musings: Attempts at scanning old negatives 📷
I don't have a film scanner at hand. Sometime in January I'm going to ditch my old Canon 600/1200 DPI goddamn slow USB 1.1 scanner (still works in #Linux
but not in any #Windows
versions after Win2K or so) and buy a modern 3000+ DPI scanner that can hopefully also do negatives (the current one does, but I think I may have lost the adapters). My only BIG worry about negative scanning is that I have negatives in slightly odd #1980s
formats (110/trippy-vision and 126/Instamatic) besides the familiar 135 / 35mm film format which every film scanner supports.
So currently, I'm trying to improvise a little bit.
I finally brought an old negative folder to Oulu. It has negatives from 1986-1992. (Another folder I already had at hand has negs from 1992-2007 or so.) It's kind of staggering to notice how few photographs I took in the film era and how easy the digital photography makes taking random pointless snapshots.
I examined some of the negatives from my 1990 trip to #Paris
. Tweeted to a friend who likes 🐢 #turtles
: "Unfortunately no prints. Can't tell if a large rock or a rock with legs & head."
...was fairly confident that the rock in question is not a ninja, however.
So I tried scanning the damn thing. According to many guides (such as this one: https://robertianhawdon.me.uk/2010/07/14/how-to-recover-photos-from-the-negatives-using-gimp/
), you scan the negative, pick the colour of the film base, fill a layer with it, set it to Overlay, invert the colour on that layer, flatten, invert the whole shebang and then adjust the levels (auto-adjust works wonders here) and curves.
Scanning the negative with just backlight on led to... unsatisfactory results. I was able to confirm it was not a rock, however.
So I tried using my DSLR instead. I made a diffusor out of paper and lit it from behind. I got much better results. However, the annoying fact is that while proper, traditional Finnish paper - our proud, finest national export - is pure and white and devoid of imperfections... but at small enough scale, internal lumpiness of the structure can be of a hindrace. So the result is a little bit lumpily lit, to say the least. I need a better neg scanner and/or a better lightbox/diffusor.
But you can see that it definitely is a damn big tortoise in the photograph! I guess I didn't wait around to see if the guy wanted to move to a more photogenic location 😆
But the coolest thing is yet to be said. I stated wondering where exactly was this photo taken, and I started looking up zoos in Wikipedia. Then I noticed that the article on Ménagerie du Jardin des plantes ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%A9nagerie_du_Jardin_des_plantes
) has a photograph of the rotunda that is "today a home for giant tortoises" - and it's actually visible on the background of my photo!
...the article also says that the zoo was founded during the French Revolution. I need to play more Assassin's Creed: Unity to see if the zoo is actually included in the game and see if there's bumping giant tortoises in there. Like the sea turtles in the beaches of Assassin's Creed IV. 😁
So, most of the prints of these photos have been lost, and many (especially the black-and-white photos) have never been enlarged to begin with. Once I get this shit properly going, I'm probably going to find out awesome shit and write a proper blog post. #parisphotography