John Horn and the late Dewey Browning in the campfire smoke of our “old-style” sheep hunt more than 40 years ago.

John Horn and the late Dewey Browning in the campfire smoke of our “old-style” sheep hunt more than 40 years ago.

The good old days go digital

As I sit down at our new computer, it reminds me that today is the 48th anniversary of the first publication of these weekly columns in The Advocate on May 6, and elsewhere later.

As I sit down at our new computer, it reminds me that today is the 48th anniversary of the first publication of these weekly columns in The Advocate on May 6, and elsewhere later.

I have been looking a lot at hundreds images of the good old days lately, partly also as a result of the new computer.

When I first started the outdoors writing, the newspapers and many magazines printed only black and white pictures. The magazines that printed colour insisted on slides only; later reluctantly relenting about prints from quality colour print films.

In the early days of digital, many publishers insisted they’d have nothing to do with an equipment-intensive and expensive fad.

Now, most of them require being emailed digital images only, and the more megapixels the better.

The result is that I have a far larger problem than the many readers who keep on requesting suggestions about what to do with old slides, prints, negatives, etc.: I estimate I have 10,000 slides in storage and half as many black and white and colour prints and their negatives, and more pop out every time we open another obscure drawer.

For some time I have been carefully selecting 200 slides at a time and taking them to London Drugs to be converted to digital images.

The results have been excellent, but could be considered expensive (99 cents each for up to 100, down to 65 cents each for more than 100) for most people who do not have the option of recovering some of those costs by selling the images.

For more than two years my Hammacher Schlemmer Portable Stand Alone Digital Image Copier has reposed, forlorn and unused in its box, because I hadn’t noticed that at least Windows 7 was needed in our computer to read the copier’s memory card.

That deficiency was remedied a month ago when we replaced our senescent old computer and its no-longer supported Windows HP Home software with new hardware with Windows 7 and an integral memory card reader.

As soon as the new rig ceased driving me totally crazy, I gave the copier’s battery the suggested five-hour charge and got started on what has turned out from the beginning to be addictive fun for me and for others when I email them images of themselves and their outdoors adventures of yesteryear.

These copiers are essentially a specialized digital camera that photographs film images.

With this one, you load slides or negative film strips (always glossy side up) into the trays that come with the copier, slide the tray into the copier, and, when ready, press OK to take the picture within three to five seconds.

Being ready includes correcting or improving the exposure of the original image to your eye’s liking.

The images are saved on the copier’s SDHC memory card.

The one that comes with the copier is smaller than my ring fingernail and has to be inserted into a dummy adaptor to bring it up to the postage stamp size that will fit in the card reader slot.

The tiny card is said to have the capacity to store 10,000 images.

So far, mine holds only the digitized contents of three waste paper baskets of discarded film stuff: considerable storage space has already been freed up.

The copier comes with software for further and more sophisticated editing of the images.

We have installed that on the computer, but so far have not used it, probably because I have always had the professionals’ habit of taking so many pictures of the same thing that odds are there has to be one there that is perfect … to my eye anyway.

The resulting digital images of my slides and negatives are nine megapixels, above the minimum requirements of all my publishers so far, but they sometimes raise the bar.

So, to see what’s new, I went to Hammacher.com on the internet, then to Electronics and finally to Media Conversion. Obviously my copier is no longer available, replaced by “The Superior Slide and Negative to Digital Picture Converter.”

My copier was actually made by VuPoint Solutions, and I’m betting this new superior “Hammacher” is VuPoint, too.

Whatever, at $149.95, no shipping charge to Canada, I’m starting to get that “gotta have it” feeling.

Major reason for that is this new model is 14 megapixels and that should improve on the already high resolution of the digital images from my copier. There is also an accessory slide feeder offered, and I’d just like to see how that works.

Now I am worried about storage again. Just as it is difficult finding what it is I want to digitize among the binders and piles of my stored film images, it is ridiculously and frighteningly easy to lose a tiny SDHC card storing thousands of those selected and edited images.

Bob Scammell is an award-winning columnist who lives in Red Deer. He can be reached at bscam@telusplanet.net.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Suncor logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 2, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Suncor Energy and Atco working together on potential hydrogen project

Atco would construct and operate pipeline and hydrogen storage facilities

Colonial Pipeline joue un rôle de premier plan dans le transport de l’essence, du kérosène, du diésel et d’autres produits pétroliers du Texas vers la côte Est.(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Pipeline officials hope most service will be back by weekend

Colonial Pipeline delivers about 45 per cent of the fuel consumed on East Coast

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leaves after holding a press conference in Ottawa on Friday, May 7, 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Health care providers, advocates cry foul over stalled action on pharmacare

Expert panel appointed by the Liberals recommended public pharmacare system

People line up at walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine in Montreal, on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. A new Leger poll suggests Canadian confidence in COVID-19 vaccines is holding firm despite swirling confusion and concern about the safety of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Vaccine confidence in Canada holds steady despite AstraZeneca safety concerns: poll

More than eight in 10 Canadian said they are either vaccinated already or plan to be

Denis Shapovalov, of Canada, tosses the ball for a serve to Ilya Ivashka, of Belarus, during the Miami Open tennis tournament Saturday, March 27, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
Canadian Denis Shapovalov books spot in second round of Italian Open

Shapovalov to face world Stefano Travaglia, of Italy

This picture provided and painted by Bob Dylan in 2020 is called “New York Subways”. The largest collection of Bob Dylan’s artwork ever seen will go on display later this year in the U.S. “Retrospectum” spans six decades of Dylan’s art, featuring more than 120 of the artist’s paintings, drawings and sculptures. Building on the original “Retrospectum” exhibition that premiered in Shanghai, China, in 2019, the new version will include new, never-before-seen pieces and additional artworks from a brand-new series called “American Pastoral.” (Bob Dylan via AP)
Bob Dylan artwork to go on display in the U.S. this year

‘Retrospectrum’ spans six decades of Dylan’s art

FILE - Seth Rogen appears at the “Motherless Brooklyn” premiere in Los Angeles on Oct. 28, 2019. Rogen is the latest to jump into the podcast world. He’s making a series for the Stitcher podcast company where he interviews people with unusual stories to tell. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)
Actor Seth Rogen to tell stories in his own Stitcher podcast

Rogen to invite musicians, actors and comedians

Vancouver Canucks’ Nils Hoglander (36) scores on Winnipeg Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit (30) during first-period NHL action in Winnipeg on Monday May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Hoglander scores twice as Vancouver Canucks dump slumping Winnipeg Jets 3-1

Hoglander scores twice as Vancouver Canucks dump slumping Winnipeg Jets 3-1

Edmonton Oilers' Dominik Kahun (21) celebrates with teammate Connor McDavid (97) after scoring the third goal against Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen (34) during second-period NHL hockey action in Montreal, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canadiens clinch playoff spot with single point, fall to McDavid and Oilers in OT

Canadiens clinch playoff spot with single point, fall to McDavid and Oilers in OT

Rory McIlroy tees off on the fourth hole during the fourth round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament at Quail Hollow on Sunday, May 9, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
McIlroy ends 18 months without winning at Quail Hollow

McIlroy ends 18 months without winning at Quail Hollow

Canada , left to right, lead Briane Meilleur, third Val Sweeting, skip Kerri Einarson, and second Shannon Birchard discuss strategy against Sweden in a qualification game at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, May 8, 2021. Both of Canada's teams were shut out of the medals, marking the first time ever that Canada did not reach the podium at either the men's or women's worlds in the same season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Bubble Wrap: Fresh questions for Canada after medal shutout at curling worlds

Bubble Wrap: Fresh questions for Canada after medal shutout at curling worlds

Most Read