Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Book

This is an early morning shot of the old school near Haven Beach and a prime example of a location that will be going in the book I'm supposed to be working on, Mathews County Then and Now. I'm taking the "Now" shots and must locate the "Then" shots to match.

I can take photos all day long, no problem. The problem lies in trying to locate all the "then" photos to go along with mine.

And that's not all.

There are very stringent technical requirements for the shots. Photocopies are no good. Scanned copies of originals are acceptable provided they are of a certain quality. Digital photos must be saved as TIFF files.

Did I mention I've never heard of a tiff unless you're talking about a spat, and we aren't?

Did I mention that I don't know how to use a scanner, much less ensure proper resolution, cropping, output or print size; color (what is grayscale?); descreening; etc.? I thought descreening was what my cats do to my windows. Who knew it was also a scanning term?

Also? If I want to copy files or photos or what not from the main drive on my computer to a CD? Doesn't work. Even Chesapeake Bay Son says so, so it's not just me. Therefore, I need a new computer, but there are only two problems: money and fear of change money. Never mind that I would have no idea what to get even if I had the money.

So, let' recap the challenges:

1. Locate 80 high-quality, vintage photos of typical Mathews scenes, such as schools, churches, the court house, wharves, estates, homes, etc. (Not easy.)

2. Take 80 high-quality photos to match the 80 older/vintage ones. (Daunting, but doable.)

3. Get (1) and (2) into the proper technical format. (Impossible for me. Does not compute.)

4. Research each location and write a blurb describing the major changes over the years for each pair of photos. (Not impossible, but not easy.)

5. Need a new computer.

6. Tilt! Help!

If anyone reading has access to old photographs or post cards of Mathews, and/or if anyone knows anything about what scanner or computer I need to complete this project, please let me know.

The ideal computer must not cost anything manipulate and save photos in TIFF format; multi-task; do the laundry; cook supper, and cut the lawn while ferrying children to and from school activities and the orthodontist that's an hour away.

The scanner must be able to produce images at a resolution of no less than 300 dots per inch and save as TIFFs. In spite of how it appears to me, the previous sentence was written in English and is not Lithuanian. What, pray tell, is resolution a TIFF?

You can e-mail me at ChesapeakeBayWoman@gmail.com (or my other e-mail if you have it) or leave a comment here. The main priority right now is in acquiring the photos and then scanning them. Oh, also in acquiring the proper technology. Plus learning how to use it. Then doing all the research. While parenting two children.


p.s. Since I already have a day job, I'll just plan on doing all this during the hours ordinarily set aside for sleeping, i.e. midnight to five a.m.

p.s. Part II This means that at some point in the near future, my blog is going to switch from daily postings to twice or three times a week. Or less. (Hold your applause.)

p.s. Part III Thanks for letting me whine vent.


Pueblo girl said...

If the publishers know enough about technology to tell you what they need, surely they also know enough to tell you what you will need to meet their requirements?

Any chance of an advance to cover costs?

For heaven's sake, get CBD and CBS involved in this - you sound like you'll need the help, and it would be a wonderful history project for them. Thus, you can turn all your quality family time together into a shared history project, and sleep at nights.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

PG-Those are two very excellent suggestions. I already told my daughter she was going to help me with some of the interviews/research and my son with the technical stuff, but the problem comes when school starts in September. Their schedules are demanding. But maybe weekends they can help out. Also, great idea on contacting the publisher.

Thank you - I'm starting to feel better already.

Often I become so overwhelmed with what I have to do and what I"m responsible for (most days I'm talking about just my regular routine life not writing a book), that I can't see solutions because all I can do is swim around in the problems.

Now, off to work. Thanks to you all in advance for any thoughts and suggestions.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Dell will let you buy a computer on an easy monthly payment plan, if that helps, and any computer yo buy now will do all of those things, including have tiffs with the orthodontist for being so far away. Also, some places will sell you a computer bundle, that will include one of those all-in-one printer/scanner/faxes - I love mine. It's super-handy.

Mental P Mama said...

I think you need an apple for this....get a Macbook Pro....ask the publishers to get it for you...plus Genius Bar credit. Once you go Mac, you never go back. Oh, and those kidlets of yours will be invaluable! I am sooo excited for this opportunity you have!

Anonymous said...

Or you can use a service like www.bookscanning.com

- Ralph

Daryl said...

you need an iMac (desktop) or MacBookPro (laptop).. TIFF is a another way to save a photo digitally, its a cousin to a JPG or JPEG .. its a smaller file and easier to email

But wouldnt it be easier to get the old photos first and then go get a new shot to match?

Any help you need tech-wise, I will happily help you...

Daryl said...

Oh meant to add when you scan a photo there is an option as to how to save it, the size (300 vs 600 or larger, but 300 is the 'norm' most scanner default to) .. I suggest a Canon scanner, inexpensive and very user friendly .. you can also opt to save your digital scan as a TIFF

TSannie said...

Well at least you have a damn good excuse for posting just 2 or 3 times a week....
Me? Not so much. I have lost my blog mojo. All things considered, it's not much of a loss...

foolery said...

If you do get a Mac check out Apple's web site for reconditioned Macs. They're still the new model, come with everything (no guessing about features, everything is standard), and I saved $200 off the purchase price, fully warranteed. E-mail me if I can help with jpg-to-TIFF conversion, too.

big hair envy said...

Say WHAT? Wish I had taken Lithuanian in college.

Love, Augustas

deborah said...

I'm here if you need moral support..I can scan but haven't had a tiff with the scanner yet.

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

I have a scanner and will be happy to scan for you or let you use! And I will even throw Cdub in to show/teach you how to use it! See I am good for something!

Diane said...

See! Look at all the great tech advice you got! Talk about de-stressing! Better than a whole bottle of B vitamins!

wv= steadisas... Once you know blisters it's nothing but "steadi sass"!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Thank you all for your wonderful words of wisdom, I feel so much better, seriously.

And just to clarify something Daryl mentioned, I do intend to locate the older shots first and match mine to them, but locating any older shots is going to be quite a job.

Hallieford Jim said...

A TIFF is an uncompressed image file - much larger that a jpeg... which IS compressed. The more you open, modify, and save a jpeg, the more the image degrades. Your camera may have a setting to take a Tiff image. Mac's are great computers - but you do pay a premium for them.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Hallieford Jim, I might be giving you a call in a month or so. How about a killer goose in exchange for some consulting services? OK, I know, it's not a fair trade at all. How about I just give you the goose anyway?

Country Girl said...

I just bought a Dell laptop and am paying for it on a monthly plan. I was looking to go Mac and never go back, but I couldn't afford the trip.
I take JPEG images using my DSLR camera and in Photoshop, I can change them to TIFF, which is a tagged image file.
I am excited for you, but at the same time, I feel your pain.

MommyTime said...

TIFF files are much larger than JPEGs and do not degrade when opened or manipulated -- which is a fancy way of saying that they are a type of image file that is high resolution so that when they go to print from them, they are high quality and will look nice. The down side is: they are a pain in the ass to work with, as they are so large that you cannot email them or save more than a couple of them on a normal CD/DVD. You really need a 2 gig jump or pen drive to put that many high quality TIFF files on.

A 300 dpi scan is easy; any scanner nowadays will do up to 1200 dpi typically. Your best bet, quite frankly, is a university library with some kind tech people to help. DO NOT EVER LEAVE THE LIBRARY WITHOUT TWO COPIES OF EACH FILE YOU"VE BEEN WORKING ON. You want backups of your backups and nothing saved on their computers. (Yes, I speak from experience.)

The descreening is something you will have to do if you are scanning photos that have been published. When published, they typically end up with a pattern as an underneath layer (sort of like a watermark), which you have to remove, so that when you go to reproduce it, the whole picture doesn't look like it's covered with hexagons. Again, your friendly neighborhood Univ librarian can help you with that. Most scanners have basic software that will let you scan, set dpi, etc.; however, if you have to do the descreening yourself, that may be something that you need Photoshop for, unless your scanning software is very good. Photoshop = very expensive, so I would search out a helper of some sort for those images.

If you are using original old photos, rather than versions of old photos that were published in a newspaper or magazine, they you won't have to deal with the descreening.

I had to deal with all of this for the illustrations for my book, so I am pretty familiar with the ins and outs. Feel free to email if you have more questions.

nativedevil said...

Is there any chance the Mathews Historical Society could help with funding, or even a grant for a computer? If you are willing to put out so much time and effort, they should work out some kind of deal with you.

Hallieford Jim said...

hmm...I've seen Gustav when I went over to setup your mom's internet service .. he hissed but did not attack LOL

Everything MommyTime says is exactly on the mark -very good advice.

I'm available if you need help CBW

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Again I cannot thank you all enough for all the excellent advice. Mommy Time - thank you for all that great information.

ND-I am not confident I could get any money, but I have spoken with one member who said she'd be happy to help verify facts and details for the book, etc. I need to make contact with them officially and see what they can do regarding the old photos too.

Hallieford Jim-In a few months I may well be calling you for some tech advice. Regarding the killer goose, there would be three reasons why Gustav did not attack- 1. He's with his Canada friends and doesn't want them seeing his ugliness (this is true, not making this up); 2. He's trapped in his pen - but usually he'll also honk along with hiss; 3. He's too lazy or distracted by something else. I'm going to guess he had some friends around. BTW - thanks for setting my parents up. So far my mother is afraid that if she presses the wrong button she's going to automatically make an e-purchase (of what, I don't know). Need Chesapeake Bay Son to spend some time over there and help allay the fears.

Anyway, thank you all, truly, for all the great advice. It's nice to air my fears and to know there are so many knowledgeable people right there inside my computer screen--and some just down the road.

phyllis marsh said...

my grandmother grew up on Gwynn's Island. She was born in 1905 and there are shots of Gwynnsville floating around. Interested? let me know and I will email my cousins and see who has the albums.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Phyllis - YES, extremely interested and will be indebted for any shots you can dig up. Thank you!