35mm Slide Scanning

| June 4, 2018

After staring at a closet of 25,000+ 35mm color slides, I finally got around to having 1,000 of them digitized.  It only took me about 3 years to cull them down, organize them and send them off, but it is great to have all of these old images in modern format.  Part of the project was that I wanted the images digitized, part of it was that I wanted the closet space back, and part of it was I wanted to save them before they faded too much.  I guess the next step is to throw out all of the originals, gasp, which will physically only take a few minutes, but might be delayed for another 3 years for sentimental reasons.  I’ve got to say, I’m glad I don’t have to deal with rolls of film, developing or sorting slides anymore – it is not missed.

Inside a tent which is being collapsed by the wind. Iceland 2006

For the scanning, I went with an on-line outfit named Scan Cafe who had a budget option for bulk rates of 500, 1,000, 1,500, etc. images.  The process took about three months and they don’t allow you to reject any of the images, give them individual names or do anything fancy, but it did get the price down to $.30 per image and the scanned quality is good, or at least as good as the original image.

The original Talon three point rock hook, which was later bought by Black Diamond. 1996ish

For a while, I owned a nice Nikon F2 camera with a good lens, but later on I went through a series of smaller Point & Chutes (mostly Yashica T4’s) which were a good balance of portability, price and quality.  They all met untimely deaths getting dropped, lost or waterlogged, but for $250ish a piece, it wasn’t the end of the world and they could easily be carried in a pocket and operated with one hand.  The quality wasn’t anywhere near as good as the Nikon, so I didn’t have high expectations for the scanned images to be any better.

Climbing “Sunkist” on El Cap, Yosemite Valley 1998

My first experience with a digital camera was on our 1999 trip to Shishapangma, Tibet, where we were given one by MountainZone.com in return for sending back photos as we went.  It was a Kodak which weighed about 4 pounds, had a battery life of roughly a day, shot incredibly low resolution photos and had a shutter lag time of 2 seconds.  The shutter sound was a barking dog, which was cute at first, but ultimately very annoying. It was not that confidence inspiring and I think I shot 35mm film for the next couple of years while slowly fading in digital imagery as well.

Ptor Spricenieks circa 2000 in the Wasatch Mountains.  What a punk!

The images I had scanned date from about 1985 through 2003 and cover a bit of everything – college, design work, early climbing, skiing and Black Diamond, plus lots of other stuff.  I’ll be posting them as time and interest allows.

Ben Ditto and A-Mac on the Southern Patagonia Ice Cap.  2005

Coming back with Skip Novak after crossing the Drake Passage in a small sailboat with Force 10 winds. Yeah haa! Doug Stoup in the background checking out Cape Horn. 2003ish.

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Category: Random, Trip Reports

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber and Mountain Unicycle rider. He and Polly Samuels McLean are the parents of two very loud little girls.

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