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Going through old photos after Dad-in-law passed. Thoughts & asking suggestions.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Vernon t, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. So many threads have discussed backing up data/photos for the inevitable HD failure and concomitant loss of irreplaceable photos.

    I've spent the last couple of months with my wife reviewing and digitizing photos that are 70 to 90 years old.

    I don't mean to sound morose but........
    .......do any of you think about how your priceless photos of today will be available to your ancestors many years from now.

    Gone will be the days of finding grand-paws old photo-filled cigar boxes in the back of the closet as we've done in my household of late.

    And, I sing the praises of those insightful persons, long departed, who wrote the year and NAMES:biggrin: on the back of photos from ~1910 to 1930 that I've been going through.

    As a start, a couple of years ago, I got together with my mom and scanned about 800 photos and named them something like oma.elanora.boeck.1907.jpg.
    At a family reunion I passed out about 30 CDs with all the shots(of course raising the "CDs good for how long" question.

    Anybody gone beyond the thought of how you would recover your photos. How will your great-grandkids recover your photos????

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2008
  2. RadarPing


    Feb 14, 2007
    Conroe, Texas
    I agree with you 100%. I just had this same conversation with my father last month. Dad used to be a part time wedding photographer back in the late 50's and early 60's. He used to have his own dark room where he would develop and do his own PP by dodging and burning with light. He literally has thousands of photos stuck away in boxes. He asked me if I wanted to go through them and see if there were any that I want to keep.

    I suggested to him that since he is retired and has the time why not scan them and share them with everyone. He loved the idea. I bought him a Canon 8800 flat bed scanner and he has been going to town scanning the pix and negatives. He has even been adding key words to the EXIF output.

    I mentioned that he should share them with us instead of us finding a portable hard drive in a cigar box 20 years from now.:rolleyes: 

    I will say that he gives me a hard time with the digital camera era. He shakes his head when I show him the things that can be changed or corrected in the camera before any PP is applied.

    He recently found out that he can buy software that will record his old reel to reel tapes, 33's and 45's to mp3... but that's another story:biggrin:
  3. not morose at all
    i think of this subject quite often
    i'll be very anxious to follow along with this thread
  4. A VERY valuable question. Between 1997 and 2005 I was executor of the estates for two of my mother's siblings. One had a photo album with minimal annotations and a zip lock bag filled with images from the 1920's & 30's. Many have no identification and I had to take guesses; others will likely be thrown away...a tragic loss. The other one had boxes and boxes of color slides with virtually no identification, other than a shot cryptic note on the slide canister.

    There is a thread in the NX 2 forum about file naming and some heated arguments for and against file naming. I maintain that the image (and in your case the photo) should have a mnemonic identifier so that the iamge can be identified. I don't know what I would do or if I would even try to review a deceased's images of they only were identified _DSC9999.nef/.jpg. Others swear by relying completely on the DAM software.

    I don't have time to load up a special DAM package and then learn the commands just to look at the images in an orderly fashion.

    Like you, I scanned each old family image and tried my best to label the shot with a date-based name (1908-05-01-(0001).jpg) and then marked the filename on the back of the image...with a smear proof pen ink, and not a ball point which would imprint bumps through to the front. With all the shots in my files, organized by shooting date in a very long series of folders I am now using IDImager to create every name of a person who is in the images hierarchically in the label catalog. Next I will go trough every image (ugh!) and link them to the names in the label catalog. With IDImager I wll then write these in bulk to the IPTC section of the images. (Oh yes, no PDFs or BMPs! no space for that in these file types). Later on I can do the same for named events or locations and batch in the same way.

    So, every image will then have the names of the subjects and any other salient information you want INSIDE the file. For posterity I will create a small file and hard copy explaining the file structure and what each file contains along with a CD of a software program which enables any reader to view the IPTC information of every image contained on the computer.

    That's about as far as my plan goes. So far every image has a date/sequence-based file name and I've finished entering the manes of all the people (I hope!) in the images.
  5. A thought.

    Flatbed scanners are fine but.....
    .....I've been traveling to relative's homes far away. No flatbed scanner in the luggage.

    Any half decent Nikkor that can focus to within a couple of feet can serve pretty darn well as a makeshift copy-lens.
    Any Nikon flash can serve very well as a copy-stand light source.

    My foolproof instant setup for the impromptu photo-digitizing at old Aunt Clyde or Uncle Cleo's house.
    Toss an old photo on the floor. Shoot straight down at f8 or so. Bounce the flash (pointed horizontally) off a white wall (every old aunt and uncle lives in white walled homes).

    My lowly 24-120 at f8 can capture the grain detail of any old photo at f8 and the zoom range is perfect for shifting from antique wallet-sized shots to their old 8x10 wedding shots.
    With the bounced flash you can, quite often, even evade glossy reflections even if you do not take the prints out of the ubiquitous sticky-clear-sheet photo albums that every 70 year old relative put their photos in from 1968 to present.
  7. Thanks Rich.

    Albert Einstein, my life's hero said "Everything should be made as simple as possible but not simpler".

    If geeks like me on photo boards find if argue-worthy it's not sufficiently simple.

    In 1908 a pencil was as simple as one could be and, a century later, I'm profoundly grateful.

    In 2008 uncle.hossenpfeffer.and.mistress.jpg or aunt-edith.flashing-for-beads.mardi-gras.2001.jpg
    I suspect embedding meta-data is vastly better. I wholeheartedly agree.

    My great-grandkids will bypass 2008.08.16.D3.14-24.00037564.jpg and head straight to aunt-edith.flashing-for-beads.mardi-gras.2001.jpg

    With all due respect for the NX2 community....they are wrong.:biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:
  8. I know you're teasing but it had nothing to do with NX 2 really. Actually I pushed to get a separate NX forum, but I still change my file names as I import them into the computer.

    I think I understand the point of view "You spend all this time and money programming a package to do the searching for you, why go back to placing names on files?" Of course that works in perfect world... I once worked for the IRS and was part of team which was rushing to image and index every tax claim for the past and the future...using 12" laser disks. :eek:  Fortunately someone asked what happened when CD's came along? :Shocked: Some things never change.

  9. Exactly, you touch the essence of my concern.

    We have no idea what the future holds.
    I'd love to think my great-grand kids look at my photos much as I look back to the shots of my great grandparents.

    .....external hard drives???

    I suspect my grandkids will perceive a USB port in much the same way that you and I perceive 8mm color-positive movie film......as an ancient best-forgotten vestige.

    Perhaps the wisest thing I can do tomorrow is to go to Costco.....print a few hundred snaps, write the peoples names on the back with a #2 pencil, place them in my grandfather's old cigar box, put it somewhere and forget it for the remainder of my days.:wink:
  10. External hard drives. The interface/container is a non issue; there will always be a five year or so technology overlap. For example IDE-SATA. Hower you need triple redundancy...seriously, but the cost of drives is also a non-issue
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