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  #16  
Old 4th August 2015
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Bikie John Bikie John is offline
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Re: Grave matters

...and thanks too Ulfric, we crossed in the post.

John
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  #17  
Old 4th August 2015
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Re: Grave matters

I would put the camera on a tripod and use a low angled flash from multiple sides of the stones and then see if you can read parts on those pictures.

You could blend a few through if needs to t the best overall picture

Adding. We also dust the fossils.with fine white powder to remove colour distraction. What we use sublimes off, but is not appropriate in this case. Simple talc may work and will wash off

Doing this its never been necessary to use IR or colour seperations, but I have cranked the contrast right up

Mind you I did most of that work on film

regards
Andy
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  #18  
Old 7th August 2015
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Re: Grave matters

Thanks again for all the suggestions. I got down there on Wednesday afternoon and tried out some stuff, with interesting results. Now I know the lie of the land I will be much better equipped next time there is a working session. I haven't had time yet to do any processing so here are some shots straight out of camera, just resized for the gallery.

First, this stone was in very good condition and showed an interesting coat of arms:



This is just a straight shot under ambient light. I suspect that a bit of creative layer manipulation as suggested by Andy and Tom will bring it to life.

Next, the inscription on this one was in good nick, but still difficult to see under the diffuse ambient light even at 100% view (yes, I know it's under-exposed whch won't help ):



Simple flash off to the left really brings it out:



This one is more faded:



but with oblique flash you can start to read the inscriptions:



I'm not worried that the flashed photos are pictorially awful. The idea is to use some extreme editing just to extract the text, then combine it with the ambient photos in some way to show it up better.

Finally, a more challenging one. This one was difficult to read "in the flesh", even with a torch to provide some shadows:



but with flash from left and right the text is starting to show much more clearly:





Next step is to work out how best to combine the exposures. The sequences were all shot on tripod so it should be easy to align them. I also need to think more about the lighting. The stones need to be lit from the side to get the emphasis on the relief, and this means that the flash-to-subject distance is very varied across the frame. I wonder if a bigger diffuse source would be more even. Perhaps bouncing the flash off a large reflector which is not too deep would even the light out without losing too much definition.

It is certainly an interesting challenge!

John
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  #19  
Old 3rd September 2015
Chris Shirley Chris Shirley is offline
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Re: Grave matters

Hi John, I found a link that might interest you, I'm quite new and only allowed to post links after my 6th post but the article suggests taping a piece of aluminium foil over the face of the gravestone and gently rubbing. Try a quick google search for 'Safe Solutions for hard to read tombstones'. The results look quite impressive, ...and you'll have a rare opportunity to photograph silver gravestones
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