Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Media Changes

When I was teaching (1966-2011), I liked to do visual presentations for the kids. Through almost all of my career, that meant 35mm slides, a Kodak Carousel projector, a screen. For many years we owned what was called a "copy stand," a device that enabled me to mount a 35mm SLR camera on a little aluminum pole so that the camera could focus steadily on objects and images I wanted to photograph--e.g., picture from books, magazines, newspapers.

Ours looked somewhat like the photo--though ours was not nearly so ... impressive. But you get the idea. After a photo session, I always left the stand set up, the materials I'd copied nearby, because in those benighted days I did not know that the slides "turned out" until they came back from the processor--which took several days. If any didn't "turn out," then I had to reshoot and resubmit.

Then--once I had all the slides back--I would assemble them on an illuminated slide sorter and gradually settle on the arrangement I wanted in the Carousel slide trays.

When I was teaching, I had dozens of trays devoted to various presentations--Shakespeare, Jack London and The Call of the Wild.

There was, of course, a major problem. Whenever I acquired a new image/new slide, I had to remove many of the slides from the tray so that I could insert the new one(s). If the image was near the beginning of the tray, well, I had to pull and and re-insert over 100 slides. That was fun.

Then came the digital age ... and PowerPoint, an infinitely easier technology to use. Dazzling swift to add and rearrange the images you want--and to add special effects (some of which are pretty dorky).

Unless, of course, you have thousands of 35mm slides. What to do with them?

Well, I've tried various devices to convert 35mm slide images to .JPG files--with varying success. The little unit I'm using now is a jumbl scanner and is really pretty efficient and quick.

I've used it lately to convert some of the hundreds of slides I took on a 1999 trip to Europe to visit as many of the Mary Shelley sites as I could (some of those images have appeared in some of my recent blog posts here).

No doubt technologies will continue to change, but in this Digital World it will be easier, I think. With some mouse clicks we'll probably be able to convert our old.JPG files to whatever-is-newer-and-better.

Meanwhile, I still have thousands of unconverted slides and continue to debate about whether it's worth the time to convert them. I'll probably just wait to see if anyone asks me to talk about any of the things I can can talk about ... and then start stuffing slides in the little jumbl and click merrily away.

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