the adjustments without even thinking about them.  Our camera sensors don’t yet have that full capability.  Fluorescent lights cast a green tone on skin, yet we see people looking normal—well as normal as they can be.  Tungsten lights are blue, etc, etc.


Here is a nice example of a fresh from the scanner old photograph from 1963 in Hawaii.

 Xmas 1963






  I can assure you the colors did not look like that. 

 So a quick adjustment of the color temperature, by finding a point that should be a nice neutral gray, like the curtains and a slight additional tweak and …

 Xmas 1963-2






An image the way that it should look, is restored.  

Next time, restoring really faded black and white pictures is just as easy.