Scanning Shells

Posted: Apr 18 2006 on LTS forum:

Snailer:  "scotto asked me to provide some info on the Polydontes imperator images I posted to the Landsnailer's Forum:

Lacking a camera (gasp!), I've relied upon scanners to do my digital imaging. My old scanner (8 years old) had gone haywire. I just purchased a replacement (Epson 3940), and decided to scan the Polydontes, since I wanted to post a query...

I used black mat board and "fun tack", a more or less "gentle" adhesive putty, to position the shells (available at most any craft or office supply store - I bought mine at WalMart). I scanned three aspects (with no special scanner presets) and merged them with Photoshop, adding text. I saved the resulting combined image as a medium resolution .jpeg file.

I bet Jim could add some commentary about scanning shells ;-).

A word about "fun-tack" and its equivalent...while it generally pulls free with no residue, you may want to be careful with shells having deep pitting, very narrow grooves/frills, and deeper nooks and crannies. Even with shells like these, you can press a wad of the stuff back onto the shell and usually succeed in pulling any remainder up. The dead-collected snail in my series (all white) shows the barest hint of residue in one of the sutures. it's much more porous than the live-collected shells, so that's something to keep in mind. It's barely noticeable to the naked eye, but it's there. If you want to use fun-tack to hold shells which have been oiled, you'll need to clean the oil from the point of contact. Alcohol and a cotton swab should work well for that. Be careful also in using it on shells with loose or flakey periostracum. The perio may well pull off."