I just came across this very positive and endearing article about a woman by the name of Rebecca Manson who volunteered for six months, working to save other people’s flood-damaged photos.
At first, I thought it was going to be a completely negative story. Valerie Zehl starts out the article on Pressconnects.com telling us about a horrible situation that Ann Olsen of Endwell, NY found herself in last September.
Valerie explains that, “Ann’s Castle Gardens home was inundated. Hundreds — including one-of-a-kind shots of her late mother and brother — were underwater. When she could get to them days later she tried to make ‘photo sandwiches’ with absorbent material between the wet pictures, but could do only a few of them.”
At that moment while I was reading this, I felt so bad for Anne. I really can’t imagine what that must feel like to look down at these “smelly, flood-muddied crates” and know that what’s left inside used to be all of your priceless photographs.
So you have a closet with boxes full of old prints and slides that you are dying to have scanned and neatly organized on your computer.
The problem is, you’re worried about it either costing you way too much money to send it to a scanning service, or taking too much of your precious free time to scan them yourself on a flatbed scanner.
Does this sound EXACTLY like your dilemma?
I’d like to share with you my experience back scanning photos for the first week. If you want to make scanning your own photos fit into your busy and hectic life, I think my experience here might give you an idea how much time will be involved and how many photos you can easily get through.
This is going to be the first of many monthly — if not every 2 months — reports that I am planning on publishing that will summarize my most recent progress to digitize my family’s photo collection.
Scanning, organizing, labeling, and color correcting an enormous family photo collection is a major project that I am obviously not taking lightly.
In each of these reports, the first thing I’m going to do is mention what I’ve been doing the past month or 2 to either work towards my personal goal with my collection or just to improve this website.
Next I will reveal my latest “Scanning & Editing” count that will show you exactly how far I have come with my collection from the last report.
And lastly, I will finish up with the most important things I have recently learned that I think you will benefit in hearing and possibly what I have planned for the near future.
“Hi there. Since you have and use an Epson Perfection V600 I wanted to ask you what is the optimal scan settings for scanning film negatives?
Right now I use 12800 dpi, but I have a feeling it’s overkill and all my indoor night time pictures have a lot of grain. I certainly appreciate whatever advice you have to offer.” ~ Walter Ho.
Walter, thanks for writing me. Let me see if I can help you out with this one.
I would say your gut feeling is right on — 12800 dpi is going to be overkill for negatives. Hopefully you haven’t scanned too many of them if you want to do them over.
If you’re having problems just coming up with a suitable place to safely store your family’s photo collection, just think what it would be like storing the 15 million photographs, negatives and glass plates that make up this Corbis collection!
PopPhoto recently posted this video from CBS “The Early Show” that gives us a rare look inside of Iron Mountain, a 150 acre maximum security cold storage facility (vault) 220 feet below ground in Boyers, Pennsylvania in what used to be a limestone mine. These photos that are stored in a part of this space go back to the 19th century — 150 years — covering celebrities, athletes, presidents and iconic historical moments.
Take a look at this fascinating 6 minutes of video:
I love that we have scanning services out there because I think it would be ignorant of me to assume every one of us with a collection of prints, negatives or slides, who wants a digital version of them, is willing to scan their own photos by hand.
“Excuse me ma’am. Um, but could you like, um, put those cotton gloves on? Please? Yeah. Um. No. How about the thicker ones. Over there. Yeah, those.”
So with this in mind, let me say, doing this review was a big — scratch that — huge step for me. This was the first time I have ever sent any of my family’s photos to a scanning service — or even out of my sight.
But, for me, it’s always been a hard transaction to consider — this whole idea of sending my irreplaceable photographs to a company or someone I have never met and expect everyone who handles them to care for them the same way I do.