The Last of the Gold 100
The current status of Kodak’s Gold 100 35mm film is somewhat ambiguous. Adorama lists the film as “back ordered”. B&H lists it as “discontinued”. Though I didn’t do an extensive search, I can’t quickly find a place to order it. It seems to have disappeared, so I have to assume it is gone.
The Gold 100 was my “go to” color film for a long time. I liked the way it handled color and it wasn’t horribly expensive. If I was rich I would just shrug my shoulders and order a large quantity of Portra. But I’m not.
I had two rolls of the 100 left in my film ‘fridge when my wife Lisa told me about the current blooming of the Joshua Trees in the Mojave Desert. It is apparently a “once-in-a-lifetime” event, according to the local print media. I quickly checked the wind conditions through the San Gorgonio Pass between Banning and Palm Springs. Winds were projected to be 15 to 20 mph. Not great for riding, but not terrible, either.
I then called Mike Harmon and described the blooming Joshua Tree situation to him. We quickly decided to load our respective saddlebags with cameras and meet at the usual rendezvous spot in Banning an hour and a half later. We’d ride out to Joshua Tree and check out the blooming throughout the National Park. With sundown at 7:15 pm, we’d have plenty of time to explore the park and make whatever photographs we saw.
We may have missed the very peak of the blooming by a few days, but there were still many thousands of Joshua Trees in bloom. After a few hours, we rode toward the southern half of the park which is in the Lower Colorado Desert and hosts numerous Ocotillo. I was curious whether the Ocotillo was in bloom, since so many of the plants in the Mojave had blossomed. It was nearly time to turn around and head out of the park, so when we were stopped by road construction for a few minutes on the border of the two deserts, we made a U-turn and headed back toward the Inland Empire.
We expected the winds to have picked up speed through the San Gorgonio Pass, but they had actually died down to a slow breeze. Sunlight shining directly into our eyes as we rode west was a problem, however. We stopped at the Whitewater rest area on Interstate 10, then lingered there for twenty minutes waiting for the sun to sink below the horizon before continuing toward our homes. Better to ride at night than directly into the horizontal light stream of the rising or falling sun.
I shot the last two rolls of Gold 100 (in my posession, at least). Being color film, there will be a short wait for it to be developed, since I don’t develop color at home. Assuming that there were no camera operator problems, I’ll post the color photographs in a day or two…