I came across an interesting display at the Whitman College library today — interesting in that for a fella who feels pretty spry, it had me looking for a walker and a place to take a nap lest I collapse of old age.
A library display case presented “Time Capsule” and shared such ancient items as Slide Projector and Magnetic Tape Recorder for the awe and wonderment of the youngins at the school. These whipper-snappers had the unmitigated gaul to call them artifacts!
Wasn’t it just yesterday I was organizing family slides for Friday night showings and earning some of my first professional paychecks at KPLU-FM recording my evening jazz show on quarter-inch Ampex audio tape? I guess not.
Time rolls on ... really fast!
And as it does, I have continued my quest to digitize the Lehman family archives. Boxes and boxes and boxes of Kodachrome and Ektachrome* artifacts lie waiting for my attention. Decades of family history lovingly captured by Chuck and Marian Lehman on a succession of 35mm cameras need to be brought forward into the digital age.
It’s a chore, but so worth it.
I’m using a Nikon D850 camera, 55mm macro lens fitted with a slide copier attachment. Box by dusty box, slide tray by slide tray, I go through the images on a light table, selecting the best of the best. When I have a batch of “keepers,” I load them one at a time in the copier and shoot a high-res image of each.
I am trying to move through them by era, oldest to newest.
The really old images are small black and white prints in albums. For these, I’ve been taking the albums to the floor by a window and again shooting a high-res digital image of each selected photo.
Did I mention it’s a chore? But so worth it. A quick “slideshow” on my laptop for my folks last weekend was so much fun. They had forgotten so much of the treasures preserved in those storage boxes. Honeymoons (they took two). Air Force stations. Friends. Cars. Vacations. Hunting trips.
I’ve learned that my older sister, Deyonne, was very much the favorite child. She clearly had two or three well-photographed birthday parties every year through the 1960s. I have yet to find a single image of me having a party. I seem only to sit stoic, but utterly adorable, on the fringes of Dee’s older friends, gamely making the best of my near-orphan status. Sniff, sniff.
I forgive and press on, anxious to get into the ‘70s and ‘80s next.
Find those old images, dear readers, and set to work digitizing, or find someone to do it for you.
P.S. — The biggest frustration in going through old photos is not having dates. Remember those photos you shot yesterday will one day be the old photos for your grandkids. Have mercy on them and at least attach a year.
*Seriously? My laptop’s spellcheck does not even recognize the word Ektachrome, one of the best selling slide films in history!
(If you have questions or ideas for future columns, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org).