Yesterday I sent off my last roll of Kodachrome to be developed to the last place in the country that does it––and which will cease doing this process the end of this month. In truth I thought I had sent it all in a few months ago. The results––eight rolls––were stunning! But a ninth roll had slipped away from the corner of the desk where I was collecting them, and so, if I am to see what I photographed in all its brilliant color, I had to hurry and send it, along with a few rolls of Ektachrome and some color print film. Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas, does it all, but there will never be another wonder like Kodachrome with its richness, depth, and contrast.
Those last rolls I sent in included some great subjects. Of course there are abundant shots of my beloved Lake Michigan and several Carnegie libraries around the state where I have been peddling my recent book on Indiana state parks. But perhaps the most magnificent slides are those of Niagara Falls. Serendipity brought me the opportunity to visit the Falls three times in the last two years. Part of the Great Lakes system that sings to my soul, Niagara is to me one of the most spiritual places on earth. I had the good fortune twice to visit during March, when few people are there to mill around the overlook and ask in ten languages “should I use my flash?” (I was also there in August. Niagara is a must-see for many foreign visitors. Many.) New York state expects these visitors to be sensible, and I am grateful. No huge barriers obstruct the view. From Goat Island one actually could wade right into the water atop the Falls (not recommended unless suicide is your goal.) The roar, which one can hear several blocks away, is hypnotic. The ground vibrates. Looking at these slides, it appears I was hanging right over the Falls. (Well, I was.) What better subject for my last Kodachrome? Some of these will be in my photography show at the Plainfield (Indiana) Public Library next June.
All these musings may be a mystery to many. Film? What, haven’t I gone digital yet? No, and thanks to those good folks in Kansas, I can continue for some time to shoot real slides (although alas, not Kodachrome) that I will share by means of real projectors, so that the light shining through brings forth “those nice bright colors” that Paul Simon sang about so long ago.