Kodachrome

I used Kodachrome. Starting in 1980, I used as much as I could afford to buy and have developed. It made you slow down. Kodachrome 64 required a lot of light and a fast lens, or it required you to have a tripod and a good idea of the light available.

Now it is gone, a victim of the digital age. The process to make and develop it is complex, and the demand has fallen off to the point that it only makes business sense to let it go.

There’s no more being made, and there’s only one lab left that can do the developing, Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas. They will be shutting the developing tanks down at the end of the year. There still is slide film available, Kodak Extachrome for example, but I remember, and it is not the same. Kodachrome is vibrant, reds especially stand out, the color returned made every roll a treat to view.

This picture is one of the finest, most complex shots I ever took with Kodachrome. This is the arch at Ground Zero in Hiroshima, looking out from the museum toward the iconic remains of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. It was taken after dark, relying on street lights, ambient light, and a hand held flash that I used by running up and manually flashing the inside of the arch while the shutter was open. It was a 40 second exposure at F8, using an Olympus OM-1 and a Zuiko 200mm lens. As good as digital cameras have become, for everything gained there is something lost.

Kodachrome
You give us those nice bright colors
You give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day…

–Paul Simon

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2 thoughts on “Kodachrome

  1. This is a shame, I used many a roll myself in my early years of my photography hobby days (in the early 70s’). I don’t do much anymore and a year or so ago I got the bug again but wanted to work in the large format. I have and used a twin lens camera that shot on 120 size film. Turns out there is only one shop in my area that sells it and they ship it out for developing to some place west of here (not sure). I would really want to learn how to make my own glass plate film and shoot on that but, that too is a dying art form. What with all the environmental laws and such, it’s a pity.

    BT: Jimmy T sends.

  2. Another one bites the dust… Kodachrome was my 'nemisis' for years until I learned to slow down and invest the time in doing the math before I shot. Once I did, like you, I got some great pics!

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