Film days are over…not.


Like many of us, when we fully moved into digital, followed by an inundation in processing software and techniques, I forgot I ever took a transparency, although I have numerous filing cabinets filled with pages of slides (approx. 300,000). I always felt that film was too noisy and blocked up, even during film days. But, I’ve recently had another look…

I really loved the clean sharpness achieved in Digital, but began to have the same  feeling as film producers and video producers. There is a feel with film that is more organic.  Now, I’m not returning to film shooting. Not going to happen. Besides, I’ve been there and done that. The issue with film scanning was the laboriously long process and the immense amount of dust, resulting in a LOT of cloning. I am currently having great success and fun reviving and rediscovering my transparencies through what I call, for the sake of brevity, CameraScans. It’s a made up term that is easier than constantly saying, “Using the D810 to photograph transparencies with the use of a copy stand.”

During photographing transparencies for a current book project, I went back to some of my favorites. 

Here’s my set up: Copystand (check any used equipment seller), Lightbox, D810 and 105mm Macro, Macro rail to fine tune camera height. Slides on a few chocks to elevate and backlight the transparency and to not pick up imperfections on the lightbox surface, and cable release. I use Live view for composition. Pretty basic and the files are 70mb.



Here’s a few befores afters:

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Most of the time, average processing will get the job done, depending on how good the capture is.

The final image of the Swirl had some major work done: I used Edit > transform > warp to reshape the bottom edges of the frame. I then increased contrast and saturation for more drama. Afterwards, I fine tuned the shaded and sunlit areas using selections and luminosity masks.

So, for those of us with  filing cabinets, shoe boxes, drawers, paper bags, loose slide pages….whatever your chosen method of slide/ negative storage, those images can be salvaged, scanned (photographed) with a hi res camera and simple set up, to resurrect old work, which may be much better than you remember. As I look back, some of my best work is on slides. I’m sure many of you are in the same boat. So, consider taking a winter walk down memory lane and create and reinterpret digital files from your slides.

Let me know if you have any questions.


From the Dept. of Shameless Self Promotion:

Check out our 2017 Visual Artistry Workshop series

Finishing work on my ebook, Fine Art Nature Photography, vol. 2
Please email me to be notified when available.

Our Ellis Island Photo Tours will pick up again Spring, 2017
Please email me to be placed on our notification list (and for details).

That’s about it!

Have a great Thanksgiving and be careful out there!

Thanks for taking the time,