That Time I Scanned Some Slides from the Thrift Store and Unearthed Historic Photos of the Kilcher Family

Siblings Bennet and Kathy Smith stand in front of Portage Glacier in this undated photo.
Siblings Bennet and Kathy Smith stand in front of Portage Glacier in this photo dated May 1985. Photograph from the Kilcher Homestead Trust Archives.

In the summer of 2023 I was cruising the aisles of the local Salvation Army thrift store in Homer, Alaska and came across some old slide projector carousels and a Crown Royal bag sitting on the shelf. I peaked in the purple bag and pulled out a couple dozen old slides with pictures of family, mountains, glaciers, and other Alaska stuff.

“Pretty neat,” I thought to myself, “maybe I’ll scan these and see what’s on them.”

I paid $1 for the bag and tossed it in my truck. Little did I known the histories and memories it contained.

The Best Silverfast Settings for Scanning Harman Phoenix 200 ‘Experimental’ Film

What is the best Silverfast profile for scanning Phoenix 200 negatives? Photo by Clay Duda.
What is the best Silverfast profile for scanning Harman Phoenix 200 film? Photo by Clay Duda on Phoenix 200.

Like pretty much everybody else in the analog world, I was pretty stoked to hear about the release of a new color film stock by Harman Technologies. It’s not every day (or even every decade?) that a new 35mm film stock is developed from scratch and released into the wild during the age-of-digital-everything. Even though I mostly shoot black-and-white, I coughed up $35.97 to buy three rolls of the new Phoenix 200 “experimental” film from the Film Photography Project store in early December 2023.

Valentines and Skeletons and Rock-N-Roll when the Ouija Beegees Play Bunnell Art Gallery

The Ouija Beegees perform at Bunnell Street Arts Center in Homer, Alaska, Feb. 16, 2024. Photos by Clay Duda.
The Ouija Beegees perform at Bunnell Street Arts Center in Homer, Alaska, Feb. 16, 2024. Photo by Clay Duda.

“Hey baby I just want to take you home,” the Ouija Beegees song ‘Twilight Zone‘ starts out. “Get high and watch the Twilight Zone.” — and who doesn’t, I guess? Or at least you can let the song take you there.

Old Timey Photos from Homer’s Old Timey Winter Parade

Photos from the 2024 Winter Carnival Parade in Homer, Alaska. Photos by Clay Duda,
Welcome to the two-tone world of the 70th Anniversary Winter Carnival Parade in Homer, Alaska. Photo by Clay Duda.

I was walking back to my car with the wife and kiddo at the end of the parade when some guy in a mini van pulled up next to us.

“What’s going no here? What is all this?” he asked, gesturing to the swarms of people and barricaded streets.

“It’s a parade!” I said. “Actually the 70th Annual Winter Parade,” I added, like I knew what I was talking about.

“Huh,” the guy said. “What’s it for?”

I had never thought about that before… “I don’t really know. They do it about this time every year — probably because it’s winter time and everybody is looking for something to do.”

Tips and Mistakes Spearfishing Whitefish on the Chatanika River near Fairbanks

Spearfishing whitefish on the Chatanika River, September 2023. Photo by Clay Duda.
Spearfishing whitefish on the Chatanika River near Fairbanks, Alaska, September 2023. Photo by Clay Duda.

I didn’t even know what a freshwater “whitefish” was when I applied for a permit to spearfish them. I’ve lived in Alaska for 7 years now and never drawn a tag. I’ve put in for moose and mountain goat and Kodiak elk and a bunch of other things with no luck. So I figured my chances of getting a whitefish tag was slim to none.

Then, in August, I got an email back from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game awarding my first ever Alaska draw tag: to spearfish whitefish in the Chatanika River near Fairbanks. Me and my friend Dan were the only 2 people on the Kenai Peninsula to earn a tag.