The Return Of Kodak Ektachrome

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“Sunrise” Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand, 1995. Canon EOS 10s, Sigma 28-70 f/3.5-4.5 UC, Kodak Ektachrome. The return of Ektachrome. Perhaps the dawn of a new day for film lovers?

I’m sure many of you hardcore film fanatics have heard by now of Kodak’s decision to bring their Ektachrome slide film back from the dead.

That is the best thing I have heard out of Kodak in the past ten years!! A snippet from Kodak’s press release: “Sales of professional photographic films have been steadily rising over the last few years, with professionals and enthusiasts rediscovering the artistic control offered by manual processes and the creative satisfaction of a physical end product…”

I used Ektachrome film mostly in the 1990s and early 2000s. It was a great slide film, but also considered a lower cost alternative to Kodachrome which was Kodak’s gold standard for slide film.

If memory serves me correctly, I remember Ektachrome to produce neutral colors with perhaps a shift towards cool, strong on the blue and greens.

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“The Sun Never Sets” Krabi, Thailand, 1995. Canon EOS 10s, Sigma 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 UC, Kodak Ektachrome. Colors shifting a bit, but this photo is almost as vibrant as that day I took it twenty-two years ago. The two beloved family members, on the far left and far right are gone. And so too did we think Ektachrome was gone. But Kodak is bringing it back from the dead. Unbelievable news in many ways.

The reasons I didn’t use Ektachrome more was because I was and am a negative shooter rather than a slide shooter. And when I did shoot slides, I always went with either Fuji Velvia or Kodachrome. I tried Ektachrome just because. Not because I wanted to, or didn’t want to, just because I had to try it.

But with Kodak’s announcement of the return of Ektachrome, I’m itching to try it again. It was an iconic film in its own right.

Again, this is the best news I’ve heard out of Kodak in ten years and it is awesome news for film in general. With the demise of Fuji’s FP-100C packfilm, this was certainly unexpected.

People, including myself, have been quite hard on Kodak in recent years. This time, let me say that they are doing something amazing. Now if they would concentrate in this direction, they might have a chance of not only reclaiming their legendary name but maybe even be the king of the hill for film again. Kodak is doing what they do best…make film. Kudos Kodak, wishing you the best of luck on this!

 

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King Power: Tribute To The King

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His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej could almost always be seen with a camera in hand or around his neck.

On October 13, 2016, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, also known as King Rama IX, passed away at age 88. He was the longest reigning living monarch up until the time of his death.

Normally, that would not be a topic on a camera blog, but the King had three things going for him in this respect to this particular blog; He was Thai, he was a photographer, and he seemingly loved cameras! Today, I remember him from this aspect.

Before he passed away, I had been searching for photos of the King with a camera because I had a couple of film EOS Rebel cameras and I wanted to pin down which one the King used. I found many photos online, but the best one I found was right in the place where I was staying in Thailand, as shown in the photo above.

The King, especially before the final years of his life, can be seen almost always with a camera around his neck or in his hand. His camera brand of choice seemed to be Canon. I remember seeing him in pictures with what appeared to be an EOS 1000 (Rebel) in the 1990s. Later on, he moved on with the times with a digital EOS Rebel. I do remember seeing photos of him with other cameras, such as a Yashica T series, but it was rare. It was almost always a Canon.

I don’t know if it was a calculated choice or not, but I’ve always admired the fact that this man, a King, and according to Wiki, the richest monarch in the world would be seen with the lowest model Canon SLR or DSLR. He could’ve used any camera he wanted, but he was always seen with the most affordable, low budget, entry level camera.

The King was a man of the people. Perhaps that’s why his camera of choice was something the everyday man could relate too. He had a deep affection for the Thai people and in return he was and is revered in an almost god like manner. When love is given, love is returned. Even now, the country has gone into one year of mourning. Not just one week or one month. One year.

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Images of King Bhumibol Adulyadej can be seen everywhere that Thai people dwell. This image was taken in 2007 in Chinatown, NYC. Nikon D70s, 45mm f/2.8 Nikkor P.

My late Dad was an old school Thai man born in 1932. He came from an era where Thai people were not encouraged to “show off” as it was frowned upon. I always remember Dad saying “Don’t show off. Don’t show off.”

The King, born five years earlier in 1927, probably came from the same mind frame. This could have been the reason we saw him with what I could only call “the people’s camera” as opposed to carrying the latest and greatest high end cameras which he certainly could have had at his disposal.

Strangely, while searching online, I could not find much about the King’s photography itself. We knew he always had a camera with him, but what of his photos? Perhaps, like many good folks I know, he just preferred to keep his shots to himself. I know some phenomenal photographers whose work has never been seen by the public, only from the photos they send me via email 🙂

As I said, when love is given, love is returned. Since it was well known that the King loved photography and cameras, the camera companies honored him with commemorative or special edition cameras such as the 1996 gold Leica M6 “His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand 50th Anniversary of His Coronation” edition with matching gold 50mm f/2 Summicon. I believe there were also Hasselblad and Contax special edition cameras for the King of Thailand as well.

King Bhumibol was a very special monarch and truly beloved by his people. He was the only King many Thais ever knew. His image can be seen everywhere throughout the country. It seemed like he would always be here forever, but he has moved on to that great palace in the sky.

I loved him for all the same reasons most Thai people do. Quite, humble, engaging, caring and giving. But he also has a special place in my heart because he was a photographer and a camera lover. There has been no King or Queen that connected to us camera nuts more in that respect. Rest in Peace King Bhumibol. You will always be a Camera Legend.

 

 

The Extended Trip

 

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“Sisters Sa Kaeo” 2016. iPhone 6s Plus. The girls found themselves on a lovely, but lonely local unpopulated, undeveloped beach in the tiny village of Ban Sa Kaeo in the province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand.

Where the heck in the world are we?! I’m not sure many out there care, but based on the stats there are at least some who do. And I do appreciate that. I know we have been away for long periods before, but this is by far the worst and I do apologize. Some of you have left comments and messages and I promise to get back to all of you.

I have been away vacationing as well as visiting elderly relatives in SE Asia. While the trip is primarily to pay homage to relatives who are not in the best of health, any trip to SE Asia is a potential gold mine for photography. Not to mention a chance to actually use the gear I review here 🙂

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“The Mean Lady” 2016. Olympus OM-D EM-5, Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand.

One thing while overseas is that I always get minimal use of my phone and the internet due to lack of good wifi access and the high roaming charges I incur from my provider. As such I was barely on the internet, but the good thing is I finally know what it feels like to get a good night’s sleep 🙂

On this trip, as opposed to previous trips, I kept my camera gear at a minimal. I kept it light. Two digital cameras, two film cameras and a phone camera. While it may still seem like a lot for some, it’s not for me as I’ve lugged medium format gear and large lenses on my overseas trips in the past. Not this time. A sign that I’m getting old? Perhaps. Or maybe I’ve just learned to maximize from minimal gear? Maybe a combination of both.

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“Cool Blue Pool” 2016. Kids enjoying a splash in a small but cool, blue pool. Olympus OM-D EM-5, Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 in Paranaque, Philippines.

Above are just a few shots from the trip. I haven’t developed the film yet so we’ll see how those came out, fingers crossed. Anyway, just saying Hi! and thanks to all who still visit this site, I appreciate you, I really do!

Best, Sam

 

Black & White Portraits

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“The Tsingtao Boy” 2009. Canon F-1N, 50mm f/1.4 FD lens, Tri-X. Chinatown, NYC.

While I do love color photography, there’s just something different about black and white photography that really endears me to it. And when you combine b&w with people (or animals!), that really takes it to another level for me.

These are just some b&w images taken over the years. Like I’ve said before, sometimes I do want to remind myself that I love shooting almost as much as I love cameras…I think! These are also images from cameras I am planning to review for you, cameras like the Leica M8 and the Canon F-1N, which is one of my favorite Canon bodies ever, past or present.

It seems almost unbelievable to me that it has taken this long, but after two weeks I’m finally getting my main working computer back today! As I mentioned before, this really set me back as far as content for this website is concerned and I’m just beginning to catch up. Thanks to those who continue to visit and I do appreciate your time and comments.

This is admittedly going to be a busy week and writing a blog with any kind of content takes a lot of time. Even my shortest article takes me almost half a day. I admire those who can do this consistently on a daily basis, I know I can’t!

Hope you all have a good short week in preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday here in the USA.

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“Man In The Middle” 2011. Canon Powershot G10, Paranaque, Philippines.

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“Imported From The Past” 2011. Nikon F4s, Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 AIS. The great Louis Mendes stands out like an icon from the past with his old school Speed Graphic and sharp, retro outfits.

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“Vimeo” 2006. Canon Rebel XT, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC. I was buying a lens from this man and I took this shot while testing it. I found out a couple of years later that he is apparently one of the founders of the video sharing site Vimeo!

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“The Competition” 2006. Canon Rebel XT, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC. Sometimes facial expression tells you everything!

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“Time Will Not Wait” 2011. Leica M8, 35mm f/2 Zeiss Biogon. Koh Samui, Thailand.

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“Brother Blues” 2010. Leica M8, 50mm f/2 Summicron-M. Washington Square Park, NYC.

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“My Door Is Open” 2011. Leica M8, 50mm f/2 Summicron-M. Nonthaburi, Thailand.

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“The Godfather Of Bangkok” 2011. Minolta CLE, 40mm f/2 Summicron-M, Tri-X. A scene from a restaurant on the side streets of Bangkok, Thailand. With one hand on his meal, the other hand reaches for the plate before anyone else could get to it first. Don’t mess with the Godfather of Bangkok! 🙂

A couple of my favorite portraits from the selection above were done with Sigma lenses. Our affiliate and friends at Adorama is offering some incredible savings on SIGMA lenses which only runs through 11/30/15 so if you wanted to pick up some of those super sharp “ART” lenses, this is a good time to do it! And if you order within a certain time, they make every effort to ship same day, which is a great benefit to buying from Adorama versus the competition.