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Any suggestions for working with old B&W negative?

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I have an old (probably 1960 or so) B&W negative that's not in great shape (scratches, etc.).  The photo subject is a farm boy sitting on a dirt mound in a field.  Dimensionally, this negative is about 2.75" x 3.5", so I'm guessing it's an enlargement negative someone had made from a smaller consumer format negative of that era. 


I scanned the negative to tif format, then opened it in Paint.net.  I wanted to see how the image will look as a positive, but I couldn't find a Paint.net tool specifically identified for inverting a B&W negative, so I used "Invert Colors" ("Adjustments" menu).  The resulting image was really faint.*  So I applied "Auto-Level" ("Adjustments" menu).  That darkened and made the positive image look better, particularly the image of the boy, but the image was "off" -- in particular, clouds and shadows had an orangish-tan tint.  So then I tried "Black and White" ("Adjustments" menu).  That eliminated the tint, but the positive still didn't look as good as I had hoped for -- the clouds still seem very "splotchy"-looking.  


I would really appreciate any suggestions about what I should have done differently or what other Paint.net tool(s) I still can apply to this image to get a better result.  So I resized a copy of the image and attached it below.  I hope enough detail is still visible to see the problems. 


Thanks in advance for any suggestions.  


*  Although my flatbed scanner is rated at 4800 x 4800 dpi, it does not have either a negative carrier or a light in the lid, so I'm guessing  that's at least part of the reason the image appeared so faint when inverted to positive.  

Sam on hill bw rszd.jpg

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