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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Scanning, Pixels, Indy, and Cars Named Shaker

By James Morgan

The Bluegrass Shaker  in the staging lanes at Indy '76. Photo by James Morgan
The Bluegrass Shaker in the staging lanes at Indy '76.
Photo by James Morgan

I'd like to address a little bit the online photo scanning and file size issue. I keep reading that scanning for the web, all you need is 72 dpi. This is not always so. Here is why. Most folks have their computer screen set to 800 pixels wide by 600 pixels tall, probably 75% of us are set up that way. If you have an old 3"x5" photo and scan it at 72dpi then 72dpi * 3" = 216 pixels wide or approximately 1/4 of the average computer screen.

Some have mentioned that they set their software to upscale the photo by a certain percentage like 200%, what this does is let the computer make up pixels that did not exist to get the photo the size you wanted on the screen. Some programs are better then others at this but no program is as good as going ahead and scanning in those extra pixels.

So if I wanted my 3" wide photo to take up 1/2 the screen width (400 pixels on the average users CRT) then I would 400 pixels / 3" = 133.33dpi. Well 150 is probably the closest and your much better off with most software letting the computer make the photo a little smaller after the scan then trying to let the software make it bigger. My experience has been that they are better at throwing the pixels out and averaging with the next one then trying to create pixels from looking at the surrounding ones. So what dpi you scan at is directly related to the size of the photo you're scanning and the size you wish the photo to appear on others screens.

Once the picture is scanned, the major decision is how much JPEG compression to save it with. The more compression, the less quality (more compression artifacts) the smaller the file size. This is a personal judgment thing. For myself, 80% or 8 on some software programs seems to be a good tradeoff. We could argue all day on that subject. Anyways, I'll try to keep my file sizes under control (I have a fast connection so I tend to forget what it used to be like). Just thought I'd share a little bit of pixels vs. screen size vs. file size info.

I've only made it out to Indy once, 1976. I had read a rumor that 76 was going to be the last 32-car Top Fuel show and I decided that before it was gone I just had to get out there and see it. Loaded up my sleeping bag and a few clothes (loading up consisted of throwing my stuff in the back of the car) and drove the 22 hours out to Indy from my home in NH. I was 17 and this was a great adventure for me. Glad I did it. In recent years, I've thought about going back to Indy but for me the mystique is gone. Indy is really no different then any of the other races on the NHRA traveling circus. I think the Winternats (do they still call it that?) is about the only race left that is something special or different from the others.

While at Indy in 76, I snapped this shot of the "Bluegrass Shaker," which got me thinking about all the cars with "Shaker" in their names. Who had the first "Shaker?"



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