Saturday, October 24, 2009

Photographs and Memories – thanks, Jim Croce for the title

Rick Doyle’s recent blog post talked about his 40 years of poker playing with the same group. He showed a picture of a well-known painting of six dogs not only playing poker, but cheating at it. My memory bank stirred up and remembered this old photograph in our files. To see any of the pictures enlarged, click on the picture. It’ll take a couple of seconds. Come back by closing the window.

Three Gansneders Shown here are Suzy’s Grandfather Jack and his two brothers Fred and Frank.. Jack’s on the right, Fred’s in the middle, and Frank is on the left., The Gansneder boys immigrated to this country from Bavaria and got into the restaurant business. We doubt that any of the three were cheating at this photographed poker game. (Yes, Gansneder is Suzy’s maiden name!)

Jack was at one time the chef at the Portland Hotel, THE place to stay and dine in Portland, Oregon. His cooking skills, thankfully, have filtered on down to Suzy, and through her to our daughters and their children.

But this blog is about pictures, not about cooking. Jack’s brother Fred at one time bought a place called the Tavern & Pool, which still operates in Portland, run by the McMenamin brothers as part of their string of unique eateries in historic buildings throughout the state. Fred’s daughter Pat Johnston, took the photo of the three brothers to the Tavern & Pool to show the McMenamins that her Dad had been a previous owner. Someone with imagination took that photo and made a caricature drawing, and that caricature now hangs prominently on the wall for all to see.


The caricature even graces the menu, but the names of the brothers have been reversed.Tavern and Pool crop

This next photograph shows Suzy Looking Back into History. That’s like a memory. But what I like about the picture is how it came about. We were on a trip to Alaska, and stopped one drizzly day at Barkerville, a commercialized ghost town near  Quesnel, BC. I looked up the street from behind Suzy on her mobility scooter, and grabbed this shot.

04 Barkerville town and people 01But I was never quite happy with the story the picture showed, until I stated playing with some photo editing software. These days I use PIcasa almost exclusively, but this time I dug into Adobe Photoshop Elements first. I removed the trash barrel from in front of the steps, some other tourists from up the street, and a couple of colored pendants from the building at the far end. That gave me this picture, which I felt better about.

Contemplating the pastHowever, I didn’t stop there. I liked the dreary tone of the picture, but it didn’t tell the age of the town. Now we move to Picasa. Picasa has a wonderful little tool called “Focal B&W.” With one click the photo is converted to black and white, except for one spot in the center. With the mouse, I moved the spot directly over Suzy and her scooter. There are “sliders” that adjust the size and sharpness of the color spot. How did it turn out? See for yourself.

Looking Back into HistoryPhotographs and memories.

Sometimes the photograph has to be helped along a little to evoke the memory you want to hold on to. I have removed a fireplug from the front of a building, filled in sparse grass to show a lush lawn, and taken a lamppost from the top of the head of a young girl. No, it isn’t cheating, it isn’t faking. When the great artists paint a landscape, they don’t paint every weed and cobweb that’s actually there. Doing a portrait, they may skip over a skin blemish or a small wrinkle. They paint the impression they want to show, and we do the same with photo editing software.

What DID use cheating was this one.

These are our two daughters on a visit to Yosemite last year. They sent us two pictures, one of each of them sitting on a bench, not even on the same bench.







At the Ahwahnee






I simply picked Deb up from her bench and plopped her down next to Kathie! That one was fun!

Two girls at Yosemite 5X7 And it’s all part of … Our Life on Wheels.


  1. Hey Jerry, you are a closet techno wizard who needs to come out. Great job on the Barkerville photo & the black & white idea was great. I'm lucky if I can get a horizon straight......
    P.S. I told Rick about your peanut butter & onion habit. Na na na na nana:)

  2. Great photo of the poker players. I'm always impressed by how people can photo-shop their pics and create better shots. I haven't a clue! Haven't really tried to do it, either, though. Interesting stuff, thanks.

  3. Jerry, that's a great picture of the three brothers - and a great story to go with it. I love the bottle of whiskey on the floor! You did a nice job on photo shopping those pics two - especially the one where you put your two daughters on the same bench! Nice trick!!

  4. Sorry we didn't know about Suzy's family connection to the Portland Hotel when we were there recently. Interesting photos and caricatures!

    I definitely need to spend some time with you to learn all the tricks you use in Picasa! Love your work.

  5. So very cool to see this! I just married a Gansneder. :) Wonder if they're any relation!


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