American Ghosts – Image Mosaicking

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.

It’s as simple as that!

American Ghosts : Opening Night

Gallery Show through March 25, 2017

Dr. Ken Jones

Walt Girdner Photo Studio & Gallery
27 S. El Molino, Pasadena, California   
https://www.waltgirdnerstudio.com

Opening Night & Reception

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.

Pillsbury's Best Flour / Agricultural Implements, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Pillsbury’s Best Flour / Agricultural Implements, Doylestown, Pennsylvania

Altadena Library Ghost Sign Talk

August 2016

I gave a talk on Ghost Signs at the Altadena Library in August 2016, and, due to popular demand, repeated it in January 2017.  Thanks to Dick Hodgman for these photos!

The talk was one-half about ghost signs, one-quarter about photographic methodology, and one-quarter stand-up comedy.  The gallery display included many ghost signs from Pasadena and Altadena.

Prior to the talk, I was interviewed by the Pasadena Weekly for an article about my ghost sign project.

Palace Theatre Light Capsules Show

February 25, 2017

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.

Light Capsule Show w/ Craig Winslow

25 February 2017   Sunset to Late

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.

Palace Newsreel Theatre, Los Angeles, California
Palace Newsreel Theatre, Los Angeles, California

Craig’s Light Capsule Trip

I’m also supplying Craig with an image of the Hubbell Trading Post in Winslow, Arizona.

Hubbell Trading Post, Winslow, Arizona
Hubbell Trading Post, Winslow, Arizona