my new toy


near the summit of Boreas Pass, 11,481 feet; old wagon trail between Como in South Park and Breckenridge.

I bought a slide scanner. Canon 9000F. Came yesterday. I’m not much of a gadget person but I’m already tired of looking at snow and thought I needed something to do. I could drive around Denver counting geese, or eat a lot, or spend time digitizing Cindy’s slides.

The scanner came with instructions. Pfft. Like I need those. It did take me a while to realize that the error messages I was getting on my computer had something to do with the scanner’s On switch not being pressed, but once I turned the scanner on, things went fairly smoothly.

The scanner comes with platens that accomodate negatives, photographs, or slides. I tried to fit the slides into the platen, and they kept falling out, so I came to the logical conclusion that all of the slides were too small and this was a complete waste of time, until—yes, I admit it—I took a teeny tiny peek at the instructions–just a peek–and discovered that the platen fits on the scanner bed and the slides go into the spaces provided. You close the scanner lid, then press the Scan button, and sit back.

I know a lot of the slides have dust on them, and I could dust them with one of those duster things, but I don’t have one, and blowing on the slides might have made me dizzy, so here they are au naturel. More or less.


Penstemon virens on the Guanella Pass Road. about 10,500 feet.

I fiddled with the slides a little, using Photoshop Elements, yet another thing that comes with instructions. I might read them someday.

Years ago we took a trip out east to Wray, to look for Penstemon ambiguus. It was a long drive, with our first border collie riding in the back of the truck (it had a shell on it), barking and jumping up and down for 150 miles or so. The smell of hog farms along the highway was something else, too.

We finally got to Wray, and looked for Barr’s “flowery stretch of sandhills in northeastern Colorado, between Holyoke and Wray” found nothing, were prepared to go back home, when I looked in the empty field next to a motel and there they were. And the highway median was filled with penstemons, and nothing else.


Penstemon ambiguus at Wray, Colorado


Some years, the fens in South Park burst into bloom with sheets of Gentianopsis thermalis. This was taken just outside of the town of Jefferson.


Gentianopsis thermalis, Jefferson, Colorado, about 9500 feet.

The next few slides were taken on a trip to find the type locality–the only locality–of the endangered Penstemon penlandii. The plants grow on one adobe hill of the Troublesome Formation in a very lonely part of northern Colorado.


BLM public lands north of Kremmling, Colorado. This slide was damaged being inserted into the carousel so many times, but I’ve always liked this view.


approaching the Troublesome Formation in search of Penstemon penlandii



Penstemon penlandii in habitat. Construction of the power line led to the discovery of this penstemon.


And then, my obsession. Or rather, one of them. Saxifrages. Cindy liked these as much as I did, which is why there are so many pictures.

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She was especially fond of Saxifraga grisebachii, and its smaller relative, S. sempervivum.




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5 Responses to my new toy

  1. Peter says:

    Your new toy sounds amazing; I’d no idea that such a thing existed. Instructions? Really? Your scanned slides are fabulous. I do miss the days of sitting in someone’s darkened living room watching slides (or even 8mm movies) projected onto that screen that most everyone had. While this computer age gives us access to an incredible quantity of images, there is a little part of the immediate community lost. Sorry, the train of thought got derailed there. Great pictures! I’m going to check out slide scanners myself!

    • paridevita says:

      It was $149 from Amazon. A little larger than I thought, so I had to rearrange the desk upstairs. No place for it on the kitchen table with the laptop. The computer upstairs is Windows XP and it ran the program perfectly. It makes a lot of really cool noises when it scans, too.
      You can still have picture shows in darkened rooms, with digital images, using PowerPoint and a digital projector. That’s pretty nice because organizing the pictures is so much easier than loading slides into carousels.
      I used to have this nightmare, being on a plane somewhere back east, say, suddenly realizing I forgot my slides, and trying to get the pilot to turn around. With digital, if you forgot, someone could email them to you.

  2. Ricki Grady says:

    A legacy from my dad was a multitude of slides. Oh no! Another project looms. Thanks for telling about the cool tool (um…toy).

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