I recently came upon some old slides – some from Germany in the 1950’s, some from the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962, and some from random places in Europe. In this day of digital photos, it was obvious that I had to scan them so that I could store them on my computer. Fortunately, I have a Canon Photosmart printer / scanner that came with a slide scanner accessory. The first attempt scanning a slide turned out to be way to dark. And blurry. And very, very blue. I adjusted the scanner settings to lighten up the photo, but then there was very little contrast and the dust was insane. I tried leaving the lid open which produced a gray scale photo with vertical lines. I tried covering the photo with something that would reflect the light (glossy photo paper, glass, shiny stainless steel), all to no avail. I even played with the scanned photo in photoshop for about 30 minutes trying to manipulate it into a usable photo.
Then I found this post about the “other way” to scan slides – i.e. use your camera. I set up a little light box, with a “light wall”, black felt on top to block out ambient light, the slide accessory from the scanner to mask the back light, a mini-tripod and my cheap macro lens. Voila. It worked like a charm. All of the photos came out crisp, properly exposed and not to saturated.
I started collecting postcards when I was about 5 years old. My only Grandfather lived in Germany, and it was a fun way for us to correspond and have some sort of relationship. I adored the "Hilde" postcards, and he soon started sending me a different one each time he wrote. I had a special bond with my paternal Grandfather, although I only met him a few times. A few years later my adopted Grandparents in Denver started sending me postcards from their vacations, which were mostly road-trips around the USA. My collection continued to grow and eventually filled two binders. As my collection grew, my mother, who also collected postcards when she was young, started adding postcards to my binders from her collection. I had so much fun dreaming of traveling to exotic places! I would sort and re-sort the postcards by type, location, like/dislike, etc. It wasn't until I was in my 20's, when I sorted the postcards chronologically by sender, that I realized there were a few postcards from my maternal grandmother to my mother. One such postcard was sent to my mother as a teenager who was visiting family in Berlin. My Grandmother wrote and asked her to come home early because my Grandfather's illness had taken a turn for the worse. My Grandmother died a few months later of an unrelated disease, and my Grandfather several weeks after that. I also found a postcard from a ship that my paternal Grandfather sailed on to immigrate to the USA. He sent it to his parents and explains that when he got seasick, the crew told him to eat rollmops and drink beer and hot cocoa (yes, pickled herring + beer + chocolate). My current postcard collection is divided into two sets. One set is the pictures I like sorted by theme - exotic places, animals that make me smile, costumes that I dream of making. The other set is from family and pieces together our story. I still send postcards when I travel and am an active trader.
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