Posted under Found Friday
Just one photo this week. I’ve had a small stack of slides on my desk for, oh, I don’t know, months now (I am so disorganized). I’m trying not to be such a packrat, but have still set aside a handful of found slides that I want to hang on to for one reason or another.
I much prefer to collect amateur slides as opposed to commercially produced ones. I’m not sure if anyone still makes these, but you used to be able to go to Disney World, or Niagara Falls, or New York City and buy a pack of slides shot by a professional photographer for wherever you happened to be. Weather not cooperative? Crappy photographer? No problem! Here’s a pack of Pana-Vue slides of Yosemite! Amaze your friends!
A lot of these slides have gotten funky and discolored over time – most commercial slides weren’t produced with Kodachrome, that’s for sure. Pana-Vue slides, put out by GAF (which also was the company selling Anscochrome film and now, weirdly, sells roofing supplies), especially had a tendency to fade and go pink, as seen in the picture above.
But I had to hang on to this particular slide, because it’s a photo of Mount Saint Helens erupting. Mount Saint Helens has always held a certain fascination for me. I barely remember it happening, I was so young – actually, most of my memories of Mount Saint Helens probably come watching the movie about it on HBO a year or so later. I still have a copy of the Mount Saint Helens issue – January 1981, if you’re interested – of National Geographic featuring photos taken by Robert Landsburg, who was killed in the eruption. Not to make light of the situation, but I’m convinced that “Vancouver, Vancouver, this is it!” remain some of the greatest last words ever.*
Since the slide is Pana-Vue, and therefore pink, I adjusted the RGB levels in Photoshop to get more accurate color.
Interestingly (to me, at least, because I think volcanoes are interesting), this picture isn’t of the May 18, 1980 eruption – that was the big one. The mountain continued to be quite active through October of that year. This particular slide is captioned ‘July 22, 1980,’ and Wikipedia fills us in on what was happening then:
“A series of large explosions on July 22 broke more than a month of relative quiet. The July eruptive episode was preceded by several days of measurable expansion of the summit area, heightened earthquake activity, and changed emission rates of sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide. The first hit at 5:14 p.m. as an ash column shot 10 miles (16 km) and was followed by a faster blast at 6:25 p.m. that pushed the ash column above its previous maximum height in just 7.5 minutes. The final explosion started at 7:01 p.m. and continued for over two hours. When the relatively small amount of ash settled over eastern Washington, the dome built in June was gone.”
*A few months ago I was, randomly, looking up stuff online about Mount Saint Helens. I can’t remember why now, but it probably had something to do with this slide. Anyway, I was reading about David Johnston, the “Vancouver, Vancouver, this is it!” guy. He was a vulcanologist working with USGS to monitor the volcano. He also was, famously, not supposed to be there that day – he was filling in for a fellow vulcanologist, Harry Glicken, who had taken the day off. Want to hear the twist? Glicken was killed on June 3, 1991 in Japan during an eruption on Mount Unzen.