“Gives us the nice bright colors, Gives us the greens of summers, Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day.” -Paul Simon from the song Kodachrome
Unfortunately, when I started scanning my Dad’s Kodachrome slides from our trip to California in 1967, I discovered Kodachrome’s dirty little secret. At first I thought the slides had been kept in a filthy environment, but no, it turns out that when Kodak processed them, they put a final coating of shellac on the slides to protect them, and that over the past 40 years, that thin layer has shrunk into clumps that look like dirt.
The Minolta Quick-Scan 35 slide scanner I used does a pretty good job, but it turns out that the newer slide scanners have a special Infrared detector that can help automatically get rid of the clumpy shellac, dirt, scratches, etc. Unfortunately, I didn’t have access to a fancier scanner, so I ended up using PhotoShop’s “heal” brush waaaay more than I ever expected to. Nevertheless, 300 slides later, I ended up with a pretty good little slide show of our family vacation. As you can see above and below, the results were worth it!