Friday, November 29, 2013

Scanning Negatives


I finished scanning the pile of slides that I have been working on intermittently since about two years ago. Although I love seeing them again in a format easier to view, it was a lot of work getting them into a digital format. I thought that would be the end of it but when digging out the scanner box recently while cleaning out our office, I came across an attachment for the scanner to scan in negatives.

For awhile between the age of slides and I obtained my first digital camera, a space of probably over a decade, I put everything on prints. Although prints were easier to view, I found that I viewed them less often than I did the slides. The biggest reason is because they stayed in the envelopes that I got back from the developer and were never organized to weed out the bad ones.

My trip down the Grand Canyon in the spring of 2000 was the exception to the rule though because that trip meant so much to me. I carefully organized the photos and labeled the back of them as to what part of the canyon there were taken only to have the ink on the back of the photo smudge onto the one below it. I also gave away my copy of some of the prints to friends I met on the trip. The result was that I ended up with a smaller stack of ink smudged prints that I never looked at.

Finally thirteen years later, I have found the solution to my problem with the negative scanner. I am beginning the process of scanning in all the negatives so that I have digital copies of all the pictures in their pristine condition and I hope to once again arrange them and make them into some sort of album that I can once again look through easily and share with others.  Modern technology is just wonderful.

The above picture was taken early on in the trip when I hiked up this steep canyon behind camp one afternoon when we stopped fairly early. It was an extremely steep hike and I ended it on top of this large flat boulder about 100 feet below the band of cliffs that prevent people from climbing up or down the side canyons in the area. The reason I stopped short of my goal was that this boulder which probably weighed several tons shifted when I stepped on the downhill edge of it and I figured that was far enough. Any further and I might accidentally send some huge boulder bouncing down the canyon and through camp and I would be persona non grata for the rest of the trip.

7 comments:

roaring40 said...

The photos I've got from gardens I've built have lost their colours. They aren't worth the efforts to scan and store. You are lucky to get good results.

sage said...

I have a slide attachment that I can put on a camera and copy slides, but now that technology is dead and the scanner is the way to go. I have scanned a few slides from various periods of my life, but not enough.

Ed said...

Vince - The program that came with the scanner can take care of quite a bit of fading, scratches and other imperfections but it does have its limits.

Sage - I have a mountain of slides and negatives yet to do. I just try to do a little every time I'm on the computer for other reasons so it can do its thing in the background.

Leigh said...

My dad always went for slides. I think they do better justice to the original than prints. Any tips for scanning slides?

Ed said...

Leigh - There really isn't any other than the hardware and software. I bought a Canon CanoScan 8800F scanner several years back for my parents who wanted their slides scanned in. Long story short after not doing anything about it for a couple years, I volunteered to do it for them so now I have it at my home. For software I use ScanGear which I believe came with the scanner. It allows me to scan two strips of negatives at one time and then all I have to do is go through and give them a name when I save them. It also allows you to do some basic editing as they are scanned in such as removing dust, scratches and correct fading and grain. All in all it does a pretty good job on the vast majority of the slides and negatives I have scanned in.

Ed said...

Leigh - I should mention that the slide scanning attachment lets you scan four slides at once.

Leigh said...

Thanks for that Ed. For the mention of your scanner as well. Years ago I had an Epson that did a superior job at scanning everything. When it gave up the ghost I got an HP all-in-one but it couldn't scan worth a hoot. It died after only about a year and we've been printerless (and scannerless) ever since.