Up-to-the-minute with ScanCafe

8 12 2009

Okay, so far I’m impressed…and I haven’t even seen the scans yet!

On Saturday, November 28, I paid my down payment to www.ScanCafe.com and was issued a receipt, detailed instructions on packing and mailing, and a printable mailing label. I then sent the slides out on Monday, Nov. 30, via UPS.

On December 3, I received an email stating “Your images have been received. The estimated online date for your order is December 18, 2009. At that time you will be able to review your scans online.”

This morning, at 6:11 a.m., I received an email stating “Your images have been received at our imaging center. Your orders have been scheduled for scanning. We estimate that your order will complete our scanning and quality control processes on December 18, 2009. You can expect to hear from us then.”

A few hours later, at  I got another email stating “Your images are being scanned. A technician has been assigned to your order and the process of manually scanning & repairing each of your images is underway. After all your images have been completed, they also will go through our stringent quality assurance checks. We’ll send you an email when your images are online and available for your review.”

My, my….all of this attention for lil’ ole me and my 35mm slides! If all goes well, my future scanning projects include a passel of black & white negatives.

As my father, the King of Texas, always writes: I’ll get back to you later with more details.

Post redux: Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

8 12 2009

If you’re in the D.C./Virginia/Maryland area, be sure to visit Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, particularly in July. The main attractions are obviously the lotus blossoms, which bloom during the truly hottest time in our area (sigh), but I’m sure there are water lilies in bloom throughout the summer.

You can view my previous posts on Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens by clicking on the links below:



What a muse that place is!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Photoshop collages

8 12 2009

All of the collages below were created in Photoshop, utilizing my own photos and/or purchased stock photos and vector artwork. Although I own countless volumes of Photodisc and Comstock CDs, I now purchase nearly all of my stock photos and vector art from sites such as www.istockphoto.com, www.bigstockphoto.com and vectorstock.com. I created all of these collages for feature articles from the Hearing Loss Magazine, published bimonthly by the Hearing Loss Association of America.

A Few Notes on Select Collages
Top row, right: Brenda Battat, now Executive Director of HLAA, wrote “Hydrangea Blue: Hearing Loss Through the Generations,” about growing up in England with her grandfather and their shared hearing loss, in the July/August 2006 issue of the magazine. In this collage, I scanned a handwritten notecard with her grandfather’s special recipe (shown for reference above) for keeping hydrangeas that coveted shade of blue and several family photos. Second row, left: HLAA member and board member Dave Crockett and his wife were featured in this collage. Third row, left: For her cover feature article, I photographed HLAA member Alexa Vasiliadis in a performance of The Nutcracker and in the dance studio; and right: For this high tech collage, I used various stock photos, but wanted to include representation of close-caption in use. Not finding a stock shot on the subject, I turned on my TV’s captioning feature during an interview with a country singer, froze the screen, and grabbed my camera to capture a few still shots—pretty resourceful, huh? Fifth row, left: I included a shot I did of HLAA members and sisters, Betty and Marjorie, with their sweet cat, Misha, in this scrapbook-inspired collage. Seventh row, left: I enlisted the help of my friend Regina for this series of facial closeups! Ninth row, left: For this collage, I used a stock photo I shot of HLAA member and volunteer Joan Kleinrock and her cochlear implant.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


1 12 2009

Wonderful (and award-winning) short video on youtube….okay, it’s not that short (just over 16 minutes long), but it’s worth watching! It stars actor TJ Thyne, who plays Dr. Jack Hodgins on the tv series Bones (in case you’re wondering where you might have seen him).

From my 35mm slide archives: Southwest images

1 12 2009

After reading glowing reviews (by professional photographers, no less…and from my favorite graphic design guru, Chuck Green) about the scanning services of www.scancafe.com, I thought I’d give them a try. While I own a really nice Nikon Coolscan dedicated slide scanner, the thought of (eventually) scanning thousands of my old slides is daunting. I also wasn’t happy with the results I’ve been getting lately from random slide scans. Although it takes awhile to get the images scanned with this service (they outsource overseas), the price is phenomenal. I took advantage of their recent quicker turnaround and 25% off special this weekend and expect to have an online review of the images around the 18th of December. They return the slides with a DVD of the final scans. What’s really neat is—you can reject up to 50% of the images you send in. How they can profit from that, I don’t know, but it was enticement enough for me.

Photo 1: one of my favorite places in Arizona—Canyon de Chelly, in Chinle, Arizona. After a lengthy hike to the bottom of the canyon with my father, I photographed the White House Ruin (Photo 2). The White House Ruin was made famous (photographically) by Ansel Adams in his beautiful black and white image here.

Photo 3: Hovenweep National Monument, archeological site near the Utah-Colorado border. Remind me someday to tell you a funny story about how my dad and I discovered Hovenweep.

Photo 4: Kodachrome Basin State Park, near Cannonville, Utah. My cousin Bill and I stopped at this park on our Vegas-to-Lake-Powell adventure. How could I not stop at a park with the word “Kodachrome” in it? (Never mind that I shot almost exclusively with Fuji Velvia at the time!)

Photo 5: Petrified Forest National Park in the Painted Desert, Arizona. While we’re on the subject of the Petrified Forest, I just stumbled across an instant message discussion on AOL that I had with my dad after that road trip so many years ago.

Me: Remember how beautiful the light was when we visited Petrified Forest? Those stormy clouds coming in over the bright blue sky?

Dad: I remember it.

Me: And how you wanted to steal a piece of petrified wood but I told you that it wouldn’t look too swell for a U.S. Customs officer to get arrested for something like that?

Dad: So we bought some at the rip-off gift shop. Guess where they got ’em!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Photoshop tricks: Thanksgiving 2009

1 12 2009

Michael and I hosted Thanksgiving for all our “orphan” friends—those who didn’t have plans to go home to visit family but still wanted to celebrate. Our friends, Paula and Ken (far right), son Kirk (left in blue) and our friend and neighbor, Regina (left in red) helped us celebrate the occasion. Not wanting to bother with all that camera-on-the-tripod-with-time-delay-run-and-jump-into-the-scene business, I shot the first image and handed the camera over to Kirk. A little Photoshop trickery united the entire group into one image. It was done rather crudely and quickly, so don’t be getting out your magnifying glasses to scrutinize, ya hear? (Upon second glance, I wish I had removed Michael’s “claw” on my shoulder—never a good position for hands in a photograph—it looks like a dismembered hand—hmmm…maybe another challenge in Photoshop, perhaps?)

© Cindy Dyer & Kirk Grabowski