Photo Memories

One of the to-do things on my list when I retired was to Organize our Photos. Over the years, before digital, our vacation photos ended up in boxes. A few vacations, I did manage to put together a photo-album with a narrative. But there were hundreds of loose pictures including many old family photos, packed into many boxes. Now, as we contemplate another move and an even more downsized space (and no storage like we have now), I really needed to deal with reducing the number of boxes and albums. Digitization was the way to go, and I found a great deal around Christmas time (Legacy Box). This period of self-imposed isolation was a great time to finally tackle the task of sorting it all out.

Going through thousands of pictures was not a fast task. There was the, “Who are these people?” photos. (Toss them out, sorry unrecognizable people.) The, “Do I really need to keep every niece and nephew’s school pictures from every year?” (Nope, and out they went.) And then the, “Why did I even keep this photo?” I’m not a good picture taker.   Re-call, this was pre-digital… take pictures, send in the roll of film, see your pictures 2 weeks later, and realize it was out-of-focus or there’s a tree sticking out of someone’s head.

And then there was the even more challenging, “How many pictures of mountains do I keep?”  

In the late 90’s and early 00’s, we had a mountain & national park streak going – Mt Rainier, Yellowstone, Tetons, Arches, Canyonlands, Capital Reef, Bryce, Zion, Glacier, Mt Hood, Crater Lake, Acadia, Yosemite … to name a few. I was working on finishing my “visit all 50 states” life goal and national parks were a nice way to do it.   In those days, we were both avid day hikers. As long as I had a hot shower, a nice glass of wine, and comfy bed, I could do 10-12 miles up and down mountains for days on end.   Yes, they tended to be a very slow 10-12 miles, but that simply allows for lots of time to take pictures!

Going through all the pictures took hours. But it was a lovely walk down memory lane, especially for our long hiking trips. I even pulled out my trip journals, as I relived some of the best moments.

  • My favorite hikes list: Arches Devil’s Garden, Zion’s Angel’s Landing, Mt Rainer up to the snowline, Glacier’s Sunrift Gorge Trail through the Siyeh pass, Teton’s Cascade Canyon.
  • The best quips we had like stopping at every scenic overlook during our Utah trip (yes, every one) claiming, “It’s the journey, not the destination.” Driving through North Dakota and realizing, “We’re in the middle of nowhere and it’s damn big.” Or that very first moose siting, “Oh my gosh – there’s a moose on the trial right in front of me!   Pat, where’s the camera? Pat, where are you?” As hubby later commented, I had dropped him like a hot potato. My take was, “That’s a 2000 lb. animal 10 feet in front of us… I’m outa here.” Hubby was never without a camera again!

Yes, there was some painful moments in those memories – the bee sting that swelled up, the fall on a trial that left my hip deeply bruised, the knee giving out with 3 miles of downhill hiking to still do, the really bad accommodations (what was I thinking booking that!). But the majesty of the vistas, the joy of accomplishing the challenging peaks, and just the fun we had – Oh, that was wonderful. And it leaves me wondering if I could ever do some of that hiking again.

So, there are over 1000 photos being digitized now, everything from old family photos to those more recent, but still pre-digital, trips. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the thumb drive, but at least it will take up a lot less room than the multiple boxes and albums.  And I’ve finally checked off a long-term to-do item!

How are you preserving your old photo memories? Still in albums & boxes or have you also digitized?  What to-do’s on your retirement list have turned into long-term items?

 

Photo: Hubby & Me above Crater Lake

23 thoughts on “Photo Memories

  1. Hi Pat! (I know, long time no hear from me, but you know, stay at home and all!) I can really relate to this. All (or most) of my physical photos are in labeled albums. But now I have set my photos to automatically upload to Google Photos, and then, every so often, I go in and delete all the unnecessary ones. (You know, the pic of the ketchup bottle for hubs to get at the store – that sort of stuff.) I also create albums after every event, and name them by Year, Month and then Event name. That way, they always stay in order on my photo feed. I’ve found out I almost like my digital “albums” best, because they tell me the exact date and time, and it’s waaaay easier to find things than looking through my shelves. Hope you are well. Stay safe! ~ Lynn

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  2. Hi Pat, it’s a huge job isn’t it? We tend to make our trips into photo diary type books these days. Some of our older photos have been scanned but in the recent bushfires we had friends collect all our photo albums from the house in case it was burnt down as we were overseas at the time. I really must do something now!! #mlstl

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  3. I can relate, Pat. While our photos did make it to photo albums…we have shelves and shelves of those albums. When it comes time to downsize, we are definitely going to have to get rid of some and digitize the rest. I laughed at your question about keeping every school photo and every out-of-focus or just uninteresting photo. I bet at least a third of our photos fall in one of those categories. 🙂

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  4. Hi Pat – my photos are a bit of a combination. Back in the roll of film days I just slotted them into photo albums (sometimes with a date and a comment). Then for travel and the kids weddings it was photo books – which I love. Now they’re all on Google Photos and in folders on my laptop (and a back up thumbdrive). I’m using some of the ones of my granddaughter to make her little story books with – they’ve turned out to be a huge hit – so winning with that one. Glad you have yours sorted now – it would be a load off your mind I’m sure.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 😊

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  5. Yes, mine are a work in progress with 40 albums left to digitalise. I’ve found, however, that I really enjoy turning them into movies with music, video intervals, text comments and animations that we can play and do so to entertain visitors (remember when you were allowed those?)

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    1. Oh my – that is beyond my skill set! I did a video of our Africa safari but found most people were not that interested. I am contemplating a couple of coffee table “travel books” though. Will see!

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  6. Hi Pat! What an awesome idea for all of us sitting at home. I have a row of photo album staring at me from the bottom shelf of my bookcase. I really have no excuse because I have a good scanner and mostly enough time. Thanks for the inspiration and a few of your memories. Stay healthy and stay sane! ~Kathy

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    1. Kathy, It was a project on my to-do list for eons. It feels really good to be able to say “i did it”. The added bonus of the memory trip was just wonderful. Stay healthy as well! I said to a friend today… I only know of individual impacts in the 2nd degree (a colleague’s godmother) and would like to keep it that way!

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  7. This is a reallllllly good reminder for me, Pat. I have so many photos that are carelessly tossed in boxes or old albums that are literally falling apart. I’m loathe to spend all that time scanning, but now you’re giving me second thoughts about that. Scanning would allow me to literally toss the boxes, albums, and yes even the photos, to the trash. Thanks for the virtual kick in the rear. 🙂 – Marty

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    1. Marty. I decided to bite the bullet and pay someone else to scan them all. Of course I waited for a good deal (Legacy Box is 50% off right now, someone I know just said that she had a local place that was inexpensive as well). What I found more challenging was choosing what to scan. Because if you do it yourself… it is time consuming! But right now… we do seem to have a lot of time on our hands!

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  8. Pat, This task continues to drop to the bottom of our “Stay at home” Order to do list! It is daunting, but I really like your categories:

    “Who are these people?” photos. (Toss them out, sorry unrecognizable people.) The, “Do I really need to keep every niece and nephew’s school pictures from every year?” (Nope, and out they went.) And then the, “Why did I even keep this photo?”

    I think I can take a stab at it, but maybe one day when its raining! Haha!

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    1. Tracy, it was not easy choosing between pictures to keep. Digitization is not cheap and so I had to make hard choices. The un-recognizable people…. easy toss! Nieces & nephews (both by blood and by choice) … more gut wrenching. And we had many rainy days during this shelter-in-place a couple weeks ago… it was those days that I did this! LOL.

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  9. I am slowly working on this too! When I moved out I ended up with all the old family photos and it feels impossible sorting through and trying to decide how old everyone looks and put them in any order. For the more recent years I have become obsessively organized on dropbox, and our last vacation I made a Chatbook album out of the photos. Highly recommend that! Or something similar. You have a beautiful, simple book that takes up so much less space than a photo album. I’m planning on working through the travels and years and making a collection.

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    1. Hi, I had not heard of Chatbook, but will add it to my exploration. I had thought of creating a “travel memoir” coffee table book or books, now that everything will be digital. But then wondered if it’s just re-creating stuff!

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  10. Hi Pat I’ve been wanting to do this for ages but have always put it in the ‘too hard’ basket. I also feel a little guilty throwing out photos. It is a huge job so well done you for getting into it and I suppose as we are in isolation there really isn’t an excuse is there? Great to have you join me this morning also for our Zoom chat I hope your dinner was delicious! xx

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    1. Sue, Yes, tossing out pictures was sooo hard. I had to keep reminding myself that I’ve not looked at most of them for 10+ years! And now, I’m hoping with the digital pics, I can do something with them – a “travel memoir book”? And thanks for doing the Zoom… I loved hearing what everyone was doing. And now, I’m feeling more comfortable using that tool! Dinner was OK…. I tried out a new recipe I found on-line. It was part of my “pantry cooking” but not sure it will become a go-to recipe. 🙂

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  11. I love this! I have taken this time to use Shutterfly and create a recipe book of my recipes for each of my kids to have. Not that I’m a great cook or anything but I do have those few things that I do really well. It was fun to put together! My thought is that each child will get there ow book at Christmas!

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    1. I’ve been thinking of taking the now digitized picks (when I get them back) and doing a couple of “travel books” via Shutterfly or something similar. But is that just re-creating stuff? Sigh.

      Love the idea of giving the family recipes to your kids! Even if they never cook them, it’s a great thing to have. I’ve been cooking comfort food this past 2 weeks… would have liked a couple of old recipe’s to pull out. But Google has helped!

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  12. That’s funny because I am tackling this project right now. It’s so massive! If only it was just 1000 pictures!! I have 18 albums from 1978 to 2004 when we went digital. I have taken 6″ of photos out of the albums over the years for various reasons (wedding, funerals, etc) and just putting them back in order is a huge job!

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    1. Bernie – I got it down to 1000 to digitize. I tossed out 3 huge boxes of photos! It was brutal… I went through them many, many times and made choices between shots to digitize and toss. It was not easy tossing out so many (cried a bit when I put them in the going-out trash)… but it’s done and I’m moving on.

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