It Can Always Be Better

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ninth Place Winner: My Genealogical Journey to Sweden


After a year of great difficulty—and healing—I'm now making my experience in Sweden public. For some it will bring joy. For others, it will cause anger. For my mother—and my children—it brought pride. On August 23, 2014, I am schedule to speak at the Swedish American Museum in Chicago, IL about the experience.

Here's the official text from the Swedish American Museum Events Calendar: Early last year, Eric received the gift of a lifetime–an all-expenses paid trip to be the first in his mother’s family since the early 1900′s to return to Sweden. All he had to do was to be himself and tolerate a Swedish television show camera crew that would follow him and nine other participants from America as they traveled and learned about Swedish culture for the popular Swedish TV show, “Allt för Sverige.” 

The grand prize for the Swedish-American who endured and persevered through the most cultural challenges  was a family reunion with lost-and-found Swedish relatives.

Join us at this genealogy session hosted by the Nordic Family Genealogy Center at the Swedish American Museum as Eric shares his experiences and genealogical adventures with us on Saturday, Aug. 23 from 10 a.m. to noon.

Cost is free for Genealogy Center members; non-member cost is $10. Reservations appreciated. You may email the Genealogy Center to RSVP or ask any questions you may have about this session or call the Museum at 773.728.8111 and leave a message for the Genealogy Center volunteer.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Photo Restoration Basics Course SALE

Photo Restoration & Retouching Foundations Class on Video!
"Basic Training" is one of the hottest fitness crazes. It's all about doing as many push-ups, sit-ups and calisthenics in short intervals. I do it and it's a grueling, but rewarding method of exercise. What about a "Basic Training" for working on your photos with a computer? Is there anything out there for absolute beginners and novices?

The Photo Restoration and Retouching Foundations video course is thing for you. Almost 4 years in the making, I use the natural environment, concise step-by-step videos and an easy-to-read workbook to help you improve and restore your photographs.

For a limited time only, I'm offering this entire course for a very low price of $99.95. That's a $50 savings. My supplies are limited and this may be your last chance. Order the Photo Restoration and Retouching Foundations video course today. Questions? Call me toll-free 1-888-446-2799 or email now.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Photographer Retoucher

My grandparents at work in a self-portrait
My grandparents at work in a self-portrait
My maternal grandfather, Frank G. Anderson, was a talented amateur photographer. One should not take that word "amateur" lightly. He also strove to keep up with trends. In the 1940's that was no easy task. There was no computer or 1-hour photo lab. Everything was done by hand in his home. His wife, my grandmother Edna, retouched and colorized his prints.

Unchanged in over 60 years, are the principles of photography. These are based in the understanding of composition, lighting and luck (which comes from consistent practice).

As demonstrated in this photo, the photographer was focused on making the photo and the retoucher was focused on making the finished photo look its best. This is the core truth of good photography. There is the artist that makes the image and there is the artist that makes the image look it's best.

Either artist—the photographer or the retoucher—can be skilled at their trade (in fact, they should have more than a novice-level understanding of both trades). However, when it comes down to doing it properly, there needs to be a respectful appreciation for the differences between the two. These differences are more clearly defined as the two artists become more experienced. Eventually, you just don't have the time to do both jobs.

This dynamic does not apply to everyone. However, when you need a plumber—and you don't have full-time plumbing experience—you should hire one.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Strong Tea, Coffee and Retouching

Make strong pictures, not bitter ones
Credit: Art Explosion
This morning I brewed a cup of de-caffinated green tea. As usual, pour boiling water into a mug with the bag. As usual, I wait about 15 minutes while it steeps, remove the bag and place it in a bowl allocated for our worm composting bin. No big deal.

However, today, after putting the bag in the bowl, I saw a tea bag floating in my mug. What? I surely removed the thing. I opened the refrigerator to check the compost bowl. Confirmed: The tea bag was there. I took other teabag out of my mug and put it next to the second teabag in the bowl. I laughed at myself, realizing I just brewed a very strong—and bitter—cup of tea. I'm glad it was was de-caffinated!

When we are working on our photos—repairing damage or making them look more beautiful—we must be careful not to make too strong a brew. It's got to be just right: Not too little and not too much. The photo must look clean—but not indistinguishable from the original. With the exception of photo illustrations, one should always be on guard to this reality.

Good photo retouching leads to strong photos. Strong photo retouching can be bitter on the eye.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

50 Photoshop Speed Techniques at the PGSA Feb. 9, 2014


PGSA meetings and conferences are always informative

Learn useful shortcuts techniques and quick fixes using Adobe Photoshop Elements 9.0 and newer at the Polish Genealogical Society of America's meeting Sunday February 9, 2014. I'll be going fast, showing all kinds of useful shortcuts for using Adobe Photoshop Elements to color correct and restore your family photographs.

The meeting starts at 2 p.m. on Sunday. It will be held at the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America and Polish National Museum building at 984 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago, IL.

This will be one of many talks sponsored by the PGSA over the years. The last time I taught for them was for my "Photo Restoration Do's and Don'ts" workshop in 2009. As always, it's a place to meet new and old faces...and have a few good laughs. I hope to see you there, as well as your support for genealogical societies such as the PGSA.

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