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Friday, September 29, 2006

Foto Friday: Lookout!

Thanks to the new scanner, I can post photos that just didn't scan well from prints, like this one:

Kalalau Lookout, Kauai, Sep. 1995
Kalalau Lookout, Kauai, Sep. 1995

This of course is the beautiful Kalalalalalau Lookout on the Na Pali coast of Kauai. We had to drive up there twice to get that picture. On our first try it looked a lot like this:

"Um, gosh, breathtaking," we said. We hung around for a while, hoping for the fog to clear, but it just swirled around, taunting us. I think I heard it laughing. But then the next day we went again and got an entire roll of beautiful pictures.

Which led, eleven years later, to me spending the entire flipping afternoon scanning in the damn thing, and only getting 3/4ths of the roll done! I've decided to scan only the best pictures at 4800dpi, but since nearly every shot in this roll was gorgeous, I had to scan most of them in at high resolution, which takes six minutes each. The most frustrating and time-wasting thing, though, was the failure of the scanner to detect all of the frames.

The film holder has space for twelve 35mm frames. My negatives are cut into four-frame strips, so I can only scan eight frames at a time. The scanner is supposed to detect how many frames you have in there, but often it will only find five or six of the eight frames. Then you have to fiddle with it, and move the negatives around in the holder, and curse a lot. I've read reviews for many scanners where that was a problem, so I don't think it's unique to mine. Still, grr. I found myself wondering whether it wouldn't have been better just to have the camera store do it.

I can't afford that, though, and more importantly I can't control the finished product. That certainly turned out great in this case. The print scan had little horizontal lines in the mountainside and ocean over on the left. This one does too, if you look close, but those are actually intrinsic to the mountain, and not artifacts. The greens in the print scan were also richer and darker, which gave a sort of distance to the image. It was a beautiful photo, but it was clear that it was a photo. I'm using this image as wallpaper, and now when I look at it I feel slightly dizzy. I might fall in!

(One day the wallpaper will be animated, so that the clouds move and the trees shiver in the wind. And one day that will be on your actual wall.)

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