POTD: Now and Then

Now and Then
Inyo Mine, California

While in Death Valley for a few days in January, we took the drive up to Inyo Mine. We had been there before, but it was 25+ years ago, so I didn’t remember much of what to expect there. The one vivid memory I did have was of an unusually decorative opening for a stovepipe. So I was interested to see if it was still there after all this time, and it was. It looked pretty much like I remembered it too–an unintentionally artistic detail of vernacular architecture.

To see how this feature had aged since the 90s, when we got home I dug up the photo I had taken of it back in the 90s for comparison. Here it is:

Inyo Mine (old film negative)
circa 1990s

Aside from some changes in coloration, the stovepipe collar itself has changed very little. The cabin wall it is mounted on has lost some parts around the window frame and shows more signs of weathering, but is otherwise little changed as well. Much of the coloring differences between the two images can possibly be attributed to differences in how the film negative and digital captures differed as well as how I processed them on the computer. (In both cases I didn’t mess around with the images too much other than contrast and brightness adjustments and white point adjustment.) All in all, I’d have to say the differences in film vs. digital capture and processing may be almost as significant as the actually weathering changes. And comparing the amount of change in the cabin to the amount of change in my looks over those same many years, I’d have to say the cabin has aged better than I have!

At the time I took the photograph back in the 90s I was also playing around trying my hand at writing haiku, and I wrote one about this image. It’s a bad haiku by my estimation (especially if you insist on sticking to the 5-7-5 format) but it does contain a good pun, if I do say so myself:

Death Valley sun
burns inadvertent art
Inyo Mine

4 thoughts on “POTD: Now and Then”

    1. Thanks Molly. I think natural processes in decaying wood and corroding metal can sometimes cause deeper colors in some cases but fading effects in others. Who knows what causes the difference–certainly not me! But I would also not discount variability in response of the old film camera (and the subsequent scanning) vs. the newer digital camera or even the way I treated the images on the computer (although I didn’t purposely try and make the current image more vibrant). I certainly don’t trust my eyes and memory over the years enough to be able to say exactly what they looked like to me when I took the photos vs. what the photos produced. So I wouldn’t put money betting either for or against the differences being manufactured by technology and me.

  1. A different time of day (and year?) could account for the color differences. I notice that there is a lot of reflected blue (from the sky?) in the wood in the Now version. That could account for the extra vibrancy of blue in the metal. That natural light effect would be evident regardless of the film or processing type applied.

    1. I don’t disagree with one possible exception. If I’d tweaked with the white point or the like on the image (which I did), that might account for some of the difference as well.

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