I dropped into Mags and Fags on Friday, after a lunchtime meeting at Bridgehead. With ten days of holidays ahead, I wanted to pick up a magazine or two. Browsing the shelves, I came across a photography magazine with a story about the last roll of Kodachrome film.
The article was written by the same photojournalist who took the iconic photograph of the startling, blue-eyed Afghan girl for National Geographic. Upon learning that Kodak planned to discontinue production of Kodachrome film, this photographer made a special request to the company for the last roll of the film. He then travelled around the world, taking portraits in his favourite places. Stunning portraits, with all of the richness and color of Kodachrome film.
I felt terribly sad as I skimmed the magazine — as though reading an account of the death of a language and culture. I’ve shot Kodachrome film. Nothing compares. It represented the world as the world should appear: intense, dramatic, sharp. It documented some of the most dramatic and important moments in world history, and it brought them into lives and homes. It took people out of their lives and homes, to places in which they would never otherwise set foot. It took me to those places and awakened my yearning for travel. A medium is lost; an art is lost.
Coincidentally, I’ve been reliant on my old 35 mm Olympus camera since last summer, when I decided to go snorkeling at Devil Lake with my digital camera in my pocket. I took it with me today, as I cycled to Mud Lake at Britannia. Sue accompanied me most of the way there, but turned back just before the conservation area. The trails around the lake were crowded with people out to enjoy the good weather, before the forecast rains close around tomorrow. The air felt cool, the sun felt warm, and I ambled around the lake for several hours, stopping to watch the birds or photograph the flowers.
Only a few birds had arrived. Lots of geese and gulls, of course. Mallards. A pair of hooded mergansers in the middle of the lake. At one point, while I spoke with a Birder on the west ridge, a pair of falcons flew behind us calling, and then circled high over the lake. “Peregrines,” said the camouflage-clad Birder, lifting his head from a very expensive and heavy spotting scope to squint at their silouhettes against the bright sky. “Aren’t they a bit small for Peregrines,” I suggested, knowing full well from their size, wing strokes and call that they were merlins. “No,” he said with certainty. “Peregrines.”
To make up for the poor showing of birds, the turtles had finally emerged from their winter torpor to enjoy the sun. The shallow area near the boardwalk held close to a hundred painted turtles of all age classes, lined up along logs like soldiers on parade. They reminded me of rows of spinning plates, or a sidewalk of parasols. However, a smaller pond in the woods held a much less spectacular, but more impressive find: three Blanding’s turtles, stacked atop each other like piled dishes. Two large, mature turtles and one juvenile, heads lifted in the sun and bright yellow necks as clear and unmistakable as ripe bananas. I’m hoping that I got a good photo.
Now my spring has really begun.