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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Insane Discover America Tour 2016: Kodachrome State Park

Kodachrome Basin may only be a state park, but if Utah wasn't already overflowing with National Parks, it might hold that status.

The eroded sandstone walls certainly live up to the brand name Kodak gave their line of color film.

For those of you too young to remember the days before digital photography, cameras used to require film to record images. You developed exposed film by bathing it in a series of chemical-filled basins. One of the films amateur and professional photographers used was Kodachrome, made by the Eastman Kodak. This company dominated the film photography market in that era. Had the National Geographic Society expedition that traveled here in 1948 arrived a few years later, and wished to popularize the new Polaroid Instant Camera that came on the market in November 1948, this park might be known as Polaroid Valley State Park.

While my father mostly used Kodachrome film in his cameras, he also had a Polaroid SX-70 instant camera, which I inherited after his death. All told, that camera served my father and me for several decades. Alas, all good things eventually pass away. My camera eventually went the way of film photography, making movies with film, and, of course, the dinosaurs. Having said that, both Kodak and Polaroid survive as companies. You can even buy an SX-70, and the instant film packs it requires, online. I'm sure the rangers would allow you to use a Polaroid camera to take photos in Kodachrome Basin State Park. That would be kind of cool and retro, wouldn't it?

Still, if you plan on doing any hiking in the park, carrying a smart phone or digital camera is easier. I would advise against you bringing a Polaroid SX-70 if you plan on doing rock climbing, or scaling the impressive hoodoos. These stone towers may not be as plentiful and beautiful as at Bryce National Park or Red Canyon, but there are a more than enough here to fulfill your photography and climbing desires.

The canyon walls and hoodoos reminded me of sandcastles, or a dramatic underwater landscape. The bright light of the afternoon we visited robs the land of some of the color we saw that day. It'd be interesting to return in the morning, or on a cloudy day, and see how the colors of the landscape changed.

One trail takes you out on a long, thin wedge of a hill. From here, you can really see the land unfold around you. 

The above photo, taken on maximum zoom and then enlarged further on computer, was taken by my wife, from the nearest "safe" hilltop.

Yeah, I know: I'm bad. It's a burden I have to live with.

Kodachrome Basin State Park may not lie on anyone's Must See list, but my wife and I found it a fun place to explore for an afternoon. It may not be as extensively photographed as Red Canyon, but had our schedule (and energy) allowed, we could have spent more time there. If you plan a trip through Utah's scenic wonderland, you might consider a visit there. Regardless of the type of camera you bring.

Dragon Dave

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