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Thread: Treasure find

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    Senior Member atanabe's Avatar
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    Treasure find

    I am in the process of moving and with moving, out come the old boxes that have not seen the light of day for many a year. Some of these boxes hold old Kodachromes some dated 1955 which are a little faded and show photos of my grandfather and the scenes of Hawaii when you could still see the beach. Other treasures were black and white photos from the 1900's of my wife's great grand parents still in great shape. SF before the "Big One" and Yosemite via Model T. It was great going through all of these treasures including photos of myself . . . with hair!

    What will my grandkids and their offspring find lying in boxes? Hard drives? CDs, DVDs with unknown formats? Will future generations not be able to peer into our past world recorded on disks? How will I be able to account for the past five years on digital?
    Al Tanabe my website https://www.altanabe.com

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    Member popum's Avatar
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    Re: Treasure find

    I think you raise an important point about the future of "family photos". I've got thousands of family pics on an external hard drive and no idea what will happen to them over time... will the hardware be available to read them in 25 years... will anyone know that they are there or how to access them?


    My answer is to periodically take the best of the shots (best in the sense that best convey what was happening in the family) and have a book printed. The quality of on-line books (I use Blurb) versus the cost is unbeliveable. I make a copy for each family member and they now have a 21st century "photo album". The question now is whether they will actually hold onto them.

    Mike

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    Re: Treasure find

    The concern that Al raises is just. I have many clients that now have "holes" or gaps in their photo albums, especially the family ones. I have been encouraging folks from the start to make archival prints of the shots they want and store these or put in albums, just as they did before. It seems like the thought of taking thousands of "free" pix with a digicam has been out in front of acceptable and quality printing until recently, so folks snapped away and only now are discovering how valuable prints really are.

    As for longevity of formats and storage, I have built in my own plan to keep rolling things forward with advancing technologies. It may be many years before the formats for CD/DVDs, or hardrives are no longer accessible, but being able to read and process the files may be a bigger problem before then. Not trying to sound "doom and gloom", as I do think there will be ways for all of this to get figured out on the tech side. In the meantime, I keep urging folks to make prints just as they did, but maybe only of the real keepers, to make sure they have something.

    If you ever notice what folks are hauling out of the wreckage after a fire, or storm, or some other disaster, it ain't the computer.....but it is still the family photo album.

    LJ

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: Treasure find

    Having a "something" to hold in the hand is still a very attractive thing. My own family was pretty good at both taking pictures and collecting them into albums. On those rare occasions when I page through the dusty old things, I am always amazed and thrilled at the lives displayed in them.

    In the whole magilla of space-time, it's really not all that long that individuals other than the very high and mighty could preserve a likeness of themselves. I have one tintype of my great grandfather as a child, seated on a dock in Nova Scotia. Further back in time than that, unless there's the odd sillouette or cameo at the bottom of somone's junk drawer in either Scotland or England, there's nothing to prove the recent members of our family didn't just sprout from the ground.

    The 1940s, '50s, '60s and '70s were very productive in terms of snapshots of family and friends. They were all taken with cheap cameras that were tossed around as if they were indestructible. The pictures varied in quality, but to those of us who now have possession of them, they are priceless.

    Now there seems to be a potential gap in the family record. Too easy to email, post on the web, or just scan in the camera. And since I own some very expensive cameras and am extremely judicious about what I print, I print a lot less and I try really, really hard to avoid having those photos thought of as "snapshots".

    It's kind of a shame. I think future generations might miss the geeky look or half-caught expression on one of their ancestor's faces. It makes them human and reminds them from whence they came.

    So maybe we (I) need to find a way to bring back the snapshot.

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    Re: Treasure find

    Tim,
    Interesting perspective that you bring up, and not unlike what my father sort of practiced. He was always taking pictures, and taught me how to do it when I was 6 or something. He got into the "trap" of shooting color slides, mostly, as he loved subjecting us to those evenings with the projector and a bowl of popcorn. He had boxes and boxes of slides, most of which I am now trying to sort through. Had he continued to shoot even B/W film, as he taught me, there would be all sorts of prints in boxes now.

    I personally think that part of the "salvation" for the photo albums and the kinds of shots you talk about (snapshots, for what they are), is going to be the younger generation that does use the Internet and digital even more. I have seen a propensity for them to still want to make 4x6s of lots of stuff, as much to paste into their personal albums/diaries, or create their own collages to hang on the wall. They have the digital, and they love showing things to folks on their iPods, and other devices, but they also love having those physical albums or books to handle. In fact, I have started to transform some of my business to accommodate them. I will continue to offer high quality prints for framing, etc., but I am also now offering more photo books as package things for them to buy, and that part seems to be taking off quite nicely. Lots of the shots in those books are the ones that folks do not want as the more "formal" posed thing, but more as the true memory surrounding the event. Several clients even give me their digital images to incorporate into the books that are mostly my shots, so they have "instant albums" of some sort.

    My issue has been finding high enough quality printing that is also affordable for these things. Most of the book offerings are essentially a dry ink press, much like a xerox printing, at magazine screening levels. The colors and stuff are pretty good for some, but the paper quality and overall detail is just not there. The other option is more of the true album of actual prints stuck onto pages, but that gets much more expensive for folks. I keep looking into printing onto a lighter weight paper and assembling books myself for them, ensuring a higher quality image and totally flexible design. Still no magic bullet at this time, but things are getting closer.

    The other thing that I do purely for my own enjoyment, is to make more prints of things myself, and not just the final version for framing. I have piles and piles of cast off prints of things that I used as tests, or just for fun. Folks love coming over and just leafing through them, as if they were delving into shoeboxes of stuff. Most of those prints are of client and other stuff, so it is even more interesting at times. The one thing that I do keep seeing and realizing is that there is no substitute for holding a print in your hand....even if it is not a perfect final. I even started to make big (11x17) contact sheets of images from shoots, just as old contact sheet "proofing" was done. I make the images bigger, at 2x3 size or so, and they are so much fun to leaf through and see all the out-takes that will not ever be printed.

    It is so much easier to just store things electronically on HDs and such, but I still find ways to make lots of prints just to have around and look at, even if they are not perfect final copies. Snapshots are good things also.

    LJ

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: Treasure find

    LJ: I admire your ease with your printer. I haven't yet reached the point where printing is an everyday or common thing. I plan and plot and measure and calibrate before I even hit the "on" switch on my E3800. It's a reflection of my own approach or development that somehow every step must proceed with the utmost care.

    I kind of miss the casual aspect of snapshots and quick prints. Those old B&W curly-edged prints my folks retrieved from the drug store were far from masterpieces, but nobody looked at them with critical eyes, at least not in terms of their technical quality.

    Maybe I just need to get over myself and have at it. Or maybe in a few years someone will recognize the niche being left wide open and provide an easy down-and-dirty way to rip 36-4x6 prints and make it cheap and fast and reasonably good. I hope so.

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    Re: Treasure find

    Tim,
    Because I print so much, it is very second nature for me to prep images and sometimes just dump them into a folder for printing whenever I have a batch of things I need to get out. That does make it a lot easier. I also print with the ImagePrint RIP on my 7800, and although it lacks the automatic paper feed that I still have on my Epson 4000, I can lay things out easily, and cut them up later. I have gotten a routine down that makes it very easy to go from image to print very quickly, and because the printers stay on so much, I never have issues with clogged heads, etc. Also, the RIP really makes trying out new papers and things very easy, so I create fewer excuses for myself ;-)

    All that aside, your comment about making it easy to do the 4x6s is serious for some of the manufacturers. Canon still has that "stupid" Print button even on their 1-series cameras. I have yet to ever use it. However, folks shooting JPEGs on other cameras can quickly plug into some of the smaller printers and just let them run through whatever images you have marked. The Canon Pixma printers do this as do some of the HPs, to the point that you simply drop the camera onto a dock on the printer, and it spits things out for you. That is very simple and pretty fast. Limitations exist, such as print size is 4x6, with a few going to 5x7. Very minimal adjustments to anything, except some cropping and straightening, which is about all that is required.

    I almost bought one of these smaller printers just to crank out small prints quickly, but immediately ran into my own "wall" in that I only shoot RAW, so I still need to do the conversions and stuff. I could shoot both RAW+JPEG for this, but I just never do, so that extra step of having to convert things automatically raises all those "critical" adjustment arguments, and that alone keeps a lot of prints from ever being made. There is a point when one has to just let things go and not worry that each is a masterpiece print. At 4x6 size, nobody really cares or notices any of that, as you noted.

    Oddly enough, I have a cheap Epson R380 printer that I use for doing CD/DVD printing and paperwork stuff. I also have several boxes of Epson Premium Glossy paper in 4x6 size sitting next to the printer. I find myself tossing in a few sheets and sending stuff to it just for fun. The colors do not match my 7800, but they look acceptable for 4x6s and make the process entirely painlessly easy to do. (I never provide 4x6s to clients, and if they do ask, and I am also doing other sizes, everything gets retouched and printed on the 7800 for consistency and colors. That is my practice by choice. There are a couple of clients that do want every image in 4x6s for scrap-booking, and there I find it much easier to just upload to Wal-Mart or Costco and get cheap prints done on their printers to pick up later that day or have them sent to me for not much extra. That is actually much, much cheaper than doing my own.)

    Lots of options out there, but I still think the biggest hurdle for us photographers is dealing with what is really acceptable quality for the average viewer, but nothing close to what we want to show folks of our work. The hardest thing is for a serious photographer to just do snapshots for fun. Once you get past that, it really is O.K. for things not to be perfect every time you press "print" ;-) (For stuff going out the door to clients, etc., I do make the best efforts, as my name gets associated with those prints. For fun stuff, I really do not worry as much, and have found that even my worst snaps are still better than what most folks shoot, so it still looks fine. We are our own harshest critics. That is good, but can also be limiting for some things.)

    LJ

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    Senior Member atanabe's Avatar
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    Re: Treasure find

    LJ,
    I agree with you regarding photographers being their own worst critics. Most of the snaps that end up in most photo albums are not the "perfect" light, focus or exposure but contain that "special" moment. It could be a great expression or captured moment. I am sure if I let my wife loose with the processed images and a one touch printer i would be buried in prints.

    Al
    Al Tanabe my website https://www.altanabe.com

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