scrapbook digitization, the Japan edition

What Have I Done?!

I have not deconstructed my Japan scrapbooks (two very over-full 12×12″ albums, together weighing about 15 pounds!) but I have begun the digitization of them and the consolidation of my Japan pictures into one “I lived in Japan for 4 years” album.

I’ve got the first 156 pages mostly figured out!

But it’s going to take some work…

I took photos of my 12×12 pages. This is about the only way to “scan” pages without finding a very high priced scanner that can accommodate a page over 11″ – you set up a camera on a tripod pointing directly down, set a wide aperture, high quality image, and zoom a bit to minimize the non-straight lines you get from using a wide angle lens. I found guidance on how to do this online (somewhere!)

The “scans” will not be perfect. You have to minimize glare and uneven lighting, you need to use filtered daylight to get the best results, but I found I have to move every 10 minutes or so to avoid the sun hitting my pages. I do have one that has a distinct sunny spot on one corner of a couple of pages that I failed to notice… oh well.

The high megapixel cameras these days (you know, 8-12, instead of 1-3 like we used to have) do a good job of capturing the details and I’m happy with how the shots turned out so far. I used the best setting on my camera so I think (hope) they will print up well.

Now I just have to integrate the scrapbook pages I made with the photos I have loose or in other formats and the ephemera which was easier to scan in the normal way (since it was randomly stored in pockets and not carefully arranged on a page). My albums were divided into students, friends, beautiful pictures of places I travelled to on my own (which therefore have no people in them, and not even myself because I had not yet mastered the arms-length selfie) and gorgeous pix I blew up for wall viewing. I am hoping to be able to consolidate all of that into one giant 12×12″ blurb book.

By the way, all of the photos were taken in the pre-digital age, so some of them are less than great. I did tend to send big piles of less-well exposed and composed pictures to my parents back home as I went and keep the best few for myself, so these are the best of the pictures I took. I have all the negatives stored carefully away. The albums were made in the years after I moved to the US. Actually I just called them finished last year! I made a couple of simple sketchbook albums while I lived in Japan, but those have long since been converted into blurb books (did I tell you about those – I can’t find the post!) or deconstructed. Yeah, I have even more photos in a box, although they are mostly duplicates or semi-rejects – too good to throw away, not good enough to make it into an album.

Anyway, I am making good progress. I’ve spent a couple of hours scanning, a couple more hours rearranging some of the pages (I autoflowed them into the blurb book to save time, so they kept the strange order I had them in in the albums) and now I have to create a few pages from scratch using photoshop and/or blurb using the loose photos and ephemera. Then I will decide what to add in the way of student and friend photos that I have in my little blurb books – they would go a long way to making this scrapbook more personal and therefore more interesting. And then I have to decide what writing to add to the book – should I put in the stories that I have written down? Should I write a little introduction to each section of the book? If I’m going to go all out and consolidate this into a single book I guess I should attempt to put in everything I have.

The crazy thing is that the trip ended 10 years ago but I’m still processing and learning from it, so in some ways the story doesn’t feel finished…

And then Manda asked, “but you’re not going to throw the albums away, are you?” and I spun off into a whole ‘nother conundrum – what to do with the original pages once I’m done with this project. The albums and plastic page protectors will be donated – they can be useful to other people. The pages could end up in a storage box, but really, what exactly is the point of that? Hubby went through his albums recently and pulled all the pix out (of the nasty sticky pages) and scanned then, then shredded and tossed them – !! I don’t know if I could do that! I guess I should wait and see how the blurb book turns out.

There’s a little part of me that thinks, since the pages will (might?) be deconstructed anyway, maybe I should just scrap the scrapbook and scan all the pictures and start over again in from-scratch blurb format.

But that would be ridiculous!

Yeah, I might be a little crazy.

I blame Pinterest. I saw a lady with lovely 400 page family yearbooks in 12×12 size and thought, those look very compact and easy to browse… and they’re backed up online… and you can print another copy to share with family… it all went from there.

Jo:)

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One Response to scrapbook digitization, the Japan edition

  1. Pingback: another scrapbooking do-over project | adventures in the here now

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