• Russ

Dust Devils

Posting the Capitol Reef photos has taken two weeks, which is a lifetime in the digital age.


All the photos in that gallery were shot on film. One was 4X5, and the rest were captured in 6x6. Yes, I know I jumped from Imperial to metric just now, but such is the nature of film photography. Nevertheless, inches and millimeters are the least of film's issues. To get from analog to digital, to you on the internet, I need to digitize the film on a high end scanner. No matter what I pay for the scanner it does not delete dust. When it comes to dust I feel like the wee lad holding back the North Sea with his finger in the dyke.


First, I cleaned the room extensively, and installed a humidifier. Then I use "wet scan" methodology to limit the scratches, eliminate some static electricity, and reduce some of the dust. Bubbles can be created inadvertently, but they seem easy enough to eliminate with a squeegee. Scratches must be averted and the wet scan does minimize scratches over a dry scan.


The bright round specks are dust depicted in Lightroom "spot removal" with the "visualize spots" turned on. The wavy stuff are clouds that I want to keep.

Consider the surfaces that can gather dust sediment from the air: the film itself (2 sides), the upper and lower glasses of the scanner (2 surfaces), the scanner's slide carrier (2 more) and the overlay on the film for the wet scan (2 more). Alright eight surfaces want to suck up whatever flits even nearby. It does not need direct contact.


So I address the scanner glasses with glass cleaner and compressed air. The fragile film needs compressed air and an art brush. The carrier is glass cleaner, then compressed air and finally a brush. The overlay I treat like film as it can be scratched too.


The same image above with the dust plague not yet removed.

Then after the scan a very intensive search and destroy that takes sometimes a half hour per file in Lightroom or Photoshop.


The results seem worth it, but the good news is that I seem to be learning to beat the dust devil in the first place. The last two photos had quantums fewer spots to clean up.

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