Happy Labor Day!

In honor of Labor Day, I figured I’d share with you one of my favorite photos of all time.

This image is part of the Library of Congress collection, originally taken as part of a campaign by the Office of War Information in 1942.

This photo is shot in 4×5 on Kodachrome Professional Type B, probably with a Speed or Crown Graphic camera using a normal (150mm) or normal-wide (135mm) lens. “Type B” refers to the color balance of the film, in this case set at about 3400 Kelvin. This film has an ASA (ISO, or film speed) of 10, which means that if you wanted to take a picture at 1/8th of a second @ f/5.6 you’d need about 4000 watts of incandescent light, set up 15 feet away. Needless to say, this picture was likely taken not with tungsten floods but with magnesium-foil flashbulbs, which in the larger sizes could put out a truly heroic quantity of light.

The very natural but vibrant color and incredible sharpness are the reason why Kodachrome was so well-loved over it’s 75-year lifespan, and it is part of what makes this photograph look so stunning.

You can see more images like this here.

Happy Labor Day!

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  1. I’m too young to have used Kodachrome in sheet form. Had I encountered a sheet in the darkroom, I might have thrown it in a tank of Microphen. That notch pattern is awfully similar to Tri-X Ortho.

  2. Brings back fond memories of my Cambo 4×5 camera and stacks of Polaroid Type 55. I always wanted an 8×10 for contact prints, but I could never justify the insane price for the camera or the film (4×5 was at least relatively cheap).

    Photography is actually what got me into electronics way back when … I somehow just seem to have forgotten about photography along the way and kept working in electronics. 🙂


  3. The only affordable 8×10 is the one you build yourself. I designed and built an 8×10 field camera out of cherry, brass & aluminum with full movements front & back. The trickiest part was figuring out how to fold the bellows.

  4. My favorite picture is some pipehead sitting outside the L0pht where it says “The L0pht – more fun than a pipe full of crack”

    Also, it was excellent photography.

  5. Ahh, 8×10. I have a recon lens off a WW2-era Lancaster bomber that I converted to use on a Deardorff that I had borrowed. It’s pretty cool — has UK Armament Ministry markings on it. It didn’t have a shutter, but I managed to rig one up using an old Speed Graphic someone had given me.

    I only shot that in B&W (HP5+ in Rodinal) though. Would have loved to shoot color, but 10 sheets of 8×10 Velvia was about $130.

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