This collection presents all 35mm negatives that I have in my possession, plus some scanned photos, plus an experimental sampling of 2.5", 1/2" and wheel negatives, none of which scanned well. In fact, even the 35mm negatives did not scan as well as I would like; they all seem to be slightly out of focus and way too grainy.

I used a "Wolverine F2D 35mm Film to Digital Image Converter" to scan the negatives. The machine includes two "cartridges" (plastic frames) designed to hold slides and 35mm negatives of very specific dimensions. The latter incorporates a series of 6 square pegs that fit the sprocket holes of most 35mm Kodak negatives. The hinged frame has imbedded magnets that lock the halves together when closed over the negative, grasping the negative securely.

When the frame is slid into the viewer and buttons are pushed, the viewer focuses into the image and takes an inverted picture of the focused image, changing the negative to a positive, which it records on an SD chip plugged into the rear. To these it assigns a consecutively numbered filename, PICT0001.JPG to PICT0036.JPG (or whatever the count happens to be). When all of the negatives from the batch have been recorded, then other buttons are pushed to move the files from the SD chip across a USB cable to a folder that I have prepared on the computer.

Unfortunately, many Kodak and other 35mm negative strips do not fit the pegs, and I had lots of those. To accommodate these I used a box knife to cut off all but the far left and the far right pegs so that a 3 to 5 image negative, hooked to one peg, would lay flat within the frame.

Ideally, a batch would include all negatives cut from the original 24 or 36 image roll of film, each image on the negative pre-numbered. The photo lab would have cut the film into strips of 3 or 6 images after processing the roll. While scanning my negatives, I often discovered that some strips were missing and that strips from different rolls were mixed together so that it was anybody's guess as to which belonged together.

Many of the odd shaped negatives were slightly longer than the viewer was designed for, so for these I would scan the left side of the image and then the right side, with the idea that I could later merge the two in Photoshop to get the full image. Likewise, many were wider than the scanning area, top to bottom, so after scanning the bottom of the strip, I would very carefully adjust it within in the frame to make the top edge visible, and then run it through again. After these were moved into the computer, I would adjust the filename numbers so that the top and bottom scans would sort adjacent to each other.

As to the older 2.5" Brownie negatives and the more modern 1/2" and wheel negatives that I was unable to adequately scan on this device, I one day hope to find another film scanner that can accommodate them. Hopefully that scanner will also be able to produce a sharper image than I am getting now, in which case I will rescan all of the 35mm negatives.

The most time consuming aspect of this job was not the scanning process. It was establishing a date for each negative, hopefully down to the year and the month. When I began this task, I had no clue as to when anything had happened in my life.

Fortunately I was able to find numerous photographs stored away that had been dated by the processor, so that the year and month would be that on the picture or perhaps the preceding month. The subject matter could also often help narrow this down. The really great discoveries were the photos that somebody had labeled on the back, usually providing the exact year and month and even the day. However, for too many, there were no dates at all. If I could, I would go back in time and fire those photo labs that left off the date.

To resolve this I created a spreadsheet of my entire life (EventTimeline.xlsx). Since I happened to have on hand all 48 check registers (except for one dated 6/75-10/75) that I had written into since I got out of the Marines in 1967, I was able to put together a fairly detailed history of my expenses with emphasis on events that might put a date on a photo. I also obtained information from old calendars, old letters, old tax forms with receipts still attached, and old accounting books, etc..

The next step was to copy photos of my daughters and myself to respective folders. Then I was able to look at those pictures side by side to verify that the dates made sense. This actually did help me to adjust the years of some Christmas and birthday gatherings.

One reason I am putting all of this online is not only so that my daughters and others will be able to casually explore these photo histories in sequence, but for the possibility that they may be able to provide some dates from their own records. They may be able to help remove the "-aprx" that is appended to the leading date of certain folder names.

Dated photos without matching negatives were also scanned in for comparison purposes and because they were good and/or interesting shots. Others only for the latter reason, and/or because they were of my parents or grandparents and could quietly provide a degree of participation. These were scanned in on my Brother MFC 420CN Multifunction Printer's flatbed scanner. I can get some surprisingly good scans this way.

A high resolution color scan can still get rather grainy when enlarged, but looks good at its normal size. A black and white photo however does look good when enlarged; the detail is very nice, much better than that of an equally sized photo from the matching digitally scanned negative. I guess that is saying that the Wolverine F2D is not capturing the true resolution of the original negative.

I did try scanning various negatives of all dimensions on the flatbed scanner and inverting them to photographs in Photoshop. The results are included here and they are pretty terrible. However, if no better way turns up, one can usually determine the content and these scans might work for indexing purposes. If something were to happen to the negatives, then the scans would be all there is regarding that point in history. One will likewise notice here and there that some of the strips of color film had stuck together and transferred content to each other, which effectively did destroy them.