Monday, June 22, 2009

The end of Kodachrome

The end of an era: Kodak pulls Kodachrome in a blow to sentimentality

Before I moved to digital in 2002, I shot almost everything in Kodachrome. Occasionally I would use a higher speed Ektachrome, but the graininess was always an annoyance. I know some nature photographers preferred films with more vivid colors, but I usually considered those photos unrealistically garish; Kodachrome, with it's softer colors, was king.

It was also expensive - somewhere around $8 per roll to purchase and the same to get processed. That came to somewhat less than 50 cents per frame, but with my limited budged that was enough to discourage extravagant shooting. Since going digital, I can shoot with abandon, which is a blessing and a curse - I'm free to experiment and shoot less promising scenes, but I can also fall into a snapshooting mode that doesn't take as much care before the "shutter" button is pushed.

In memoriam to Kodochrome, here is the last frame I ever shot with this wonderful film, in autumn of 2003:

A bison grazes along the Madison River, working on his winter coat.


James Hanley said...

I think it's indisputable that digital technology is a net gain over film. But net gains are defined as B > C, which means there really is a C. And just because we're better off doesn't mean paying the cost doesn't hurt.

Nice picture, by the way. Not one of your best, imo, but compelling in the way the soft colors seem to emphasize the aloneness of the bison (or unison, as some might say).

Scott Hanley said...

No, nothing special about the photo. That's why I never scanned it until now. But nothing particularly wrong, either. It didn't occur to me at the time, of course, but now it seems quite appropriate that it was an autumn shot.

pfanderson said...

URGH! I was going to comment on the picture, and then I read the comments. ARGH! Does this mean there is something wrong with me if I like it? Harrumph.

Well, having not seen your other work, I am jealous of this pic. I can't get it out of my mind. Maybe it is the bison more than the pic itself, that I've never been close enough to one to take a picture. I look at the pic and it evokes this sense of heat and dust, rumbling, odors, itching, caution.

"No, nothing special." Good grief!

Scott Hanley said...

If you like bison, here are a few others:

pfanderson said...

I like bison. :) Thanks for the link to the other pics - some of them take my breath away. The one of them rolling in the dust - wow!! I'm am going to take some time to go through these. Wow.