September Rain - 1969

Highland Park, 1969

It was a rainy day in September of 1969.  The large picture window in my parent's living room provided a great view of the park across the street. When I noticed this woman in red walking into the park, I thought it might make a decent photo.

I ran upstairs, (yes, in those days I ran up stairs) attached a 135mm telephoto lens to my Pentax Spotmatic and made it to the front porch in time to take two photos.  Then, the woman and her red umbrella disappeared behind the low hanging branches of the trees as she walked deeper into the park.

When I picked up the processed and mounted Ektachrome slides few days later, the results were disappointing.  In the first slide the woman was looking directly into the camera.  In the second slide, the focus was a bit soft and the composition was not what I had envisioned.  So, the slides went into a box and were forgotten for several decades.

The digitized version of the slide has been on my disk drive for a few years.  The red coat and umbrella always grab my attention as I scroll past the older photos in my library.  Saturday I decided to play a bit.

A few adjustments in Lightroom restored the color that had faded over the years.  Changing the aspect ratio to fit an 8x10 frame altered the composition enough to please me, but the focus was soft and a lot of dust had embedded itself into the emulsion of the original slide.  Photoshop has no magic (yet) to fix a poorly focused image and I had no intention of removing all of those dust spots. 

It finally occurred to me that the feeling of that rainy day doesn't rely on sharp detail.  I decided to channel the spirit of Bob Ross and obscure the remaining problems with the broad brush strokes of Photoshop's Oil Painting filter.  I'm sure most people won't mind.  After all, look at the popularity of Instagram.  Millions of bad photos obscured by strange filters are submitted  every day.

The finished photo is certainly not what I had in mind when I pressed the shutter in 1969 and nobody will ever describe it as a great work of art, but it is a nice reminder of that rainy September day.