A Balancing Act

Sometimes it’s difficult to strike the right balance.

Sternwheelers at rest
The original photograph

This photo is the only one like it that I’ve come across. There may be others, but I haven’t seen them. This particular photo was given to me by a private party as a restoration project. It shows the “Casca” and the “Whitehorse” as they were before being destroyed by fire in June 1974.


OK…I know this is a poorly restored photograph and it was posted for a reason. I had expected some response to the shoddy workmanship depicted in the original post. Oh well. Here’s a proper rendition of the sterwheelers.

Before and after as it should look
Compare the two

Proper restoration
As it should look

The original post continues below.

The Casca was described as a wooden sternwheeler, 180 feet long, with 36.5-foot beam and 5.6-foot hold. Her gross tonnage was 1,300.27, registered as 1,033.32 tons. She had one deck, was of carvel build, with a straight head and transom stern, and had 5 bulkheads.

The Whitehorse (originally the White Horse) had a much longer and more colorful history on the river, being built in 1901. She was described as a wooden sternwheeler, 167 feet long, with a 34.5-foot beam and 4.5-foot hold. Her gross tonnage 986.65 tons, registered as 630.69 tons. She had two decks, was of carvel build, and had a straight head and square stern, with two bulkheads. She had accommodation for 64 people.

The source of the history of the Casca and Whitehorse…

They were taken out of service in 1952 and 1955 respectively. For more information on these two vessels, go to this link.

Back to the balancing act. When the restoration of a photo calls for the increase in contrast, saturation of color, brightness and all around clarity, striking a balance between all the variables can be a challenge. The increase of one particular element can have a diminishing effect on some of the other elements. I’m still not quite sure the overall end result here is what I was looking for. To me it appears to still be a little too dark in the shadows, and a wee bit over saturated in the yellow/orange area of color. That’s when I stop and take good look at what’s been accomplished up to this point, and how much time must be spent to go to the next level.

A comparison af the original and the retored photograph.
Before & After

In the end though, I have a very difficult time leaving something that stands out in my mind as half done. So I went ahead and corrected what I considered to be too orange and too dark. Cropped the entire shot to an eight by ten format and called it good. I’m still not 100% satisfied though. The detail lost through all the manipulations is quite severe. It will print well at the original size of five by seven. If I revisit this project, no doubt I will, I’ll update this post as well. Sometimes it is better to stop and rethink at a later date. That’s another reason I save each step individually.

The end result...
8×10 Final Print

I would like some honest opinions on this…Please take the time to make a comment. I’m the worst person in the world to judge my own work!


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