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Camera Basics

By TOMMY WILLIAMS / L’Observateur / January 4, 1998

Although I can’t vouch for women, men always tend to have a particular place where they try to store everything. My wife calls this place “TheCave.” I am sure most of you have one or something similar to one. This is a placewhere, when you open the door, objects just begin to rain down on you from the sky. My “cave” happens to be a hall closet. This is the place whereI try to store all of my photos and their negatives. If you shoot more thanone to two rolls of film a week, you know it doesn’t take long to have piles of prints and negatives spread out all over the house.

Developing a simple filing system for photos and negatives can help conserve space and keep things organized. Organized in a sense oftomorrow, or two years from now, someone wants a copy of a photo, I know where to locate a negative to make a reprint. All work must becarried out before the prints are separated from the original negatives.

First, begin by marking all photos of the same roll with a numeric or alphanumeric tracking number, such as R1, A1, or 0001. This trackingnumber should appear on the back of the prints and negative sleeving material of the same roll. Using a tracking number system gives you theability to instantly know where to find that particular set of negatives for that print. A fine-point permanent marker is what I normally use tonumber both prints and negative sleeves, just be sure to allow a minute or so for the ink to dry before placing prints on top of each other. Caution!When marking the back of prints, always place prints on a flat clean surface and try to lightly press on print to avoid creasing the print surface.

Next, mark that same numeric or alphanumeric tracking number on the sleeving material for that roll and on a 4×6 inch envelope, again using a permanent marker. Place the negatives in the envelope and file them awayin a plastic shoe box. The plastic shoe box will prevent the negatives frombeing crushed or bent.

Finally, discard any out of focus or badly exposed photos and place the acceptable prints in an album.

Using a simple filing system for photos and negatives can conserve space and keep things organized, especially when trying to reorder reprints and enlargements. So if your wife is compassionate enough to allow you tohave your own private “cave,” at least try to keep it clean and organized.

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