Thursday, December 23, 2010

K-14 86'd

I will never shoot another roll of Kodachrome. Not something I'm thrilled about but not something I'm devastated over either. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I've only ever shot three rolls of it. The last was a roll of Kodachrome 25 that I'd bought sometime in the fall of 2001 and has since been in and out of no less than nine different refrigerators. It finally saw the light of day (pun, I guess) last weekend for my parent's anniversary party. I tried to capture as many friends and family as possible before the counter hit 36. It's now on its way to Kansas, hopefully arriving before the Dec. 30th deadline.

The last of my Kodachrome.
I was bummed when I heard Kodachrome was to be no more. I liked how unique it was and what a great color palette it offered. It's also a piece of photo history, seeing that it's been around since the 1930's, and that some of those first slides probably look just as good as the day they returned from the processor. Like a lot of other families, there is a huge collection of slides stashed away at my grandparent's house. Mostly Kodachrome. Mostly gorgeous. National Geographic started using it in 1937 and stayed with it into the early 21st century.

Somehow I missed the boat. Around the time I was really getting in to photography, Kodak was in the process of discontinuing Kodachrome 25. A couple of years later 200 went away, and finally, last year 64 got canned. Even though I was shooting a lot of 35mm slides around that time, most of it was Velvia or Elite Chrome Extra Color (gag). There was also Sensia, Provia, and a few others (including my first two rolls of Kodachrome). Then came all the color negatives. I shot a lot Reala, some various Portras, Fuji Press, Fuji's portrait films, some Agfa, etc etc etc. By the time I finally figured out what films I preferred, I was working at a newspaper and shooting all digital. When I went back to film I was shooting medium format and larger and the majority black and white. I guess we were never meant to be Kodachrome.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Always Be Prepared for Potatoes

It's cold in Florida. Not really cold in comparison to anywhere else on earth right now, but cold enough to panic the geriatrics and cold enough to knock down my sweet potato vines. This means it's time to search for subterranean tubers.

Of course when I decided to explore the tangle of vines that have been inhabiting the eastern half of my garden since June, it was an impromptu post-work visit in fading daylight and dropping temperatures.

All it took was finding the first potato to spur a fury of digging. An ill-advised fury of barehanded clawing is more accurate. I lost a lot of good fingernails that day.

Not terribly sweet potatoes.
I can't remember if I started with three or four plants but in the end I walked away with about 8 lbs. of sweet potatoes. Maybe I'll fire up the Wii fit again to weigh them. There is also the possibility that I missed some while digging. Some potatoes were found under more than a foot of dirt and nearly two feet away from where the vine was first planted.

One interesting note is that, apparently, sweet potatoes have to be cured after harvest to increase sweetness. Industrial operations hold them for 2 or 3 days at about 90F and 90% relative humidity. The potatoes continue to live after harvest and digest their own starches into sugars. It also helps the skins heal from damages during harvest.

I don't actually like sweet potatoes, but I'm happy that I can grow them. Like most other products of my garden, these will eventually become portrait subjects. While they're curing it'll give me plenty of time to find an interesting way to light a potato.