In a few hours one recent afternoon I travelled thousands of miles and spanned decades, all from the comfort of the chair by my computer. Instead of my keyboard, which was pushed aside, another little gadget sat before me. Husband and I had talked of buying one for years but never got round to it until la few weeks ago. When it arrived I couldn’t wait to try it.
Fiddling around after lunch I couldn’t get it to work. As always for such gadgets, the instruction booklet was fairly useless, the symbols so fuzzy I hadn’t a clue what they referred to, and the English was in the usual mangled, pulled and stretched version usually found when you need clear directions.
Eventually son came to help. I offered the instruction manual but he ignored it, opting instead for trial and error pushing of buttons. It all looked very complicated although reviewers online insisted it was really easy and fast – three seconds it took, they said. Hmmm!
‘Try that,’ son said, removing the card and inserting it into a forgotten and never used slot on the side of my computer. Something was there, having made the journey from scanner to Mac. I opened it and squealed with glee. Removed card and returned it to device. Son said press that, then that.
A couple of hours later I had scanned 163 slides that have lain in boxes for decades without being looked at. In fact, I’d never viewed them properly as I never owned a slide projector and my only means of seeing these early photographic efforts was on a daylight viewer which enlarged the images marginally and allowed you to view them if you held it under a light source. 163 doesn’t seem many at the rate I take photographs now. But in those days film was fairly expensive and one spool took twenty slides. So instead of clicking with abandon, each shot was considered and only one version of it taken instead of the multiple shots I often take nowadays. Anyway now I have my treasure of 163 digitised and filed on computer, so can look at them and use them easily.
Many are rather fuzzy, some have a blue tinge with the reds faded, but all bring back memories of places, holidays and people. Considering how long ago most were taken, and the quality of the cheap cameras and lenses used then, most of the images are surprisingly good. And, irrespective of quality, they add to my circle of family recollections, reminders of days and people no longer here. With photos and memories available, I’m thinking of ways to use them. Perhaps, if relevant, I may incorporate one into the occasional blog post or in the birthday and Christmas cards, and newsletters I produce.
I could tweak colours, sharpen to make them look better, but to me there is a certain nostalgia in seeing them as they are, hazy reminders of yesteryear rather than sharp images of more recent years. A reminder of times, not so long ago, when technology amounted to one or two television channels in black and white, transistor radios were all the rage, and computers working with punched cards filled an entire room.
So the little film scanner started reasonably well. Unfortunately, although it accepts cardboard mounted slides with no problem, I have a number of boxes of plastic mounted slides that the slide carrier won’t accept. Bit of a let-down as I really want to scan these too. However husband and son said they were working on a possible solution. In the end we ordered another carrier with similar specifications from a different manufacturer and that took the plastic cased slides, though one rather than four at a time.
Slides scanned, the next project is to trawl through negatives filed within dozens of photograph wallets to see how these scan. I imagine it might be a slower process, but as it’s hardly an arduous task I can do a few when I feel like it. Then I can relive again the family as children, birthdays and days out, holidays in Orkney, the island of Mull, Scandinavia and all the other places we’ve visited.
Just as well I recently increased the memory on my computer the additional capacity is going to be needed.