Re: Jack Delano color photos

Greg Martin

I have seen the quality of the Maxwell slide colletion that Richard is fortunate in having, they are absolutely stunning. I could not dectect any color shift what so ever. The level of color saturation on these slides is tremendous. Perhaps some Thursday evening in Cocoa Beach Richard will grace us with a slide show of his collection, you will all be amazed.

We must remember that Kodachrome was a system whereby the developing was done by a series of dyes unlike other types of slide film. My college Photography teacher would say the machine was?about 2 stories tall (who actually knows) and?Kodack could creat a slide (transparency) any size they wanted including the one that was on display in Grand Central Station?of the first man on the moon (As he explained supersized anyone remeber it?). Only a Kodak lab could develop this film, it's not somethig one could do in a darkroom, like AGFA or Ecktachrome. It was either spot on or ruined. Kodak handled the chemicals in their labs around the country (some by license) but never in someones dark room.
The collection does depict freight car weather that Richard explains. Again, luck be with us, we?may get an opportunity to see the collection, with jaws in the suspended position...

Greg Martin?

-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Hendrickson <>
Sent: Sat, 2 Feb 2008 12:51 pm
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Jack Delano color photos

On Feb 2, 2008, at 10:02 AM, proto48er wrote:

Richard -

I wonder if the backgrounds in your Maxwell photos look correct from
a color perspective. To me, many of the Delano photos seem to have a
color shift in the background which seems to be darker than normal.
Could this be due to the use of the early Kodachrome films? Some of
his shots in the Rockies have the background mountains looking not at
all like what I have seen on location. Surely soot from locomotives
could not have darkened snow on mountains in the distant background
to such a degree. The skies are also much deeper, darker blues. I
wonder if some of this is darkroom "art" on the part of Delano. I
wonder whether he developed his transparencies in a way that
accentuated their artistic (as opposed to realistic) qualities, like
Ansel Adams did with B&W prints.

Just wondering what the Maxwell photos show. Different photographer,
different developing regimen??
Actually, the color in the Maxwell slides seems very accurate to me.
These transparencies were shot on early ASA 10 Kodachrome and processed
by Technicolor in Hollywood; in 1941 local color processing was
nonexistent, and Technicolor worked to the highest professional
standards - their primary business was, after all, processing motion
picture film. Jack's exposures were excellent and he stored his
originals very carefully; I see no evidence in my copies of color
shift. I will add that, unlike many subscribers to this list, I spent
a lot of time hanging around railroads and rail yards in the 1940s
where the freight cars were every bit as grimy as shown in Delano's

To the terminological quibble raised by Mike Brock and others that the
steam era extended into the 1950s, when there were many more new or
repainted cars and the advent of diesels rendered the environment less
dirty, I will just say that I do, in fact, consider the '50s the
transition era, as Mike suggested. On the railroad I model, steam was
still prevalent almost everywhere in the late 1940s but was largely
gone by 1952-'53 and entirely gone by '55.

The point I keep trying to make about weathering freight car models is
that conditions on the prototype changed over time, sometimes quite a
bit over relatively short spans of time. Hence large scale
generalizations are misleading, especially when based on evidence from
later periods. Realistic aging and weathering for the late 1950s and
later is absolutely wrong for the 1930s and '40s (and, to some extent,
the early 1950s).

Richard Hendrickson

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