Scanning the Past - In Black and White

Film and Slide Converter

In the digital age it seemed film and slides got left behind, but this is no longer true. A film and slide scanner can salvage those forgotten images from the past and convert them easily into digital.

I bought the cheapest scanner I could find just to try it out, and I wasn't disappointed. The Innovative Technology film and slide converter is a USB connect device for PCs (unfortunately is not MAC compatible). I paid 59.99 Canadian for the bare bones model and it does everything I need, scans, displays, and saves the image to my picture files. The resolution is high too, so I get a good quality print. Enough said. The rest of this page is a photo gallery of some long lost negatives I dug up from my archives.

About the images

The year was 1974. I had recently graduated from high school and was moving back and forth from the small town I gew up in to the big city of Vancouver for my first year Arts classes at the University of British Columbia. I fancied myself an artist and a photographer even though I knew very little about either.

On the right is Bongo and Cecilea a local couple who had recently married and were happy to get a copy of this photo.

Cecilia told me she gave it to her mother as a keepsake. The photo is haunting to to me because it is the first time I've seen it since it was taken 38 years ago, and because, sadly, both have since passed away.

Me in one of my Yoko Ono moments.

I wasn't sure if I should include this as it is not technically black and white, but it is from the same time period so I did.

Below is a scene from the Pine meadows along the Cape Scott Trail on northern Vancouver Island.

The trail follows the old wagon road that early settlers built.

In stark contrast, below is a shot of the University of British Columbia campus.

The low flat building is the Student Union Building where I spent most of my time goofing off. Behind that is a development of 'high-rise' apartment buildings, and further behind is the Old Armoury building (if I remember right). Background is the cloud covered north shore mountains.

Getting 'artsy' below, a hallway and patterned curtains enclosing study cubicles in the Astro/Physics building at UBC.

Unfortunately I wasn't studying here. I was waiting for a friend.

The photo on the right is pretty self-explanatory, an emergency fire alarm box and fire hose with the sillouette of my head at the bottom.

I am really pleased with the high resolution images created with the scanner.

On the right, roof tops of buildings create a lot of zigzag lines when viewed from high above.

On the top left hand corner of the photo you can see a figure walking on the sidewalk far below.

Bare trees were always interesting subjects.

I have more of these saved for my Scanning the Past - in Color Hub.

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Comments 24 comments

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Each of these have such merit. Add terrific photographer to the many talents you possess. Oh, and scan artist.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Very nice! The bare trees are my favorites, although there is much to be said about the Yoko Ono look. :)

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hello mckbbks, Thank you. I am enjoying the discovery of long forgotten images.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

billybuc, Thank you for the nice, and the nod to Yoko Ono influence. :) The bare trees are always fascinating to me too.

Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

snakeslane; I bought my first digital camera only about 4 years ago, but before that I built up quite a library of colour slides. Like you, I bought a scanner, which I use either for printing or to display these slides on the computer. I've used it for some of my hubs, though to date most feature more recent images from the digital age.

Your article will hopefully encourage a few more people to become familiar with slide or negative scanning, because few people use dark rooms now to process negatives, or use projectors and slide viewers. It really is a shame when images from the past get stored away and never seen again. As you show so clearly, it's a great idea to bring these photos back to life in a way which can easily be shared with others. Voted up. Alun.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi Alun, Thank you. I am really enjoying discovering these old images. I have yet to go through the negatives from my parents generation. One problem I've noticed though, is the negatives are highly sensitive to dust. I need to find a way to clean them as I go. Any suggestions?

PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

These are beautiful photos from your black and white phase. I remember having a choice between buying color and bw film and 12 or 20 shots per roll. I loved the sepia toned photo of you in your Yoko Ono moment. Insightful and interesting captures of a moment in time.

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

These are very beautiful. You do have a good eye for taking a photograph. I like mckbirdbks' are a scan artist. lol

Have you tried to blow off the dust with canned air? That might work. Also use a soft natural bristle brush like a makeup brush. They are soft and won't scratch the negative.

Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

snakeslane; as far as issues with dust are concerned, I think Hyphenbird's suggestion of using air is a good one. I use a little bulb-shaped puffer made of rubber which you can just squeeze like a miniature bellows. Alternatively you could use a really soft brush, tho' you obviously have to be careful particularly with slides, not to damage them.

On my scanner I have a programme called Digital ICE which can be used to remove dust and scratches from the scanned image. I haven't used it much, and sometimes it seems to degrade the image, but it can sometimes be very effective. Maybe you have a similar facility? Otherwise, if there aren't too many specks, you can of course photoshop over them quite easily using the clone tool or smudge tool or something similar. I do this sometimes with specks of dust which are conspicuous. Alun.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Peg, Thank you. I can't believe how long it's taken me to get this far with the scanning. It is so simple. Do you have a film and slide converter? I'm sure you could do wonders with it.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi Hyphenbird, Thanks for the beautiful, and the tips on cleaning. Must get a poofer brush asap. Never thought of a make up brush, good idea too.

PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

S'lane. No I don't have a film and slide converter but pleASE don't mention it to Jim or he will want to get one. So many toys, so little time. I'm running out of electric sockets to plug in the gadgets!

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Peg, I will not say another word. I know what you mean about gadgets. I am a little overwhelmed trying to figure out which cable goes with which thing. Trying to find my Kindle charger (USB) so I can get that going again and download some winter reading material. Life used to be so simple. What happened? lol Nice to see you. Sorry I haven't been around much, kind of distracted. I found some reading material about feral cats. Rescued it for you. We will have to talk about the cats sometime soon.

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

I love black and white photos and these are amazing snakeslane.

I have taken some with my camera/phone and even they have come out pretty good too.

Thanks for all the hard work you've obviously put into this gem and here's to so many more to follow.

Enjoy your weekend.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Eddy, Thank you! Photography is magic. Glad you enjoyed the photos, it's great to get your feedback. You enjoy your weekend too.

Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

Snakeslane, though I don't have that camera which took pictures on film, I still have negatives, saved safely as a coveted prize.

Thanks for sharing your expertise.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi Vinaya, It's exciting to have an easy way to convert the negatives and slides into digital format. I was worried those images would be lost. Nice to see you.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Alun, This is a bit late, but thank you for helpful suggestions re: getting rid of dust on negatives and photos.

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

snakeslane, these are some wonderful photos. I'm surprised they could be digitally scanned so well. I have loads of photos of the black and white era, my mom's and dad's and of our entire family which I'd like to convert to digital format so they can be preserved forever.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

rajan, Thank you. The film and slide converter is easy to use, and the results are good. Saving those treasured images is worth the effort for sure.

expertscolumn profile image

expertscolumn 4 years ago from New York

Oh how quickly life goes by, in a flash of pictures and then you're grown up.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

expertscolumn, Life does go by quickly, as if in a dream. Looking back at old photos seems to make it even more fleeting. Thanks for the visit today.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 3 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

Your pictures are wonderful. Enjoyed looking at them.

I have close to 2000 color slides taken over the years had a few of them digitized by a service offered through Costco and the results have been very good, but the cost is 17 to 29 cents per slide. I also have a large number of old family negatives from my grandparents which I would like to digitize.

Your Hub was very informative and some online reviews of the Innovative Technology film and slide converter seem to be in agreement with what you wrote so I am thinking about trying the product. If it works I will save a bundle and, if it doesn't, I won't be spending much more than I would for the next batch of 150-200 slides I am planning to send out to be digitized.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 3 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks Chuck, and good luck with your project. I had to take a break from the slide scanning because there is too much dust in my house! Plus I have cats (more dust). So, my warning to you would be find a nice dust-free place to work on the slides, and/or find a good photo air brush (I'm still looking for one) to keep the slides and the scanner clean. Other than that you should be good to go, and it is really fun.

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