Niagara Falls, Quebec City, and 5-year-old Kodachrome shots

Now what, do you ask, inspired this little blog headline?

Between 2009 and 2010, I shot with Kodachrome film.  I photographed with whatever fresh (or sorta-fresh) Kodachrome I could get my mitts on, and got as much of it developed before Dwayne’s Photo (the last place that could develop the iconic film in color) stopped processing the film in December 2010.

I took dozens of great photos in that year; one of them (The Railsplitter) took an award at Altamont in 2011; and one of my old Kodachrome shots of the Hamilton College Chapel is part of my upcoming college reunion art show.

But there’s no way I can get those nice, bright colors or greens of summers with Kodachrome film today.  The chemicals don’t exist any more.  The processing is extremely labor-intensive.  And although some labs will process the film as a black-and-white picture, that’s like watching a Blu-Ray DVD on a Sony Trinitron.

Be that as it may…

Earlier this week, the website Gear Patrol published a short thumbnail history on Kodachrome film.  And within the article, they showcased dozens of Kodachrome photos, including shots from the Library of Congress and “Creative Commons” shots from flickr sites.

And as I’m looking through the pictures…

Two of my Kodachrome photos came up in the photo essay.  They were two shots that I thought might have had some success when I originally shot them, but unfortunately they did not receive any love.

Those photos were, of all things…

Destination Voyage Rouge et Bleu
Destination Voyage Rouge et Bleu. Kiev-19 camera, Helios 81-H lens, Kodachrome 40 film. Shot April 2010, Quebec City, PQ. Photo by Chuck Miller.

… and …

Niagara Falls in Kodachrome 2010
Niagara Falls. Kiev-19 camera, Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 lens, Kodachrome 64 film. Photo taken November 2010 in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Wow.  Those photos sure bring back plenty of memories.

I remember taking that picture in the spring of 2010, along Rue St-Louis in Quebec City.  The camera was on a tripod, and I was trying to get the streaks of light from automobile headlights and taillights into the frame.  It was an early experimentation, and eventually I was able to create a successful light-painting photo series with Midnight at the Palace Theater and Jesus Saves and The Beat of Officer Harris.  But this was my first try.

And the photo at the bottom… that was probably the coldest day in November, and I drove to Niagara Falls to photograph the tourist areas, as I surmised that generations of Niagara Falls visitors used Kodachrome film to chronicle their experiences.  Which was all well and good for me.  Ha.  Over the years, I lost confidence in those Niagara Falls Kodachrome photos; in fact, I actually thought I had captured better pictures with a Rolleiflex filled with Kodak Ektar 120 film.  But that’s just me.

So it was definitely a nice surprise to see those pictures again; at least someone out there still thinks they’re worth some appreciation.  That, and it was also a moment of flashback for me.  Which is awesome in and of itself.

Will I ever consider entering those pictures in competition again?

Who knows?

Certainly we shall see…