The Transparent Work Round - Part Three - A File With A Cake In It

on November 03, 2016

The whole point of this week's exercise is to save those images on my colour slides. Unfortunately some of them are dead...and I'm afraid I killed them through ignorance.

I kept them for years in the boxes in which they had been returned from Coburg or Nunawading, and scrabbled around whenever I put up a slide show trying to locate the picures I wanted. Finally I bit the bullet and purchased hanging slide pages that went in a file cabinet - 24 slides per page. The collection sat in the dark and cool since the 60's. But I was foolish enough to choose PVC pages and they started to sweat and stick to the films.

Had I known, I would have gotten polypropylene pages. They have gotten a far better rating from the Wilhelm Institute for long-term storage. To amend the current situation, I've ordered 100 of the new type and will be transferring transparencies to them as I digitize them. In the process I hope to clean any muck off the slides.

The cleaner of choice will be the FVE film cleaner that our shop sells. I've used it on negs and transparencies for years and as long as you do not soak things in it, it does a good job of wiping grease and dust off - cotton Q swabs are the applicator with a microfibre cloth to finish off. I have not succumbed to cowboy advice to use cheap vodka instead of the FVE cleaner - I suppose it might be more cost effective in the end but I'd rather use cheap vodka to form political opinions.

Once the images have been put onto the SD card in JPEG and RAW form I will be passing them through this computer to try to correct defects. I have to admit that my exposure work in the film era was pretty hit and miss, so there will be a big variation in results in any one division. I would ideally like to put a page of slides through Lightroom and make use of the batch processing facility to right the wrongs, but the wrongs are all over the shop...

I may have to send them through one by one with Photoshop Elements 14 and just hope that the Auto Smart Fix helps enough with several clicks to do the job. The really bad ones will need the whole treatment - contrast, haze reduction, resupply of missing tones, etc. The Agfa CT 18 slides from the 70's seem to be the worst of the lot, and if they are too far gone to recover colour I am going to run them through the Alien Skin Exposure plug-in for a sort of funky monochrome. The ones taken in rather dirty London in the 70's were fairly monochromatic to begin with...

The final touch will be perhaps the most important. I have long been puzzling how to apply some sort of label to each image to record the location, circumstances, and people. Most experiments so far were too clumsy and slow for words. Then a client of CE explained the file details and the different divisions of information that are attached automatically to each JPEG. I found a section that invited the sort of commentary that I want to make that is hidden normally but indivisibly attached to any particular file. If I fill in one of the fields I have the electronic equivalent of a lead pencil note on the back of a print. It just needs the discipline to do it.

A project for the long hot summer months if we ever see them.