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My walks in Stockholm:
old and new photographs


Contents:


Introduction, old and new photograph:

This is something I have thought about over many years. Use old photographs from Stockholm and take new photographs from the same place and angle to compare them.

This is a multi step process:

  1. Find old photographs that I can use
  2. Find information about the places
  3. Find where the photographer has stood, drawing sightlines on maps and triangular the place
  4. Take some test photos to find exact place and lens field of width
  5. Take new high resolution photos and fine adjust the position
  6. Transform the new photo's perspective to fit the old photo

Step 1:
I found most of the old photographs at Digitalt museum. They are of very high resolution, below each old photography on my page there is a link to the source of the image. Click on the photo on that page and then zoom in to see the details.

I have processed the old photographs to give them more contrast to make it easier for you to see the details.

Step 2:
Where I can find information about the places I have added a link. Most links I have added are from Wikipedia, in some cases you can find an English version. If there is no English version you can use Google translator or similar service. There are more information in the Swedish language.

Step 3:
To find the place where the old photography has been taken can be difficult, especially when there is a drawing that often can have a strange perspective. You can use the maps from Stockholmskällan when you want to compare old and new maps of Stockholm. It has the function that you can compare maps from different years. It's only one map that cover the areas outside Stockholm City, the map from 1934. Very common there are buildings today that blocks the view.

I use satellite / aerial photography and draw sight lines on them to triangular the place where the photographer has stood.

Step 4:
I start with taken photos of the places with my smartphone and from that estimate the correct position. I also get information of the field of width the camera had on the old photography. Cameras in the 19th century used glass plates, most common formats were 10x15, 13x18, 18x24 and 24x30 cm. Aspect ratios from 1:1 to 2:3. Nowadays 24x36 mm sensors in a full frame camera has 2:3 in aspect ratio. The most common lens must have been a normal lens, wide angle lenses was difficult to manufacture at that time. In this case a focal length of 150 mm to 250 mm depended of the size of the glass plate. I have a full frame camera and a normal lens to that camera is a 50 mm lens. In some case I need a shorter focal length to cover the more square format from the old glass plates.

Step 5:
With the above information I bring my DSLR camera with me and take a new photography (many) over the object. Hopefully I cover the correct position at least on one of the photographs. When looking at the old photographs you can see that the photographer or painter in many cases have been placed a couples of meters above the ground level, because you see the people from above. In some cases I have to redo the photo three times until I'm satisfied.

Step 6:
When back at home with the new photographs I need to align them and crop to fit the old photography. I normally do this in the free software GIMP, but there are others you can use too.

The first place I have chosen to do this project on is the island Riddarholmen in Stockholm and the old photographs are from the 19th century.

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