We drove down into Iowa Sunday, to put us in striking range of a variety of viewing sites in the totality zone on Monday.
Even Sunday, we encountered traffic and crowding on Interstate 35; we had to wait for a table at a Culver’s down in Iowa. We did seem to be a bit ahead of the crowd, since our hotel’s parking lot was nearly empty when we got there (or maybe the people on I35 had planned ahead further than us and had hotels down in the totality zone).
Weather forecasts looked fairly dismal. We poked at them a lot, and on Monday morning we chose Falls City Nebraska as our viewing site.
The route there was all back roads, and we encountered no particular traffic. However, the town was quite active, with clear eclipse events at various places, and many optimists hoping to sell $20 parking. We ended up in the parking lot of an empty fast food facility, with a good view of the clouds overhead. A number of other group showed up there shortly.
There were thinner spots in the clouds, and occasionally you could tell where the sun was; or even see the disk (filtered by the clouds; at this stage, with the eclipse protective glasses you could see nothing at all, you couldn’t even tell where the sun was behind the clouds).
This raised a technical point I hadn’t really planned for. With the eclipse glasses, or the solar filter over the lens on the camera, you could see nothing at all. Sometimes the clouds were heavy enough we couldn’t tell where the sun was, but when they thinned and you got hints of the sun, sometimes a view of the full disk, you still couldn’t see anything through the filters. This made it difficult to get the camera trained and ready to capture anything that might briefly show through the clouds. It also left me bouncing back and forth between filters and no filters, trying not to expose my eyes or even the camera sensors to the bare sun, but needing to use bare eyes and sensors to find it much of the time. (There don’t appear to be any weird blind spots in my eyes today, I seem to have been careful enough or lucky enough.)
The clouds thinned out a few times, and we got views near first contact, and occasional views thereafter.
We got some very heavy-duty insectile assistance while waiting for the eclipse to start. Looks like a very big wasp, and we saw it entering and leaving a crack in the pavement, so I guess ground-dwelling. Carrying something even bigger than it was; food for itself or for the next generation I guess.
The light seemed to dim in definite steps as we neared totality, not continuously. It was a weird effect, and repeated a number of times. People watching seemed to agree on when a step had happened.
It did get very dark. We had something like a sunset (except that the sun wasn’t there) all around the horizon; it was dark overhead, but light on all sides, with the sun out there clearly lighting up the clouds. Not sure one would see this effect without the clouds; though just the diffusion of light passing through the air might be enough to give a similar effect.
And we got a very brief view in early totality through the clouds, where you could see a bit of corona. I got one photo then, too.
We hung around to watch the sun come back, and got to see a bit for a while, until the clouds got serious. Then we headed out—and the clouds cleared and we got bright sun a few minutes later (clouds had been solid to the horizon before) and we got some good clear views of the late stages (I didn’t take photos of the sun then).
Again, nothing much in the way of traffic delays on the back roads, but Interstate 35 was jammed. We had lines for the bathrooms at every stop, and visibly heavy traffic (and much heavier than the southbound traffic) all the way back up to the Twin Cities. The trip back was over 3 hours longer than it should have been, due to these traffic delays.
Very close to sunset, we did run into a very nice double rainbow.
Specifically, the inside (or bottom) of the main glass. Because, as anybody who has used a scanner critically knows, the inside of those things out-gases (from the plastic) and deposits thin layers of gunk on the bottom of the glass.
You do also have to clean the top of the glass, but that’s easy; normal glass or lens cleaning techniques (so, Windex, water and ammonia, alcohol-based lens cleaner, with suitable soft cloth or paper).
Ammonia, in your own mix or in Windex, is corrosive to electronics, so be careful what you spray around where!
It’s easy to Google up posts all over about the process in general, like here.
The bottom of the glass is no harder—once you get to it.
The basic process is:
Remove the scanning lid and set it carefully aside
Remove the four plastic plugs over the screws that hold the top on
Remove the screws that hold the top on (small Phillips)
Lift off the top
Clean the bottom of the glass, as above
The problem is those little plugs. Well, they’re not actually that big a problem, but it’s not obvious from the outside how to do this.
If your scanner is out of warranty, it doesn’t matter too much; the failure mode is gashing up the plugs and the top of the housing, which are purely cosmetic issues. If however your scanner is still in warranty, clear evidence that you’ve been inside could void your warranty.
So, here’s one of the plugs, in place:
Those scratches were made by me, with a small (jeweler’s) flat-blade screwdriver, trying to find the point to pry the plug out. Ruined the screwdriver, too, by the way, but this was one of the vestigial ones from an old set and I was rather expecting that, using such a small thing as a pry-bar.
There is, it turns out, a better way! (This is my shocked face.)
Note the wide “V” on the plastic cap. With the scanner on the desk in front of you so that the top opens away from you (I think of this as the “normal” position to use a flatbed scanner in), that “V” is pointing down (meaning the wide side is away from me).
Here’s the cap off, and what a cap looks like from the bottom:
Note the top cap is well and truly messed up; that’s the first one I got out, before I knew how to do it reasonably cleanly.
Now, look at the bottom cap (also oriented so the bottom of the “V” is towards us, wide end away). See that big gap at the top? Yeah, turns out if you pry there it’s much easier to get the pry-bar in and much easier to get the cap out, doing almost no damage. Not none, if you’re in warranty you should still think about that. I tried the “duct tape” thing frequently cited on the web, but it did nothing at all with mine.
So: Put your narrow pry-bar in at the wide part of the “V”, and pry there. Comes right off!
There’s something slightly weird about the front left corner, that was the hardest bit to get off and get on. I found the top went on much better if you put the left side down first.
That’s what any troublesome project is, of course. And, as often as not, at least some of the losing steps make the problem worse, and you have to cope with that along the way.
In this case, replacing license plates. Nothing much wrong with the old ones, especially the back one, but in Minnesota they get replaced every 7 years anyway. Now, I think I’ve had these 8 years, but never mind.
Front one was easy; though it’s held on by big sheet-metal screws straight into the bumper (which is not sheet metal). But they still feel reasonably solid.
The right-hand screw on the rear one was easy.
The left hand screw, not so much. I was down to my next-to-last idea, before taking it in to a professional (and paying the “if you worked on it yourself first” rate I guess) on Monday, if nothing had worked.
Big #2 Phillips screwdriver
No effect. Didn’t actually raise blisters on my palm.
#2 Phillips bit in ratchet handle
This gave me more leverage, plus separated pushing in hard (left hand) and twisting (right hand). Screwed up the head pretty good.
Not easy to get at where the screw entered the threads, screw head and plate frame and plate were all in the way. But squirted a bit in the general direction, and waited overnight. Then tried Phillips bits again. No go.
Drill into the screw head, then thread the extractor in and twist like hell with a wrench on the end of the extractor. Broke the extractor clean off. Not aware of slipping and getting forces the wrong direction, but no doubt doing this with magic tools to keep things aligned perfectly instead of freehand would have been less likely to break anything.
Break off the plate frame
It was between the head of the screw and the plate, so removing it gave me more play and better access to where the screw entered the threads. Tried twisting the screw head with slip-joint pliers, no dice. More penetrating oil, now that I have better access (and wait overnight again).
Try turning the screw head with channel-lock pliers
This actually worked! A bit slowly at first, but I got the screw out.
(The next step, not used, was to try to file down two edges of the screw head far enough to give the pliers a better grip.)
New screws are stainless (had to replace the left one anyway, since I’d pretty thoroughly ruined the head). The threads are metric (M5), though, so the heads aren’t a convenient size. The adjustable wrenches will fit them, but that’s much slower than nut-drivers or ratchet sets.
Definitely cheaper than taking it to the professionals (one $5 Irwin extractor, broken; trivial amount of penetrating oil out of existing container). Considerably more time and annoyance, though.
[Edited 7/24/2017 to remove two bad photos of damaged screw head and replace them with one decent one. And switched to consistently label this large machine-screw as a “screw” rather than a “bolt”.]
I’ve spent a lot of my life picking photos—the ones to keep, the ones to print, the ones to give a client, the ones to put online, the ones to show friends. All sorts of different constraints and considerations apply. (To confuse things, this process is sometimes called “editing”; traditionally a photo editor at a newspaper, or highschool yearbook, is responsible for selecting the photos to publish.)
I found some years ago that housemates looking over my shoulder often want me to display a larger percentage of the photos I shot than I generally do. I, on the other hand, think I ought to be considerably more selective than I am for the snapshot album exhibits.
So, here are some examples and thoughts on the question, based on part of one roll I scanned this last week. The photos are from Keycon 7 (1990), in Winnipeg.
I’m discussing these as snapshots (pictures of people you know) or photojournalism (snapshots of people you follow at a distance), not as art!
I’m going to show you the contact sheet, and then the ones I scanned, and for a few of those explain why they don’t show in the final collection, or why they do. (The scan decision was made with this article in mind; I scanned some just so I could exhibit them in this article.)
(A “contact sheet” used to be made by putting the negatives on a sheet of photo paper in the darkroom, putting a sheet of glass over them, exposing for a measured time using the enlarger or some controllable light source, and then developing the sheet of paper. This gave you a nice index of all the negatives on that roll on one sheet, all at the same exposure so you could predict exposures for later pictures once you’d made a good print of an earlier picture. This so-called contact sheet is a scan of the negatives in their Print File archival storage page on a flatbed scanner with transparency capability.)
We’ll just go through them in order. I’ll be identifying them by the negative number, which you can see below the photo in the edge printing (also above, except on the first row where it was cropped off).
This one is mediocre, but I ended up including it. Nobody shows their face that well (the two at the edges are both looking quite a bit down, and Geri in the center is looking sideways. Also Peter on the right isn’t at all interacting with the other two. Still, they’re all in focus and decently exposed.
Didn’t scan this at all. Ruth is half behind the head of hair in the foreground. There really doesn’t seem to be much point to this photo as it turned out. Probably I didn’t see the foreground person coming.
This is a bit sketchy technically; underexposed, and I haven’t manage a great job on color correction. However, the two people in back are clearly interacting, plus what makes it, the person sitting on the floor smiling up at the camera. This ends up being a semi-decent picture.
Alternate version of 16; the lighted wand in the back is interesting but doesn’t really communicate anything. However, the great expression in the front is missing, so this was not the one I chose.
The flaw here is the person in yellow in the background. They’re too hidden to contribute anything, but the bright yellow and enough face to get your attention are still there. However, the three in front are great; Geri’s eyes are closed, but she’s so clearly laughing hard that’s okay, and the two flanking her are clearly engaged. This is pretty decent.
Wanted a photo of Dave Clement, and this one is decent, but Nate’s eyes are closed, so the photo as a whole doesn’t do much good. If photos of Dave were seriously rare I’d just crop this down or something, but while I don’t seem to have another on this roll, I’ve got hundreds through the collection as a whole; not rare. I scanned this so you could see for sure Nate’s eyes are closed, I could tell from the contact sheet.
Best one so far, I think. Fairly nice of both Kara and Ruth, and they’re clearly having an interesting conversation as well as eating dinner. Distracting background, but the flash exposure has brought the foreground up enough that the background is rather suppressed, and that’s generally unavoidable in snapshots anyway.
This could have been interesting, but my timing was off, so the guy on the chair completely disappears behind his arm.
Missed this one first time through, but it’s actually quite nice, and shows us who the person on the chair in the previous shot was.
No scan, no hope. Victor’s hand blocking Beth’s face, Polly a bit out of focus. Again, if Victor was a terribly rare find I’d use this in some way, but he isn’t.
Ruth getting something out of a bag. Fairly nice.
Mostly bad. Victor could probably be extracted if pictures of Victor were rare, but we just dealt with that above. Beth is interacting with the person behind Victor’s hand, and that person is, um, not looking their best in this shot. No point in this one.