Photo Avalanche: Tackling Slides II

A Journey into the Unknown


As I diligently worked my way through a box of 600 slides I retraced a journey in time and delved into the mysteries of the unknown. Some kind soul may have previously numbered & listed them all the slides for you but if not, it may all be new. As we scan away, people, places, celebrations and the minutiae of our existence appear before us and remind of us life’s joys and sorrows. Scanning is really a labour of love as we hope to bring these memories back to life so they can be shared anew with family and friends. Now, with a second box of slides which are mostly unnumbered and unknown, I wonder if therapy may have been be easier!

1976_SL355_050 Scanning Slides in Professional Mode:

With the Epson Perfection V370 Photo Scanner use the Full Auto Mode unless you really have to. Professional Mode is much fiddlier & time consuming as you have to set the size for each slide. It won’t let you select all four and keep that size for all four as it defaults to thumb nail size after the first one. You can also lose your settings for dust removal or colour restoration. For the Kodak slides from about 1980 the use of colour restoration was not such a problem as the earlier slides so I kept my sanity & used Full Auto  Mode with colour restoration where the quality of scan was consistently good. However, if you need to individually adjust the settings & use Professional Mode here’s what I used for 35mm slides & 35mm negative film.

Screenshot Prof 2.1Place the slides or film in the holder. In ‘Original’ select positive film for slides or negative film for photo negatives. Make resolution 600dpi and click Preview.

Check how you want to save them & name them. I matched the ‘start number’ to the number in the the batch so if the batch of slides was marked June 1980 and it was slide No. 1 it was 19800600_Canberra_001 or 19800600_Canberra_23 for No. 23. This helped me keep the dates & numbers in order when I renamed the photos later. Click Ok.

Click Configuration if you want Auto Photo Orientation. I did but it didn’t always work out right. It works best for scenery photos with an obvious sky. Click Ok.

The preview size always scans as ‘original’ so you have to always change the size. I used 10 x 15cm & usually got a file size around 1MB. Remember, bigger is slower.

The Preview kept the name but lost the colour & dust adjustment settings so they needed to be entered at this point. Orientation was fine. After a while you get to know before you actually scan if it needs colour restoration or not. You can see the difference by ticking or unticking the box. It just takes practise.

Select each or all scans and repeat these checks for each slide.

Click ‘Scan’ and repeat for as long as you can stand. Unfortunately, you can’t easily walk away & do something else in Professional Mode & you can’t hurry the process.

It all seems so straight forward and obvious now but it was extremely frustrating for myself & others on whirlpool who couldn’t get the option to change the Target Size or get more than thumbnails for more than the first slide. Epson suggested I (1) reinstall the software and (2) click preview again but it didn’t help. Actually, it wasn’t till I was scanning negative film that it dawned on my to select all 4 slides!!

I actually enjoyed experimenting with film negatives and managed to improve the quality of some of the scans from prints. The older ones printed on matt paper were the worst. Scanning film was like using an enlarger but much easier and without the mess. However, it took a long time, especially when the negatives weren’t 35mm & I had to guess where to place them on the scanner but it was worth the extra trouble for a few very special photos.

After weeks of work and gradually scanning over 1400 slides I was dismayed to once again discover the infamous blemish line on a few of my slides but decided against redoing the last few hundred. Hopefully, it won’t be too obvious in my photo book as the photos are much busier.  The first photo book turned out extremely well. My next photo book from the unknown scans has about 12 pages so far. It’s hard work editing each photo I use in Adobe Lightroom before importing it into iphoto as the scans still show up plenty of  marks & blemishes and these take time to cover up. After all those scans I deserved a break over Easter but I’m very glad I persevered and know my hard work will be appreciated.


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