It’s the closest we’ll ever come to a time machine – in my lifetime anyway – and it’s sitting on my desk right now.
This past Christmas, my wife got me one of those little devices that converts negatives (you remember those, right?) into digital images. I was thrilled. What a great idea! Now I can whip through those boxes of old negatives that have been sitting in the closet for years, and who knows what treasures I’ll find?
Well, it’s now five months later and I’m still at it, and not through lack of effort either. Seems we have a lot more of those negatives than I could’ve ever imagined, in spite of the fact that most people (our family included) took far fewer pictures in the pre-digital age than we do now.
Example: Martha and I just got back from a five day trip to Jamaica, during which we took over two hundred pictures on our camera and our phones. Compare that to a trip to Jamaica we took in 1994, when we brought home two rolls of film – 48 shots. And why? Because film was expensive, AND a hassle (loading it into the camera, taking it in to have it developed, etc). But what we lacked in terms of “pictures per event” has been MORE than offset by the sheer number of events.
These days, we bust out the camera for anything. Washing the car, raking the leaves, walking the dog. Bring the camera. Going to Grandma’s for dinner, or down to the grocery store? Bring it. You never know when the next great photo op will come along. That’s our motto, and I now have the pictures to prove it.
Converting the negatives, though, is only the beginning. Deciding which pictures to keep is also a challenge. Do we really need 15 shots of the girls riding every ride at the State Fair? Probably not, but is just one or two enough? Then, of course, the “keepers” have to be run through Photoshop to remove any scratches or dust spots, and to adjust the lighting and color. And finally, they all have to be labeled and transferred to an external hard drive. Time consuming, to say the least.
I told Martha that she didn’t just give me a negative converter, she gave me a hobby – one that has now transported me to the spring of 1996 as I work my way backwards through the years. And there are many years left, too, plus loose pictures that have to be scanned (SO many Olan Mills packages), old family shots from the 70’s, the 60’s, etc. Bottom line: I’ll probably be at this until the end of the year, but I don’t mind. How can you complain about the effort involved when you find things like this….
Plus, all the shots of me with a full head of hair. Now that’s REALLY cool.