Shooting Kodak Ektachrome!

Mama...They...Took...My...Ekta...Chrome... Away ~. . .

Pick up that slide. Feel the mount between your thumb and fingers. Gaze through it, still as vibrant as ever. You can almost smell the chrome scent as you gaze through the grain into a rainbow of color: air force blue, alizarin crimson, Persian rose, Zinnwaldite brown.

Yes, sadly, Kodak discontinued Ektachrome films. But, there is loads of time to pick up some of this very special slide film, wind then onto your film advance, and lock those unique colors you can only get from slide film back into that camera you wear like your first favorite suit.

Why do we love slide film? It's timeless. We thought Ektachrome was forever because Kodak Ektachrome had a unique look, nostalgic feel, and enchanted magic spectrum when we projected it.  So like those love songs you fall asleep to,  that old slide film got into our soul slowly, gently, passionately. Fade to Black ...

One cold Colorado winter morning, in low light, I pulled a roll out of my backpack and loaded Ektachrome into a frost-covered Canon. I wanted to try and catch this 45-pound male lynx in his "sleepy" phase. It was early in March, and he was eating zoo-fed- five-course entrees of squirrel, marmot and rabbit. Yumm.

If you like metadata, the photograph details are

Film: Kodak Ektachrome Slide Film / Camera:: Canon EOS A2 / Shutter: 1/90th second / Aperture: F/4 / Lens: 300 mm Canon lens /  Lynx: Captive Animal in the Denver Zoo.

Now, granted, slides are not for every shooter. Balanced for daylight, slide films often need to be exposed with mindful technique because, in general, they tend to have less latitude than negative films. Black and white slide film, even when expired, is also more forgiving than color slides.

With the demise of Kodachome, many folks tell us slide film is dead. Let us answer in all caps: SLIDE FILM IS ALIVE !

You can order some beautiful vivid Velvia. You'll be delighted with the Velvia chrome film. I like to try 100 and 200 ISO 35 mm Kodak Elite Chrome, Kodak Elite Chrome EB, Ektachrome 100VS ( I rate mine at ISO 80). 

Check out your FPP store and also Adorama and The Lomo Film Shop. Expired Ektachrome as far back as 1992 is still good to shoot, I believe, so just find some that has been in the fridge.

Lomographers, medium format photographers, LF shooters and 35 mm folk- all of us who love slide film can order it online or in the store. I urge you,  this summer, pack, unwrap, wind and Lock & Load some slide film when you hit the road ! Process it yourself or at: Precision Imaging in Chicago, Harmon's in Gainesville, Florida, The Darkroom California,  Hamilton Nebraska or Dwayne's in Parsons Kansas. But don't stop there. Scan and Share on the FPP flickr site and at the Flickr Ektachrome Group.

I'd like to hear from you, so if you'd like to write, share, or just comment about your slide photography experience, especially you pros who do E-6 at home, feel free to tell about how much you love slide film in the comments !

Thanks, Jim

( Jim Austin is a photographer, teacher, writer for Apogee Magazine and a regular contributor to The Film Photography Project. He lives aboard Salty Paws, a sailing catamaran and blogs on his adventure photography at http://jimaustin.wordpress.com/  .  You can also find him at http://jimages.com/  )

Comments

Brian's picture
The thing about slide film was and is that you can take a color picture, then make it BIG, without having to spend a fortune on a huge color enlargement. And, when you get everything just right, focus, compositon, exposure; then project it on a screen ... the sense of acomplishment is just as huge as the picture! ^_^
jimagesdigital's picture
Brian Exactly, slide feel leaves us feeling a little magically magnified. Jim
Jim's picture
I just shot my very first roll of Ektachrome E100G, in a vintage Kodak Monitor camera. I had a great time and was blown away by the color I got back.
jimagesdigital's picture
Jim. Glad you were. That's great. Jim jimages.com
Olivier Sylvestre's picture

Where can I get chemicals in Canada to develop in my small darkroom color slide film?

Lionel1972's picture

There's nothing like the visual experience of looking at a piece of slide film on a light table with a good loupe or projected on a big screen! It is mind blowing! It feels as if you are there in the scene and that you can almost touch the subject! It's the best next thing to a time machine! It's a shame slide film doesn't get as much support as some other film processes. It's not so difficult to expose. And processing it at home isn't too difficult either. The results are so awesome, the colors are amazing, the sharpest is fantastic, it's magic!

jimagesdigital's picture
Lionel So well expressed, my friend. It's tactile, and jumps right out into our hands. I can tell you have a long experience with slides, and appreciate your great comment. Jim www.jimages.com
mikendawn's picture

beautiful photos!  I have been shooting some Ektachrome, and intend on getting some more before it is all gone.. just have to bite my lip when I get gouged at the local film supplier.

jimagesdigital's picture
thanks Mikendawn. Hope you get lots and shoot it all. If I win the lottery I'll pitch in for processing...:) Cheers, Jim www.jimages.com
Austin Beeman's picture
Nothing looks better than a perfectly exposed slide on a lightbox. Awesome.
jBeckley's picture

Sad to see Kodak discontinue slide film...I'm shooting as much as I can afford.

Bitan Photography's picture
The photos are as stunning as your prose is evocative. A very inspiring article. I must admit that in recent months I've been shooting slide film, but usually only in my 10-dollar "Plastic Fantastic" Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim knock-off. I carry it everywhere with me. Love the colors I get with the plastic lens and some 100 ASA chrome on a bright day.
jimagesdigital's picture
Bitan Your Vivitar UW and Slim knockoff sounds cool. ITs the best, because you always have it with you, to get a bit cliched, but true. Shoot me a link to your work. Jim www.jimages.com
adkjoe's picture

I loved Kodachrome but I grew to love Ektachrome... Especially ASA 100. I am sad to see Kodak itself in such a demise. I have been buying as much Ektachrome as I can to keep me stocked for a while and then I guess it is only Fuji left.

Attached is a link to an Ektachrome 100 slide shot with a Canon EOS 3 70-200 F/2.8L of my son in the Swift river along the Kancamagus highway in New Hampshire's White Mountains. © Joe Geronimohttp://www.flickr.com/photos/jgeronimo_photography/6709958703/in/photostream

adkjoe's picture

Here is another Ektachrome 100 slide of my other son shot with a Canon EOS 1N 70-200 F/2.8L in the Swift river along the Kancamagus highway in New Hampshire's White Mountains. © Joe Geronimo
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jgeronimo_photography/6709960099/

Chris's picture
Anyone know where I can develop Kodachrome in color? Chris
Michael Raso's picture

Hi Chris,

Sadly, the chemical process (K-14) for Kodachrome no longer exists. Video on the last days of Kodachrome - http://youtu.be/mPvF1MOU2kE

Horace T's picture
I just shot my first roll of Ektachrome last week, it was my first roll of slide film ever. Didn't have a light meter and that thing about low latitude, you know, but a fair amount did turn out and the colors were wow. Now I'm hoping to try out that Tetenal kit as soon as my poorly kept "year of B&W" is over
Floren's picture
The particular photos usually are as wonderful as an individual's prose is without a doubt evocative. A really inspiring document. I has to admit that in recent months I've become shooting move film, but commonly only within my 10-dollar "Plastic Fantastic" Vivitar Seriously Wide together with Slim knock-off. http://voice-over.org

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