5 Frames with a Minolta SR-T 101, Kodak Elite 100 Slide Film, Capturing Cherry Blossoms in Portland Oregon – by Shawn Granton

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

Check out my blog and me elsewhere on the internet here.


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11 thoughts on “5 Frames with a Minolta SR-T 101, Kodak Elite 100 Slide Film, Capturing Cherry Blossoms in Portland Oregon – by Shawn Granton”

  1. Peter Roberts

    Hi Shawn. Thanks for this enjoyable post which struck a couple of chords for me.
    In spite of a mild attack of GAS in recent years my Minolta SRT101b is still my go-to camera for film photography. Minoltas do seem to be under-rated here in the UK.
    Back in the day I used to shoot a lot of slide film. Agfa CT18 being my preference because I liked its colour saturation. The Minolta’s metering system never let me down when it came to exposure.
    And I admire your bicycle, I have several oldies mostly of the sit up and beg variety with rod brakes, including a couple of pre-war Raleighs. Perhaps I’ll do a Five Frames featuring them one day!

  2. Clive Shepherd

    Thank you for sharing the lovely blossoms. I am still waiting for my trees here in southern Ontario. The 3 speed was the vintage perfect transportation for this outing and the slide film topped it off.

  3. Very nice! Slide film always seemed to show the closest thing to what the human eye would see. I shot plenty of it back in the day. Hell I even played with cibachrome printing for a brief while. But that process didn’t do positive transparencies justice. They really are best viewed live through a
    good projectorr or pocket viewer. We live in rural Clackamas county, sort of a part of the Portland metro area. I have not ventured into the belly of the beast – downtown Portland since 1994. City hall hates cars and there’s no place to park. But that aside, the city still has many beautiful things to see and it’s very refreshing you affirmed that!

    1. Thank you, Steve! Dang, you haven’t been to downtown Portland in 26 years, wow! An option worth trying is drive to Clackamas Town Center, park there, and take the MAX into downtown. Longer, yes, but you won’t have to worry about downtown parking.

  4. Elite Chrome I would say was never one of the best Kodak slide films. I have about a dozen rolls of expired Elite Chrome similar to what you used. So far I have used only one roll mainly because the slides came out so faint as though underexposed by numerous stops. I know it isn’t me as all color I shot between 1972-2000 was Kodachrome with no issues. I have yet to decide how to deal with the rest left. Shoot another roll at normal box speed or decrease it by half as a start. For all I know each roll could behave differently so a moving target.

    1. True, Elite Chrome was more of a consumer level slide film, but I do like the results I got from it. The only way to know if the rest of the rolls work is by trying them out, or passing them on to someone willing to try! (Hint, hint) 😉

  5. Pingback: Shawn Granton, Professional Photographer – Urban Adventure League

  6. Pingback: An appreciation of slide film – Urban Adventure League

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