“The Memories You Left Behind”

Make a Kodak Moment

By Joan Amundsen


“Good morning, yesterday

You wake up and time has slipped away

And suddenly it’s hard to find

The memories you left behind

Remember, do you remember

The times of your life?”

Whenever I hear those lyrics sung by Paul Anka, I think of the hundreds of Kodak slides that still sit in boxes in the storage area of my home. Believe me there were hundreds more that I had already worked on, burning them to CDs, and giving them to my family so they could remember growing up in those “good old days.” I was even given several metal containers of my dad’s collection of slides from the time he and my mother toured the states.

It was in 1975 when Anka was approached by Kodak to record an advertising commercial for them. It became a tremendous hit for both Anka and Kodak. Today he still includes the song in his concert appearances. And every time I hear that tune, I still think of my slides that need attention.

Sure, you could send out all those slides and have them burned on to CDs for you. It’s a bit pricey, about 30 to 40 cents for each slide, but you would miss all the fun of doing it yourself. And anyway, you have all that extra time now. Why not make this a do-it-yourself project. If you start this early enough, you could even make this a Santa gift with several CDs, labeled, bundled and tied with ribbons for each person on your list.

The first thing you need to do is set up a good photo program. Go to http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2335822,00.asp There you will find some of the free programs available. What’s better than free?

There are certainly many photo programs out there, but I have found the one that works best for me is Picasa. Go to https://support.google.com/picasa/?ctx=picasa#topic=4538690

This is a Google program with many tools and options to create some unbelievable photo techniques. After you download the program, just sit and watch all the photos you have stored on your computer get pulled together all into one place. You are going to be amazed at the photos Picasa will find on your computer that you had completely forgotten about.

Follow all the directions Picasa gives and you will be ready to take on the next step.

There are all different makes of scanners on the market for slides, each one just a little different from the next. When I began my project of scanning slides I started with one of those plastic towers that let you feed the slides through the bottom. That was a complete disaster and I returned the unit promptly. I did a search and checked out the reviews of scanners offered on www.amazon.com  At that time the best reviews were for the Canon flat bed scanner #8800F. The price then was about $125, but that was about three or four years ago. Mine still works great, but there are plenty of newer brands on the market to choose from and they probably work more efficiently. Accordingly, I might add, the price has gone up considerably. For latest reviews go to PC Mag site I listed here first. Whichever scanner you choose, follow the directions carefully, install it and you’re ready to go.

You will be amazed that some of the slides are really not worth saving. Some slides have not survived the years because of improper storage. They could have succumbed to dust, dirt, mold, scratches and possibly even some mini-varmints.

There are all kinds of instructions on how you could clean those slides. One thing you never do is use any kind of liquid film cleaners. The best thing to use is a microfiber cloth made just for film that can be found on http://kinetronics.com/store/tiger.html A camel’s hair artist brush could also be used.

After you have scanned a good amount of slides you can sort them into specific time periods. As a rule, I don’t crop any of these photos unless I need them for a specific project.

If you are using Picasa, there are many options. You can crop, straighten and fix red eye. You can put on borders, vignette, soften, pencil sketch, anything you want! Play around with it. My favorite option is the “I feel lucky” button. You can also write a text on each photo. I recall doing a photo presentation, not with slides, but with photos taken at a special event. I wrote the text on each photo and gave the CD as a gift to all those who helped make the event possible.

Now comes the fun part. It is time to burn the CD. You have to use the program that is on your computer to do this. When you review the new CD, check that the time lapse between each photo is about 4 or 5 seconds. Faster than that, and your audience will not get a chance to view the text and the photo. Timing can be adjusted at the beginning of your show.

As each CD is done you can print a label and make it look very professional. Some computers come with a LightScribe program where the label is inscribed into a gold-colored base. This is a really neat program. There are special CDs made for LightScribe. Memorex is also available and can be found at


Experiment! If you don’t like something you have done, you just delete it. That’s why the delete button is there. Start over again until you come up with something you like.

One more thing: On the Picasa program you can create a collage of all or just a few of the photos you have placed on that particular CD. Print it up as a cover photo to slip into the plastic case that will hold the CD.

You can make as many CD’s as you like and give them to whomever you wish. Believe me, there will be lots of requests for your CDs. And you can say, “I did them all myself!”

You have now created a keepsake of the times of your life. And if you go to iTunes, you might want to listen to Paul Anka’s version of “Times Of Your Life.”

Joan can be reached at [email protected]                 




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