Category Archives: Garden

Double Kodak Moment with Hairnet

The cultural practice of photography is usually hidden – you see the snapshot that was taken not the photographer in the act of taking it. That’s why I love this 1966 find in which a woman is photographing two girls in the small front garden of a house in what looks like Mowbray, Cape Town. I haven’t identified the camera but, with it’s top viewfinder, it looks like a 1940s or 1950s model. Their names are written on the frame: Lesley, Gillian and Alison. Maybe you know them? I almost feel like I do.



Cool down walkway

Some time ago I came across another slide of this beautiful walkway, both pics having been taken from the same spot, which I think is somewhere in Rome. I loved the setting but the first slide was a ruin: dark, blueish and moldy. So imagine my joy when this far better specimen turned up. That’s the great thing about travel photography; the chances are good that with enough material, many shots of the same places will appear. This one was lighter and more colorful, giving me plenty to work with.


The strong contrast between the light and dark sides of the pathway needed evening out, a new sky was added and the fountains were highlighted. I also applied an artistic filter to accentuate edges.


Before and after. Click for big.


For comparison, here is the original too-dark one. Its kinda cool that the woman is walking along the fountain edge, where its wet, and not on the path.


Romantic Italian Lake

From a collection of late 1950’s slides comes this gorgeous, romantic scene. Its formal, yet relaxed, and oh so beautiful. I love the group in the foreground – their smart-casual outfits and relaxed posture. The ornate chairs, glistening water, boating parties, large trees and monument are a fantasy of ‘genteel travel’ that still exists now.


This slide was in good condition having come from a well-cared-for collection; it had been in a glass frame for 50 years. It was a joy to correct the colour, bringing the greens out while maintaining warmth. I added contrast and definition, and made a better cropping.


Before and after. Click for big.


Posted by on April 15, 2013 in City Park, Europe, Garden, Sightseeing

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Hoggs Back Inn

Hoggs Back Inn is a famous hotel in the dreamy, rural haven known as Hoggs Back, Eastern Cape. Its been there for about 100 years and has changed only subtly. This swimming pool and garden are still there, and they still have those yellow garden chairs. That is the charm of it. However, this is is a challenge for a vintage photography site – when a place hasn’t changed a whole lot, and looks much the same today as it did back in the day. I value the unchanging, classic tradition of a place like this, but how to show it? When I started playing around, I came up with the oval setting, which speaks of tradition, and the use of monochrome areas, which reminds us of of old photographs from long ago. The composition also gives the feeling that its an oasis of a place, and is loved by the many who have stayed there (PS: this is not a review, I have never been there!).


I started by doing tone and colour work on the original then applied the reddish monochrome to certain areas. This increased the drama and depth. I masked off the area outside an oval shape and then revealed some of the foliage outside the shape.


Before and after. Click for big.


Posted by on March 21, 2013 in Garden, Hotel, South Africa, Swimming

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A Lavish Facade Somewhere in Italy

I came across a little stash of slides taken on a trip to Italy in the late 1950s. Here is the first of many treasures. The traveler was in Rome and Florence but I have been unable to confirm the location of this building. Somewhere in a small, rustic courtyard stands this lavish, almost silly facade. The moldings look like cake icing or candle wax but I think they represent grapes or leaves. If we could identify the mythical figures I’m sure it would help. Please do get in touch if you know where this is.

Straightening immediately gave the building more weight. I then reworked the color a little and sharpened it.

Before and after. Click for big.


Tea Party in Red, White and Blue

A companionable garden tea party back in the day. Mugs of tea, cigarettes and a good book. The red white and blue painted garden furniture is a great color combination. Not sure about those wooden ‘skis’ the legs are attached to though, I much prefer the way it looks without.

This slide was in good nick. With a bit of tweaking I made it less blue and more sharp.

Before and after. Click for big.


Posted by on January 21, 2013 in Domestic scene, Garden, People, Suburban home

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Gardening Enthusiast

This pic is dated 1966. Good old gum boots, a cap and tie, what a wonderful outdoor outfit. I reckon a pretty satisfying day could be had pottering around in this patch.

Color corrections and sharpness, a blue sky and it looks warmer and brighter. Most welcoming!

Before and after. Click for big.


Posted by on December 15, 2012 in Domestic scene, Garden, Man, Village life

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Evening Drinks on a Swing Seat

So many things spotted in old photographs can bring back memories of the past, and often it is furniture, familiar but now exotic because we no longer have it. The swing seat, although I’m sure it is not entirely gone, is now seldom found in ordinary gardens. Recently, on Facebook,  I posted another image of a garden party with a swing seat and it was this piece of furniture that got more attention than anything else. Here, it is elegance, style and casual romance that define the scene, and of course the swing seat says it all. Love the neat arrangement of tot glasses and the man’s reflection in that shiny silver tray.

A closer cropping, deepening of the shadows, warming and sharpening … and the handsome subjects pop right out at us!

Before and after. Click for big.



Posted by on November 18, 2012 in Domestic scene, Garden, People

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Traditional Wooden House

This traditional wooden house is in Skansen Open Air Museum, Stockholm and was photographed in 1964. Consider the notion of time here. The park was created in the 1800’s and this scene probably looked much like this back then, as it probably still does today. For 150 years this has looked the same! While all around it context and meaning have changed. You can read more about the park here.

I selectively brightened up the green (perhaps a tad too over the top!) to bring this scene back to life, and added several filters to warm and sharpen it.

Before and after. Click for big.


Lady on a Bridge

I wish I was more clued up on mythology, archetypes and cultural iconography. The image of a solitary woman in a garden, in some sort of contemplative state, turns up in my collection on occasion. A genre of sorts. This is a classic example, and I was tempted to camp it up a little. I only use a rainbow filter about once every 3 years, and this was perfect for it.


Posted by on November 11, 2012 in Garden, People, Woman

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