The following is a brief overview of what goes into almost every ghost sign that I photograph. The major goal is to create as close to an archival version of the sign, at high enough resolution as required, to see all of the painterly qualities of the original sign. An additional goal is also to obtain a “clean” final result where all of the foreground clutter is removed. A final goal is to make the ghost sign appear to have been photographed “straight on” by using perspective correction in post-processing.
Photos are taken from multiple camera positions to “see” around foreground obstacles. Multiple images are photographed at each camera position to increase resolution in the final image. In some cases, this can result in hundreds of separate images from a dozen camera positions. The following illustrates the images that went into three separate camera positions for a ghost sign in Helena, Montana.
The images from each camera position are then separately mosaicked. I use the program Stitcher from Autodesk – which is no longer available. Too bad. It has numerous features that I have not found in other mosaicking programs.
Then, in Photoshop, I isolate and remove foreground obstacles from each intermediate mosaic. The poles and wires are highlighted in cyan in the following image.
The resulting intermediate mosaics are then aligned and blended in Photoshop. Since the sky and clouds change between camera setups, the sky in the final image must be replaced. The resulting images are 2 to 8 gigabytes.
The gallery is next to the Pasadena Playhouse, so I’ll be at the gallery before and after performances.
I had a successful opening night at the Walt Girdner Photo Studio & Gallery. Once it got busy, I wasn’t able to keep doing event photography. Multiple items were sold, which pleases me greatly.
The large pieces are printed on 24″ x 36″ Museo Silver Rag paper, and are on display are in 30″ x 40″ frames.
I also have browse bins for many ghost signs, plus a smaller print option (17″x22″ paper) which I frame in 24″ x 30″ frames.
That’s me on the right, in the photo above, with the funny hat. The hat has been everywhere. A friend said that I am kind of like Indiana Jones (I’m a Dr. Jones too!) doing archaeology, except in an urban environment. Therefore I wore the hat (but I didn’t think a leather whip was appropriate for an Art Opening).
I have a special wall for several ghost signs from Pasadena and Los Angeles. The Los Angeles signs are either already gone, or will soon be gone.
The show features 30 ghost signs selected from a collection of over 7000 photographed in all 48 states.
Many of my photographs were used to illustrate the entertaining article on “Ghost Signs of Montana” in the Spring 2017 issue of Big Sky Journal. The magazine is available in both a print and online edition.
I got together with Craig Winslow for his Light Capsules show at the Palace Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles. The theater is at 633 S. Spring St. This parking lot will soon be filled with new construction, so go see the original sign now. You can see more about his Light Capsules Project, sponsored by Adobe, on his website.
Craig Winslow / Ken Jones
Aligning the projected image with the real ghost sign.
I’m getting together with Craig Winslow – an Adobe Creative Resident – this Saturday, February 25, for one of his Light Capsule shows, this one in Los Angeles. He is using one of my ghost signs, the one of the Palace Newsreel Theatre, to create a projectable image onto the building that overlays the original image and creates a “restored” effect. This should be great fun. He has an announcement on Facebook.
The ghost sign is located at 633 S. Spring St. in downtown LA.
Craig’s Light Capsule Trip
I’m also supplying Craig with an image of the Hubbell Trading Post in Winslow, Arizona.