I currently use three cameras: an Olympus OM10 with 50 mm, 28 mm & 100 mm Zuiko lenses, an Olympus C3020 digital camera and a Nikon D80 digital SLR.
The pictures from prior to about 1999 were taken with a Praktica LTL3 with 50 mm & 135 mm lenses.
To get the pictures from the film cameras onto the website in almost all cases I used a Nikon Coolscan 3 dedicated film scanner to scan the negatives or slides. This is connected to my Risc PC.
The Coolscan is a wonderful beast which cost an arm and a leg but was well worth it. Most of the time I can produce a pretty good scan from either negatives or slides.
I do have a flatbed scanner for scanning prints but the image quality from negative or slide scans is just so much better than from print scans that I never use the flatbed for scanning photos except when I don’t have access to the negatives (as was the case for most of the old pics of me). You might like to see a comparison between scanning a print and scanning the negative.
Once I’ve got the image onto the computer I can then fiddle around with it to clean it up, to bring out part of the image or to remove or change confusing backgrounds. Stuff like that. Photographs can lie.
For the processing I use two main applications: Photodesk on the Risc PC and Photoshop Elements on the Mac. They’ve each got their plus points and usually what one can’t do the other can. Transferring files between the two is straightforward since they can be file compatible and the two computers are networked.
For prints from either of the cameras I currently use an Epson Photo 950 connected to the Mac. I print on Epson Premium Photo Glossy paper. This produces prints which, to my eyes, are indistinguishable from conventional prints. In many cases they’re better since I have more control over the process.
When the photos are taken on the film camera I just get the film developed to negatives by the processors. I never ask them to make me prints these days. I only print the ones I like.
Once I’ve decided to put pictures onto the website I reduce them in size and produce thumbnails before uploading them.
The pages of thumbnails, the large pictures and the indexes are produced by a script of my own devising. The script can run in two modes. It can either produce the pages when you ask for them or it can produce static HTML files. Either way the result at your end is the same but the static files are faster to download.
When I’m fiddling around I switch the gallery to dynamic mode then, once I’m happy with it, I get the script to produce static files.
That’s enough of that… Boring ain’t it?
12 October 2003
The old pics of me were scanned from prints some of which were of appalling quality. One of them only seems to have about eight greys in it and is so incredibly dark that the naked eye can hardly make anything out. Scanning it and playing around with the image has made it much better. I quite like restoring old photos in spare moments.