Daily Archives: August 1, 2013

10 years, 10 months ago 10

When digital start to swoop in on us in the late nineties there was great gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands!  I even once said, :When the only way to make images is this new fangled digital stuff, I’m out!”  I figured I would be dead and gone before we had to give up film!  Guess again. Digital arrived much faster than any of us thought it would.  I remember an article in Outdoor Photographer magazine  in which a prominent writer said it would take 25 megapixels to equal the quality of 35mm film.  I’m not naming names because we all made some wrong guesses back then!  By the time digital had advanced to 12 megapixels the writing was on the wall, film was dying!  By that time I had gone to work for Nikon and was experiencing the joys of the digital age, I’ve never looked back.


I remember saying a few years ago that if Nikon (my employer at the time) had told me I was going to be their film guy, i would have respectfully said, “so long!”  I have fully and  completely embraced digital.  With the advent of 24& 36 megapixel cameras, even the view camera is obsolete (in my opinion).  [That should start some cat fights!]  Anyway I have over 25,000 color transparencies (slides) and over 10,000 B&W negatives in my files.  What can I do with them?


For all practical purposes, with the exception of irreplaceable family slides and negatives, the rest are far inferior to my Digital production of the last 10 + years.  I recently gave a company called Scan Cafe a shot at scanning a  couple of thousand slides for me and the results were pretty much o.k. The two images in this blog post are from original color slides and they translated all right, but t hey are  no match for a digital file!  So I will have the invaluable family stuff scanned, and a few black and white negatives of significance, but he rest will be, eventually, thrown in the trash!


I will soon start producing some eBooks and I plan to do a retrospective on America From 500 Feet and America From 500 Feet II which will tell the back storya nd contain what I think are the best images from both volumes.  Since the first book is only available as a used volume, I am anxious to put that project together!



So my countless slides are in many ways lost, they are a technology that is so distant that there relevance in today’s photography world is certainly limited by their technical faults.  As photographs they still tell a story and so many will be preserved, but as time marches on hopefully we get better and our work from the past is less important to us, as we tell the story better both aesthetically and technically!  The greatest joy is looking at the old images and remembering the fun you had producing them!




the pilgrim


* Both images were shot on Kodak 100Vs film pushed to 200 and that popped the grain which when reduced with noise reduction software further softens the images, one of the great issues with getting something great out of older film images.