Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

Posts Tagged ‘film photography

New York at Night

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I made my first and only visit to the observatory of the World Trade Center in early November 1981. I was visiting a friend who lived in the Big Apple although we had met back in Springfield, Illinois, when we both worked for the state.

We visited the WTC twice on the same day. The first visit occurred during daylight hours. I might have said something about what a nice view it would be at night.

Whatever the case, we returned that evening and I made this image. I don’t remember having a tripod. Perhaps we went back to Mark’s apartment to get one. I can’t imagine that I was traveling with a tripod.

This image was made on slide film and over the years it has badly faded. I scanned it anyway and through some Photoshop work was able to regain some of the image.

It would not only be the last time I visited the WTC it would also be the last time that I saw Mark. In fact, I can’t remember his last name or how to get in contact with him. Our last visit, though, was a memorable one.


Curled up on the End of the Roll

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Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Back in the days when I used to make photographs on slide film I would often come home from a photo expedition with two, three or four frames left on the roll of film in my camera.

I wanted to take the film in right away to be developed but didn’t want to waste the unexposed frames.

My go-to subject matter for using up the rest of the roll was our cat Chessie. As cats are want to do, she was often napping somewhere in the house.

I would find her and make a few images to finish off the roll of film.

Such was the case with this image made in May 2009 when she was curled up in a ball on our bed.

Written by csanders429

March 28, 2017 at 5:30 am

It Was Along the Way

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My interest in photographing lighthouses is of recent vintage. Although I’ve had an interest in lighthouses for awhile it didn’t crystallize until I bought a book nearly two years ago devoted to lighthouses of the Great Lakes.

That has given rise to a fantasy of making a trek to photograph all of the lighthouses of the Great Lakes.

That won’t happen, but I can “collect” photographs of as many of them as I can.

This image of the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse was made on slide film during an era before my interest in photographing lighthouses had blossomed.

I was traveling with a friend back to Traverse City, Michigan, after a day trip to Sault Ste Marie to see the locks there.

While passing through Mackiac City we stopped so I could get some photographs of the famous Mackinac Bridge from the shore.

The lighthouse just happened to be there so I photographed it. I didn’t make many images of the lighthouse and if I get back there again I’ll have to remedy that situation.


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Back in 1978 color photography was not common at the newspaper at which I worked in east central Illinois. The paper might publish one color photograph on the front page once or week or less.

It was an involved process. A photograph had to be made on slide film. The slide was sent to a lab to make a negative which the production folks translated into the image that appeared on the press.

It took awhile before the production people figured out how to fine tune this process. Some images didn’t look good when printed.

One old hand in the newsroom said about one image, “it’s was our usual smudge.” He was an older guy who probably thought that black and white had served the paper well for decades and why change that now. We were not USA Today, one of the early pioneers of color photography and graphics.

I wanted to get a color photograph published so I took a box of Ektachrome slide one afternoon to Lincoln Log Cabin state park.

They had a couple of turkeys and I thought that would make a good color image for the front page.  I took several images of the turkeys and this might have been the one that was used.

I don’t know if these turkeys wound up on a dinner table or eventually died a natural death.

Reflections on a Long Ago Sunset

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I ran across this Kodachrome slide more than a year ago while looking for something else. I set it aside and planned to put it back in the box but for some reason it never got put away.

It has sat on my desk for several months gathering dust. While scanning slides for a book project, I decided to do something about this slide. I cleaned it and then scanned it.

The slide mount is stamped December 1979. Chances are it was one of a handful of frames left on a roll of film that I exposed during a trip to Florida.

My memory is that I made this image at the edge of the backyard of the house in which I was living at the time. It wasn’t just any house. It was the house in which I grew up and moved back to after college when a job offer came along in my hometown of Mattoon, Illinois.

Our house was on the edge of town and the view to the south and southwest was farm fields. In December the sunset would have been toward the southwest.

I no longer remember why I made this particular image. Maybe I was standing in my backyard, saw the sunset and decided to capture it.

I used to spend a lot of time standing on the edge of the field abutting our property, looking toward the southwest and thinking about things.

In December 1979, I had a lot to think about. My mother had died tin October of cancer. A friend had died in a plane crash on Thanksgiving Day. I was going through tough times.

Amid a period of recovering from grief I saw beauty in this scene. I vaguely remember stopping down the aperture just to see what effect it would have.

I must have gotten on my knees to frame the vegetation in the foreground, plants that many might call weeds.

The image turned out darker than I would have liked, but I liked what I saw. I still do.

The slide from which this image was scanned has since been placed back into its box. In life, there are always times when things must be put away, even if they are never quite forgotten.

Feeling Good About the Return of Kodak Slide Film if Only for a Few Fleeting Moments

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It almost sounds too good to be true, but there is hope that Kodak Alaris might bring back Kodachrome slide film.

kodachromeReports have surfaced on photography websites that Kodak is considering resurrecting what is, arguably, one of its most famous products.

In the wake of an announcement made earlier this month that Ektachrome would return to the market later this year, Kodak Chief Marketing Officer Steve Overman responded to questions about whether Kodachrome might be  next.

“We get asked all the time by filmmakers and photographers alike, ‘are you gonna bring back some of these iconic film stocks like Kodachrome . . . , ” Overman said earlier this month during CES, a global consumer electronics and technology show. “I will say, we are investigating Kodachrome, looking at what it would take to bring that back . . . Ektachrome is a lot easier and faster to bring back to market . . . but people love Kodak’s heritage products and I feel, personally, that we have a responsibility to deliver on that love.”

Aside from Ektachrome, Kodak is also bringing back the Super 8 camera.

Some would argue quite strenuously that its rich colors made Kodachrome the best color film. Period.

But it was also a complex film to process and the cost of doing that was a major contributor to the film’s demise in 2011 when the last lab in the country to process Kodachrome processed its last roll. Kodak had ceased manufacturing Kodachrome in 2009.

There was a time when Kodachrome and Ektachrome were a major part of my photography life. I was particularly fond of Kodachrome 200 because I had a slow lens on my Canon Rebel G film camera. After it went away, I began shooting a lot of Ektachrome 200 although I also frequently bought Fuji slide film, most notably Velvia and Provia.

Sometimes the film I bought depended on what the camera store that I patronized had in stock when I came in to buy film.

Film has its advantages, but cost is not one of them. Many who have posted on photography sites about the return of Ektachrome spoke about the high cost of buying and processing film, which can average around a dollar a slide.

If you want to show your slides to the world, you just about have to digitize them because there are few opportunities to see slides projected on a screen or wall. Social media is a digital world.

Aside from the fond memories of thousands — and maybe millions — of photographers who used Kodachrome, there are some who still have rolls of Kodachrome film, some of it exposed but never processed, stashed away on shelves or in freezers.

If Kodachrome does make a comeback, look for a lot of film cameras to come out of the closet as the novelty factor kicks in.

Kodak said there has been increasing interest in analog photography and sales of film products are on the rise. I get the impression, though, that film remains a niche market heavily populated by professionals and serious amateurs who are invested in digital and film alike.

Although I grew up in a film world and most of my photography career has been in film, I sold my Rebel G a year after going digital in July 2011 and there is a zero chance that I’ll go back to film. The advantages of digital photography are just too many.

Emotional attachment and reaction is at the heart of photography. The return of Ektachrome and the potential return of Kodachrome is like hearing from a friend you haven’t been in touch with for several years who was once a big part of your life.

Even if the renewal of the friendship is fleeting, it feels good to know that he is alive and well even if living a diminished life.

Steps to Mission Point Lighthouse

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If  you follow my blog or spend any time looking around you will notice in time that I like to photograph lighthouses.

This interest is of recent vintage. I’ve long had some interest in lighthouses, but it has accelerated in recent years. Whenever possible, I visit a lighthouse along the Great Lakes.

Shown is Mission Point lighthouse, located at the end of Old Mission Point, which juts out into Grand Traverse Bay, which itself empties into Lake Michigan.

There is a nice beach just steps away from this lighthouse. A website devoted to Mission Point describes it as a classic piece of Michigan history.

It was removed from service as a lighthouse in 1933 so today is is a tourist. Nonetheless, I imagine that many mariners have made note of it as they passed nearby.

This image was made in August 2010 and was scanned from a slide. I have not been back to Mission Point since.

Written by csanders429

September 28, 2016 at 6:11 am