13. February 2021
Photography , History
A year ago I made one of my first attempts a colorizing a photo, and the results were not very good. The photo in question was a boyhood photo of my father-in-law, Terry Wetmore, and the final outcome of my colorization efforts was so bad that I'd rather not share it publicly.
However, I've colorized a few dozen photos since then, and I've picked up a few skills along the way. With that in mind, I thought that I would take another pass at his photo to see if I could do a better job the second time around, and here are the results.
This image is certainly better than last year's attempt, but I still have lots of room for improvement. I think I'll try again after another year or so to see what the results are like.
16. January 2021
Photography , History
I found another interesting photo in an aviation forum that looked like a good candidate for colorizing, in this case it was the crew of the "Blue Dreams" B-17, which looks like they're celebrating after a successful mission.
As I have done in the past, I tried to discover any information that I could about this photo or the aircraft. The best that I could do was to find a page that mentioned the ball turret gunner having completed 25 missions in this aircraft. In World War II, that usually meant the crew would rotate stateside, and for his sake I hope that happened.
That being said, I found another web page that mentioned the aircraft as having completed 29 missions before it crashed. The pilot noticed that the aircraft was leaking fuel after takeoff, and he set the aircraft down without lowering the landing gear. The aircraft was a total loss, but the crew was able to escape without harm. Still - that was a sad fate for a beautiful aircraft.
22. December 2020
Photography , History
A friend of mine posted a link to an article titled Deconstructing the Reconciliation Narrative of the Civil War, which was a fascinating article that presented an interesting look at a difficult time in the United States' troubled past: the period of Reconciliation that followed the post-Civil War Reconstruction. If you're into history as I am, it might be worth your time to read.
That being said, the article contained a wonderful photograph of General George H. Thomas that I thought would make a great candidate for colorization. With that in mind, here are the before and after views of that photo.
One interesting item of note about the final image: as I have always done in the past, I had edited all of the imperfections from the original photo; the scratches, discolorations, tears, etc. However, the fully-restored image of General Thomas over a flat background looked so unnatural that I decided to overlay my "finished" image over the original to add back a few imperfections. In the end, I think this looked photo looked far better with a few problems in it.
Following up on the B-17 image that I posted yesterday, here's a quick animation that illustrates how I added successive layers of color to create the finished image.
FYI - a few layers were combined to make the animation a little shorter, and the images in the video are not necessarily in the order that I colored them. I created a series of images based on the layers that I had created, but I did so after I had finished the image.
I found another interesting photo in an aviation forum that looked like a good candidate for colorizing, in this case it was the crew of the "Hell's Angel's" B-17 adding the numbers for their latest bombing mission. (Which looks to be just shy of 40 missions.)
You can read more about this B-17 at: https://bit.ly/3hvp4Mg.
By the way, for those who've never seen it before, Jimmy Stewart helped create an Air Force Training/Recruitment film in 1942, wherein he describes the duties and responsibilities of a B-17 crew. (Although if you know your B-17 history, you can tell that the video is of a very early version of the aircraft, and not the version that saw most of the combat during the war. Can anyone else point out the most-important differences?)
PS - Despite having created this film, during the war Jimmy Stewart flew B-24s.
I found another interesting photo in an aviation forum that looked like a good candidate for colorizing, and here's the "Before and After" views. I can't imagine how cold it was in these WWII airplanes, but the scarf, gloves, leather boots and fleece lining that the pilot is wearing would seem to suggest that it was pretty cold. It's because of sacrifices from guys like this that we still have England.
After a bit of research, it appears that was a photo of Adolph Gysbert Malan, and you can read more about him here: Sailor Malan: a Battle of Britain Pilot.
I found another image on an aviation forum, that I thought might be fun to colorize. To be honest, I did it rather quickly, so there are less layers than I had been using for some of the other images that I had done.
Some time later, I discovered that this was an image from LIFE magazine of Major Wallace Frank, which was dated September, 1948. (That was kind of a surprise; I would have thought that it was from a decade later.)
Even though I found this image on an aviation forum, while I was researching the image to see who was in it, I found it's information at: https://bit.ly/2zC1aOb.
I found another interesting photo in an aviation forum, and I thought that I'd take a quick pass at colorizing it. It's a WWII Navy pilot standing on the wing of a Grumman Hellcat F6F, and despite some trying - I couldn't find out who he is.
The colorization isn't perfect, of course, but I think it adds a bit of depth to the story. There is something obvious that I got wrong, though: the undercarriage of the Hellcat should have been colored gray.
Of course, I could go back and fix that now, but... meh. Not today.
Someone posted the following photo of three WWII GIs to a Veteran's forum, and I thought it would make a good candidate for another attempt at coloring a historical photograph. I did a little bit of research about the uniforms, thankfully there are a lot of examples around.
I have no idea who these guys were, or what time in the war this was from; they look like three guys on leave enjoying life, though.
That's it for today.
2. February 2020
Photography , History
I hang out in a few history-related forums, and I see a lot of great photos posted. Periodically, I see photos that someone has colorized, and I have occasionally thought, "I wonder how hard that is?" With that in mind, I saw a photo today that I thought seemed like it would be a great place to get started. Here is the before and after... it's not too bad for a first effort. There are a few historical inaccuracies that I learned about after the fact; for example: the buttons and belt buckle both should have been silver, not brass. (I obviously have room to improve.)
Colorizing that image was quickly followed by colorizing another image, which turned out okay, but I didn't have much to work with; the resolution of the source image wasn't that great. I did some research to get the colors right for the airplane and uniform, so I was trying to learn from my mistakes.
So there you have it - my first two attempts at coloring historical images. I obviously have lots of room to grow.