Amazingly enough, there was a time before digital cameras when we used to take actual photographs. Over the years, I took thousands of photos with my beloved Minolta SRT 101 camera. I always preferred slides, because you could project them onto a screen and see your pictures as big as life.
Recently, I noticed 10 trays of slides sitting on a shelf down in the basement, many of them nearly 40 years old. Everything is digital these days and my grandkids don’t want to sit still for an elaborate slide show, even if it is to see their mother when she was their age. Was there a way to preserve them from further deterioration and make them accessible to the next generation of viewers?
A quick trip to Amazon.com revealed several devices on the market that convert slides to digital files. After reading the reviews, I settled on the dbTech film scanner, which handles slides and those strips of negatives we used to get when our prints came back from Kodak.
The process is pretty simple. Power the scanner up using a USB cable, pop an SD card into the proper slot, then load a slide. There is a small viewing screen so you can see the slide you are about to copy. Hit Enter than Save and Presto! Your treasured slide is saved digitally, which means you can use your favorite editing program to resize the file, adjust exposure and contrast, and then save to your computer or upload to the internet.
What a flood of memories. Suddenly, I was traveling back in time to all those road trips my daughter and I took when she was young: Nova Scotia, DisneyWorld and the circus. I got to re-live my last visit with my maternal grandmother, a trip to the Formula One race at Watkins Glen in 1973, and a Club Med vacation on Eleuthera in 1978.
The scanner worked exactly as advertised. And now the whole family has a digital copy to share with each other. Sitting in the basement for decades is probably not the best way to preserve photographs, but digital files should never deteriorate. I should have done this sooner.