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-   -   Salvaging Dark Noses (http://www.railpictures.net/forums/showthread.php?t=18221)

amtk_cr_pc 03-12-2019 07:46 PM

Salvaging Dark Noses
Good afternoon all:

I have recently started contributing to RP again after a decade long hiatus. My niche of sorts is acquiring old slides of subjects that interest me, and restoring them to share here, (or Smugmug if the image quality does not meet RP standards).

I can usually tell if a slide will be worth the work to share here, and I am still learning the techniques to effective scanning and appropriate processing. However, sometimes a slide looks pretty good on paper, but the nose is darker than expected when scanned. Case in point:

Granted this slide needed some other work anyway, but it likely would have come out better with some more nose work. My question to the group is what techniques do you use to clean up good images with dark noses, or perhaps when it is not worth bothering with. I know how to manipulate light in processing, but my spot work is less than effective, particularly with darker noses. I realize it is a rather subjective question, but I would appreciate your opinions.

I use a Pacific Image Electronics PrimeFilm XEs film scanner controlled by Vuescan Pro, and process with Photoshop Elements 2019 on a W10 workstation. While I am certainly no expert in processing, I do know my way around Photoshop and have a working knowledge of photography concepts and terminology. Thank you in advance for any comments.

--Nate Murry

bigbassloyd 03-12-2019 08:06 PM

I will sometimes selectively adjust portions of a locomotive using the selection wand and doing an adjustment to that portion only. I use elements as well, just an older version.

In reference to this shot.. I think it's pretty decent as it stands. Could possible do some noise reduction, but it is an interesting subject.

Loyd L.

amtk_cr_pc 03-12-2019 08:21 PM

Hi Loyd:

Oddly enough, I was using the lasso and rectangular selection in my early experiments, which yielded poor results as you might imagine. I have not used the wand; I will try that next.

Heavy electric railroading interests me greatly, which you can tell from my submissions. This shot intrigues me for its odd pantograph/catenary interaction, and my research has not revealed the exact nature or purpose of this peculiar arrangement. I did spend some time on this image, but that was before I started experimenting with effective noise/artifact removal, haze removal, actually knowing something of how to use sharpening tools, etc.

Thanks for responding.


Decapod401 03-12-2019 08:54 PM


As a long-time slide shooter who worked his way up learning photo processing by trial and error, I approach my editing quite a bit differently than by using selective editing, as Loyd suggests, but there's nothing wrong with his methods if you are skilled in PS.

I scan using a Plustek scanner and Vuescan. I only adjust the image for exposure and white balance in Vuescan.

I use Lightroom, and other than dust spot removal and blurring of the sky with the adjustment wand to eliminate pixilation, all of my adjustments are global. Kodachromes have a good amount of contrast, and I have found that it is best to remove contrast with some of the levels sliders, and build it back in with others. I won't tell you exactly what I do, especially since you use different processing SW, but you can play around with that thought and develop your own technique. I will also add that I usually edit to a point, export a TIFF image, and reimport the image for some final editing.

Dark noses are tough, but I have had some accepted using these techniques. I would doubt that it would be acceptable for roster shots such as this one, however.

miningcamper1 03-13-2019 01:44 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Shadows/highlights/contrast adjustments yielded this. Yeah, the halos are a bit of a negative (faintly visible in the original post), but the unusual nature of this unit ought to allow for some leeway in screening.

Sign on the nose: "Caution - This Train Is In Radio Control At Times"

miningcamper1 03-13-2019 03:02 AM

An Alco oddity on this obscure line:


amtk_cr_pc 03-13-2019 12:45 PM


Thank you for the tips. You certainly have made a name for yourself in scanning/processing slides, and I hope I am working toward that level of quality. I also tend toward global adjustments (except for dust and other isolated marks), though I have experimented with nose treatment with mixed results. The GM10B test train shot (http://www.railpictures.net/photo/690368/) is the only image where I did more extensive 'spot' nosework. I am not for submitting borderline material, but I made a go at it for the historical value of the shot, (I would not have pursued it further if rejected). I am still trying to find the 'sweet spot' of preserving sharp details and appropriate processing for atheistic quality. I acquired Elements last month for $69, but I did gave Lightroom a look. I might try it at some point for comparison. I feel that the Vuescan and the PIE scanner have proved a potent mix with good initial results, though I am not sure my settings are optimized. Would you mind sharing some of your Vuescan settings in more detail? I am at work right now, but I can share my Vuescan settings later on for comparison.


It was one of the first scans I worked on, and I didn't exactly know what I was doing when I made the adjustments. Not that I am some expert now, but I have done a lot more experimenting in the last week or two, and am starting to see how some techniques work better than others. It is indeed quite easy to induce 'halo-ing' on the details, and that has bit me on some rejections lately. That E60C slide is a bit dark to begin with, so I likely will work it up just a bit for the Smugmug collection and move on. I have another slide of a Navajo Mine E60 that was exposed much better.

Thanks again, guys.

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