Tag Archives: color
Image

Catching the train

25 Jun

Catching the train

apparently the wrong way

————–
Minolta SLR
Kodak Ektachrome 100G
expired 2005, used June 2013, excellent

Lundenburg (Břeclav)
Southern Moravia

not far from Mikulov or old Nikolsburg

Eine Bahnverbindung
Lundenburg (Břeclav)
Südmähren

Image

A journey continued

21 Jun

A journey continued

by two fast extinct media

the larger version is by ipernity, the world’s best photo sharing photo site

 

Minolta SLR
Kodak Ektachrome 100G
expired 2005, used June 2013, excellent

Lundenburg (Břeclav)
Southern Moravia

 

Lundenburg or now Břeclav is located 25 km from Mikulov, old Nikolsburg or Nicolsburg and is the main train station in the regional with numerous international trains passing through and stopping by, like the one from Moscow to Nice. so if you come by train that is likely where we’d pick you up unless you go directly to Mikulov, in that case you’d take a regional train – something like this vehicle but consisting of two or three cars with a locomotive, and then we’d pick you up right in Mikulov.

Image

Agfachrome 50 RS – cold stored, still excellent

19 Jun

Agfachrome 50 RS - cold stored, still excellent

Mikulov
on the grounds of the park in front of the Schloß Dietrichstein, film – Agfa Agfachrome 50 RS – absolutely perfect, expired 1996 or so but shot as is (ISO 40) and the colors are vibrant and rich, not much/any worse than Velvia. As far as I am concerned they killed the E6 process and perhaps color film in general, so I’d keep shooting while I can.

Less but more (frequently) – expired Kodachrome 100G

15 Jun

I am now busy with running a proper bed and breakfast or rather a very small six room hotel in Mikulov, Czech Republic and consequently I have very little time for anything else. Especially for writing articles for this semi dormant blog.  So what do I do? I still take pictures now and then. So I thought of transforming this blog from one with lots of words, written and posted infrequently to

Nikolai, child portrait, flower, Kodachrome 100G

Poppy, Nikolai and Kodachrome 100G

something of a photographic diary, but one a diary in fast defunct anologue or analog format because, yes, I shoot film. I also shoot digital now and then, mainly with utilitarian goals in mind, as if when I need to get a picture of something fast, but for digital imagery I think I’ll put another blog that would only be dedicated to digital photography.

I have a small stockpile of Ektachrome 100G. The film expired in 2005 was exposed this summer, in June 2013, as ISO 80 and apparently it is still perfect. Here in the Czech Republic, at least at one drop-off pharmacy location in Mikulov,  one can develop E6 slide film for the equivalent of… 2 euros. That is cheap. Even in Russia, in St. Petersburg, with a very competitive conventional analog processing market, the price of developing E6 film is about 7 europs whilst regular negative C41 costs the equivalent of just 1 or under 1 euro at the really cheap location (and only for 135 format film). In the Czech Republic, at least at that store chain, the situation is precisely the opposite – negative film processing costs a lot, actually it is incredibly expensive (the equivalent of EUR 5  per roll in local currency) whilst slide processing is oddly cheap and fantastically good. Such low prices are either a result of somebody’s oversight or some other fluke of nature or commerce, in any case they won’t last long.  So I’d be shooting color (or colour) slide film for a while. I’ve got quite a lot of it stockpiled. Mostly hopelessly expired. But as this digitized picture shows the film is still perfectly usable, even good, in fact in my opinion the way colors are reproduced are just perfect and the digital scan does not do justice to those beautiful slides.

 

I also published this image on the ipernity.com – the greatest photo sharing platform.

Kodachrome – in Memoriam – mushrooming in Finland, post 3

17 Feb

Another batch of scanned (last) Kodachromes, really last one for this region,

click image for a slightly larger version

All those Kodachrome images were taken in the late 2010 in Kotka, Finland with a point and shoot camera and a Zenit E.

Kotka parking lot
Kotka parking lot, Kotka parking lot, Kodahchrome, Autumn /  Fall 2010, this is Europe, I judge the degree of European-ness on a number of Italian cars in the parking lots, by that definition Finland is certainly in Europe while ethnofascist post-Soviet tribal statelet of Estonia is not.
Kotka street,  a Kodachrome 64, by 2010 already expired by 10 years and still going strong

one of central streets in Kotka , a Kodachrome 64, by 2010 already expired by 10 years and still going strong

skies over a forest near Kotka, Kotka street,  a Kodachrome 64, by 2010 already expired by 10 years and still going strong

skies over a forest near Kotka, Kotka street, a Kodachrome 64, by 2010 already expired by 10 years and still going strong

Kotka forest

Kotka forest

Rufous Milkcap (lactarius rufus) горькушка Finland

Rufous Milkcap (lactarius rufus) горькушка Finland

copy from the text in my flickr post: Although all English language books on mushrooms that I came across list Rufous Milkcap  or Lactarius rufus (Russian горькушка, ctaire roux in French and in German it is Milchling) as inedible, those mushrooms are delicious when salted in brine – they are bitter and first have to soaked in water for three days, water to be changed daily, then salted (like herring?) either as is or first boiled with herbs like bay leaf and dill. In about two months they are ready to eat and are delectable companion to good vodka (I am not a vodka enthusiast) but these two make perfect marriage. It was the first and last time I shot Kodachrome (within roughly one month) and I positively (well Kodachrome is a positive film) fell in love with the ISO 25 variety. This film was serious expired – the use by date was 1996 and still performed magnificently.  Kodachrome 200 is a very different film, it has different colors and not really pleasing grain – so if Kodachrome were still around I would only be shooting the ISO 25 variety and may be, occasionally, the 64.

A toadstool

A toadstool: don't eat that - though who knows, they have strong hallucinogenic properties if prepared as proper elixir if one is to believe popular literature

 

 

Kodachrome: Подберезовик / leccinum scabrum / Birkenpilz

Kodachrome: Подберезовик / leccinum scabrum / Birkenpilz

 

another boletus

another boletus

 

 

near Kotka

near Kotka

 

 

Cleaning mushrooms at home

Cleaning mushrooms at home

 

A restaurant in Kuovola

A restaurant in Kuovola, A Finnish chain restaurant that feels like an American chain restaurant (indeed whole Finland feels like an American chain restaurant sometimes though today's Russia is way worse as far as americanization and fake food are concerned). That one was not bad though. Great margaritas. Ridiculously (high) prices. Kodachrome 25 near Kotka, Finland October 2010developed by Kodak in December 2010

 

 

 Kouvula Train Station

Kouvula Train Station

 

or may be it is returning to St. Petersburg\ not just it is last roll of Kodachrome 25 or of any Kodachrome, it must be last month or so when Repin and Finnish Sibelius trains were in operation as they now replaced by new trains.  I think the camera was a Mamiya U (bought 2 or 5 euros in a flea market)   Kodachrome 25 near Kotka, Finland October 2010 developed by Kodak in December 2010

Sibelius train, like Kodachrome itself this train is now history going to or may be it is returning to St. Petersburg\ not just it is last roll of Kodachrome 25 or of any Kodachrome, it must be last month or so when Repin and Finnish Sibelius trains were in operation as they now replaced by new trains. I think the camera was a Mamiya U (bought 2 or 5 euros in a flea market) Kodachrome 25 near Kotka, Finland October 2010 developed by Kodak in December 2010

 

End of this Kodachrome themed post

More Kodachrome images are coming

 

Demonstration against ACTA – Reval / Tallinn, February 11, 2012

14 Feb

Demonstration Against ACTA – Reval, Tallinn, Estonia, February 11, 2012

Demonstration against ACTA, the criminal and secretive treaty that is being pushed by the Evil Empire against and down the throats of the world’s inhabitants. ACTA and the Evil Pusher will fail. Reval / Tallin / Tallinn February 2012

Just developed the film

Black and white images on Agfaphoto APX 100

Color (well the roll of BW film ran out pretty fast) on an expired (1999) Agfacolor

This post is not yet finished as I want to write some more stuff but for now am just uploading photos that I just scanned.

Demonstration against ACTA, Ferbuary 11, 2012

Demonstration against ACTA, Ferbuary 11, 2012

Ferbuary 11, 2012, Agfaphoto Agfapan APX 100. Revalm / Tallinn, Estonia, February 11, 2012

Ferbuary 11, 2012, Agfaphoto Agfapan APX 100. Revalm / Tallinn, Estonia, February 11, 2012

Ferbuary 11, 2012, Agfaphoto Agfapan APX 100. Revalm / Tallinn, Estonia, February 11, 2012

Ferbuary 11, 2012, Agfaphoto Agfapan APX 100. Revalm / Tallinn, Estonia, February 11, 2012

Demonstration against ACTA, February 11, 2012

Demonstration against ACTA, February 11, 2012

Demonstration against ACTA and American malfeasance , February 11, 2012, Tallinn, Estonia  Zenit 122, Agfaphoto APX 100, developed in Rodinal

Demonstration against ACTA and American malfeasance , February 11, 2012, Tallinn, Estonia Zenit 122, Agfaphoto APX 100, developed in Rodinal

Demonstration against ACTA and American malfeasance , February 11, 2012, Tallinn, Estonia  Zenit 122, Agfaphoto APX 100, developed in Rodinal

Demonstration against ACTA and American malfeasance , February 11, 2012, Tallinn, Estonia Zenit 122, Agfaphoto APX 100, developed in Rodinal

Demonstration against ACTA and American malfeasance , February 11, 2012, Tallinn, Estonia  Zenit 122, Agfaphoto APX 100, developed in Rodinal

Demonstration against ACTA and American malfeasance , February 11, 2012, Tallinn, Estonia Zenit 122, Agfaphoto APX 100, developed in Rodinal

Demonstration agaist ACTA, Reval / Tallinn, February 11, 2012

Demonstration agaist ACTA, Reval / Tallinn, February 11, 2012

Demonstration agaist ACTA, Reval / Tallinn, February 11, 2012

Demonstration agaist ACTA, Reval / Tallinn, February 11, 2012

Demonstration agaist ACTA, Reval / Tallinn, February 11, 2012  Agfapan APX 100 developed in Rodinal

Demonstration agaist ACTA, Reval / Tallinn, February 11, 2012 Agfapan APX 100 developed in Rodinal

Demonstration agaist ACTA, Reval / Tallinn, February 11, 2012  Agfapan APX 100 developed in Rodinal

Demonstration agaist ACTA, Reval / Tallinn, February 11, 2012 Agfapan APX 100 developed in Rodinal

Demonstration against ACTA, Ferbuary 11, 2012Demonstration against ACTA, Ferbuary 11, 2012Ferbuary 11, 2012, Agfaphoto Agfapan APX 100. Revalm / Tallinn, Estonia, February 11, 2012Ferbuary 11, 2012, Agfaphoto Agfapan APX 100. Revalm / Tallinn, Estonia, February 11, 2012

Demonstration against ACTA; Februarz 11, 2012, Agfa APX 100

Demonstration against ACTA; Februarz 11, 2012, Agfa APX 100

Demo

Folks at the demo February 11, 2012

Demonstration against ACTA, February 11, 2012

Demonstration against ACTA, February 11, 2012

Demonstration against ACTA, February 11, 2012

Demonstration against ACTA, February 11, 2012

Ferbuary 11, 2012, Agfaphoto Agfapan APX 100. Revalm / Tallinn, Estonia, February 11, 2012

Ferbuary 11, 2012, Agfaphoto Agfapan APX 100. Revalm / Tallinn, Estonia, February 11, 2012

Demonstration against ACTA, Ferbuary 11, 2012, Agfaphoto Agfapan APX 100

Demonstration against ACTA, Ferbuary 11, 2012, Agfaphoto Agfapan APX 100

Demonstration against ACTA, Ferbuary 11, 2012

Demonstration against ACTA, Ferbuary 11, 2012

Expired Agfacolor (1999) demonstration against ACTA

Expired Agfacolor (1999) demonstration against ACTA

Expired Agfacolor (1999) demonstration against ACTA

Expired Agfacolor (1999) demonstration against ACTA

Expired Agfacolor (1999) demonstration against ACTA

Expired Agfacolor (1999) demonstration against ACTA

Expired Agfacolor (1999) demonstration against ACTA

Police is dragging away a reluctant protestor

 

Expired Agfacolor (1999) demonstration against ACTA

Expired Agfacolor (1999) demonstration against ACTA

 

Expired Agfacolor (1999) demonstration against ACTA

Expired Agfacolor (1999) demonstration against ACTA

 

Expired Agfacolor (1999) demonstration against ACTA

Expired Agfacolor (1999) demonstration against ACTA

 

Expired Agfacolor (1999) demonstration against ACTA

Expired Agfacolor (1999) demonstration against ACTA

Don’t develop ORWOcolor (ORWO color) in C-41

3 Feb

ORWOcolor in C-41 is murder.

ORWO color destroyed

ORWO color destroyed in C-41

It is confirmed now.
Do not develop  ORWO or Svema films in C-41 chemistry.
It worse than a crime again humanity. I did it and feel sorry about destroying a film – but I did because I was deceived.

Orwo color developed in native chemistry

Orwo color developed in native chemistry

Orwocolor film test – the catastrophe and an official confirmation of long standing suspicions disproved or rather proved.

Four experiments were running concurrently
I sacrificed an ORWO Orwoclor NC 19 film for C-41 process.
I ran a test drive of Ihagee Exa (success, the Saxon photographic machine…. works, sounds like the name for a company Saxon Photographic Machine Works – )   Die Sächsische Fotografische Maschinenwerke , no does not sound good).
I test a Ferrania film (Solaris, 12 exposure roll)
and I put a strip of Tasma film to see how it behaves in Caffenol. Not bad.

I’ve been hearing fairy tales and stories of people developing ORWOcolor and Russian Svema film stock in C-41 chemistry.  What I saw were the scans of images that were grey, brownish and had almost no color in them, these were all ugly   monochromes or at best bichromes.  Colors looked weird but perhaps the film just went back, I thought, or who knows what happened to it. On the other hand intelligent people said in forums that the developer (CD1, CD2 and CD3 – CD is color developer, and the ORWO and Soviet Svema used the oldest one CD1 which is N,N-Diethy1-1,4-Phenylene Diamine Sulfate while C-41 has CD4 which is (3-Methy1-4-Amino-N-Ethyl-N-(2-Hydroxyethyl) Aniline Sulfate(Monohydrate) and should work similarly – or so I read.  They don’t. ORWOcolor and Svema films should be developed in their own chemistry and not in the C-41 soup.

DO NOT develop ORWOcolor or any pre CNS Agfacolor or Russian Svema color films or anything else that traces its origin from the old Agfa negative color films in C-41 chemistry.
Not just the emulsion might melt – it might – you will destroy the film.  You will get no colors but garbage. The film that those people develop in C-41 is just butchered, senselessly, the  deceived lomography herd is of course the most vicious sect committed to destroying good stuff with their guiding principle of the worse but really, really save the film either as a memento – keep it in refrigerator for future use – or process it in the “native chemistry”.

ORWOcolor (non C-41) would be compatible with a range of other films like all Soviet color Svema, British Ilfocolor, Japanese Sakulor (pre 1980s) and all Agfacolor films up to CNS.

Contact me if you want to process old film or want to do it on your own and need chemicals.  But please don’t butcher it in the C-41.

Film test Svema DS – 4 / Свема ДС -4, beautiful pastel colors of the Soviet film

2 Feb

Svema DS 4 – a test

click image for larger view, huge scans are of course available.

Soviet Svema Russian DS-4 pears and red wine
Soviet Svema Russian DS-4 pears and red wine

I am going to copy what I wrote in the flickr post although I will add a few more images of the packaging.

Here is the look of Svema DS 4 scan (as is) – developed in related Orwocolor chemistry.

The experiment began in an improvised manner, I made a Communist salad (meaning I made it without any intent of selling it or leasing it to other human beings who can’t afford it at a usurious rate) which was something of a deficient  salade niçoise to begin with  that suffered a Mongol or a Germanic invasion or, worse,  was liberated and democratized . Messy. The salad  was deficient as I had no capers, no olives, and no anchovies to put into as I was supposed to. Non tuna either. Total flop. But there were enough colors on the pallet to test this ancient film.

Communist salad on Svema DS 4 a Communist crime

Communist salad on Svema DS 4 a Communist crime

This Soviet film (I won’t call it Russian or worse Ukrainian as the only films produced there nowadays are of pornographic variety) was much abused, physically and verbally, in the by gone age when it was made (available to the ungrateful masses which had since then defected to digital en masse).

Svema DS 4, a frontal view

Svema DS 4, a frontal view

A test of Svema DS-4 film, made in the glorious Soviet Union.
A blog post comes soon as a follow up to its relative the Orwocolor.

This was the first occasion I shot old Soviet negative film – not that I remember that I had any before.
I only have seven 120 rolls in my possession, all at different places, but perhaps would buy a few “bricks” as I happen to like the film quite a lot though not as much as Orwocolor NC19 – though Svema DS-4 could be used for different artistic purposes. It is an unusual film.

another view of the Svema DS4 packaging

another view of the Svema DS4 packaging

As I know in Russia before Russia,  Svema color film was considered somewhat inferior (though it was cheapest, not that you get what you pay for, you usually don’t)

DS-4 was made from late 1950s until 1990 without changes.
Mine expired in 1992 / made in 1989/1990 – likely the very last batch ever made
The film cost 95 kopecks per roll  (that is less than a rouble) versus – if you were lucky to get – Orwocolor that cost four or five times as much.

Свема ДС 4 / Svema DS 4

Свема ДС 4 / Svema DS 4

It is essentially the first generation Agfacolor but re-developed in the Soviet Union to work with locally produced dyes.

It has had a 1950s predecessor, a Russian version of the Agfacolor transformed to a negative film use (the original proto Agfacolor was a  transparency film), that species was called DS-2 but I never saw a specimen alive (in fact I never saw an empty box). .

colors are not natural
not saturated
a bit water color-ish or water color-ly look
watery is the word

Experiment conducted  – Kiev 60 camera
Developed in Orwocolor chemistry (described here <a href=”https://photoroobit.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/orwocolor-nc-19-an-historic-test-sacrifice-of-a-historical-film/&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>photoroobit.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/orwocolor-nc-19-an-h…</a>)

Svema DS 4 atop of a camera used in the test

Svema DS 4 and a Kiev 60

Scanned as Agfa Optima – actual scan is 6000 x 6000, and I reduce it for the web but not to 1000, so the actual scan can well be seen.

A good scan
Software – Lasersoft light version that came together with my cheapo Canon scanner.

Kodachrome – in Memoriam – St. Petersburg and Kronstadt, post 2

4 Jan

The story of how and why I started shooting Kodachrome – belatedly, in the last months or rather in the month before its demise is in my previous post.  That post also contains pictures of St. Petersburg taken on Kodachrome while I’ll move on. Below are a few more very last pictures of a locale in Russia taken on Kodachrome, late October 2010.  Needless to say that I also took pictures of my kids and friends on Kodachrome (that was the point) but being a private person i don’t of course post those never mind I can’t see how they can be of anyone’s interest. Click any image for larger view;.

 

Russia on last Kodachrome, continued:

Кирочная - Kiročnaä Ulica - Kirochnaya or Kirche Street - the street where I live in St. Petersburg  St Petersburg Saint Petersburg Russia

Кирочная - Kiročnaä Ulica - Kirochnaya or Kirche Street - the street where I live in St. Petersburg St Petersburg Saint Petersburg Russia

Kirochanya 25

Кирочная - Kiročnaä Ulica - Kirochnaya or Kirche Street - - building 24, a nice Art Nouveau building constructed for a Jewish rentier Back in 1904, has a few surviving Art Nouveau mosaics, stained glass - rare for the city that saw so much barbarism within a century - and decor elements, St Petersburg Saint Petersburg Russia

 

chernyshevskaia

(phonetically Americanized mutilation Chernyshevskaya, Чернышевская). entrance too, close to midnight-.

 

Кирочная - Kiročnaä Ulica - Kirochnaya or Kirche Street

Кирочная - Kiročnaä Ulica - Kirochnaya or Kirche Street

 

Кирочная - Kiročnaä Ulica - Kirochnaya or Kirche Street , nighttime - fairly long exposure, the Kodachrome recorded all three states of the traffic light - red, yellow and green

Кирочная - Kiročnaä Ulica - Kirochnaya or Kirche Street , nighttime - fairly long exposure, the Kodachrome recorded all three states of the traffic light - red, yellow and green

 

Domes of the Smolny Cathedral from afar, Kodachrome

Domes of the Smolny Cathedral from afar, Kodachrome, officially the Cathedral of Our Savior, a baroque beauty of rare quality by any standard, is popularly called Smolny or Tar Cathedral though there is not tar-like about it, the origin of the name is toponymical, it was built next to the works that produced pitch pine tar for shipbuilding purpose in the age when ship used to have sails and were made of wood.

 

 

Кирочная - Kiročnaä Ulica - Kirochnaya or Kirche Street -

Кирочная - Kiročnaä Ulica - Kirochnaya or Kirche Street -night

 

St. Vladmir Church St Petersburg

The church dates from 1746 but its current late neoclassical appearance with numerous baroque elements is from the late 18 century (foundation laid in 1761, completed 1768) . The Cathedral and the separate Belfry is a collective work of several architects - Giacomo Quarenghi (the belfry) and the Bartholomeo Rastrelli (the main building) shared with later additions by Abraam Melnikov, Alexander Holm and Luigi Rusca. Behind the Cathedral is an ambulance station - my grandmother was born in Petrograd in 1918 and worked first as a nurse during the Leningrad Siege and after getting her doctor's diploma in 1945 as an ambulance doctor well past her retirement until 1990.

 

 

Somewhere in Kronstadt

Somewhere in Kronstadt (evil Americans and their helpful Russian idiots spell it phonetically as KronsHdadt), anyway these are ruins of apparently 19th century buildings that probably belonged to the navy.

 

Kronstadt fountain autumn scene

Kronstadt fountain autumn (fall scene) - a compact camera loaded with Kodachrome 200 that i took up to Umbria. Kodachrome 200 is a different film that acts differently and has ir rather had as Kodachrome is dead atrocious grain unlike smooth and silky Kodachrome 25 and 64

 

Kronstadt / Kronshtadt - a Soviet monument of some kind

Kronstadt / Kronshtadt - a Soviet monument of some kind

 

Kronstadt Kronshtadt

Kronstadt Kronshtadt on Kodachrome - 18th century warehouses or packhouses and old navy canals where tall ships were repaired equipped or rigged (not like American elections though) and there are ammunition, rope, ship pine tar and other stores. In state of beautiful decay.

Kronstadt / Kronshtadt

Kronstadt / Kronshtadt - Гостинный двор - Gostinny dvor - Merchant yard

 

lada 2105

lada 2105 on Kodachrome, Kronstadt

Kodachrome – In Memoriam – The first anniversary of Kodachrome’s demise –

2 Jan

This is the first of planned   10 or 12 Kodachrome-related posts, each will display roughly 10 Kodachrome images.

I wrote this on December 30 but apparently did not publish the article (New Year Eves tend to be hectic).  The photos below were made with Zenit E camera (Kodachrome 64) and old Minolta SLR (Kodachrome 200).  This first batch consists of 10 photos of St. Petersburg taken in immediate vicinity of my St. Petersburg home.  Click the image for a larger version (contact me if you need really huge files for whatever reason).

Today is the day Kodak turned off Kodachrome’s life support.

St. Vladimir Square (Vladimirskaä Ploşad', Владимирская площадь, Vladimirskaya) Kodachrome St. Petersburg (Autumn 2010)

St. Vladimir Square (Vladimirskaä Ploşad', Владимирская площадь, Vladimirskaya) Kodachrome St. Petersburg (Autumn 2010), Russia - baroque St. Vladimir Cathedral and (ugly) Dostoevskiï (Dostoevsky) monument. Dostoevskiï lived about 200 meters to the right from this spot.

On December 30, Kodak or rather its subcontractor Dwayne’s Photo Lab in Kansas, USA,  officially stopped processing Kodachrome.  A few of my  first and last Kodachrome rolls were made for the US market and the rest was sold in Europe.  US-market Kodachrome came back as if it were processed by Dwayne’s (well, as it was), each film in a plastic box with Dwayne’s label on it while the film that was sold in Europe came in original-yellow Kodachrome packaging, each slide frame numbered and bearing  Kodak logo. Although the official date of Kodachrome’s demise is December 30, 2010, it reportedly continued to live for almost three weeks a while after its death. Apparently an avalanche of film engulfed  Dwayne’s Photo in the last weeks of November 2010 (I think the shutoff date was December 26) and the company kept processing film until January 18, 2011,  according to Kodachrome project’s blog from December 26th to 1:36 PM on the 18th (of January), Dwayne’s Photo processed 20,564 rolls of 35mm, 3,565 of 8mm and 57,655 feet of 16mm Kodachrome motion and still picture film.

Kiročnaä Ulica - Kirochnaya or Kirche Street - the street where I live in St. Petersburg (about 1.5 km from the previous image)

Кирочная - Kiročnaä Ulica - Kirochnaya or Kirche Street - the street where I live in St. Petersburg (about 1.5 km from the previous image), St Petersburg Saint Petersburg Russia

While for US-born Americans  Kodachrome was something of a cultural icon, for me it did not mean much. I knew that in the past there were other color film processes like the Franco-English Dufay color,  French Autochrome and Autochrome based Alticolor, beautiful Agfacolor that preceded Kodachrome by 3 years, never mind that on the smaller scale level there were a few Russian color photography pioneers from the turn of the century era like brilliant Sergueï Prokoudine-Gorsky (in US publication his name also gets spelled  as Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky) who left a workable though complicated additive color process along with thousands of color photographs illustrating daily life of the entire Russian Empire which he took well before (first!) world war and Bolshevist coup which  brought it down.   I will publish all of Prokoudine-Gorsky /Прокудин-Горский photographs in a separate gallery one day;  those pictures are amazing and they are all in public domain .  Prokoudine-Gorsky’s photographs are surreal.  It is a time machine which   for me is somewhat scary to use, I don’t like looking at those images, – I would rather not see how our past looked like.  if there is any I would prefer to have it in monochrome.

 

A corner building and full moon over  Theatre Square (Театральная площадь) or rather improbably in English though closer to the original as Theatrical Square -  Theatralnaä Ploşad' phonetically rendered as Teatralnaya St. Petersburg, Russia Saint Petersburg Kodachrome

A corner building and full moon over Theatre Square (Театральная площадь) or rather improbably in English though closer to the original as Theatrical Square - Theatralnaä Ploşad' phonetically rendered as Teatralnaya St. Petersburg, Russia Saint Petersburg Kodachrome

Yes I’ve heard about Kodachrome and its commercial success in the 40s and 50s but I thought that Kodachrome was so overwhelingly triumphant against its European competition primarily because by 1945 entire Europe – from Atlantic almost to the Urals – was destroyed and the USA got healthy and rich by sucking all the juices from the rest of the planet. Something it still does though markedly less successfully.   There are many claims of Kodachrome’s technical superiority.  That’s a matter of taste but yes, I too prefer the look of Kodachrome to say Agfacolor.  Now – after having been digital user for quite long – I realize that one of film’s greatest attractions is its  diversity. Every film has its own characters, temperament,  unique shades and different colors (if it is color film) while with a digital camera you are stuck with one boring sensor or the future of churning out   Photoshop forgeries.

Day time Kirche street from Foundry Avenue (Kirochnaia, Litejny) - Кирочная - Kiročnaä Ulica - Kirochnaya or Kirche Street - the street where I live in St. Petersburg (about 1.5 km from the previous image), St Petersburg Saint Petersburg Russia Kodachrome late October - 2010

Day time at Kirche street from Foundry Avenue - the street where I live in St. Petersburg (about 1.5 km from the previous image), St Petersburg Saint Petersburg Russia Kodachrome late October - 2010 - (Kirochnaia, Litejny) - Кирочная - Kiročnaä Ulica - Kirochnaya or Kirche Street

But I admit that out of four contemporaries – Agfacolor, Dufay, Lumière’s Autochrom in its numerous varieties and Kodachrome, I like Kodak’s stuff best. It is not naturalistic looking but it is natural,  Kodachrome is also rich, it has deep beautiful hues and tones that range from etherial otherworldly warmth to  steely blue.  Kodachrome was fantastic stuff but it took me long time to find that out.  More recent films and expensive digital reproduce  reality more accurately  but to me another attraction of old or unusual film stocks is that they don’t, film distorts reality,  life documented on Kodachrome is fairly close to the real chromatic thing but is not quite there, it is different, and it is beautiful

two girls - I see just two females in the frame more could be lurking -  Кирочная - Kiročnaä Ulica - Kirochnaya or Kirche Street

two girls (click for larger picture) - I see just two females in the frame more could be lurking - (Kirochnaia, Litejny) - Кирочная - Kiročnaä Ulica - Kirochnaya or Kirche Street

I am not a walking Xerox copier and when I need accuracy of color rendition, my Sony A900 does the job way better than does Kodachrome.  Skin tones in Kodachrome can appear earthly grayish and the look of the film is that of remote past,  it is or rather it was a photographic time machine, it is the way of representing the present in the past, a delicious endeavor  (there are still many opportunities to make pictures with historic color film stocks though no longer with Kodachrome)

 

domes of Resurrection of Our Savior Cathedral from afar , popularly known as the Tar (Smolny) Cathedral from 18th century works that produced shipbuilding pitch pine tar. Saint / St Petersburg, Russia  2010 late October Kodachrome

domes of the Resurrection of Our Savior Cathedral from afar , popularly known as the Tar (Smolny) Cathedral from 18th century works that produced shipbuilding pitch pine tar. Saint / St Petersburg, Russia 2010 late October Kodachrome

After the United States dressed warmly  in a NATO’s fig leaf unleashed a humanitarian war of aggression against Yugoslavia (http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23914) in 1999 I stopped buying products made by very large American corporations.  That it turn meant that after 1999 I only bought Fuji and Agfa films and then soon went fully digital which in practical terms meant going Japanese (I got my first digital camera in 1998, it was a Sony Mavica that recorded fuzzy images on a 3 1⁄2-inch floppy).  Since then  I mellowed down quite a bit – though only in matters that concern photography and do buy Kodak color film if it is cheap, though not their black and white stuff which is pretty awful (in my hands at least).  It would be sad to see Kodak  go bankrupt and follow other film manufacturers, of which there was a legion,  into oblivion.

A Convenience Store (a small supermarket rather)

Entrance to a convenience store (or rather small twenty four hour retail market) on Kirochnaya or Kirche Street - the street where I live in St. Petersburg (about 1.5 km from the previous image), St Petersburg Saint Petersburg Russia Kodachrome late October - 2010

That’s how I missed Kodachrome during its lifetime.  I shot little Agfa and then some Fuji but then went digital even before the wild masses began defecting from film. I remember seeing Kodachrome on the shelves though. Even in the  1990s Kodachrome was something of a fossil.

Kodachrome 64 120 box

This is a professional 5 roll pack that contained European market Kodachrome 64 in 120 format, manufactured about 1986-1987, expired 1991. This box is in my collection but unfortunately there is no film in it. The box is twice thicker that a regular pro pack as it is divided into two sections - one contained film and the other mail-in processing envelopes. Someone used 5 rolls of film but did not process them. All five envelopes are intact. Each envelope, alas not usable after December 30, 2010, was worth about 10 euros / dollars if sold alone (those envelopes had value!) but I have no idea who bought them as each pack of European Kodachrome contained such an envelop and Kodak only dispatched processed film to non-US addresses. In America processing and optional framing had to be paid for separately. I never got hold of any 120 Kodachrome film though.

In Europe it was always sold with a processing envelope (something as I recall Kodak was prohibited from doing  on its home turf because of a mid 1950s antitrust law suit that it lost ).  It used to cost – as it appeared to me then – a good fortune.  In Europe a roll of Kodachrome retailed for the equivalent of 20-25 euros or for whopping 30 US dollars in today’s terms or perhaps for 20 dollars with parity currency rate.  Kodachrome was only sold in “real” old Europe if we were to use Donald Rumsfeld’s terminology –  between 1945 and 1991.  With the exception of Finland, which is a new state but was in the “Kodachrome zone” this category actually included entire “real” Europe without Russia that existed before 1917-1918.  German Democratic Republic aside (on which territory a number of historic German states were located in the past), Soviet Union only held lands of newfangled states that did not exist before 1917.

Kodachrome

Surface scan of a Kodachrome slide, processed in France (they stopped processing Kodachrome in France in the late 80s or ealry 90s). This slide dates from 70s and comes from my "collection" (a box of unsorted) slides of French origin. I have no idea whose photograph apparears on it - I just grabbed a random Kodachrome slide out of the box.

The  Kodachrome border ran along the Iron Curtain and that wall that was never breached. Except for the territory of the annexed GDR, Kodachrome was never sold in the former Warsaw pact “states” or in Russia, not even after 1991. That of course was almost of irrelevance because by 1990s only some pros in the USA itself and Kodachrome enthusiasts were shooting this film.  Numerous E-6 process films, probably first introduced by Kodak itself, killed Kodachrome.  The price of 20-25 euros in modern equivalent (or 20- 30 US dollars ) might seem outrageous but in really it wasn’t. In America Kodachrome sold for roughly 10 dollars per roll (from 7.99 to 9.99) during the same period of time but did not include processing or framing. European price included processing, framing and return postage. So as it looks now it might have been even cheaper to shoot Kodachrome in Europe than in the US but very   few did and at the end  Kodachrome’s share of the film market went down to  fraction of a percent.

St Petersburg Kodachrome

St Petersburg (Saint Peters) Conservatory building, Theatre Square (Театральная площадь) or rather improbably in English though closer to the original as Theatrical Square - Theatralnaä Ploşad' phonetically rendered as Teatralnaya St. Petersburg, Russia Saint Petersburg Kodachrome late October 2010

In September  2010 I read somewhere, in some online blog or a magazine article, that Kodak has long discontinued Kodachrome and that it will no longer be processed. I didn’t know that. And another thing, I read, December 2010 is the cutoff date.  No more Kodachrome after that.  Now one disadvantage of the Kodachrome  versus its competitors like Agfacolor was that you need to build more or less a factory to process the stuff.  As I understand (in the plainest of layman terms) reversible Agfacolor like all subsequent films had its dyes incorporated within three photosensitive layers. You just need the right mix of chemicals to develop those films anywhere. Kodachrome had an extremely complicated processing procedure where dyes were introduced during development stage. Something that is impossible to do at home no matter how big a home you’ve got.

Idealnaä časka  - idealnaya chashka - kodachrome

A coffee shop of the Ideal Cup (Idealnaä časka) chain, St. Petersburg (idiots write it as fantastic Saint Petersburg) - obviously Kodachrome 64 is an extremely slow film, I was shooting it as ISO 25 in dim lightining, ISO 1600-3200 would be better suited for this sort of photography, sitll quite many painterly effects - idealnaya chashka - kodachrome

Getting my hands on Kodachrome became urgent. I realized that it is now or never situation and I need to buy a few rolls of Kodachrome immediately or I’ll never process it.  I saw old Kodachrome slides from the 40s and 50s, love  how the film looks and wanted to take pictures of my kids on Kodachrome as well. I began to look for the stuff on the Ebay, placed random bids here and there, and amazingly got three lots of Kodachrome fairly cheaply – probably for no more than 2 euros per American roll or 3 euros for the European “issue” along with the free processing mailer. That was a good deal because I saw people selling processing envelopes for 5 euros a pop. I have no idea what they did with the film. Already after Kodachrome’s demise I bought a case of Kodak color film (all expired stuff, Vericolor II stuff, some Ektar, lots of film. I haven’t shot yet any from that batch). The precious case contained a retail pro pack of Kodachrome – alas the film was gone but all five mail-in processing envelopes were intact. What happened to the film? Who knows.  Prices of Kodachrome nosedived right before November although the stuff that was unsold recovered the value after January 2011 – people sell intact Kodachrome boxes for 20 euros / 25 dollars online which are now of course only good for display purposes (developing the stuff in black and white chemistry is akin to vandalism).  If I did not use my Kodachrome but kept it until today I could have made a small, admittedly a very small, fortune.

ideal cup kodachrome

A coffee shop of the Ideal Cup (Idealnaä časka) chain, St. Petersburg (idiots write it as fantastic Saint Petersburg) - Kodachrome 64 is a slow film, I was exposing it as ISO 25 in dark lightining, ISO 1600-3200 would be better under the circumstances - still I like the results of the experiment- idealnaya chashka - kodachrome

My Kodachrome began arriving in  October, I had about a month to waste it. I photographed St. Petersburg, then went with my kids on a ferry to the federal   German Reich,  then drove straight to Mikulov (Nikolsburg) and after a short stay there proceeded (on wheels)  to Italy. By then my modest stock of expired Kodachrome ran out. Because of urgency I felt I have to take pictures fast and   with any sort of rush quality suffers.  I packed everything and sent it off to Kodak (in Switzerland, that was the last place in Europe that still took Kodachrome and forwarded it to Dwayne’s lab in the states). I got it back right after new year.

ideal cup kodachrome

A coffee shop of the Ideal Cup (Idealnaä časka) chain, St. Petersburg fisheye lens (that's one of the things you must get but then won't use). Zenit camera

I believe I might have been the last person who used Kodachrome in either Russia or the Czech Republic (where it was never sold anyway). Flickr has few, very few,  fantastic Kodachrome images of Leningrad, all taken by tourists in the 1970s and early 80s. Time frozen. But nothing afterwards.

I am   crazy about historic film and for me the experience of shooting Kodachrome and getting it developed was almost a divine pleasure. I am also happy that I now got some Kodachrome photos on my own.  I am thankful to Kodak that they kept it going for so long.

At 75 years (1935-2010) Kodachrome  is or rather was the longest surviving photographic process. With its 59 years Agfacolor which later became a ‘chrome (such as German Orwochrom) came second but a disclaimer should be made that it is still possible and in fact is fairly easy to process any Agfacolor / Orwochrom type filmstock at home.  If years of film production are to be counted, and that would be fairer, Kodachrome’s lifespan would  have to be reduced by a year to 74 but factually by 8, from 75 down to 67 as  most of Kodachrome production stopped in 2002.  I couldn’t locate any film fresher than that for my experiment. Nonetheless, even with that reduction Kodachrome still outlived its Agfa contemporary by almost a decade. I am unsure if color film stays in production for three more decades from now, that’s how much time is needed for the current C-41 and E-6 films to beat Kodachrome’s longevity record.

Kirochnaya 10 Kodachrome Russia

A rare example of private urban architecture (http://www.citywalls.ru/house1855.html) albeit much mutilated one. The townhouse or private house of architect Theodore Demercev (hated Americanized "spellers" might render his name in the language of Donald Rumsfeld and Obama as Fyodor Demertsev or worse), built in 1792. This elegant neoclassical building was apparently mutilated for commercial ends - in 1826 another massive floor was added on top of the structure. Kodachrome Zenit camera October 2010

Lifespan of commercial photographic color film processes:

Autochrom / Alticolor (France) – from about 1907 to 1955 = 48 years

Dufay / Dufaycolor –   France / Great Britain – from mid 1920s to until 1940, about 15 years.

Kodacolor (C-22)  1943-1972  (first Kodak then internationalized) =29 years

Kodachrome – 1935 to 2010 =75 years

Agfacolor reversible / Orwochrom – 1932 to 1991 = 59 years

Kodak C-41 and similar international processes (Fuji, Agfa) 1972 until today, the current most common negative process, 40 years, still alive.

Kodak E-3 reversible, about 1950 to 1972 – 22 years

Kodak E-4 reversible, 1972-1974 – 2 years

Kodak E-6 and its international derivatives, 1974 until today,  38 years, still alive.

European market Kodachrome 64 120 format box

European market Kodachrome 64 120 format box

Kodachrome 64 120 5 pack

Kodachrome 64 120 5 pack - Kodak officially discontinued the film in 1996 but probably stopped making it even earlier.