Collecting pictures for yearbook, Ektaflex

Not even three months of school have passed, and I’ve already received a request for school photos for the yearbook. Simple: bring up my VFP Picture Query program, type in “School”, date range since September 2005, and presto: a SQL Select query of my 23,000 picture database resulting in the photos. I needed to purge the extra ones (my 2 year old is in a different school), type in a special URL and Voila! I send a link to a page with the picture thumbs (which are linked to the original pictures) via email.


Forget about digging through negatives and going to the photo store for duplicate prints!


In Boston back in the early 80’s I bought myself an enlarger from one of the camera stores at Harvard Square (I think it was called Claus Gelotte: is it still there? Apparently not<sigh>) and the coolest photo printing system from Kodak called Ektaflex. I could put a negative in the enlarger, expose special paper to the image for 10 seconds (dodging/burning if I wanted to (that’s where you wave your hand in front of the projector to change the amount of light that gets projected on the paper)) and then crank the paper into a little plastic machine that married it to another paper and dipped it into a liquid. After 60 seconds, peel apart and you have an 8x10 print!


EktaFlex was very forgiving about temperature, exposure time, white balance (you could balance the enlarger light once, and it would stay forever) and was a single chemical process. Does anybody else remember Ektaflex?


The only hard thing about it was you needed to find a room that could be totally dark.


My IBM PC at the time had 256K of RAM (see My toys over the years) and 2  360k floppy drives: I couldn’t even imagine putting a decent resolution photograph on that computer. A single photo from my 4 Megapixel camera is bigger than 1000k, which is more than 256k + 2 * 360k  !


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