Analog to Digital

Toronto Island Horses Summer 1978

Toronto Island Horses – Summer 1978 (cropped)

Toronto. It is popular today to describe the old silver-based chemical processes we grew up with as “analog”. Photographer Tony Pickard in the fall 2016 issue of PhotoEd magazine wrote an article on converting and storing old analog photo materials as digital files. His article covers a professional work flow converting 35mm or larger negatives (B&W and colour) to digital files.

Why bother, you may ask? Well, digital processing and printing is much faster than the old cut and try darkroom methods of yesteryear plus the digital files are capable of using key wording so images can be found with a fast computer search.

For example, I took this shot of my family back on July 26, 1978 petting horses on Toronto Island. I used my Leica M4 and the fine grain, slow speed Ilford Pan F film, processed by me in Microphen developer cut 1:3.  Years later, I snapped each negative with a Leitz industrial 65mm lens, a Leitz Bellows II. and a Sony NEX-6 camera, creating a digital file from the 30+ years old negative. In Lightroom, I was able to “develop” the image – instantly reversing the negative to a positive image, adjust the brightness, contrast, sharpness, etc. I then add various key words to the file so the image could be found again (most dust was removed before conversion).

Left in negative sleeves, the film strips may never have been found. At the time (1978), I processed the roll and cut the negative strips, I added a date, place etc., but each negative had to be viewed to see its content. That is, after the sleeve was found…

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