Monday, October 26, 2020

Slide Scan Project

It has been a long time since I posted to this blog, mostly because I haven’t gone on any trips or adventures in ages.  This has been a tough year because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.  Linda and I are both in the high-risk category, so we try hard to minimize contact with other people.

However, it has been a great chance to complete a huge photography project scanning thousands of slides dating back to 1965.  I started with 42 shoeboxes of slides that filled most of a closet, and as of today I have 3 boxes to go.  The sorting process has been time consuming and the vast majority have been discarded without being scanned.  Even the ones I decide to scan are discarded after the digital images have been created and backed up.  As of today, over 13,000 slides have been scanned, so I am sure I started with over 100,000.

This is one of those photos from 1965 taken on a cross-country trip from Connecticut in a 1962 VW van.  It shows our van in the Wawona tunnel tree in Yosemite National Park, California.

This has been a rewarding project that has brought back hundreds of memories of events and people I had totally forgotten about.  I have become reacquainted with places I visited decades ago, and it has taken me through the ups and downs of life.  I have seen old friends when they were younger and watched my son grow up.  I have photos of wonderful times spent with my wife, Linda, and have seen the changes we made when we moved from California to Idaho.

This photo was taken in 1975 of my son Brian's first fish, caught at Collins Lake in California.  I was delighted to find the slide.

I have been able to send digital photos to Brian covering his years from birth to adult.   I found nostalgic photos of my two brothers and Linda’s sister who have all passed away.   I sent dozens of photos to my camping buddies showing them on our annual trips.

For example, in 1984 Bruce Gregory, Stephen Johnson, and I got stuck in the Devil's Playground in the Mojave Desert on one of our early camping trips.  We have now been on 50 camping trips and this slide is a priceless photo from an early trip.

I have also seen my photography improve from blurry, poorly composed photos of the cross-country trip in 1965 to photos that are, uh… less blurry and poorly composed.  The scans are not done yet, but I am up to 2005 when I started shooting both digital and film photos.  It took a while to complete the conversion to digital cameras, and after this project I can use my old slides as digital photos in email, flickr, my web site, etc.

A shipyard in Treffiagat, Brittany, France taken on a trip with Linda in 1998, scanned from a slide.

Cunningham cabin in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, scanned from a slide taken in 2003.

I am very impressed with my scanner, an Epson Perfection V800 which scans 12 slides at a time and does a great job eliminating dust spots.  I use Vuescan software which has more control than the Epson software.  I think Vuescan is more user friendly than comparable Silverfast software.  Another helpful purchase was an electronic duster which has saved me from buying countless cans of canned air.  The scanner has worked perfectly through this long project.

If you have a closet full of slides that you haven’t looked at in years, I recommend scanning them.  Not only will you gain a lot of closet space, your kids won’t have to throw them out someday, and you will be rewarded with a lot of wonderful memories.  What should I do when I complete this project?  Maybe I will scan my old black and white negatives.

Please note that my photos are all copyrighted and cannot be used for any purpose without my permission, and sometimes a small fee.