July 4th on the Charles

I spent Fourth of July watching the Boston fireworks on the Charles from my kayak. Without a doubt, it’s the best way to see the fireworks.

I’ve done this a couple of times now; Charles River Canoe and Kayak rents boats from their Brighton and Kendall Square locations for the event. The first time couple of times I did it, the atmosphere was very relaxed, and there was a lot less security. I remember one year seeing a couple of guys on a raft made up of office water cooler bottles, and people on floating rafts; after the marathon bombing, security was tightened up. The last time I did it, in 2013, all boats had to be anchored by 7 and there was a Coast Guard boat with a big black machine gun on the front deck patrolling the river.

This was the first year I did it in my own boat. I put in from Herter Park, just downstream from Charles River Canoe and Kayak, around five-thirty-ish, and got to the Mass Ave bridge a little past 7. There were already a bunch of boats there, some of them fairly large. Boats were required to anchor by 8:15, but I felt like a motorcyclist among a bunch of SUVs with all the boat traffic, so I waited until nearly 8 to anchor. I wanted to be able to move if a boat did something stupid.

Once I anchored, there was nothing to do but wait. Fortunately, the weather was gorgeous: clear, not humid, not too warm. There was enough wind to raise a little chop, but it kept the bugs away. It was really nice just sitting there in the boat. We were treated to a spectacular sunset:

Sunset, July 4th

Sunset, July 4th

This year, the concert and fireworks were on network television. I’ve been to years both with and without the network, and I much prefer it when network TV isn’t calling the shots. This year, they played the 1812 Overture fairly early, with a small display of fireworks, and then there were 90 minutes of filler country music until the main show at 10:30, timed to end just before the 11:00 news.

But, oh, what a show it was. It made the wait worthwhile. Not only did they shoot them from the barge, but they launched sprays of fireworks from the Mass Ave bridge itself, and I was close enough to the bridge to feel the heat from the fireworks. There were jets of fireworks flying up from the length of the bridge, with sprays of light in the sky beyond. It was magnificent.

Finally, though, came the finale, and then it was time to up-anchor and head back. It was kind of cool kayaking in the dark, part of a stream of boats heading upstream. Each boat had at least a light, and several of us were adorned with a number of glow sticks. I’d been worried about pulling out of the river, but I found the exit pretty easily, and was able to get out without a problem. All in all, a wonderful night.

Pinkerton Over Timberlane

I took a vacation day today to see my nephew Matt play his last home volleyball game at Pinkerton Academy. The team is in second place, and they were playing the first place Timberlane Athletics. The Astros won 3 games to 1; all four games were very close.

Me being me, I took some pictures. Well, OK, 183 pictures to be exact. Here are a few:

Matt Erb spiking

Matt Erb spiking

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DSC_0085

Matt

DSC_0100 DSC_0106 DSC_0114 DSC_0130 DSC_0131 DSC_0144 DSC_0145

Matt Erb and Matt O'Hara

Matt Erb and Matt O’Hara

Seniors

Seniors

Shirt Banners

Shirt Banners

Restoration

I was looking through my old negatives to see if I could find the negative of the picture of my Dad that I posted last September, when I came across yet another box of slides. The box contained a bunch of rejected slides, pictures that were either too light or too dark to be part of a slide show. That was then. Now, we can edit pictures digitally, so I figured they were worth a second look. I found about fifteen that looked like they might be worth a quick scan to see if there was anything worth the work of fixing them.

Of the first four, this was the most promising. It’s a picture of my sister and me from 1963, taken by my father.

Nancy and Me - before

Nancy and Me – before

It looks like it was from the tail end of a roll — light fogged at the right and top, and covered with fungus.

Nancy and Me - After

Nancy and Me – After

Not bad at all. So what did I do?

  1. I cropped much of the fogged area out of the picture. (The ‘Before’ picture is actually cropped).
  2. I added an initial overall Curves adjustment to make the darks darker and the lighter areas lighter, and adjust the color.
  3. I added a second Curves adjustment on top of the first, masked with a layer mask with a very soft bottom edge, over the top half of the picture. This layer makes the top part of the picture darker and more contrasty, and further adjusts the colors.
  4. Used the Spot Healing Brush to clean up the biggest bits of dirt on the scan. Things like hairs and especially large clumps of mold.
  5. Cleaned up some (but not anywhere near all) of the mold tendrils on the faces. Just the very largest spots — there was way too much mold damage on this picture to spot them all away individually.
  6. Dealt with the blue mold spots. These occur where the fungus has eaten through the yellow dye layer of the emulsion. For some, like the blue spot on my face, and some of the blue spots on the couch, I used the Clone Stamp Tool. In other places, like along the back wall and the spot in my sister’s hair, it was sufficient to use the Sponge Tool to desaturate the blue away.
  7. I used the Sponge Tool and Burn Tool to desaturate and darken the edge fogging on the right side of the picture.
  8. Finally, I duplicated my layer, ran the Dust and Scratches filter on it, masked it, and then removed the mask away from any edges.

The problem with the Dust and Scratches layer is that it works by blurring the spots away, and can also blur away detail. Usually, I only need to unmask the Dust and Scratches layer where there are dust spots. Usually, if there are particularly bad areas, they’re confined to the sides, which are out of focus anyway. Not this picture. I had to accept this image was not going to be as clean as I’d like.The fungus damage was way too extensive, and covered every square millimeter of the film. So I unmasked everything away from any sort of edge. For example, I unmasked the skin if the faces, but left the edge of the lips and eyes from the base layer showing, to retain the sharpness of the edges.

Overall, though, considering the state of the original image, not too shabby, even if I do say so myself.

 

Bonaire 2016 Pictures: Friday

Gallery

This gallery contains 9 photos.

Friday marked the last day of diving. In the morning, Ralph, the Quinnans, Debie and I revisited Aquarius, because of its easy sandy entry. Interestingly enough, possibly due to Barbara making me more aware of them, I saw a ton … Continue reading

Bonaire 2016 Pictures: Thursday

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This gallery contains 24 photos.

Thursday started with a pair of boat dives. For me, the first one was kind of embarrassing, as I burned through my air and was the first one back on the boat. The second one was actually pretty productive, as … Continue reading

Bonaire 2016 Pictures: Wednesday Afternoon

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This gallery contains 23 photos.

Wednesday was a full day. In the morning we did a shore dive at Weber’s Joy, and got banged around quite a bit coming out of the water. Instead of a second dive, Paul took us on a tour of … Continue reading

Bonaire 2016 Pictures: Tuesday

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This gallery contains 18 photos.

Tuesday morning we drove to the north to a site called “Oil Slick Leap”. The site is set on a cliff of about 8 feet, and you can either climb down a ladder, or jump off the cliff into the … Continue reading

Bonaire 2016 Pictures: Monday

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This gallery contains 18 photos.

Monday morning saw our first boat dives. We left the dock just past 8, and headed off for the far side of Kleine Bonaire. The first site was “Rockpile”; the second one I don’t remember the name of. Both were … Continue reading

Bonaire 2016 Pictures: Sunday

Gallery

This gallery contains 9 photos.

Sunday was the first day of diving for us, as we got in too late on Saturday to pick up our weights. Our first dive was off the dock at Buddy Dive. Generally, we’ve headed northwards here, as the current … Continue reading