Through a Scanner Brightly – Part 4

The Writings of the Baha’i faith say: “Blessed is the spot, and the house, and the place, and the city, and the heart, and the mountain, and the refuge, and the cave, and the valley, and the land, and the sea, and the island, and the meadow where mention of God hath been made, and His praise glorified. –Bahá’u’lláh

One of the images I scanned during the past four weeks was processed in a special way. I took the photograph through a deep magenta filter. Although it was 35 mm slide film I developed the film as if it were a negative. The photographer’s term for that is cross processing. Insofar as visible light is concerned magenta and green are opposites. This is a detail of the image as it looked in the preview scan.


Similar to most of my other older images, this slide also had considerable damage in addition to fading and color degradation. The hexagons are an effect of lens flare which comes from pointing toward the light source without using a lens shade to reduce flare (it was deliberate). I configured the Vuescan program to restore fading and colors. The end result revealed colors that I had only imagined but didn’t really exist in the original photograph. This shows the first glimmerings of sunrise near Crystal Springs Lake 15 miles south of San Francisco.

Say: O friends! Drink your fill from this crystal stream that floweth through the heavenly grace of Him Who is the Lord of Names.
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh


This detailed section shows what looks very similar to a painter’s brush strokes. It is, in fact, an unchanged and unretouched part of the original photograph. I developed a technique for doing this in the camera, the darkroom, and sometimes with the aid of an optical slide copier that I built out of spare parts. It was in the mid-1970’s when digital image processing did not even exist.


O thou dear one! Impoverish thyself, that thou mayest enter the high court of riches; and humble thy body, that thou mayest drink from the river of glory, and attain to the full meaning of the poems whereof thou hadst asked.

Thus it hath been made clear that these stages depend on the vision of the wayfarer. In every city he will behold a world, in every Valley reach a spring, in every meadow hear a song. But the falcon of the mystic heaven hath many a wondrous carol of the spirit in His breast, and the Persian bird keepeth in His soul many a sweet Arab melody; yet these are hidden, and hidden shall remain.
Bahá’u’lláh, The Seven Valleys

This image felt dull to me so I had almost discarded it. Its title is Angels on a Ladder of Light.


I rescanned it last week to restore its original colors. It still needs a little work but now it’s a little closer to what I wanted to convey.


By pure serendipity I often come home with photographs that have exactly nine things in them, birds, flowers, trees or people. It’s actually just a fortuitous accident when it happens. Here is a recent photograph I took of nine birds.


Say: Through the ascendancy of God, the All-Knowing, the Incomparable, the Luminary of divine understanding hath, in this day, risen from behind the veil of the spirit, and the birds of every meadow are intoxicated with the wine of knowledge and exhilarated with the remembrance of the Friend. Well is it with them that discover and hasten unto Him!
Bahá’u’lláh, Tabernacle of Unity