Long Ago

Even though we are (sort of) diligently packing our belongings so we can sell the home and move, I’m still scanning photographic negatives.

I recently found some photographs that were made in the late 1980s when I and my (not yet) wife traveled to her parents’ home so we could “ask” about getting married. We were both nearly 30 years old, so “ask” is in quotes.

I remember us asking her father if he would like to come to a wedding. He looked down at his feet, smiled, laughed and said, “Of Course”.

We look young in those old images.

I think my wife still looks young.

I won’t comment about how I look. 🙂


I continue to scan the images and, so far, I’m well over 17TB (that’s 17,000 gigabytes) of images. I have duplicated each disk and keep one set at my mother in law’s home.

The images I’m seeing are grouped into two sets. The first set are the images made before I was born, and the second set were those images made after I was born. I can further divide the second set into two categories. Category one is the ones where I was not there when the images were captured, and category two are the ones where I am part of the image.

The first set provides questions that I can often answer by consulting my grandmother’s extensive diary collection. However, this breaks down for the pictures before my grandparents were married in 1915. All is not lost for these images. Sometimes I get lucky with the pre 1915 images. Often my grandparents visited the same places and visited with the same people. If I can recognize the landmarks and/or faces in the old and new images, I can use her diaries to deduce information about the older images. It’s quite a bit of detective work.

The second set of images, especially those in category two, bring back memories. The memories are not always clear though and the clarity of the memory seems to have nothing to do with the importance of the event that was captured on film.

Pictures of my future wife asleep on the couch at her home, “ET” (evil twin) and Pest (my cat) napping on a couch at my home, or one of my fiancée (so far, I have found only two pictures of her) helping a young kid don a life jacket at a lake. I remember these things with what I think is astonishing clarity, yet they were hardly important events.

Pictures of my master’s degree hooding ceremony, a picture me standing in front of a jet after its successful test flight with the new avionics equipment I helped design, a picture of me at my first day at work for the phone company, my wife and I at our wedding rehearsal dinner. These events are probably (or should be) far more important than those in the first list, yet the memories of these events are faded and indistinct….like ghosts…and it takes me a few minutes of looking at the images to clear up the memory.

Sometimes my remembering insignificant events, while not remembering important events, makes me wonder about myself, but, I guess, as they say, “It is what it is”.


I’m still scanning photographic negatives and transparencies (slides). 7,564 very high resolution images, that are using 12.3TB (12,300 gigabytes) of disk space.

I just scanned this image, from an Ektachrome slide made in in early March, 1993.

In this picture Pooh was 4 years old. Anytime my wife would get her banjo out out to play, he would curl up in the case and “listen” to the music.

A Big Sigh

Last night our dog, a 13 year old Yellow Labrador Retriever, was restless. All last night she was growling and barking and pacing and I couldn’t figure out why. Several times I got up to look around and never saw anything amiss, so I’d just go back to sleep.

About 2am, I heard her moving around in the office where I have set up the equipment to scan all of the film and slides, and I got up to shoo her out of room so I could close the door to “keep her out of things”.

This morning, I went to get the last slide mailer (containing 20 slides) from the large box that, at one time, held over 300 mailer boxes.

The small yellow box wasn’t there.

I remembered the dog being in that room last night, so I started looking around for evidence of a chewed up yellow box and…there it was…in the grass….in the back yard….all soaked….by the lawn sprinklers…that I just fixed….

The cardboard top was chewed off, but the slides, nestled in the plastic part of the box, were not chewed.

I cleaned the slides and cardboard mounts in distilled water and used “canned air” to blow the water off of the film. Now the slides are sandwiched between two pieces of blotter paper with a book atop them so that, hopefully, the slide mounts won’t curl or come apart as they dry. If the mounts have problems, I’ll get some plastic mounts and remount the slides.

……dogs……sigh…. 🙂

Update I decided to scan the images after the cardboard mounts were dry enough to not drip water, but not so dry as to have the cardboard mounts mounts curl or do other weird things.

I was successful. All the scanned images look just fine and the slides are now back between the weighted down blotter paper. I won’t put them into archival storage until they have thoroughly dried for a couple of weeks.

Another Gem, 1994

I just got around to scanning the photographic negatives of my late summer 1994 work trip to the Grand Canyon.

I was given the assignment of checking the below the rim coverage of the proposed cellular telephone site that would be located at the Grand Canyon.

Because walking would take too long, I was ferried around the Grand Canyon in a helicopter and because of the rides, I was able to take pictures from some unusual vantage points.

The 7 minute helicopter ride between Cottonwood Camp and Phantom Ranch “kind of messed me up” for a long time.  The next few times I walked that part of the trail, I kept having to remind myself that “it’s not going to be 7 minutes”.  🙂

Anyway, here is my favorite photo from that work trip.  That is the Silver Bridge as viewed from a helicopter flying from Phantom Ranch to Tipoff.


The photo was taken with a disposable camera that takes panoramic views.

Who Are They?

As I type this, the scanner is busy scanning a 4 inch by 5 inch black and white film negative that has been in a manila envelope for (probably) “forever”.  At its maximum capability, which is where it’s set, the scanner will take about 10 minutes to scan this image.

For now I’m having to make do with a preview, which does not present the image in any more detail than just enough to be able to get an idea of the image’s contents and adjust the scan area.

The negative is in amazing shape.  There are no scratches, no dust and no signs of any degradation.


I have seen other pictures of my mother at age 3, where she had a similar hair style and bow as the child in the picture, so I think she is my mother.  If that is indeed my mother and the pictures were taken around the same time, then this picture was taken in 1920 or 1921.


But who are the others? I don’t know.  Maybe, as I scan them, the other 20 or 30 negatives in the envelope will offer some clues.

Ahh, the scanner has finished.  Wow.  The RAW file size is in excess of 6 gigabytes.  I can’t post something so large here, so I will reduce it to something more reasonable.

The lady’s head is missing on the negative, so that “wasn’t my fault”.  And, after trying to bring out the detail in the shadow on the left side, I discovered it was just a hedge and I thought that extra detail was distracting. So, I “put things back as they were”.


In deference to those folks who have “broadband” internet access speeds that are closer to dialup speeds, I try to keep the image sizes small.  For this one, however, I will make it a bit larger.  I think those in the image deserve some extra space.



I was just thinking before I hit “publish”.  If the older ladies are in their 60s and this was in fact taken in the early 1920s, then they were alive during the US Civil War.  Yet one more “wow”.



Window To The Past


Awhile back, I wrote about my desire to scan the old Kodachrome slides and other photographs that my parents and grandparents made throughout their lives.

After looking through thousands of images, I have started the scanning process, however I’m still experimenting with the image “post processing”.  I have figured out how to compensate for under exposed images, like this one, but I’m still learning how to “remove” scratches from the scanned images.


From the writing on the Kodak envelope, this is a picture of my older brother on his 4th birthday and it was taken at my parents’ military quarters in Quantico, Virginia.

This was 2-1/2 years before I was born.