Deteriorated Slides

Forty years ago I caught the photography bug.  I abandoned my cheap Kodak Brownie camera and bought an expensive 35mm SLR camera along with extra lenses for zooming, close ups and wide angle shots, a light meter, a flash unit and several  filters.  For about three years I toted that camera and all the accessories most everywhere I went and took thousands of shots – almost all color transparencies.  I went through several periods where I concentrated on specific types of photos – flowers, sports, people, landscapes, still life, etc.  Eventually I tired of dragging all that stuff around and went back to just taking snapshots with  a simple point and shoot camera.  A few thousand color slides went into boxes and were pretty much forgotten.

Last year I found an inexpensive 35mm slide to digital scanner at CompUSA and decided it would be a fun project to find those old slides and digitize them.  So I did it.  It was fast and easy – and in a short time I had them all on my PC.  The results, though, were disappointing.  The slides which had once projected bright and sharp on a screen, blown up large – had deteriorated over almost forty years.  Well, so had I – and that is disappointing too!

At first I thought that the problem was with the scanner, that the the slides were scanned at too low a resolution.  I found my old slide projector, however, and found that that was not the case.  Although the slides projected just as bright, the colors were off, and the sharpness was gone – plus every slide had multiple tiny black dots on it.  There had obviously been major chemical changes to all my wonderful ‘masterpieces’ over the years, despite the slides having been stored in boxes away from light and the elements.  So sad ……. too bad……..

Every now and then I open some of the old slides in Photoshop Elements and attempt to heal some of time’s wounds.  I haven’t been successful in restoring  to anything like their original state.  However, I’ve been able to improve some of them to the point where they’re almost acceptable.  Here are a few.  I’ll probably post others in the future.

The southern tip of Manhattan Island from the Staten Island Ferry – taken in November 1972.  The World Trade Center was still under construction.

Autumn colors in Virginia – off Interstate 95 in November 1971

Take away the electric and telephone wires and this could have been taken in 1871 instead of 1971.  This is in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Looking North from the top of the Washington Monument in August 1971.  White House between the Executive Office Bldg. (l.) and Treasury Department (r.).  Skyline of Silver Spring, Maryland at the right horizon.

Jefferson Memorial, Tidal Basin, and Potomac River looking southwest from Washington Monument in August 1971

Rio Grande River in November 1971. Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on left – El Paso, Texas on right.

Stained Glass Window in church at my kid brother’s wedding – October 1971

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