I plan to scan all of my parents’ photos and save them to CDs. This has the dual advantages of allowing me copies of my own at only the cost of my own time, and the preservation of the images both from colour shifts that the passage of time invariably brings, and preservation from complete loss in case of a flood or something. As most plans with no deadlines, the progress is slow. The last bit of work I’ve done was to scan, colour correct, and repair a roll of film that I know was taken in the summer of 1969. The date wasn’t written on the prints, but what the photos are of makes the date unmistakable.
You see, for seven months in 1969, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers dammed up and shut off the American Falls at Niagara Falls. There was some repair work done as extensive erosion had occurred. Indeed, the falls are where they are today because of erosion. Also, there’s a large pile of rock at the base of the American Falls and one of the main reasons they dammed the falls was to examine this rubble close up and determine whether they should remove it or not. I’ve read the tourist industry in the area was very concerned that visitors would stay away if they knew that half of the falls wouldn’t be there to see. It turns out that the novelty of seeing the falls dry made it one of the busiest tourist years ever, up to that time.
I don’t know who actually took these pictures (I think it may’ve been my brother), but I offer for your approval a photo from the base of the falls. Normally, all of the rock you see in this photo would be covered with water, except perhaps at the very bottom right. At the top is the actual edge of the falls the water plunges over …and you can spot a trickle if you look closely. My only regret is that to fit the images onto this page, I had to reduce their size so much that you can’t see the dirt, spotting, and surface damage in the original. The results certainly are not up to professional restoration standards, but I bet I can at least equal the results from the small film developer places that offer restoration services.