Aerochrome and “Kodak Red”

My Kodak Medalist II camera, affectionately nicknamed “Kodak Red” due to its replacement red leather casing, just finished its run in the year-long “Vivaldi’s Pond” photo project.  Shooting with Kodak Red in this project has made it difficult for me to employ the camera in any other film or photo project, in that I don’t want to take away from what I’m currently achieving with my medium-format workhorse.

That being said… if I want to create something for Competition Season 2016, I need to get Kodak Red involved.

And in order to do that… for one time and one time only…

I’m feeding the camera a roll of Aerochrome.

It is official.  I have lost my mind.

Trust me, so many things can go wrong with this project.  So many things.  My Kodak Medalist takes 620 film, so I have to re-spool 120 film in pitch-black darkness onto a 620 spool.  Even then, I’m looking at shooting only eight photos, and even THEN, I’m hoping that the filter I pick – an amber-orange vintage piece of glass – will do the trick.  Eight shots means that I won’t have the opportunity to bracket these shots; I’d better get them right the first time or don’t bother at all.

That, and 120 Aerochrome film ain’t cheap.  If the price of this stuff gets any higher, I’m going to need Kickstarter campaigns before I go out shooting.

Still, I was able to snag a roll of Aerochrome at a reasonable price.  And trust me, if I’m going to use this film, I’m going to use it with care.

So over the weekend of June 13-14, I took some pictures in the Adirondacks.  Nothing major, just an old abandoned chapel along Exit 29 off the Northway…

Log Chapel
Log Chapel. Kodak Medalist II camera, Kodak EIR “Aerochrome” film with yellow-orange filter. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Then another capture of Blue Ridge Falls on the other side of the Northway…

Aerochrome Falls
Aerochrome Falls. Kodak Medalist II camera, Kodak EIR “Aerochrome” film with yellow-orange filter. Photo by Chuck Miller.

On Sunday, I took a couple more pictures, this time near a campsite off Route 9N near Greenfield Center.

Beachfront property
Beachfront property. Kodak Medalist II camera, Kodak EIR “Aerochrome” film with yellow-orange filter. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Oh my God this mixture came out perfect.  The filter works wonders for this film; and the Kodak Medalist – one of three “rangefinder” cameras in my arsenal (including my Leica M3 and Argus Brick) caught the detail in the infrared imagery to the point of tack-sharpness.  Fist pump to Kodak Red.

As I get closer and closer to competition season, I’m finding myself going through my photos with a more critical eye.  And pictures that I thought would be serious slam-dunk submissions in January are now turning into “well, maybe I should not enter them” in June.  And every time I take a picture somewhere, it’s almost like my photos are in a “King of the Mountain” competition of their own.  Until I get to the point where I have my maximum number of pictures and photographs for competition season, I keep on shooting.  And at the last minute, I could pull something out of the mix as an “audible” and hope I made the right choice.

And the more I looked at that Blue Ridge Falls photo…  The one I rechristened as “Aerochrome Falls…”

I’m calling an audible.  Right now.

This morning, I cropped a 16×20 version of that picture, and sent it to McGreevy Pro Lab, my photographic print shop of choice, to prepare a competition-ready version of it.

Not for 2016.

I’m submitting “Aerochrome Falls” for competition THIS FREAKIN’ YEAR.

Yeah.  That’s right.  Forget short pile.  This picture’s going to definitely appear in competition – whether it’s at Altamont or the NYS Fair or anywhere else.

And with “competition season” just around the corner…

I hope this little dazzler brings me a dazzling strand of silk … if you know what I mean.