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Digging into the archives again


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Digging into the archives again

1 Mar 2021 8:19AM   Views : 524 Unique : 393


I found an old-style Kodak slide box a few days ago: at first I assumed that it contained some of my early efforts with Kodachrome because it was the older-style cardboard box. I was wrong, and Iíve scanned all the pictures over the intervening time.


The slides lack the little imprint in one corner that I was expecting, and which is visible on most Kodachrome pictures... However, I can still date the slides accurately. And while the slides have faded a little, and my guess is that my scannerís colour restoration hasnít really got the balance quite right, itís lovely to see this Kodak-processed roll of Ektachrome-X, because my Dad took the pictures.


He clearly kept the film in the camera for quite a while, because it includes pictures that I recognise as having been taken at St Chadís Rectory in Lichfield, and others taken in the garden of St Edwardís Vicarage in Leek. My Dad moved parish in the autumn of 1961, when I was eight.


Ektachrome-X was less stable than Kodachrome (as these slides show rather well) but was far easier to process. I believe that Kodachrome required 14 baths, and was only ever processed in professional laboratories: at that time, the Ektachrome E-2 process took around 90 minutes, including a reversal exposure that required a Photoflood lamp close to a film in a bowl of water. But the chemicals were cheap, and the process ran at 75ᵒ Fahrenheit, so that it was feasible in the kitchen sink.


Very soon after I started processing slides, Kodak replaced it with the E-4 process, which cost twice as much (that mattered to a schoolboy studying for his O Levels) and required temperature control to 100ᵒ - much more of an ask. There was now q chemical fogging bath instead of the need for a reversal exposure Ė but one component was so poisonous that it was supplied as two tablets to be crushed underwater to avoid the powder being inhaled. It didnít dissolve easily!


Ektachrome still exists, at around £15 per roll, excluding processing Ė and while the colours are purer than Ektachrome-X gave, they lack the slight yellow cast that gave freshly-processed X gave, and which made it a favourite with portrait and glamour photographers. Anyway, enjoy my trip down memory lane, and my Dadís venture into Ektachrome territory.



dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1833 England
1 Mar 2021 8:25AM

A gratuitous extra shot of my sister - lie the portrait of me in my school blazer, taken on the moorlands near the Roaches, north of Leek. Seaside shots of my Mum and sister are from Llandudno.
Owdman Plus
5 6 19 United Kingdom
1 Mar 2021 8:28AM
My father bought the cheaper slide film, Gratispool I seem to remember, where you sent your film off to be processed and they sent 'free' film back. The slides have not stood the test of time well and poor storage at my father's house which was rather damp, have led to spotting with mold. Still if they'd had digital cameras we would have thousands of pictures to sort through rather than a box of slides!
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1833 England
1 Mar 2021 10:10AM

cooky Plus
17 6 3 United Kingdom
1 Mar 2021 11:42AM
Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I love the digital world but it does propagate today's instant gratification rather than the more healthy delayed gratification! That wait to see if the images were what you hoped, no quick check and delete and move on.

I love rooting through old suitcases and boxes of photographs, my brother, in the 60s and early 70s used slides and we would have an evening slideshow - very happy memories! I suppose now it would be gather around the humongous flat screen but I'm sure it wouldn't have the same thrill.

Thanks for sharing your private photos John, like your sister I had a camel coat! I seem to recall my brother wore the similar long/short trousers like yours too!

banehawi Plus
16 2.4k 4228 Canada
1 Mar 2021 2:33PM
Its really magical to find these lovely surprises.
jacomes Plus
6 28 35 Portugal
1 Mar 2021 2:36PM
my father took lots of Kodachrome slides over several years up to the 80's or later . He was (in)famous in the family for his post holiday slide shows! He did scan quite a few and discarded the less persnoal photos, but After clearing the house after he died I'm not sure where the files are now, possibly with my brother. I used Ektachrome from the sevties, it was easier to have developed when living abroad, and did develop my own films using a photo flood but no bowl of water, usually successfully. I still have many year's worth of slide boxes but am waiting to afford good sca
JuBarney Plus
9 33 5 United Kingdom
1 Mar 2021 5:53PM
Such lovely family shots and esp. love the little girl/sister? on the bike.
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1833 England
1 Mar 2021 6:08PM
My sister, on what was still, at that stage, my tricycle...
1 Mar 2021 8:10PM
Never developed my own Ektachome, but did make quite a few Black and white slides, and remember having to re-expose the film with a Photo flood lamp, but never under water, and I still have the slides. Paul.
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1833 England
1 Mar 2021 8:45PM
The general recommendation was to use a white pudding bowl to put the spiral in, with water to stop the heat of the lamp drying the film out.

I have used every generation of Ektachrome from E-2 to E-6, and the Anscochrome, Agfa (before they moved to E-^) and possibly one or two other processes. The second film I ever developed was FP4 as slides, in the afternoon on Christmas Day 1967 - I'd done a negative film in the morning. I used the Johnson's reversal kit - I think it was six bob... You also needed Johnson's Universal developer, which was their standard print developer.
cuffit Plus
14 353 7 England
2 Mar 2021 10:58AM
Spooky that you should write about days long gone by, I have been thinking on the same theme. Circa 1963/4 my parents gave me a Kodak Instamatic. I was looking through an old photo album (how old-fashioned!) of that era and the (small) prints are still very good and have held their colour. The quality of those slides your Dad took are very good indeed. I binned most of my slides which I took with an Olympus OM-1 in the '70s as they had faded and, perhaps more importantly, the focus was wanting! Hard to think that the Kodak had two settings, sunny and half-sunny, the OM1 just shutter, ISO, shutter and aperture - I still have both. Chris

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