I never thought that I would hate trees.
Re-photographing in Port Townsend has challenges that are vastly different from my experiences photographing in the Olympic Mountains. The majority of the historical photographs that I have been attempting to match were taken after the area was logged and the town was established, before the cliffs were reshaped and swamps filled to make downtown and well before Donna Daubenberger and Marge Abraham (two of the most unstoppable hardworking women that ever graced any town) remade downtown with “Trees For Port Townsend”. The town’s population may have swelled to 7000 in the 1800’s but there were far fewer homes blocking the photographer’s view. Now, don’t get me started on shade from the newer buildings or those trees!
There is a challenge to stand in the exact same spot at the exact same time of year, day, and atmospheric conditions as the original photograph was taken. It is a rush, but it might just put you in someone’s living room, behind a tree, or dangling in mid-air. I make every attempt to match the original view but when that is impossible compromises are made, dark photographs are accepted and Photoshop gets a workout. I do not change details but optics are adjusted to match the originals as closely as possible.
The original images vary in quality and in size. It is a joy to work with a large format negative carefully stored for 100 years, but that is seldom the case. Most are photographs that have lived in someone’s family album and are well used. I make every attempt to restore the originals but stop short of trying to make them appear as if they were taken yesterday, they weren’t.