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Adjusting Clarity of Scanned Glass Plate Negatives

Digital Processing - www.largeformatphotography.info
Hello! I'm curious if anyone here can share some tips on adjusting the clarity of scanned 8x10 glass plate negatives. I restore historic photos from the Library of Congress to turn into large-format prints and I thought I was doing a good job until I took a closer look at the images posted on Shorpy.com. The man who does the resoration for these photos - Dave Hall - really brings out the sharpness that you would see if you were looking at the negative itself. He uses the same TIFF files that I do, and Photoshop, too...so the source and equipment is the same, but I must be doing something wrong because mine aren't nearly as stunning. Here is an example :

Above is the file that I restored. Here is the image on Shorpy :

I'm probably searching for a flea's kidney here, but you can see the difference better when they are side by side.

An article for the Times stated that : Every image republished on Shorpy has been color corrected, toned, and sharpened ? restoring the brilliant texture and jaw-dropping sharpness found in the original negatives and glass plates. [With] each image, Hall balances the exposure, correcting for the wear of time upon negatives.Hall doesn't modify the content of the images, either ? all of his adjustments are carefully limited to the standards of which the original photographers would likely pursue. He is, in effect, a master digital restorer, working as a darkroom printer of the time period would have done while preparing the images for public exhibition.

So my question is what techniques would someone developing or printing from a glass plate negative use to bring out the details in the image that I can use on Photoshop? I hate to resort to "tricks" like unsharp masks and stuff when there may be a simpler way to bring out the clarity. Any help would be appreciated!


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