Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bringing Fond Memories Back to Life

Guest post by John Albergo

My dad was an engineer and a shutterbug, which meant that our vacations were meticulously captured through the lens of his German Leica. This was both a blessing and a curse.

Up close and personal with a buffalo

First, the blessing: Our summer car trips covered the Dakotas, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana and Alberta, and Dad captured everything on film—35mm slides, to be specific. The engineer in him demanded perfection, which resulted in beautiful photos of incredible, indescribable landscapes that most people never see. Even as children, we were awestruck by the forces of nature that merged to create these scenes—Yellowstone Park, Old Faithful, Twin Falls, the Grand Tetons, Glacier Park, the Badlands, rivers, forests, plains, snow-capped mountains and, of course, wildlife.

John's brother Pat, at Badlands National Park. "Take just a few more steps back..."

Now the curse: Fast forward to 2012. I inherited more than 1,000 slides, all neatly organized into cartridges, that were taking up space in my basement. Suddenly, there was a renewed interest in slides that no one has seen in years; now everyone wanted to see them again. I had to figure out how to digitize and share them across several states. It would have taken me weeks to scan, edit and clean up all of the old slides, so I opted to have them professionally scanned. (Hint: Some photo and film digitizing services send their work overseas on container ships, which can take months, so I chose a company that does everything locally)

Rather than simply send everyone CDs with a bunch of images, I wanted to create a slide show in which they could identify what the photos were. I downloaded a trial of PhotoStage Slideshow Maker and created a show with a few scanned images; I was sold immediately. Creating and editing a slide show is simple. Once I created a slide show, altering the duration of each slide took only a few clicks, allowing me to time the music I added to the show down to the second.

That was nice for starters, but the real test was when I got nearly 500 hi-res images back from the scanning service. I found that uploading even a high volume of images into PhotoStage is fast, and it allowed me the option of transferring everything in sub-folders that indicated where groups of photos were taken, such as "Glacier Park" and "Little Bighorn." The folders show up in the menu system of DVD players, allowing viewers to select sideshows by location or subject. Once I created and saved the show, it was just a matter of copying it to a CD or DVD.

Memories Preserved for Lifetime
Whether your family's cherished memories are sitting in boxes of photos, neatly arranged photo albums or encased in slide carousels, that's all they're doing—just sitting there. And they can fade over time or, heaven forbid, be destroyed by natural disasters. Once you digitize them, PhotoStage lets you recreate and preserve those memories and enhance them with music, titles and other effects. Everyone in my family can now view these photos as a reminder not only of our beautiful country but how truly fortunate we were to have a Dad who wanted us to see it.

John Albergo is a writer with more than 15 years of experience in business communications, spanning IT services, software licensing, health and safety programs, and general business. He's also a bit of a shutterbug and even had his own darkroom while in high school.

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