By Dick Purinton
Archivist Steve Reis and Archives Committee member Julie Anderson met with photographer Jim Legault in early December to review a process he’s refined for digitizing slides.
The Archives currently has an estimated 4,000 slides donated by Arbutus Greenfeldt, in addition to numerous other archived slides, and it is believed many more slides may be hidden in closets and attics around the Island.
Many of these may be historically worthy, and therefore requiring conversion from the original slide-in-cardboard holder to digital format.
In order to obtain high quality images, Legault demonstrated use of his camera and stand, bellows and close-up lens to Reis and Anderson.
He uses a Canon 6D body, which can be pre-set to take three photos at one time, each varying exposure and color range. The camera itself can then electronically merge the three images into one, and that single file can be exported to a memory stick or downloaded directly to a computer with Adobe Lightroom software.
Legault’s camera stand is now in the Archives, on long-term loan, but until recently, lacked the camera with various attachments, or the proper software to manipulate, file and store images.
Steve Reiss placed an order shortly for these items, knowing that winter months hold greatest potential for available time to work with the slides. Legault also provided the Archives with a camera stand to facilitate copying existing photos.
Taking a photo of a photo may seem redundant, but the digital file of the physical photo (which itself may be in poor condition) will be longer-lasting. In the digital format, the original photo can be improved upon and restored, using modern Photoshop software.
Digital images can also be more easily stored, transferred or emailed.
Having now invested $1600 in the purchase of camera, lens and software, and confident this effort brings about opportunities to convert Island historical slides into quality, digital images, the Archives Committee is asking the public for support.
Contributions toward this project may be sent c/o Washington Island Historical Archives, PO Box 220, Washington Island, Wisconsin 54246.
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