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Posted on Thursday, January 19th, 2006

Dave!We are living in a digital world and I am a digital boy.

Oh crap. Now I'm going to have Madonna running through my head all day.

Anyway, the truth of the matter is that I am a digital boy. I love living in a digital world where I can take my entire music collection with me on my PowerBook. I love being able to take a photo on my digital camera and then digitally send it to my digital photo software and digitally do whatever the heck I want to digitally do to it.

But that's not really a digital world at all, is it? I want an actual digital world to live in... like The Matrix or something...


Flying around, blowing shit up, kicking asses with kung-fu... how friggin' sweet would that be? Plug me in!

In the meanwhile, I just have to be content with what's available now.

But when it comes to photographs, this kind of sucks because everything I have before 2001 is on film. Boxes and boxes and boxes of film. Transferring my CDs into iTunes was a pain in the ass, but I managed it. Transferring my film into iPhoto is another matter entirely. It would take days of sitting in front of my computer with an expensive scanner, and I just don't have that kind of time.

Enter a company called "DigMyPics" who will handle the drudgery of scanning your film for you.

For a price.

A pretty big price. I sent in a test batch of 920 photos to be scanned and ended up paying a cool $600 for the privilege. Was it worth it? Well, for those of you who are interested in this stuff, I've put the answer in an extended entry.

For those of you who are not interested, come back tomorrow when Bad Monkey will be making an appearance. Because everybody just loves a monkey.

Okay then... back to my paying $600 for scanning services. Was it worth it?



The good news is that I can now have 920 pieces of my life digitized on my PowerBook that I didn't have before. The bad news is that the results were not exactly what I was hoping for. There are a couple problems I've run across with the scans that will require me to do some work before I can be happy enough to transfer them into iPhoto.

1) Dark photos are murky and drab. This is kind of surprising, because DigMyPics claims that no scan is released until it is looked at by three technicians. But in almost every case, low-light images look nothing like their printed counterparts. This example is from a trip to Vancouver I took with friends for Expo 86...

Expo86 Original

Yargh. The photo was taken at dusk, but the scan makes it look more like midnight. A few minutes in Photoshop and I can improve it dramatically...

Expo86 Revised

That looks quite a bit more like the print in my photo album and, with a bit more tweaking, I'm sure it will all work out fine. The problem is that I was not expecting to spend time fixing images that I paid to have fixed for me. I think they must just run an "Auto-Levels" on the image and then dump it... certainly not the individual attention I was expecting. Fortunately, not many of my photos are low-light images, but it's still a bother.

2) Film grain is way too heavy. There is nothing you can do about film grain... it's a part of the chemical process which makes film-based photography possible and, at best, all you can do is camouflage it. Usually this involves running specialized scanning filters (such as Kodak's GEM) which diminishes the grain to manageable levels. But DigMyPics apparently didn't do this, so most all of my scans look like they're painted on sand. This example is from a trip to Maui, also in 1986...

Big Beach Maui

It's a great shot. It scanned very nice. And, because this is a low-res web image, you don't notice any problems. But let's take a look at 100%...

Big Beach Maui GRAIN

If DigMyPics is using any grain reduction software, I can't see it. Of course, I'm not sure if I really blame them... removing too much grain has an adverse effect on the image, and who is to say how much is too much? Again, it's not that I am really upset about this. I just wasn't planning on having to do the extra work.

In the end, I'm giving DigMyPics a "thumbs-up" for the job they did. They are quick, friendly, efficient, and do fairly decent work if your expectations are kept in check. As soon as I can save up some more money, I'll definitely be sending in another chunk of my life to be digitized.

Because heaven only knows I don't want to be without goofy, drunken pics like these on my PowerBook...



Now there's a blast from my past. TWENTY FRICKIN' YEARS PAST! And believe me when I tell you that these are the GOOD shots of me. I don't think I found a single image where I don't end up looking like a complete tool. Kind of sad, really.

Twenty years? Wow am I so totally old now.

Categories: Photography 2006Click To It: Permalink


  1. mrjerz says:

    Dude, are those acid-washed jeans you’re wearing? You can’t hit the delete key fast enough.

  2. Dave2 says:

    Given the period of time in my life that we’re talking about here… you’re lucky I’m wearing any pants at all. 🙂

  3. eV says:

    Dude. You had more hair then too!

  4. Dave2 says:

    I’m just happy that I have any hair left now. 🙂

  5. Sayuri says:

    OMG! Dave!! You ARE Ferris Bueller…

  6. rach says:

    do you have a thing for white t-shirts? i’m sensing a theme here.

  7. Naomi says:

    Wow… I mean…wow. I think I’m taking back all the dirty thoughts I’ve had to date…

  8. SJ says:

    You know, your gay readers are gonna think those photos are totally HOT.

    ‘Cause I’m a 21st century digital boy
    I don’t know how to live, but I got a lotta toys …

    ~ Bad Religion

  9. James says:

    Love the retro pics. Twenty years from now, I hope no pictures of me exist anywhere. I say that, and yet my gravatar image is a picture of me…it’ll probably float around the internet in some way…and come back to haunt me.

  10. The Ref, LGC, England says:

    OMG how young do you look there!!

  11. Anthony says:

    Those photos are classic. What did bad monkey look like back then? Did he have an afro?

  12. Dave2 says:

    Hey… hey…hey…hey… an afro?!? I’m not THAT old… we’re talking the 80’s, not the 70’s!

    No… I think Bad Monkey was wearing a skinny tie that had piano keys on it, listening to Wham! and the Bangles, and playing Pac Man.

  13. Anthony says:

    Yeah but bad monkey is a funky dude. His afro is not mass culture assignment man. You just have to draw him with the piano tie though. Do it, do it.

  14. Kevin says:

    Woah! That’s all I can really think to say… woah.

  15. sandra says:

    Perhaps there needs to be a cartoon retro Dave? Acid-washed jeans and all…!

    Incidentally, my dad has a photo of me on his desk at work. Which would be wonderful if it wasn’t from 15 years ago, when I: a) had a (home) perm; b) had poofy bangs and c) had about 700 earrings. I bet people he works with who have never met me think I’m SO cool.

  16. Pauly D says:

    I have too many pictures and too many CDs and too many things I want to be digital. I just wish there was a way to snap my fingers (and pay no money) and have it be so.

    I’m not as concerned about your acid washed jeans as the PARACHUTE you’re wearing. At least if you fell off a cliff, you’d glide down to safety.

  17. James Bow says:

    Yours is a face that’s made for a beard and moustache, Dave. Be proud of your facial hair!

  18. Neil says:

    You may have gotten older, but you still have that youthful spark in your eye. Geez, I think I’m flirting with you…

  19. Dave2 says:

    It’s okay Neil… you just can’t help yourself. It’s all perfectly understandable. Even I can barely resist flirting with me.

    Much like I can’t help the fact that parachute jackets were in high fashion in the 80’s. My only saving grace here is that it wasn’t my Member’s Only jacket.

    I mean… not that I actually HAD a Member’s Only jacket… I’m just saying that if I DID have a Member’s Only jacket it would be worse than this.

    And yes, mine is a face made for laziness. Also, the more of it that is covered up, the better.

  20. kazza says:

    very cool 🙂

  21. apryl says:

    i’m late in responding to this, but i do think nearing 40 suits you. much more refined. yes.

  22. karla says:

    Aw I think you were cute. I especially like the soulful over the shoulder gaze on the one picture. The one with the slight pout? You are SUCH a girl in that one.

    And my jones for 80’s pics is mollified. The 80’s were a great decade musically, but judging by you and me, maybe it’s best that there is not much photographic proof.

  23. nancycle says:

    Aha! You do have teeth! And nice ones at that. Adorable pictures really Dave. Even the Mr. Bean one. *chuckle-chuckle-chuckle* oh to poke fun … I need to get a scanner …

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