The world has changed. Colleen hates change in general. So I ask her to give me her iPhone, give it up. Nope. Would I have ever imagined that Kodak film would be no more. When I traveled on vacation, I would take 40 rolls of slide film… and never shoot it all. Ha ha. Digital is pretty much free. I shoot and shoot. Thousands of images… tens of thousands.
Oh boy. Travel is so different. I am also blessed to travel with Colleen now. We do see things differently and so fresh! There are a lot of regrets that go unsaid. And I have a lot of wish I could have… Who knew I would see the changing of the guards but never again? As things turned out, I am good with that. Digital photography affords me so many more options. Travel companion – priceless!
Did it get better?
You get better with age and experience. Unfortunately, at the beginning you know squat. And the early mistakes will always follow and haunt you. My database was on index cards transferred to an Excel spreadsheet.
It is parsimonious for key words and information. You will not find slide cabinet as a key word to look up.
Equally, my slides are stored in drawers. The rolls are consecutively filed. One set of drawers resides in a closet stacked one upon another impossible to comb thru easily.
Digitized with a dedicated (out of manufacture) slide scanner, the images reside on multiple redundant hard drives. Good? Eh? No, the slides were scanned in batches on different dates and reside in multiple places. Try to find and follow consecutively, only I know how to look. Oh bother!?
But everything is preserved – except my earliest black and white negatives. They live in my brother’s house somewhere.
Meanwhile I know where my stuff is. No one else does. And it can be pretty near impossible for me to find things too.
Nothing is lost
How chaotic is your file system? Your storage system? Slides? Digital is easy. Negatives reside somewhere lost in my past. There were a lot of boxes of black and white negatives stored away somewhere.
When I started shooting slides, I began to develop my own not too long after. That was hell. Try to hold a water bath within a tenth of a degree for 30 minutes while the developing tank requires constant agitation. I bought cardboard mounts, ten thousand at a time. Heat sealed, I used our iron more than my wife.
Storage. At first it was fine. I stored box upon box in the top shelf of our bedroom closet….until space ran out. Then it was a closet – floor. Finally we build a custom cabinet. That was $$$. Hey! I was a neurosurgeon with a $$ budget. But even those drawers were eventually full. How many slides? Near to 110 thousand. Who’d think that would take so much space! I was cheap now. That last cabinet was simply too many $$.
So, I planned and built one. I had no experience building drawers. I borrowed a table saw. The kids pitched in. We built 26 drawers and a cabinet out on the deck in the NYC weather come what may.
To illustrate – I went on a search for the pictures of the project. To be sure I had not that long ago seen the pic of Jules on the deck helping. Aha! Find it?! Sure?! My organization is only as good as the information storage. I had scanned the picture/slide? Or… aha! Dammit. And this is funny. I took pictures of the new slide storage system with a digital camera. Oh! Rich! Digital to document film. We did this project in the summer of 2003. By the next summer I would be switched over 100% to digital with my purchase of the Nikon D70. Little did I know what was to come.
Meanwhile chaos again, as if you might care for my plight. The initial set of drawers was a built in. There have been a couple moves since then. 28 or so drawers sit in a closet again. Ha ha! And the cabinet I built sits in my office. 26 drawers built to last a lifetime storage of slides. It is half full of what was anticipated, the other drawers empty. Who knew the future and what would come of my slides? But, disorganized is the operative word. Operative? Ha! I still have dreams about doing surgery.
At long last 117k slides give or take….have been scanned. You may not even know what a slide is. It was a long and tedious task. I got unbearable sciatica sitting. It’s better (my sciatica)! The task was completed. I ended up with two scanners going full on. That certainly shortened my task. But it was long….!! I had scanned 28k in 2018… and about 89k this time around. Hey! It all adds up. Am I happy? It is a legacy task. Maybe someone will look through – my kids? – and scratch their heads over this motley collection one day. Oh, yes, there’s a database to track people, places, and dates. It’s a sketchy description that will leave folks wondering who some folks are. I had two sets of drawers full of slides – 32 in the first, and 14 in the second. You’re looking at one large drawer of near 4000 slides. Yeah, two of everything. Nuts. It just turned out that way. It’s all neat and put away. And, I am sitting up relaxing and staying off my sciatic nerve. We won’t be doing this again anytime soon. We? Yup! The cats and my dear wife missed me from August to December. I’m back!! … and the dishes are still in the sink waiting for me….
I have embarked on insanity. I am scanning my slide collection again. It’s a long story. And there are a lot of slides. A lot! Don’t ask. A lot! I have a “real” scanner. It’s merely a matter of time and timing. Let’s say thousands… it could take months at minimum. It’s scanning all day every day. I have them stored in drawers. I never assembled the cabinet after my last move… another hanging project. This way everything will be on a portable (multiple) hard drive. Meanwhile, I have dedicated a laptop to the task. And, slide by slide, drawer by drawer… it’s good to have an understanding wife who puts up with my obsessions. Yes, I did say – again. Don’t ask. 🙂
This is the last slide I shot. My memory is/was correct. June,2004, I bit the bullet and got my first DSLR digital, the Nikon D70. The price was finally within reach of my budget. Early digital DSLR cameras exceeded $1000 considerably. David graduated and this last shot on the last roll of film is it.
After that the rest is history. Ha ha. I went digital. It was too seductive. No more home processing. I’d stopped that a while before. (I had a neighbor – since moved – who hated the running water in my darkroom at 3AM. Gee! I wonder why?) No more need for storage space. Too funny. I’d just built a cabinet of 28 drawers with excess capacity to store future slides. I had photo paper, chemicals, and film. Slide film would remain stored in the freezer for more than a decade (till I threw it out).
Yes, it was that abrupt. I have gone through a series of camera upgrades. David taught me that the Canon Power Shot series was excellent for detail. Currently my kids primarily use their iPhone as their image maker/saver.
Yes, indeed, David graduated on this day way back then. I just now put it together that we both graduated on that day. I estimate I shot 113,600 slides since 1975. By my count I have shot more than 367,000 digital images since 2004. That would be double the number in half the time. I’ve gotten exponentially better as I honed my craft through trial and error. There are about the same proportion of “keepers” and disappointments. I have immediate feedback but am often in too much of a hurry to check immediately. I shoot frequently in a fast-moving platform (our car). I shoot the same subjects (but better, I hope). I still shoot fewer people (shy). I could never have been proficient nor shot the fish in the Red Sea without digital.
Of all the things I do/did, I’m still learning photography after graduation.