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Rebuilding My Tall Ships Montage

November 25, 2007

In 1976 I sailed, as a passenger, on the Roseway (see below) from Camden, Maine, to New York for Operation Sail, a gathering of hundreds of sailboats to celebrate the Bicentennial, on July 4, 1976. The main attraction was 16 tall ships.

"Tall ship" doesn't have an exact definition, but they are all large and square-rigged. The Roseway isn't a tall ship—it's a schooner that's only about 130 feet long and squeezes in about 35 passengers plus crew.

I shot a few hundred pictures during the 2-week voyage from Maine to New York and back. My camera at the time was a completely manual Konica FP SLR. (Shortly thereafter I switched to a Canon AE-1, the first entirely electronic SLR.) Later in 1976, as I was going through my 4x5 prints, I made the happy discovery that I had at least one photo of each of the 16 tall ships. I didn't remember all of the names, so I matched the photos against those in an Op Sail '76 guidebook I had bought somewhere along the way. Then I arranged them into a 4-by-4 grid and mounted them in a large frame. I must have been pleased with my work because I took a picture of it (above).

Years later, the pictures all fell from the mounting board (I recall that they were fastened with double-sided Scotch tape) and collected in a pile at the bottom. None of the pictures were labeled, but they had been arranged in alphabetical order. The guidebook disappeared, too.

Earlier this year I scanned all 1000-or-so of my slides, including the few hundred from Op Sail. Just today, I decided it was time to try to find the original 16 photos that were in the montage so I could put it back together, but this time digitally. I didn't have the original prints (I'm sure they're around somewhere), but I did have that shot of the framed arrangement. Also, I remembered seeing that guidebook and found it on the basement shelves where I keep my old books.

I got them all matched except for the Mircea (bottom-left). I either lost that slide or didn't scan it, but, rather than go back to the slide tray to see, I just used another taken a few seconds later.

Here's the result: All digital, rearranged into the same montage (without tape, this time). Note how I was able to improve the white balance and exposure with Lightroom.

Larger versions of these images, along with the names and countries, are on my SmugMug site.

Blog Archives

Photography Articles

Raw Conversion: Better Never Than Late April 24, 2008

Scanning in India by Way of California With ScanCafe February 15, 2008

How To Back Up Your Personal Computer January 30, 2008

Every Camera I've Ever Owned January 25, 2008

Sharpening JPEGs for the Web January 4, 2008

Lessons Learned From My Memory Problem December 20, 2007

Hunting Down a Mac Hardware Problem December 20, 2007

Trimming GPS Tracks With GPSTrackViewer November 13, 2007

The World's Shortest Camera Buying Guide September 22, 2007

Transporting and Storing Portable Backup Drives August 26, 2007

"The Luminous Landscape" Teaches Me to Print August 4, 2007

Creating a Google Photo Map (Revised) June 26, 2007

Sony GPS-CS1: Not Good Enough for Geotagging Photos June 24, 2007

Epson P-3000/P-5000 Multimedia Storage Viewer March 10, 2007

Trying Out Infrared January 20, 2007

Stupid Designs Hold Digital Back April 1, 2006

 

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