Thursday, May 22, 2008

SST (That's Sorting, Scanning, Trashing!)

For the two weeks prior to my mother's 80th birthday much of my time was spent in removing the pictures from several of her albums, scanning those pictures and then putting them into archive albums for her. This resulted in approximately 575 scanned image files! I then selected the "best" and printed out perhaps 75 images for display at her open house. I'm very happy to say that the photo-montage was a big hit and well worth the time and effort.

With that project completed I (finally) began the task of sorting my own pictures that have been stored in three "shoeboxes" (not really, but photo storage boxes about the size of a shoebox) into chronological order. I'm trashing the out-of-focus, really bad shots, and giving away duplicates. I did get a good start on scanning some of those pictures the first part of this week but got sidetracked onto another project the latter part of the week.

On Monday and Tuesday I scanned nearly 350 images working about 12 hours total. These were all 3 1/2 x 5" pictures so I could put 5 photos on the scanner bed at once. Of course, I still scanned each one individually but the fact that there would be a series or group of pictures that had been taken at the same event helped to speed things up to where I could scan about 40-45 pictures per hour at times. I also discovered a neat feature of the scanner software that allows me to set a prefix for file names so that all the images from a group or series could automatically be given the designated prefix. Eventually I'll go back and add identifying information to each picture, once I figure out how it is done. The entire process is both fun and tedious. Yeah, right! No, really, it is! So I keep telling myself...

Of the three "shoeboxes" of pictures, half of one box has been scanned. I considered sending the pictures out for commercial scanning, particularly using the free offer at that Apple used. The thing is though, after sorting and selecting the pictures to be sent out, there were only about 300 that were of the 4x6" size, which was what was required for the free offer.

While sorting the pictures into chronological order I realized that I had only had prints made of a few of the pictures from my trip through the western states that I took after getting out of the Navy. Those pictures were slides. Prints from slides were expensive back then, compared to the cost of prints from negatives. And I didn't have a job at the time. Anyway, now I'm trying to locate a slide scanning service here in the Midwest. There are lots of places on the west coast. Some that do the scanning onsite and others that send them off to India or some other country. Really, really don't want to send them overseas. And would prefer someplace closer than California.

I've got seven 3-ring binders that each have 500 or so slides in protective pages. That's 3500+ slides, and no, not all of them will be sent out for scanning! Selecting the slides to send out is problematic. I'm trying to figure out a way to jerry-rig a light box or possibly find someone who has a slide viewer. I did scan a test slide on my HP Scanner that has slide/negative scanning built into the lid. I don't have the time or patience to scan those at the rate it took to pre-scan and scan the test slide (several minutes). The scanner added an overall bluish tint to the slide as well. I was able to adjust the image after scanning to get a usable picture, but it took a lot of time to get it close to the original.

The "other" project that I got sidetracked on this week was sorting through the four HUGE boxes of mounted and framed photos that haven't seen the light of day since they were boxed up in 1996! These are mostly photos that were taken while working on my bachelor's degree from Indiana State University. As part of each assignment we had to mount our work "professionally" for presentation to the class. Needless to say the stack of matt board (nearly 4' high) was far more impressive than the photographs themselves. The majority of the photographs were saved though and the matt board went to the recycling center today.

My plan now is to continue scanning the pictures in the shoeboxes, several hours a day, with a goal of completion by June 30th. (I'm setting a goal hoping it will keep me on track and motivated.) Devise a method for selecting the slides to be sent out for scanning; get them selected and sent out as soon as possible. And there are still all those boxes in the garage that need going through! And all those ancestral genea-documents to be scanned. And, well, lots of other things too.

What I've found while doing all this sorting, scanning, and trashing is that it is difficult to wrap my mind around the task of writing. I've stated before, I'm a slow writer, it takes time for me to put together a decent post. I guess the muse has left the building. As a result, posting has been sluggish. Most posts lately have consisted of recently scanned photographs. They don't take much thought, and are somewhat entertaining. Hopefully my few faithful readers will still be around when the muse returns and I get back to writing and, also hopefully, you will be interested in whatever it is I have to say. In the meantime, I hope y'all enjoy the pictures!

Somewhere along the Oregon coast, June 1979.


Jasia said...

Hats off to you Becky for your determination and focus. I can't imagine putting in that kind of time scanning day after day. I can do an hour with no problem but any more than that and I need the ScanFest crew to keep me motivated! LOL!

I did notice you've been posting less. (I've noticed others have been too.) I love your photos and look forward to seeing more of them. And I look forward to reading more of your writing as well.

Like you, I'm a very slow writer. I'll be shifting gears soon too, hopefully just after the Memorial Weekend. I'm going to be putting my focus on writing up one branch of my family history this summer so that means my blogging will have to take a back burner.

So much to do, so little time...

Thomas MacEntee said...


Believe it or not, try Costco. If you aren't a member try They have some amazing, and relatively cheap, photo conversion services.

Apple said...

Wow! I wish I could stay that focused. I hope you can stick with it and get it done.

I'm having a hard time writing right now - too many spring time distractions. At least you're posting something. I find when I stop for what ever reason it is very hard to get started again.


It's nice to know that I am not the only slow poke when it comes to writing. Not only am I slow but I can't have any distractions while I am writing which really slows the writing process.

I wish I was as disiplined as you are about scanning or that there were more hours in a day or that I had Samantha's nose and could twitch everybody else into a frozen state while I caught up - then again all of you would probably spend the next millenium in a frozen state!