I’ve heard the commentary many times. This morning I took it to heart. “How do you eat an elephant?” “One bite at a time.” The question and answer were dancing around in my mind as I worked.
It wasn’t the first time I had decided to do it. In the past, I’ve tried negative scanners and flatbed scanners and completely overwhelmed myself with trying the do-it-yourself route a couple of times. I would work really hard on it for a little while and then wander off because it really wasn’t easy the way I was doing it. Then I had a hard drive crash that lost them all.
I reminded myself of the end result I was looking for: I want to digitize all of the negatives from my days of 35mm photography and before. So that I can share them with my children and even my ex husband. There are a lot of moments in those snapshots.
I broke it down into steps. First I called the local Walgreens and asked them “What does it cost to have you convert a 36 roll of film to digital format?” She checked and replied “It’s about $6.22 per roll.”
I wrote the amount on a post it note and stuck it where it was in my view all the time. Every time I looked at it, I thought about what I wanted to do.
I tossed around various ways and means to accomplish my goal. This morning, I broke it down.
Step 1: Determine the number of rolls to be digitized.
Step 2: Calculate the cost per and then total cost.
Step 3: Break it down into manageable pieces.
This is how I attack elephant projects, always. I see the picture of the end result and then work my way backwards.
I started counting…. first there was the album of negatives from 1985. All neatly in sleeves with a typewritten page folded in the bottom. 3/85, Brandon’s birth…..2/86 Jacob Gibbons baptism…. moments and memories in carefully typewritten notes. I was impressed with my notes. I must have really had it together then.
I counted all the rolls in that album. Somewhere around 60 from the mid 80’s. Then I collected the two tupperware boxes bulging with negatives. I counted out the rolls in the first one. Somewhere around 50 rolls. I looked at the second box and decided to estimate. To complete my task I would have to process about 200 rolls of film. I punched up the calculator. $1244.00. Whew!
This could be an expensive undertaking. I then looked at how many rolls I could do each week and not hurt myself. I had originally estimated 10, today I decided to be conservative and say 5ish.
I pulled the first page out of the album and also gathered the few strays that never got returned to their places and drove up to Walgreens. The gentleman behind the counter was slightly whelmed when I told him what I needed. He wasn’t sure of the cost. I told him “It’s 6.22 for each 36 roll.” He looked suprised. I explained to him what my project is and noted that he’d be seeing me every week for some time. He sorted the negatives into about 7 rolls and handed me the slip.
Hesitantly, he asked “And when do you want these back?” I told him there’s no big hurry, tomorrow would be fine. After all, these negatives are close to 25 years old, another day won’t hurt.
And so it begins, this task of eating an elephant. One byte at a time. Or, in this case, 7.