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Friday, January 20, 2012

Kodachrome


The work week went by fast, oh wait, that’s because it started on Tuesday.  Looking forward to the weekend, even though some projects, implementation, and testing will keep my guys, and I busy on Sat. morning.  Last night we saw some snowflakes falling, and had a total accumulation of about ¼ inch.  Tonight we might get 2-4 inches of snow, marking the first significant snow of the winter of 2012.

So many worthy events occurred yesterday into today, and there is no way to tie them all together in the same twisted, ironic, or punny way that I usually do.  So, first let me tell you about the massive  solar flare that is heading towards earth that is capable of producing some dazzling ‘northern lights’ or Aurora Borealis.  

This M2 category solar event is just the start of an 11 year cycle that increases in frequency and intensity.  Some events in the past have disrupted satellite communications.  The forecast is that during 2012, there will be some disruptions to communications as a result of the Sun getting angry.

Near and dear to my heart is Pink Floyd, and the famous Dark Side of the Moon celebrates it’s 40th anniversaryPink Floyd first performed a track from the Dark Side of the Moon at Dome, Brighton, January 20th 1972. 

Dark Side of the Moon finally broke Pink Floyd as superstars in the United States, where it made number one. More astonishingly, it made them one of the biggest-selling acts of all time. Dark Side of the Moon spent an incomprehensible 741 weeks on the Billboard album chart. Additionally, the primarily instrumental textures of the songs helped make Dark Side of the Moon easily translatable on an international level, and the record became (and still is) one of the most popular rock albums worldwide.

I was only 10 years old when Floyd came out with this extraordinary piece of artistry.  A masterpiece that is still popular, and thanks to tribute bands, Roger Waters, and David Gilmour, I have gotten to enjoy the music of Pink Floyd many times.   Recently, I have seen Roger Waters perform the entire Dark Side of Moon, The Wall, and to tell you the truth, it never gets old.  At Westbury Music Fair, a small venue that plays in the round, I have been treated to tribute bands, The Pink Floyd Experience, The Machine, and Australian Pink Floyd.  Today, Brit Pink Floyd tickets went on sale, so Sue and I are going to see them in March.

Well, with all that happy news, and joy from celestial events and Pink Floyd, there is also some sadder news.  Eastman Kodak has declared reorganization, Chapter 11, or what many view as bankruptcy.  Most of us don’t consume or purchase products outright anymore from this once grand powerhouse of a company.

(Reuters) - Eastman Kodak Co, the photography icon that invented the hand-held camera, has filed for bankruptcy protection and plans to shrink significantly, capping a prolonged plunge for one of America's best-known companies.
The Chapter 11 filing makes Kodak one of the biggest corporate casualties of the digital age, after it failed to quickly embrace more modern technologies such as the digital camera -- ironically, a product it invented.
I remember my first camera, a Kodak X-15 F Instamatic that allowed me to follow in the footsteps (at that time shadow) of my dad. My dad was a prolific photographer, and the hobby meant that dad and I would develop some of our film in a makeshift darkroom in the bathroom tub.

An photo enlarger , and a Kodak Slide Carousel projector were part of the equipment in those days, as was a collection of film types, B&W, Color, Ektachrome, and Kodachrome.  As the technology progressed I moved onto 110 cartridge based Instamatic, a disc camera, and then my very first 35mm, a hand-me-down from Dad who sprung for a new Cannon Ae semi automatic 35mm film camera.

Let’s not forget about those Kodak disposable cameras that popped up at parties and weddings. My mom (Happy Birthday) still uses one that she buys from some pharmacy in Miami before coming for a visit. I had finally hit the big time and could play with exposures, f-stops, and get some depth, special effects, filtering, etc. not achievable with an instant camera.

I also remember a great Cannon camera that I purchased just prior to going on vacation to Mexico….An Aqua Snappy, a cool ABS plastic camera which was sealed well enough to go to 33 feet, or 1 atmosphere below water.  It was great being able to take underwater photos, and bring a camera to the pool.   All the while, we had to wait to bring the film to a shop for developing and printing.  

Common practice was to pay for double prints, and for an extra dollar, you could insist on Kodak paper and processing.  As frugal as I am, I never skimped on film, or what I deemed as essential processing.  Kodak it was.

Well, as time passed, and unfortunately so did Dad at too early an age.   The digital age has come, and the quality of digital imaging is now very close to that of film.  The end of an era has been reached, unless the billions of dollars in patents and licensing can help salvage the once great company, Kodak. 

I continue to take PIXtures, and it has been a long time since I developed or used film. I guess this is part of the reason for the chapter 11 reorganization of Kodak. I think it is important to capture and preserve events, and photos are an easy way to get that snapshot of a time and place.

Two thanksgivings ago, we went to my sister Jodi in New Paltz for dinner, and spent hours going thru some of the old photos, and scanning them so that we all could once again look back. Some of them made their way onto Facebook, while the vast majority of the family collection is still on negatives, slides, or good old fashioned prints.

Kodak once dominated its industry, and its film was the subject of a popular 1973 song, "Kodachrome," by Paul Simon.

When I think back
On all the crap I learned in high school
It's a wonder
I can think at all
And though my lack of education
Hasn't hurt me none
I can read the writing on the wall
Kodachrome
They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's
a sunny day
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don't take my 
Kodachrome away

If you took all the girls I knew
When I was single
And brought them all together
for one night
I know they'd never match
my sweet imagination
Everything looks worse
in black and white

Photo of the day – Digital from a Nikon Coolpix S4000
Kodachrome

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