Tag Archives: slides

Real Photos, Real Early

Right after I had discovered – many years ago – that taking photos was not only for American tourists in Hawaiian shirts visiting German, but could actually be an art form, I ran into a book that introduced me to table top photography.

One tray of slides remains from this era, and now I can share those after I managed to digitize them. It was actually time to do so as one of the boxes with those slides must have been exposed to some humidity (or the slides had not been properly developed) as there were spots on them like fungus.

Without further ado, here is my 70s take on table top photography…

Little story on the “Warp Drive” – this slide was added much later than all the others and is a picture of the device I built which earned me my masters in physics. It’s a drift chamber as used by my alma mater’s experiment at CERN – the place where the internet was really invented, and no, it was not Al Gore, who did that.

One of the more interesting things about the setup in the photo is that little brass cylinder in front of the shiny surface. It is actually a source for radioactive radiation that I used to test and adjust the chamber. Once I wanted to interrupt the beam of radiation for a quick demonstration and put my finger between the probe and the detector – the assistant responsible for me nearly took my head of for doing that.

Getting the Perspective Just Right

In the olden day of photography, you know – before Photoshop and digital cameras, you had to get it right the first time. Sure, you could go back and try again once you saw the result, about a week after getting back home, but there were times when that was just not feasible. It always was an exciting time when the envelope with the developed slides was in the mailbox.

Sometimes the excitement went away quickly, but more often than not it was then, the following evening, after all the mishaps had been sorted out and discarded, that the slide projector was set up, aimed at the silver screen and everybody gathered in the darkened room to relive the time a few, or at least one, weeks back.

Slides and the silver screen were the best means to watch pictures at that time, much less expensive than prints and a lot bigger. That is why slides had always been my medium of choice when I took photos as my artistic expression.

Slides and the silver screen went out after I moved to the US and it became very difficult to actually buy a slide projector. Slide projection was replaced by – really nothing. Until about now. Now I am using a 32 inch monitor which is located much closer to me than the silver screen had been, so the apparent size of images viewed on that monitor is comparable in size, maybe even bigger. Additionally this is an active light source – not reflective as the silver screen – so the luminance is much higher, and I don’t have to wait to the evening or darken the room.

So, yes, we have come around and caught up with the size of the slide show in the evening and surpassed it in convenience and speed. Now I can take the picture and view it pretty much right away.

Slide scanners have also given me the opportunity to view these old slides on the new display medium. I never had noticed the grain in the images when viewing the slides natively, but with some creative filtering we can reduce this shortcoming over the film emulsion.

On looking through some old slides taken in Paris, France in the Tuileries (the gardens surrounding the Louvre) I ran into one image that prompted me to write this post…

It’s one where, if I had the chance, would go back and take it at a slightly different angle so that the hand would be really exactly above the head of the statue. With a lot of Photoshop work I could probably fix it after the fact but I decided to leave it as it is and just enjoy the charm of “missing it by that much” (quote Maxwell Smart.)

As for some newer pictures that get it just right, here a little collection of photos that made it into my mailbox (thanks, Beverly!)