Friday, October 04, 2013

Conversion Decisions Part 1

A few weeks ago I went to the Home and Garden Show in Del Mar. I went there because several months ago my bed broke.

One of the supporting pieces of wood along the side rail cracked along the grain, and the corner of the mattress fell to the floor at bedtime. With help from my daughter and her friends, we disassembled the bed frame and moved it into the garage. Now the mattress and box spring are on the floor. Where spiders can get on them more easily than before.

My hope in going to the home show was to find a cabinet maker or woodworker who was willing to take on teeny-tiny projects like bed repair. I found that, or rather a referral to a handyman who repaired the bed of the lady at one of the cabinetry booths. My hopes for reduced spider opportunity increased.

But I found even more than hope.

I'm not a homeowner right now, so it was very freeing to wander around the home show and  just to say, "I'm renting," when the various artisans and home-equipment salespeople tried to part me from my money. Most of them shut up after that, though a few suggested that I speak to my landlady about their windows or solar systems or pavers. Ummm.... No.

One of the booths sucked me in, because it had very little to do with homes and gardens. They convert slides and photos into high-quality digital images at an affordable price.

I cannot adequately convey how much this is a dream from the depths of my heart.

Eight years ago I went to a travel photography workshop in Washington DC. They had two main instructors, one whose focus was more on the art side and one whose focus was on newspaper and magazine publication. I connected more with the art guy, but the other one said something about having to convert his slides to digital. When I asked him how much that costs, he said it was $2 per slide, and my heart sank. I have slides from so many trips:
  • New England in the autumn of 1982
  • The four-month bicycle trip through Europe in 1983
  • Grand Canyon with the youngest sister-in-law in 1987
  • The long-weekend trip to Paris with my airline-job office mate in 1988 (she said she wanted to go to Paris to find the name of this one Impressionist painting, and I said, "I'll go too!")
And of course, there are family pictures from way back when as well. At $2 a slide, I'd have to be a millionaire to convert even half of them to digital.

But at the home show, the guy at the photo booth told me that $2 is still the going rate for professional slide conversions out in the world (which fits with the last time I asked at the good-quality photo store in town). The photo-booth company, ScanDiego, normally charges $.39 a slide (the same price as Costco) to produce 4100 dpi digital images, whereas Costco produces 1800 dpi images. And if you buy the package at the Home and Garden Show, they'll do it for $.29 a slide. I bought the package. They'll convert 500 slides (if they don't require special processing, which some of mine will) for $149.

I got a box in a bag to take home.

When I've selected my 500 slides, I put them in the box and call them to arrange pick-up, or I take them down to Mira Mesa and drop them off.

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