Kodachrome
You give us those nice bright colors
You give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day, oh yeah!
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome away

-Paul Simon 1973

Once in awhile I get a stretch of assignments that bleed color.  Bright hues that hurt eyeballs.  Color is always present, but when it smacks you in the face, it’s a no-brainer.

I never thought a digital camera could replace the existence of slide film.  I still believe Kodachrome is the purest form of color film.  You just can’t replace the rendition, vibrancy and sharpness of a properly exposed Kodachrome slide.  RIP, god of film.

However, the Canon 5D (this is not a plug) comes pretty close.  Even though it’s motor drive rivals cold pancake syrup, it’s a workhorse camera.  It has a true 35mm focal plane,  which allows me to shoot with a wide angle again, nearly 12 years after PD shooters stopped using film cameras.  There is nothing comparable to a full frame 35mm.

A rhythm of color is starting to take shape this summer, the light seems to be different. Maybe it’s haze from all the volcanoes erupting around the globe, softening that afternoon hardball light.  Maybe because I’m one year away from an AARP card?  Yea that’s it, I’ve (finally) matured.

Not.

Whatever the reason, Kodachrome lives on through my 5D.  After the horrendous overcast the last six months, the sun is a welcome aspect to any palette.

A hot air balloon is inflated as early morning sunlight illuminates the colorful fabric, Saturday June 18, 2011, during the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic in Windsor. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

After a year hiatus, the balloon festival once again re-appeared over the skies of Windsor. So many times I’ve shot this event only to be disappointed by a no show yellow orb.  Obviously the sun came out this year and everything was photographically hunky dory.

The Dawn Patrol under a pre-dawn sky, Saturday June 18, 2011, during the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic in Windsor. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

Headlamps for those in the know were popular attire during the Windsor balloon fest. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

The Dawn Patrol light up a pre-dawn sky, Saturday June 18, 2011, during the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic in Windsor. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

Kettle corn at five in the AM. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

The Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic in Windsor, Saturday June 18, 2011. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

Color is patriotic. Color is gooooood. Color, combined with smell, can flood senses of childhood past.  Does color influence your day?  It does mine.  I eat and dream in color. I need that plate of color.

Scout leader Bill Wells gives the scout salute as an American flag is retired by flames during a ceremony at the Windsor Fire Department on Windsor Road, Tuesday June 14, 2011. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2011

American flags are retired by flame during a ceremony at the Windsor Fire Department on Windsor Road, Tuesday June 14, 2011. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2011

Al Delsid, incoming commander of the Healdsburg Sons of the American Legion Squadron 111, prepares to retire a worn American flag by burning it, during a ceremony at the Windsor Fire Department on Windsor Road, Tuesday June 14, 2011. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2011

I met Al Delsid (above) who was a firefighter, while shooting a brush fire in 1987 on Sweetwater Springs Road near Healdsburg. I exposed my first roll of chrome for the Press Democrat on that brush fire.  Funny how things work, eh?

Even a most somber occasion can make for knockout color. Recently the city of Clearlake has been beset by numerous instances of violence, culminating in the shooting death of four-year old Skyler Rapp.  The community, which has struggled through the current recession and has lost nearly half of it’s police force to attrition, injuries and layoffs, came together on a warm and windy night June 22, to pay their respects to Skyler.  “Senseless” was the common word running through the heartbroken community.

Redbud Park Little League field was the scene for a candlelight vigil in response to the shooting death of Four year-old Skyler Rapp in Clearlake, Wednesday June 22, 2011. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

The soft spires of Mt. Konocti serve as the backdrop for a candlelight vigil in response to the shooting death of Four year-old Skyler Rapp in Clearlake, Wednesday June 22, 2011. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

Sunni Forney, right mourns the loss of her grandson Skyler Rapp, 4, at Redbud Park in Clearlake, Wednesday June 23, 2011 prior to a candlelight memorial. Rapp was shot to death on Fathers Day while he and other family members were barbecuing in front of their small four-plex in Clearlake. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

An abandoned building in Clearlake. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

From left, Alex Carr, Skyler Rapp's godmother, Amanda Gamble, his aunt and neighbor Ruth Ann Spangenberg, spend time at the scene of the four year-old's death by gunfire, Wednesday June 22, 2011 in Clearlake. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

The granddaddy of color and unabashed advertising rolled in to town this past week.  Yes, I’m talking about the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, aka NASCAR.  It’s loud in more ways than one. This sport was made for color.  Every inch of metal and plastic is either buffed to a silver polish or the Screaming Mimi of the color spectrum.  Publish these pictures in black and white and the impact is lost forever.  It’s all color, all the time.

Richard Petty watches practice for the Toyota / Save Mart 350, Saturday June 25, 2011 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2011

Jimmie Johnson exits from his car after qualifying, Friday, June 24, 2011 at Infineon Raceway. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

Sunglasses are not optional at NASCAR. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

Kurt Busch exits from his Shell/Pennzoil Dodge in the winners circle after winning the 23rd annual Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Sunday June 26, 2011. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2011

Jeff Gordon accelerates out of turn seven during the 23rd annual Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Sunday June 26, 2011. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2011

Pole sitter Joey Logano and girlfriend Sabrina Simpson cuddle prior to the 23rd annual Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Sunday June 26, 2011. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2011

The Best Buy pit crew stands for the National Anthem prior to the start of the 23rd annual Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Sunday June 26, 2011. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2011

So there you have it. If you want to see in these galleries just click on the links below.

NASCAR

Candlelight Vigil

Retiring Flags

Balloon Festival

-Kent Porter