Changing Photo Displays

7 Apr

I have boxes and boxes of photos. Some are the black & whites from my childhood and others are arranged in albums. Most, however, are plastic boxes of shots separated from their negatives. They started off arranged in date order although over the years a few boxes were accidentally rearranged when I looked for a special picture for one of my sons.  In the last three boxes the photos and negatives are still in the paper envelopes from the developers. The lucky ones have identifying descriptions and dates but most do not.

As a gift for my sons and grandchildren, I started by scanning most of the albums and the black & white photos of my parents and grandparents. It is very fatiguing to sit at the computer and switch the contents of the scanner. I did hundreds of pages. I put the images on DVD’s and mailed them out with Christmas presents. I made no effort to crop, turn or enhance the images. That effort ended when I decided to switch the computer operating system to Ubuntu (Linux) rather than Windows. That switch cured a number of issues I had with the dreaded “blue screen of death” but created a serious new problem. My beloved scanner would not function with Ubuntu. Because Ubuntu is free with a world wide free support base, I spent a few days searching for drivers for that model. My research said the drivers existed but I could not locate a source. Harry’s suggestion was to buy a new computer or  photo scanner. That is always his first option and usually my last resort but I switched my research to consider the possibilities.

I selected a stand alone film and negative scanner that would allow me to review and create stills from the miles of the 8 mm movies my mother shot as I grew up as well as the slides and negatives. I spent most of January and February watching TV while I sat with a small table and 4 trays of slides and then a box of negatives and one additional box of envelopes of negatives and photos. It was boring work and the “easy chair” in the living room was no longer feeling “easy”. I kept adding more pillows in the hopes of finding a combination that was comfortable. I created 1350 images over a 2 1/2 month span. I did not attempt to do any color correction or sharpen any of the fuzzy ones nor did I touch the 8 mm movies. At best I took the time to rotate but only a 180. Making a change to 90 degrees (camera held sideways) could only be done once I transferred those images to the computer.

The old computer continued to have issues that Ubuntu identified as a failing memory chip and was replaced with a new one and Windows 8.1 operating system. I could quickly view the images and delete or rotate as needed.  Editing will need to wait although I have reinstalled Adobe Photoshop. I know it would take hours to just organize the images into groups. I view my job is to get them to the point they can be shared with everyone who wants them.

There are still years of photos yet to be scanned. Once I am ready to return to the job I will need to look for duplicates that had been scanned from the negatives. I may not worry about it. If I get everything scanned, the children can sort, group, crop and edit to their hearts content.

The best part of this effort came when I set the screen saver to photos. I selected a fast rate of change and stretched out the length of time before the system switches to sleep mode. Lastly I clicked the shuffle option. Now my screen saver is more fun to watch then the TV (okay that never takes much.) All of those images display across my screen from different decades and life adventures. Wedding photos times 4 as well as the trips with sons, granddaughters, and Harry. In between are the hundreds of flower shots. It makes me realize the organizing I really need to do and the number of rotates I missed! Unfortunately stopping the screen saver does not take me to the location of the image last displayed. I have dozens and dozens of folders with photos spread across this computer and an external back up hard drive or two. At best I will collect copies of all of the new images so I can easily burn more DVD’s before our trip west. It may be a harder job that I want to think about so I best start now. Of course as soon as I refill my coffee cup the screen saver display will start so I may just sit and watch for a while.

4 Responses to “Changing Photo Displays”

  1. Janice Clark April 7, 2015 at 2:14 PM #

    This sounds like one of the jobs I’ve taken on by default–I’ve become the caretaker of all the family photos as well as my own. My brother had at one time scanned a lot of the old stuff, but it all needs to be organized and properly identified (as much as possible). It’s a formidable task, and a bit low on my priority list at present. The collection goes all the way back to pre-Civil War tintypes.

    • compterteach April 7, 2015 at 4:28 PM #

      I have great grandparent wedding photos but most are ones I’ve taken over the last 40 years. Still too many to organize.

  2. Nancy Howard April 7, 2015 at 4:04 PM #

    I am lucky enough to have the men in my life dealing with the photographs. My husband and both brothers are very much the family photographers and archivists. I just get to watch the “slide” shows. And of course help with the narration!

    • compterteach April 7, 2015 at 4:26 PM #

      You are lucky. If Harry had his way, all old photos should be thrown out yet he enjoys coming in to see the side shows as well.

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