This weekend we drove to my cousins home in Santa Rosa, CA to go through a trunk full of stuff left by our grandmother (1902-2000). In it we found photos, letters, and misc. memorabilia going as far back as the turn of the last century. There were many letters postmarked during WW I. There is an army pennant that I'm pretty sure was from my grandfathers service in WW I ( I'll post a picture later and see if anyone can identify it). She even kept every letter I wrote to her in the 1960's when I was in the Navy.
Anyhow, there are perhaps a couple hundred very old black and white photo negatives of various sizes. It's virtually impossible to make out details by just holding them up to the light. I imagine most of them are not particularly noteworthy, but I'd like to get a better look at them before deciding what to do with them. So, my question: Do any of you know of a not too expensive viewer that would allow a good look at these negatives? This would allow me to sort them and separate out the ones worth printing.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions!!!
If you have access to a light table it may help viewing the negatives. Another way is to find a friend local who has access to a printer/scanner that attached to the computer. Something similar to a hp scanjet xpa. Or try this http://www.popphoto.com/gear/2011/07/how-to-scan-negatives-using-standard-scanne r-0
Probably the most important thing about the pre-digital photography are the negatives. Unfortunately the technology today is not ready available off the shelf to view the negatives.
What George says is correct. I use GIMP photo manager and If I can scan in a negative (some scanners will not properly scan a negative) I can then open the file in GIMP and invert it usually makes a very good positive image. If you can scan one in and send it to me in e-mail I would love to experiment.
Just as an experiment, try color scanning one of the negatives and post the scan here - I'll try inverting it with Corel Paintshop Pro X3 and post the results here.
Thanks guys! Once I get all this stuff sorted out I'll post a few "T" photos.
Any photo editing software that you currently have installed on your computer should allow you to easily turn a negative into a positive and vice versa.
Freestyle photo in Hollywood might lead you in the right direction. They are purely analog. They could lead you to someone who can scan and make prints, as well as keeping them safely archived.
Since you are in California, it should be very easy to find a photo service that uses a high resolution, back-lit scanner and provide a CD of jpegs and print positives for you.
I found this one in Turlock that will make high resolution scans of negatives and print positives:
If you prefer to have the prints struck in a darkroom, there are probably plenty of photo labs/processors in California that still offer that service.
For now, I would simply scan them on your flat bed scanner at home, open up the file in whatever photo editing software you already have in your computer, and turn them into positives.
This doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. Several years ago I bought an Epson Perfection 2400 scanner precisely because it will scan slides and negatives. I don't remember what it cost, but it was under $100. The way they churn these products that model has probably been superseded by another, but I'll bet there's still an inexpensive scanner that will do the job. You want one that includes a light source behind the transparency or negative. Quality for those images will be poor with a scanner that works only by reflective light, whether you use Gimp, Corel, or the software included with the scanner.