Tasmania's Russell Falls—Kodachrome 64 by Brett Rogers

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Tasmania's Russell Falls—Kodachrome 64 by 

Tasmania’s spectacular Russell Falls, in Mount Field National Park are deservedly famous, and are visited by thousands of local or overseas visitors every year. I’m lucky enough to live just over a half an hour drive from the park and try to get up there a few times every year if I can.

In mid-2010, I bought two rolls of Kodachrome 64 transparency film. Kodachrome was the world’s first commercially viable and successful colour film, introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1935. I had just a few months, to expose and then send the films off to Dwaynes Photo in Parsons, Kansas. They operated the last Kodak K-14 process film laboratory in the world.

In early 2010, Dwaynes announced that on or around 30th December that year, due to Kodak’s decision to cease Kodachrome manufacture, as well as the production of the dyes needed to process it, they would shut down K-14 development, in the process killing off Kodak’s most famous colour film—perhaps the world’s most famous— forever. I finished the rolls and got them mailed over to Dwaynes, just in time to make their deadline. As far as I’ve been able to establish, I was the last photographer in Tasmania, and perhaps the last in Australia, to make some shots on Kodachrome. This image was made with that final roll.

It was loaded in a classic 1959 Voigtländer Bessamatic 35mm leaf shutter SLR.

I’m fairly pleased with the shot. Considering the narrow exposure latitude and limited dynamic range of the film, I think the exposure settings were quite good. What is more remarkable is that, on the day, I was obtuse enough to forget my trusty Minolta digital light meter, and was forced to rely on the Bessamatics built in fifty year old selenium meter to set the exposure. It’s a massive tribute to the quality of Voigtländer’s product that, over fifty years after it was made, it works well enough to correctly expose such an unforgiving transparency film! The quality of the best Voigtländer product was unbelievably good in the 1950s, and my own Bessamatic still looks almost new.

The lens was a Voigtländer 135mm f/4 Super Dynarex telephoto, an incredibly compact 135mm lens with the most beautiful machining and leather finish.


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hobart, tasmania, mount field national park, russell falls, national parks, wilderness, world heritage area, brett rogers, kodachrome, kr64, k14, 35mm, transparency, dwaynes photo, voigtlander, bessamatic, film, kodak, rain forest, temperate forest, tasmanian forests, tasmanian wilderness

Tasmanian Brett Rogers captures landscape, cityscape, and architectural photographs in and around his home town of Hobart. He also provides quality black and white film processing services and tuition in traditional film photography.

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  • James2001
    James2001about 3 years ago

    Great story, great shot! Too bad “Mama ‘took’ the Kodachrome away”.

  • Thanks James, it was the end of a film which had a unique place in popular culture, and which helped generations of photographers capture some of the 20th Century’s defining moments, wasn’t it? In some ways, it is surprising Kodak kept it going as long as they did. Glad you found the background information to be of some interest, too, and I really appreciate the comment.

    – Brett Rogers

  • TonyCrehan
    TonyCrehanabout 3 years ago

    Nice shot Brett. These falls are a favourite of mine too and I like this viewpoint.

  • Thank you Tony for your kind words. It’s almost a rite of passage isn’t it, to visit or picnic at the park at some time and of course the falls are oft-photographed for very good reasons. I guess many hundreds, if not thousands of Kodachrome images of the falls have been made over the intervening seventy-odd years, but surely, this was the last… I think you may be right, I’ve tried a number of different locations but always seemed to get my best results at this spot. So pleased you liked it mate and thank you for making it a favourite, too, I’m honoured!

    – Brett Rogers

  • Manon Boily
    Manon Boilyover 2 years ago

    this is beautiful! Kodachrome was great for sure. that reminds me of that song

  • Hey Manon, thanks! You are so very kind. And yes, it’s one of my favourite Paul Simon tracks, and he is one of my favourite artists. I have a copy of his and Art Garfunkels “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” LP taking pride of place in my record collection. His solo albums are brilliant too, by and large.

    – Brett Rogers

  • Manon Boily
    Manon Boilyover 1 year ago

    I love this one. great tone and composition ;)

  • Thank you Manon, you are such a sweetheart for saying that. :) Sadly, the look of this image has to be emulated digitally now—as Kodachrome is no more—but I’m pleased I had the chance to experience it before the end.

    – Brett Rogers

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