Self-Assigned Challenge: Photos In The Attic

Epson FastFoto FF640

It’s raining in Seattle and will do so until next summer. In April, the rain lets up for a bit, bringing a respite to Seattleites, with bright rays of sunshine. But then Mother Nature abruptly closes that door, and we’re right back to low-hanging ever-gray clouds, a mist I’ve described as the dreep: raindrops so steady and persistent they’re creepy.

Of the many ways to cope with the Seattle weather—forming a grunge band, becoming a coffee-shop connoisseur, running a no-business plan startup based on Amazon Web Services, microbrewing an IPA, taking a budtender class at a cannabis shop—creating a digital archive of a photo collection is what I’ve decided on.

Epson FastFoto FF640

And, that’s because the scanning technology in the Epson FastFoto FF-640 auto-feeds everything from wallets to panoramas to Polaroids. In my previous posts, I’ve shared the myriad ways to manage photos, too. What I’m doing is gathering the files and sending them straight to Google Photos, where they’ve got the horsepower, machine learning and AI to organize them for me.

Google will automagically create animations and movies; while that’s not something I’d use professionally, the scenes are sure fun to share with friends and family.

I can also pick from the batch of scans and touch up the photos a bit.

From there, I’ll pick a few gems to enhance with Google’s web editor, Instagram for Throwback Thursday, and make albums like “Various Hair Styles”, “80s Fashion” or “No Idea What’s Going On Here.”

If you prefer to turn the scanning process into a larger historical archive, Epson’s software offers settings to auto-enhance, remove red eye and restore faded colors at 300 or 600 dpi during import.

For a suggested retail price of $549.99, the scanner and app do pretty much what photo prints-to-DVD services do, and should pay for itself after a few albums are scanned (Costco starts at $19 for the first 62 prints and then 32 cents per additional print).

After the photos are finished, the FastFoto scans documents, too, so the digitization project can continue while I listen to the best of Soundgarden, at least, until the sun comes back out and I go for a long bike ride.

Epson FastFoto FF640

I’m using the scanner creatively, but there’s a practical reason to scan those hard copies to prevent them being lost in a flood or fire. A salesperson can collect stacks of business cards into documents in a few minutes.

My wife scanned the art our kids made for us over the years and is giving memories as gifts this year, focusing on experiences instead of gadgets.

The scanner is designed with a skew corrector that will automatically correct the angle of a photo being scanned. Another sensor detects the size, photos stuck together and misfeeds so you can load a variety of sizes into one stack and just press the scan button.

Man In A Suitcase

Ever since I started traveling for business and working on the Internet, I’ve kept the hotel keycards for a future collage project collage called “Man in a Suitcase.” Well, Epson’s sensors work. I fed a handful of keycards into the scanner and both sides were scanned in seconds with no glitches.

Epson FastFoto FF640

I really like it when a piece of tech helps me be more creative, and now I could scan the CD inserts from my collection, stickers I’ve saved and anything that will fit in the intake slot, like recipes, library cards, badges and notecards.

Sticky notes from a brainstorm session may jam it up, but I’m going to try those, as well. Fall leaves, perhaps?


The Epson FastFoto FF-640 features a 30-photo auto-feeder that scans to a designated folder with options to upload Facebook, Dropbox and Google Drive. The killer feature of FastFoto is that it scans both the front and back of photos and postcards in a single pass, capturing valuable dates from the printer and personal handwritten notes.

Epson FastFoto FF640

The software also offers naming conventions like a photo management app with recognizable file and folder names, searchable metadata and a capture date that aligns with the date of the photo, if you can remember when it was taken.

The Epson FastFoto features include:

  • As fast as one photo per second at 300 dpi
  • Scans wallet-sized to panoramic photos at up to 600 dpi
  • Auto-enhance, reduce red-eye reduction and color enhancement features
  • Single scan captures image and handwritten notes on the back
  • Special handling sheet, custom rollers and paper path accommodates fragile photos
  • Scan documents and memorabilia as fast as 45 ppm
  • Included TWAIN OCR software creates editable PDFs or docs

I was impressed by how well the scanner worked, so much so, I’m going to assign myself another challenge: Shoot a “dreeping” set with film, get stills printed and scan them—turn that rain I live with into art.

After that, maybe I’ll undertake a new Polaroid project and scan those as well.

Epson FastFoto FF640

Here’s my fave, found in a shoebox photo. I was faster and thinner then.

It wasn’t raining that day.

You can follow DL Byron on Twitter @bikehugger

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