Thursday, December 29, 2011

The memory lane of slide scanning

We have over 3000 slides accumulated from 1972 to well into the 1990's, and some 2000's. This covers the time on my mission in Germany, when I bought a small Rollei 35mm camera, through 1989, with the purchase of an SLR with zoom lenses and auto focus and exposure capabilities, and beyond. In the past we would view the slides using a slide projector, and stored the slides about 40 per cube. It was such a hassle to setup and project, so it has been a number of years since we have viewed the slides.

I finally borrowed a Nikon slide scanner, with an automated tray, so my holiday project has been to scan all the slides and convert them to digital format. It is a lengthy, tedious process but at least, with the automation, I can walk away and return an hour or so later to load the next batch of 40 slides. Other than the occasional jam, it is a marvel of technology.

One thing I am immediately struck by is how awful so many of the photos are. The Rollei was completely manual, for focus and exposure, and had a fixed lens. Focus is often bad, and exposure was hit or miss. Inside shots are habitually underexposed, and when a flash was used the lighting was harsh and cast shadows up the faces. Very unflattering.

But in spite of all these technical faults, I have been launched down memory lane, and am reveling in the past. I am struck by how cute our kids were, and what a charming little growing family we were. Suzanne and I were once young and energetic. We had such good friends and visited (and lived in) such interesting places. We moved into new homes and landscaped them, built fences, wallpapered rooms. We shoveled snow from driveways and walks, and hosted family members at holiday times. We had Christmas nativity scenes with costumed kids playing various roles through the years. We had siblings holding newborn additions to the family. There were softball teams, birthday parties, school plays, family reunions, campouts, quilts (Suzanne's handiwork), first steps, Halloween costumes, and so much more. And I'm only up to 1984!

Well, as Jimmy Stewart says in the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life". That's how I feel.

Here is a sample photo from 1983.

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