Monthly Archives: May 2005

Please don’t take my Kodachrome away!

This photo shows photographer Jay Maisel buried in Kodachrome slides around 1980. But Kodachrome is doomed. Kodachrome, the most permanent and colorful of color films is also very expensive to process.

An recent New York Times article covers the story of the end of Kodachrome in Super 8 format. (Processing will cease at the end of 2007.) Kodak still makes and processes Kodachrome in 16mm and 35mm formats, but the picture is clearly flickring on the wall. Kodachrome will join all the other antique processes – tintypes, daguerotypes, cyanotypes, and so on – in the dustbin of technology history.

In the Times article, Kodak spokesperson Judy Doherty is quoted as saying that Super 8 Kodachrome fans can simply transfer their film onto digital “and achieve any kind of effect they want.”

Much as I love digital photography, this (of course) is simply not true. There are plenty of extremely cool things you can do with digital that you can’t do with film. But making your digitals imagery look like Kodachrome is not easily one of them.

Generally, it’s no good being nostalgic for the era of film anymore than it makes sense for motorists to waste over the glory days of horse transport. Digital is here to stay, and film is going away.

Meanwhile, a major battle is shaping up for the hearts and minds of digital snapshooters. Where do they print these pictures? Do they use an online service (Snapfly, Shutterfish, or Kodak), go to Costco, or buy a home printer. I think the home photo printer comes out ahead slightly just on convenience. But the real winner is digital to digital: mostly I want to put my digital photos up on Flickr and share them digitally. To heck with having these bits and pieces of papers and prints around! So yesterday! So horse and buggy. When someone finally comes up with a decent wireless photo album that synchs with services like Flickr then the companies offering photo processing and photo printers can finally die (as they ought to).

Posted in Writing

End of the Road

End, photo by Harold Davis.

This is the end of the road on the incomparable Bolinas plateau. Well, you couldn’t really go much further, could you? Unless you were going to jump into the Pacific…I guess another example of the fine wit and wisdom of Caltrans (the California Department of Transportation).

We spent a nice morning tidepooling at Agate Beach. Here’s a picture of the beach:

At low tide we could all wander on the beach:

Family at Agate Beach

Nicky enjoyed chucking rocks in a pool. Julian was great at finding and identifying sea creatures. We found a starfish:


Julian held this crab in his hands. It was still alive, but missing some of its claws, poor thing:

Julian Holding a Crab

Of course, Yoda showed up in the tidepools, too. Shown here “communing with a Starfish we are”:

Yoda and Starfish

After the tide started coming in, we repaired to Bolinas for lunch at the cafe with some friends. Nicky passed out in the carriage. Julian ate a huge pancake. I had some oysters and chips. Then we went to the Bolinas beach and played. Julian found some big kids and started telling them how to build a huge sand castle (the waves swept it away in the end). Nicky ran in and out of the waves. Mathew explored the sand with great delight. On the way home we drove up and along the slopes of the beautiful golden brown green Mount Tamalpais:

Slopes of Mt Tamalpais

Posted in Kids, Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area, Yoda

Garden Gate

Julian and I were out for a walk to Indian Rock after he got home from school today. What wonderful flowers and gardens they have here in Berkeley this time of year. I really like the way this round gate frames the garden.

Gates are significant. They can be magical. Julian thinks of them as portals into other worlds (and sometimes, so do I). I like the gate in the picture very much. It separates the outside world from the inside world, and makes me want to come inside. This gate was one of the inspirations for our own portal, the gate to our house.

Posted in Photography

Yoda and Emperor Palpatine

Yoda and Emperor Palpatine contemplate the fate of the world…or is it a marble?

A metaphor for our times? It’s wild how Star Wars has built a mythology that works in current times and appeals to kids (and the young at heart).

Posted in Bemusements, Yoda

View from Inspiration Point

There are some names that crop up again and again in Wilder Land – “Horse Heaven,” “Mirror Lake,” and “Inspiration Point” among them.

Yosemite’s Inspiration Point is not as well known as it once was. Today, photographers, tour buses, and the Winnebago crowd mostly stop at the Wawona Tunnel vista point, which has roughly the same view about 1,000 feet lower.

You can get to Inspiration Point up a mile and a half long hike, which is moderate to heavily up for the duration. I took this photo along the trail with Bridal Veil Falls in the background.

There used to be a road to Inspiration Point (off the Glacier Point road) but the Park Service is letting the road (and terminal parking lot) revert to the wilderness from whence it came.

If you’re ever passing through Yosemite, and stop at the Wawona vista parking lot, if you have an extra couple of hours, I highly recommend the walk up to Inspiration Point.

Posted in Hiking, Landscape, Photography, Yosemite

Flickr Art

This Bridge Is Tops, originally uploaded by Harold Davis.

This is a Flickr collage – perhaps a new art form!

Tools: Flickr, Flickr API, OberKampf, Snag-It (a screen capture utility), Photoshop, and Flickr.

First I made the strip of four images, using images posted to Flickr (you can see the strip of four on this page). The strip was made with OberKampf, a Flickr API PHP library of funtions.

To get the strip like it is, I had to copy and flip the Golden Gate Bridge image (Photoshop) so that it could appear twice, once reversed.

Next, with the strip appearing on the page, I used Snag-It to capture the four frames to a .Tif file. The capture was reworked in Photoshop to bring tonality down and to create the transition between the third and fourth frames.

Finally, I reposted the collage to Flickr (and added it to the Tweaked group).

Posted in Bemusements, Flickr, Photography

Playing with Legos

Playing with Legos, originally uploaded by Harold Davis.

Not a flying saucer. My son likes playing with Legos, and so do I! Mostly, post-production, I used the Photoshop Spherize filter. What fun!

Posted in Bemusements

Looking down Nevada Falls

Looking down Nevada Falls, originally uploaded by Harold Davis.

It’s a long way down from the top of Nevada Falls. It made me dizzy to take to take this photo.

I like the sense of being in some kind of bowl – in fact the geology around Nevada Falls has made a giant punch bowl of sorts. You can see the far edges of the “bowl” with the run-off waterfalls coming down in the picture.

An unusual amount of water due to the season and this wet, wet year in the Sierra.

I’m posting this photo from a trip I made a few weeks ago because I am getting so bored with working *for real* – it would be nice to be back in Yosemite.

Posted in Hiking, Landscape, Photography, Yosemite

Master Yoda in the Garden

Master Yoda in the Garden, originally uploaded by Harold Davis.

What I suprise! I went out to the garden to relax a little after our trip to the Star Wars version of Burger King and Alameda Island beach. There, in the flowers was Master Yoda. I think he was probably full of wit, wisdom, and magic as usual. I couldn’t really tell because I had to run inside to help with the kids. But I did notice that Yoda’s light saber was green. I think that means he’s still undecided in the cosmic fight between good and evil. I also think I did hear Yoda say (as I rushed back into the house): “In the garden renewed you shall be…”

Yoda seems to crop up everywhere: here’s more Yoda!

Posted in Bemusements, Yoda

After the Burger King Star Wars Meal

The kids like their Star Wars toys – here Nicky is happy with his “good crown.” Julian (not in the picture) got the crown of evil. We may have to collect all 31 Star Wars toys. I got a Yoda and R2D2 for myself. After we ate the Burger King food, we headed for the beach.

Posted in Kids

Hearts on Fire in the Sky

Hearts on Fire in the Sky, originally uploaded by Harold Davis.

I like photographing hearts. (Here’s a photo of a heart on ice I recently blogged.) Hearts are shorthand for passion. As I’ve said, I like them. Here’s a link to a very wonderful flickr group of heart photos (the photos are taken by group members, of course, not just little ole me).

My Hearts on Fire in the Sky is, of course, a photocomposition of several images. Oh, the things one can do in the digital era, and the second time around! Not all post-editing is as obvious as Hearts on Fire in the Sky; some just enhances an existing image and tries to appear natural, like my photo of Mirror Lake.

Posted in Hearts

Looking Down Vernal Falls

Looking down Vernal Falls, originally uploaded by Harold Davis.

I spent some time hiking around Yosemite about a week ago. It’s one of the most wet years on record, and the waterfalls are terrific: thundering, full, sensous, and infinite.

Leaning over the edge of Vernal Falls was scary and I was glad for automatic mode (I could extend my D70 out and take the picture with one hand). How cool to see the rainbow below the waterfall and above the Mist Trail!

Posted in Hiking, Landscape, Yosemite

Peruvian Lilies

Peruvian Lily, originally uploaded by Harold Davis.

I love these Peruvian Lilies in my garden. They are so luminous. They grow without any effort. These are from the Neitzchian school of gardening as practiced at Home Depot and other fine stores: that which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. Our Peruvian Lilies have been growing stronger year after year…

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Meadow Rue

Meadow Rue in the rain, originally uploaded by Harold Davis.

Yesterday it was raining. The kids woke early. They were playing downstairs: not fighting (a blessing!) but still making some noise. So I got up a little before 6:00 leaving Phyllis to catch a bit more sleep. It was still a bit dark out, partly because of the cloud cover. I cuddled with the kids a bit, then went out to get the paper. On my way out, I saw the meadow rue flowers with raindrops. Very cool pattern. The kids were wanting their breakfast — it’s “Daddy day care” when they get an ice cream sandwich (on real fried bread) and a chocolate sandwich, respectively. But I ignored them for a little, grabbed my camera and tripod, and snapped this picture. Sometimes you have to just focus on the beauty in front of you and ignore the chaos – or else there will be serious rueing later!

Posted in Flowers

Mirror Lake, Yosemite

Mirror Lake, Yosemite, originally uploaded by Harold Davis.

As you can see in this photo, Mirror Lake was full of water (and like a mirror) a few days ago. This is unusual – in part it is true because of the time of year (spring), and in part because it is one of the most wet years on record in California and the Sierra.

Most times you go to visit Mirror Lake (and it’s a gentle one mile walk from the Yosemite Valley shuttle bus stop) you’ll find a sandy basin, and no lake it all. This was my experience when I visited with Julian at the end of last summer.

Mirror Lake was a stop on the great tour of Yosemite around the turn of the century when tourism of the rugged West was still somewhat novel. They had a hotel, boat houses, and (in the winter) ice skating. The lake, however, was artificial, and it took more and more dredging to keep it a lake. When the Park Service stopped keeping it artificially moist in the middle of the last centruy, it began reverting to its natural state: very seasonal and mostly dry.

My photo echoes views made by great 19th century photographers and painters of Yosemite (Mirror Lake was a favorite view).

Thanks to Phyllis for post-processing this photo.

Posted in High Sierra, Hiking, Landscape, Photography, Yosemite