Dad’s 35mm Slides


It being Father’s Day today, I posted a photo on Facebook that I had found in some slides my Dad shot during the years 1949 to 1953. Dad was an amateur photographer his entire adult life (it’s genetic, you see), and those slides are just a tiny subset of all the photographs, negatives and slides he left behind, but I find them an interesting glimpse of life in Montana in the decade before I was born. So I thought I’d share a few more of them here, for others in the family who might also find them interesting.

Here’s the family photo I shared on Facebook:

Mahugh family, 1949-1950

Back row: Don, Ruth (Don’s wife), Richard (my Dad), Lorna, Irv.
Front row: Vernon, Arley, Mary, Lowell.

As a couple of my cousins mentioned, there aren’t many photos of the entire family together. In addition to the one above (taken June 1950), I also found this shot which seems to include everyone but Don (as well as a little boy whom I don’t recognize):

Mahugh family at Fort Peck Resevoir

That looks to me like it’s at Fort Peck Resevoir, perhaps Hell Creek. And here’s another shot (of people I don’t recognize) that appears to be from the same day:

Fort Peck area

Here’s a photo of my grandmother Mary Mahugh flanked by her brothers Harry on the left and Bill on the right:

Harry, Mary, Bill - Waters siblings

This one is Dad’s younger brother Vernon:


And here are two photos of Dad’s brother Irv, who became an engineer like so many men of that family (including Dad):


Irv (white shirt) and friend

Here’s a photo of my great-grandmother Waters, likely with two of her sons although I’m not sure. I don’t recognize the guy in uniform, and the guy on the right looks very familiar but I don’t remember his name:

great-grandma Waters

I have no idea who these guys are, but they’re quite dapper:

Montana men

I only recognize one woman in this photo, my grandmother Mary Mahugh in the striped dress (right of center):

grandma and friends

This guy has memorable look, but I don’t remember him:

Montana man

Here’s my grandfather Arley Mahugh (left) on a hunting trip, and I think that’s Glenn Mahugh on the right:

Grandpa hunting

I don’t recognize anyone in this photo, but it’s a classic Montana picnic:

Montana picnic

I remember picnics like that on trips to Montana as a kid. And I love the utter lack of view or scenery; not all of Montana is postcard-perfect mountain views, especially up in the weatherbeaten northeastern corner of the state that my family comes from.

Here’s a photo of engineering students doing their homework, perhaps when Dad was at Montana State University:

students with slide rules

This photo is apparently a late-spring snowfall in Fort Peck:

33 Image11

I’m pretty sure that the weather in that area is the most wideanging of anywhere in the United States. For example, in Glasgow (where my Dad was born) the record high is 113F and the record low is –59F. Add to that the huge hail, lightning, tornados, rattlesnakes, cactus, and a few other things, and it’s no wonder that people from northeastern Montana tend to be pretty tough and durable. Grandpa was a great example of that.

To wrap up, here are two photos Dad took along with similar photos I took myself 60 years later …

Here’s a photo that Dad took of the power station at Fort Peck Dam:

Fort Peck Dam power station

And here’s a photo I took at the same spot in 2010:

Fort Peck Dam power station

Here’s a photo Dad took of a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park, in 1953 I believe:

Yellowstone National Park

And here’s a photo I took of a grizzly with cubs in Yellowstone in 2010:

Yellowstone National Park



  1. Peggy Droesch on

    Are you having these digitized commercially, or is this a DIY? If so, what scanner are you using? I’ve got a ton of slides to convert dating back to when I first picked up an SLR….

  2. I used to have a Nikon 35mm scanner (don’t recall the model) back in the 90s, but for these I used a scanning service here in Seattle. In 2009 I spent several weekends getting all of my slides, prints and film scanned, and I now have 100% of my photos in digital form, all backed up. It was a very expensive project in terms of time and money, but it’s nice to have it done. And in hindsight, it’s a good thing I got it done a few months before we got Jamie, because I sure wouldn’t find the time to do it now! :)

  3. Peggy Droesch on

    Arrrgh, that was what I was afraid of. I picked up an inexpensive scanner online this week & have been using it to scan my slides from a trip to Germany in 1985, but have been seriously underwhelmed with the results. Problem is, it’s hard to tell how much of the loss of resolution I’m seeing is b/c of the scanner & how much is just the fact that these are old slides taken with a clunker of an SLR you actually had to FOCUS. Taken by somebody who really wasn’t used to anything other than point-&-shoot at that point (that would be me).

    The stupid thing is, this scanner doesn’t have any way to focus the image. Why am I supposed to assume that its set focal length has any relation to the focal length of my slides? Am I not supposed to know enough physics to even think about stuff like this?! Hell, I took physics in high school, & a year of it as an undergrad. I totally think about stuff like this!

    Oh well, I suppose I should just bite the bullet & take them to somebody who can do a decent job with a scanner that can focus on each image. And return the scanner I bought for a refund…

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