Emil Albrecht (Rescanned)
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This page was last updated on April 8, 2020.
Back in 2012 and 2013, I scanned over 100 rolls of 35mm black & white negatives taken by Emil Albrecht. At the time the only scanner I had capable of doing negatives was a Plustek 35mm slide and negative scanner. I did the best I could, but have always felt that the scans suffered greatly from the scratches and lack of dynamic range of the scanner.
Additional rolls of 35mm negatives were acquired in 2016, and still more were acquired in 2019. During 2018 I was able to obtain a new Epson V850 flatbed scanner, and in early September 2019 began scanning the most recently acquired Emil Albrecht negatives. The new scanned images using the Epson V850 are scanned at 16-bit grayscale, at 3200 ppi resolution. The previous scanned images, using the Plustek, were scanned at 8-bit, at 2400 ppi resolution.
The difference in the quality of the scanning sessions separated by six years, has been so striking that I decided to rescan the majority of the earlier rolls of negatives.
Possibly the greatest challenge in scanning these 35mm negatives by Emil Albrecht has been the tight curl they all have from being stored tightly rolled for many decades. I tried what is known as "wet scanning," which produced acceptable images, but the process is amazingly labor intensive and very messy, and almost impossible with curled film.
Over a period of a month, I tried several methods of scanning with the Epson V850, including wet scanning. The 35mm film holder included with the Epson scanner has anti-newton ring glass inserts to help flatten the film, and the scans were acceptable. However, the warping due to curled negatives is a factor in the overall focus of the image.
I have tried cutting the worst of the curled rolls down to single images, and mounting them in individual 35mm slide mounts. I used Gepe 7011 glassless plastic slide mounts. They come in two halves that snap together, and include a metal mask to flatten the film, along with slots in each mask that holds the film in place. The Gepe slide mounts hold these curled negatives tight and flat. The negatives-as-slides were then scanned using the Epson slide holder. The focus is a little off, but acceptable. But with hundreds of rolls of negatives yet to do, time is a factor, and using the individual slide mounts takes a long time for each image. There is also the danger of excessive handling causing still more damage to the negatives, with many of them being quite brittle.
More trial and error has found an excellent solution. Many online discussions concerning scanning black & white negatives suggest that the best focus comes from laying the emulsion (dull) side of the negative directly on the scanner glass. But the curl of these 35mm negatives makes that a problem, since holding the strip of negatives completely flat is impossible, which is why wet scanning does not work for these negatives. I even tried simply taping the negative to the scanner glass. I also tried using a 1/4-inch thick piece of glass as a weight to flatten the negatives. But, as with scanning any negative with plain untreated glass, the resulting problem is what are known as Newton Rings, which are fingerprint-like artifacts from scanning two shiny surfaces that are touching.
A very successful solution was found that uses a 7 inch by 9 inch anti-newton ring (ANR) glass from BetterScanning.com, held above the Epson scanner's glass using shims a little thicker than the film itself, with the film being 0.007 inch, and the shims being 0.020 inch. The shims are placed to allow a 35mm film strip to be slid under the ANR glass, and between the two shims. Due to the curl in the negatives, two one-pound weights are needed to hold the 2.5mm thick ANR glass down and flat on the shims, with the ANR glass placed dull side toward both the scanner glass and the negative being scanned.
After making sure there is no dust present, the negative is slowly inserted under the ANR glass, with the film emulsion (dull) side placed toward the scanner glass. With the film inserted, the dull side of the ANR glass is in contact with the non-emulsion (shiny) side of the film. The image is scanned using Epson's "Film (with Film Area Guide)" setting, meaning that the negatives are scanned as a single image, as a strip of six images.
The workflow process is to scan a strip of six negatives as a single image. Then, using image editing software, each of the six images is cropped and saved separately as its own file, with a fully descriptive file name.
Surprisingly, of all the methods tried during the trial and error period in September and October 2019, this method is also the fastest, simplest, and produces the best image quality in both focus and grayscale tone.
(As a side note about anti-newton ring [ANR] glass, I have discovered that non-glare glass, also known as museum glass, obtained from a local picture framing shop, is identical to the much more expensive ANR glass that must be special ordered. A comparison of scanned images found no discernible difference in the image quality, and the glass itself is much less expensive, with ANR glass being close to $50 per 8x10 sheet, and non-glare glass being a tenth of that, at $5 per 8x10 sheet.)
The following Emil Albrecht photo albums have been rescanned and uploaded...
(Rolls were received in 2012 numbered from 200 through 313. Unnumbered rolls received during 2016 and 2019 are numbered from 400 through 430.)
Roll 200; Weber Canyon, September 3, 1949
- UP 2726, 2728, 3959, 5009, EMD F3s
Roll 201; Cache Junction; Ogden; Salt Lake City, August 28 and September 1, 1949
- D&RGW 1712, UP 5037, 5082, 5306, 7853, 7860, UP Alco switcher, WP 173, 483
Roll 209 and 212; UP at Cache Junction, and in Weber Canyon, 1946
- UP 4006, 5067, 5310, 7016
Roll 232; UP at Logan, October 1947
- includes Hyman Michaels tearing up Utah Idaho Central at Logan; UP 332, 608, 619
Roll 235; UP in Ogden, March 22, 1947
- Sperry Flour, SP 2630, UP 4443, 5308, 5508
Rolls 236, 237, 238, 239; UP at Cache Junction and Montpelier, May 1948
- UP 567, 2551, 2552, 7034, 9078, 9083, 9508, 9512, caboose 05733
Roll 240; UP at Montpelier and Logan, July 1948
- UP 539, 583, 9079
Roll 242; UP at Wheelon and Cache Junction, August 15, 1948 (no Roll 241)
- UP 3553, 5044, Wheelon details, crane 02043
Roll 244; D&RGW, UP, and WP at Salt Lake City, August 31 and September 1, 1948
- D&RGW 1143, 1502, 1709, UP S2 1148, F3 1448, UP 2-10-2 at Becks, WP 173, 483, FTs 907 and 910
Roll 245; D&RGW in Salt Lake City, September 2, 1948
- D&RGW 1508, 1803, 3506, 44-ton no. 40
Rolls 245 and 246; UP and WP near Black Rock, September 2, 1948
- UP Alco freight units, UP EMD F3s, WP FTs
Roll 246; SP and UP west of Ogden, September 3, 1948
- SP 3724, UP 5080, 5313, 5506
Roll 247 and 248; UP at Montpelier, September 9 and 10, 1948
- UP 580, 583, 2546, 5316, 9086, 9504, 9509, 9511, 9512, 9513, EMD F3s, Train 106
Rolls 249, 250 and 251; Trip to Pocatello, September 26, 1948
- UP 580, 611, 2527, 3565, 3567, 3825, 5037, 7859, 7869, 9079, 9501, 9507, Alco RSC2 1180; Pocatello dead line
Roll 252; UP in Bear River Canyon, and Cache Junction, October 23, 1948
- UP 5068, 5309, 5526, and details of UP's line through Bear River Canyon
Roll 253; UP Locals at Logan and Lewiston Sugar Factory, November 17, 1948
- UP 324, 607, F3 1415
Roll 254; UP at Ogden, and American Fork, and D&RGW at Provo, all sometime in 1947
- D&RGW 788, UP 4410, 3558, 3951, 3958, UP COLA at Ogden
Roll 255; UP at Logan and Cache Junction
- UP 587, 596, 617, Alco 1180, crane 02043
Roll 267; D&RGW, SP and UP at Ogden in January 1950
- D&RGW 803, 1142, VO660 69; SP S-2s 1370 and 1387, F7 6200-6201; UP S-2s 1108 and 1126, Challenger 3825
Roll 269; D&RGW power at Salt Lake City idled by a strike, plus a UP passenger train at Farmington, all on June 25, 1950
- D&RGW SLC roundhouse scenes, including D&RGW 3711 and WP FTs; UP at Farmington.
Roll 270; UP at Cache Junction, June 1950
- UP 2555, 3826
Roll 271; UP at Ogden, August 1950
- UP 617, 3824, 5300, Alco PA set, EMD F3 set
Roll 272; Trip to Helper, August 1950
- D&RGW and Utah Railway trains in Price River Canyon
Rolls 273 and 274; UP at Ogden, May 14, 1951
- UP 803, 2726, 3810, 3829, 3833, 3963, 4018, 4019, 5024, 5069, Alcos 1108, 1121, 1128, 1143, F3 1442 power set, 1468 power set, and two City trains.
Roll 275; D&RGW's Salt Lake City roundhouse, UP in Salt Lake City, June 3, 1951
- D&RGW 1222, 1224, 3350, 3611, 3703, 3704; UP 819, Alco FA 1623, NW2 1005
Roll 279; UP at Soda Springs, August 26, 1952
- UP 2112, 3802, 3838
Roll 283; UP at Cache Junction, March 6, 1948
- UP 324, Cache Junction details
Rolls 284, 287; Bamberger, SP and UP at Ogden, March 20, 1949
- Bamberger 570; SP and UP Alco switchers; UP steam in the deadline
Emil Albrecht Photos -- A collection of online photo albums, with over 2000 images from more than 100 rolls of 35mm film; a few albums include multiple rolls due to the photographs being taken on the same day, in the same location.