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A Scanner Darkly

25th June, 2018 by Daniel

Turns out you can immerse yourself in lots of tinkering on the output end of photography things. Up to know when I’ve got the scans back from a processors, I’ve just sorted of accepted them as is. I’ve farmed out the decision making. It could be done all automatically or with some human input, I don’t know. But generally I accept the images and only lightly change them before I send them on out into the world.

Doing your own scanning is not like that.

eos roll 4 07

So my process is this. I don’t know whether this is the best way or not but it quickly became my workflow.

  1. Open up GIMP, File->Capture to fire up the scanner.
  2. Load up the negatives, set it to TPU – Black & White, 3200dpi
  3. Scan
  4. Repeat step 2 until you’ve done the roll.
  5. Crop the image in the scan file
  6. Set the levels to taste.
  7. Repeat 5/6 until you’ve done all the images.

Possibly the proper software might do the cropping for me and that would be quicker. There’s not much control on the exposure at scan time either so potentially I could be saving lots of time here.

There was one image I was struggling to get right
_18 EOS5 roll 4

I was unable to get the detail in the sky whilst also brightening the field. Which leads you into doing layer masks… which is quite the rabbit hole. I was going to do an early bath for the kids but ended up losing track of time….

Laptop wise- you know what? I think I’m OK. I still find my Lenovo a little too big, but at the same time you get a good sized screen for that. The MacBook Air is a great size and can do the job, but it is noticeably slower than my Lenovo which surprised me!

I’m also learning that despite my efforts, I’ve found it tricky to keep on top of everything being organised properly. I’ve ended up misnumbering rolls having gone for a camera-roll# system rather than a unique number for each roll (I’ll probably end up doing both for a while). Sending off larger batches of films makes it trickier to reconcile what camera was which roll. Yes yes, use less cameras? At least with home processing I can only do two at a time so it ought to be easier. Trying to keep notes of what was on each film before its processed should help a bit.

I’ve started to run low on film again so I’m debating with myself what to buy a batch of next and what ISO. I’d like to go a bit lower now the sun is out so perhaps some FP4? Some stuff has come out very dark though despite being ISO400. *Shrug*

08 EOS 5 roll 1

Personally I really like this one of Florence taken at the Space Centre in Leicester. They have a mockup of an ISS module there and she always insists on dressing up in the costumes they have lying around for the whole way round. So here’s a dreamy sort of 2001: Space Odyssey image of her as a Star inside a perhaps Apollo era evoking looking ISS.

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