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The Artist: 1946

The Artist: 1946

My brother, age 9, working with a set of color pencils at our grandfather's house in Calpella, California. Four days later, he was in the hospital in nearby Ukiah having an emergency appendectomy, while 95 miles to the south in Marin County I was in another hospital being born. As our hometown paper headlined the item, "Plenty Excitement." My sister took the photo with a box Brownie. Scanned from the original "116" 2½ x 4¼ negative. View full size.

Mongol pencil set

Eberhard Faber's Mongol brand made this set of pencils that one could "paint with pencils". Sketch first then go over the lines with a brush dipped in water and the lines blend/ disappear. For touchups dip the brush in water then touch the tip of the pencil to pick up some color and apply. This lucky boy has the big set with all the colors.

Nicely done, young lady

Considering that your sister is either a little younger or older than 9 years of age, I think that she did a fine job of holding a box camera with a shutter speed of 1/30th of a second steady enough to produce this fine image.

[I was just talking with my sister the other day about this (she was 11 when she took it) and practically all of her other photos being rock-steady, as opposed to so many snapshots of the period, including some friends' old family photos I've scanned for them. She said she learned early on to gently squeeze the button, or in the case of Box Brownies, slowly slide the shutter release lever. Most people had the tendency to do a quick jab. -tterrace]

Scanning 116-format negatives, Part III

Thanks for your answer, tterrace. I have the same Epson scanner. But even when using the 8x10 mask directly on the flatbed and telling the software that I'm scanning an 8x10 negative (so it refocuses on the glass), the results still aren't as sharp as with my home-made film holder. Also, I usually get Newton rings when scanning on the glass, even when the less-smooth emulsion side is face down.

Anyway, I've long ago scanned all 1,200 of those 116-format negatives, plus many more negatives and slides in 4x5, 6x6, 6x7, 35mm, and 110 formats. All together, nearly 10,000 family photos and documents going back to the 1830s. I have preserved and restored many interesting photos, though relatively few of professional quality like the ones you post. Maybe I'll submit some pictures someday.

Scanning 116-format negatives, Part II

Brett, contrary to your experience, I found that negatives placed directly on the flatbed glass aren't in sharp focus -- and the only way to adjust focus on a flatbed scanner is to vary the negative's distance from the glass. Also, very old negatives rarely lay flat. Flattening them with another piece of glass causes Newton rings. I tried making cardboard holders at first, but they were imprecise and even more fragile than my improvised wooden holder. I had about 1,200 of those 116-format negatives to scan, so I needed something that would last and would position the negative properly with minimum fuss.

Regarding 35mm, flatbed scans are good enough for enlargements up to about 5x (e.g., a 5x7-inch print). My Nikon film scanner does a much better job, and more recently I've been duping them with an APS-C DSLR, 40mm macro lens, and Nikon ES-1 or ES-2 slide/negative holder.

[I use an Epson Perfection V700 Photo, which has two lenses, one of which is focused on the surface of the glass in order to scan 8x10 sheet film or glass plates. I've done that for older odd-sized negatives, but for 116 I generally use the 4x5 holder and a jury-rigged method for holding down the unsecured edge. Since the focus of the lenses in old box cameras falls off around the edges anyway, it gives acceptable results. -tterrace]

Scanning 116

Scanning 116 (or any other oddball format) works fine on a flatbed scanner. You don't actually need a holder, either just put it flat on the plate, or make a cardboard mask.

I was surprised how well flatbed scanners work, even 35mm is generally as good as with a dedicated home scanner. Rotary scanning is better than either but flatbed is good enough.

(tterrance - I use an Epson Perfection 4990, and it has been perfectly satisfactory for this purpose - and I am pretty picky about it. I originally just got it for 120 and 4x5 (and the oddball types like 116) and had a perfectly good Nikon Coolscan (I forget the number) I don't use 35mm much any more but I threw some old slides in the Epson after I saw how well it did on 120. Aside from a professional drum scanner (which is better if the operator knows what they are doing, but much easier to screw up) I haven't gotten anything better no matter what the method. )

Scanning 116-format negatives, Part I

How do you scan those 116-format negatives? Years ago, I inherited more than 1,000 of them from a deceased grandmother. Their odd size (2.5 x 4.25 inches) was too large for the standard 120-format negative holders that come with most scanners. I built my own holder by cutting and glueing the wooden sticks that come with frozen corn dogs (similar to popsicle sticks). It was crude and fragile, but it held the negatives flat enough to copy on my flatbed scanner. I copied all of them, dating from about 1914 to the 1960s. Can you share with us how you solved this problem?

Hometown newspapers

Small town newspapers seem about as close as you could get to Facebook at the time.

Snippets in scrapbooks from my grandparents' time document visits of family members from afar, sickness and recovery, and poems my grandmother submitted for publication. Tantalizing little windows into life in a different time.

All on cheap newsprint, usually used quickly for "other purposes" and disposed of. Mostly all lost now.

All in all,

I'd rather be in utero than in ukiah.

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