Super Slide Me!

One of the finds in my treasure trove of boxes was a set of super slides! You may have never heard of them: they are 2″x2″ slides made on size 127 film. In this case the film was Ektachrome, the camera was a Yashica 44 (a wonderful little TLR), the place was Letchworth State Park, NY, and the year was 1975 (one of the rare instances where I have the pertinent information).

I did not have any proper way of scanning these because although the slides fit in a standard 2×2 holder the image size is too large for the scanner or indeed a slide copier. So I literally hand held them in front of a window with the sun glaring off the snow, used the Nikon P610 with slight telephoto and close-up settings, and gave it a shot. There are some odd spots on some of them because of this less-than-ideal copying method. Ignore the ‘sky shadows’; they can be removed with more effort. First, let’s look at side-by-side examples so you can see how different the format is.

Super slide vs. regular 35mm slide

Imagine slipping one of those into your slide show, eh? Or maybe you don’t know about slide shows. *sigh* Can you quote the mantra “upside down, shiny side towards the light”?

So let’s have another look at Letchworth!

Upper Falls
This one is my favourite of the lot
Train trestle and upper falls
The Glenn Iris Inn
Field of view
The Big Bend
Genesee River
The Middle Falls
Rainbow arc
Another rainbow

You get twelve pictures on a roll, but there were a couple that weren’t worth the effort. One of them I couldn’t figure out why I took it at all! BTW I didn’t do much processing to these: cropped the square picture out of the middle as best I could, did a slight colour correction on some, and shrunk them down to ‘Internet size’. This film has stood up better than the Kodachrome, although it starts out a bit bluer in the first place.

One fault with super slides is their greater tendency to buckle compared to standard 35mm slides. More film and less cardboard combined with the heat of old projector lamps and … sometimes they’d bend and jam while in the machine. Too bad you can’t get the 127 film anymore, because if you have something like a Yashica 44 (or Sawyers/Nomad equivalent) you can take some pretty amazing pictures. Incidentally, Exacta also made some professional SLR cameras that took 127: the VP (127 was known as Vest Pocket film size) Exakta ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, and ‘Night’ models.

An old test of an old camera

One of the batches of slides I came across is labeled “Exa I test”. The Exa I was an Exacta ‘cousin’; a much simpler SLR that used the same lens mount and finders but had only a four speed ‘guillotine’ shutter. It was quiet as a mouse, and thus that was the nickname it earned. The one I had came with a Meyer-Gorlitz Primotar 50mm f3.5 lens, which is most likely what the test roll was shot with. Primotar was Meyer’s version of the Zeiss Biotar lens, the name being a portmanteau of “Primoplan” (their best lens) and “Biotar”.

The film itself is Kodachrome 64, and it hasn’t held up well over the years. It’s gone dark and contrast-y with a decided colour shift towards blue (a trait usually seen in Ektachrome) and some significant ‘blowout’ in the highlights – despite genuine Kodak processing. With some careful post-scan reworking I managed to get some images, but they don’t really do the camera justice. No doubt I used a light meter for these, but I had so many of them there’s no way to tell which one.

How now brown cow?
Small fry
Speckled cow
Downed tree
Primitive milk cooler
Lichen to a rock
Unprocessed: I like this one the way it is
Desolate landscape
Alternative power

I probably should have kept that camera just to have it, but as with so many others …

C’est la vie.

Elysium Fields

Some more old prints I found. The pictures were taken in Perry, Upstate New York, and are at least 25 years old. Beyond that I don’t know the exact location, date, or what camera and film were used. They had suffered a bit from the passing years, so I cleaned up the worst of the damage after scanning. But not too much because I don’t want to lose the “old film look”.

Certain this is “the old Mlyniec farm” on Myers Road
Possibly on Page Road
Probably on Page Road
Could be Simmons Road
Unknown, probably Page Road
Page Road near Simmons Road

It’s kind of fun finding the old photos, but it emphasizes the overwhelming number that have gone missing and makes me wish all the more that they hadn’t. There may have been some great pictures in there.

I’ve found more prints, slides, and negatives to scan and will be doing so as there’s not much chance of taking new pictures under the current circumstances. I did not find what I was looking for, of course!