Springtime has arrived in the Pacific Northwest. The cityscape of Portland, Oregon is awash in pastel colors as trees begin to blossom. One of the best places to witness the season is in the north end of Tom McCall Waterfront Park along the Willamette River. Here is a grove of 100 ornamental cherry trees (sakura) which were donated as a gift from Japan for the Japanese American Historical Plaza.
This plaza sits next to the historic site of Japantown, a community erased during World War II when people of Japanese descent were sent to internment camps. A tragic part of our history, and the cherry trees act as a reminder “of the fragility of our freedom and how we have to be vigilant to protect and stand up for the ideals and principles of democracy.” (Lynn Fuchigami Parks, Executive Director, Japanese American Museum of Oregon)
I’ve only been shooting film again for over a year. Last year the cherry blossom bloom happened right at the start of Lockdown. I managed a few pics then, but only in black and white. This year I was prepared. I wanted film stock that would bring the color of the blossoms to life, so I opted for slide film. I had picked up a roll of Kodak Elite Chrome 100 off of eBay. It had expired in 2007, but the roll was cold-stored and the seller shared shots they took with the same freezer-kept batch. So I was hopeful that I’d get good results.
And when I think of “slide film” I think of mechanical SLRs from the 1960s through 80s. So my camera choice became apparent: my Minolta SR-T 101. It has been freshly CLA’d by local shop Advance Camera, so I knew that the metering would be correct, and correct metering is essential for color reversal stock. I attached my trusty MC Rokkor PG 50 mm f/1.4 lens on the body, got on my trusty Raleigh Superbe three-speed bicycle, and rode downtown.
March 30, 2021 was a lovely sunny spring Tuesday. Many folks were enjoying the beautiful scenery and balmy weather (55F/13C) so I masked up and stayed as distant from them as I could. This led to me not staying for long, just long enough to get in some shots. I managed to finish off the roll. So on the return ride home, I dropped it off at my local lab (Citizens Photo) to get it processed (E-6) and scanned.
I got the results back a week later and was pleasantly surprised. The Elite Chrome made the color pop, and it was fun looking at the developed slide film on top of my lightbox. The SR-T 101 did a great job of capturing detail and ambiance, and everything seemed to come out properly exposed. I’ll definitely be shooting more slide film in the future. Maybe I’ll check out the tulips blooming south of Portland…
For a full set of photos of the cherry blossoms, check out this flickr album.
Thanks for reading! -Shawn
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