I’ve got thousands of digital photos I’ve taken and they’re not organized very well. I have lost quite a few digital photos over the years also, whether it was because a hard drive crashed or I misplaced some CDs or what. It kills me that I have nothing to show from my first digital camera in 2003! So many memories vanished!

One external hard drive at home has many digital photos, another flash drive has a few, my work laptop strangely has a bunch. I have long been meaning to sit down and consolidate everything into one master archive, which sounds like a pain in the ass but I’ll be glad I did.

I figured while I’m at that, why not go a step further and digitize the entire Glanzer family archives too and add them to the collection? So when the family visited last week, I had them bring all the photo albums they could fit. I got a free scanner recently courtesy a friend’s business giving stuff away. And I have been scanning like a madman.

So far, the project has been much less entertaining than I envisioned. I made the mistake (I even said aloud that it was a mistake at the time) of going through all the pictures first. Now when I’m scanning them they aren’t new and exciting… it’s something I just saw last week. Boring. Secondly, the vast majority of the photos I’ve scanned so far have been Jordan-related. Stuff she took in high school, largely involving her friends Alese and Amy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have a photo in my archive of Jordan’s friend sitting on the toilet in the high school gym, or various blurry shots of the bottom half of our dog’s legs. But they aren’t like some amazing collection of photos that I forgot all about and am like “Wow! I’ve been looking everywhere for these photos!”

No matter. I plan to continue onward until every photo is scanned. But scanning is only half the battle.

  1. I put four photos on the scan bed at a time, wait a minute or two for the photos to finish scanning.
  2. Open the file in Photoshop.
  3. Crop each photo out individually.
  4. Rotate each photo so it’s upright.
  5. Do a quick auto-level color adjustment.
  6. Save with a unique 4-digit number.
  7. Repeat again and again and again.

And then once I have an album or box of photos scanned comes the trickiest part… trying to decide how to sort them. Do I go by year? Person? Event? I decided that events would take precedence… if there was a family trip to Colorado, that would be an album regardless. If a photo wasn’t part of a collection from a particular event, I’d have to decide if there was one person or a group of people and sort by person. So I have a folder for pictures primarily of me. If it’s me and Alex, then that goes in a Glanzer Kids folder. If Mom is in the photo, then it would have to go in a Glanzer Family folder. If Granny was also in the photo, then there’s yet another folder for Extended Family. Within those folders I’ve decided to break it down by time period. And then what to do with photos of various friends, a building, a tree, a pet, a high school basketball game… so many folders. So this is a very intricate system of filing with the hope that whenever someone wants to track down a particular photo, it will be fairly intuitive of where to look.

I originally estimated there were probably 5,000 photos to scan and I think that’s pretty accurate. I’ve already done nearly 1,000. Here are a few of my absolute favorites so far.

Obviously someone's failed attempt to make a chocolate cake.
To be fair, this failed cake looked a lot worse before the blur effect.
A Christmas card we received from a family friend of a baby in a puffy snowsuit, possibly around 2000 or so.
Our family friends’ baby in a puffy snowsuit. That’s what I’ll remember best about Christmas 1999!
Part of the family farm, ca. 1999. And at an odd angle. I think this was from one of Alex's disposable camera projects.
Alex always had a knack for capturing the moment. I think this angled farm landscape really takes you back to that random day and feel what Alex was feeling.
The bottom part of family pooch Cooper (?) on a boat at the lake.
Who needs to remember what the dog’s ears looked like. Just remember the way he calmly sat in the boat.
Some random unidentified members of the community eagerly scooping up food to fill their gullets at a celebration.
Celebrate good times, come on! What says “happy graduation” like strangers cramming their gullets with sandwiches and potato salad?
Our high school science teacher (and by all I mean all-Mom, Dad, me, Jordan, and Alex) Mr. Meyer sitting at a picnic table enjoying a paper cup of Coke.
When I think of carefree summer days, I think of Mr. Meyer and this woman chilling in the sunshine, drinking paper cups of Coke at a picnic table at some sort of event.
Baby Peyton... Jordan's newborn photography skills had to start somewhere!
Jordan is now an accomplished newborn photographer… but I bet she’d cringe at some of her early work with baby Peyton!
Alex watching someone (probably me) dance around the house with a sleeping bag over my head.
There were some good times we shan’t forget, like the time I paraded around the house with a sleeping bag over my head.
Unidentifiable people peering over a balcony at an unidentifiable hotel.
I know the family will always cherish the time these unidentifiable people were peering over a balcony at an unidentifiable hotel.
A wildly poor attempt at a 2000 selfie of me under the Gateway Arch.
A wildly poor attempt at a 2000 selfie of me under the Gateway Arch.
Who could forget the time we visited this hill?
Who could forget the time we visited this hill?