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Thread: Is a Transparency that was Exposed Backwards Salvageable?

  1. #1

    Is a Transparency that was Exposed Backwards Salvageable?

    Hi everyone - I discovered some 4x5 transparencies that were a family member's first attempts at large format photography a few decades ago, self-taught. They look like beautiful photos, but one major problem. The transparencies were put into the film holders backwards. In other words, they were exposed emulsion side down! The overall effect when you look at them is of an image taken through a dark amber filter. Really too bad because the images are amazing - this guy backpacked his 4x5 into an alpine wilderness area and took some incredible shots, before he learned the right way to load a film holder.

    Before he throws out these old transparencies, I am wondering if there is a way to salvage the images after digital scanning. Before I sit down with him to try to do some Photoshop magic and experimentation for hours, does anyone have any ideas?

    Thanks
    CK

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Collinsville, CT USA
    Posts
    1,887

    Re: Is a Transparency that was Exposed Backwards Salvageable?

    In Photoshop go to image>Auto Color. Slim chance of working, but a few times it has performed miracles in "rescuing" a terrible looking image. It's worth a try....

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    121

    Re: Is a Transparency that was Exposed Backwards Salvageable?

    scan them with a colour corrected backlight.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    44

    Re: Is a Transparency that was Exposed Backwards Salvageable?

    FWIW, some scanner drivers (especially Microtek i900) doesn't matter whether emulsion is down or up. The software auto corrects.

    Would certainly not trash any negatives (or scans of same) due to emulsion errors.

    I've had very dark scans from a 30k project that cleaned up nicely with the PS AutoColor, however in some instances had better results using PS Manual levels.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    263

    Re: Is a Transparency that was Exposed Backwards Salvageable?

    Some people intentionally expose film emulsion side out and call it "redscale". If an image has a meaning it may "work" just the way you see it (with heavy tint).
    At the very least you can discard the color info and see if you like them as B&W.

  6. #6

    Re: Is a Transparency that was Exposed Backwards Salvageable?

    Thanks everyone. I may have discovered a start to a fix, thanks to a Tim Grey youtube video. I found that making a layer of the scan, selecting Filter-Blur-Average, inverting that color average and then applying that color correction with appropriate level of opacity can actually get me pretty close to an original image. With some hue adjustments, etc. Not perfect, but considering these 4x5 slides were going to be thrown out, a pretty impressive resurrection. I will post some before/after images so you can see what we were/are dealing with. Thanks!

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