Spring at Bolinas Ridge on Expired Kodak Ultramax

2023-05-08

Our friend Mitchell was in town a couple weeks ago, and we did a day trip out to the Bolinas Ridge area of Mt. Tam State Park. I think this area around Ridgecrest Boulevard has some of the most stunning landscapes in the Bay Area. I’d road biked through here before, but never hiked around the trails. We packed banh mi sandwiches and enjoyed a truly beautiful spring day.

These were shot on my dad’s old Nikon N70 with Nikkor 35-80 mm f/4-5.6 zoom lens. The camera’s “fan” user interface is generally regarded as not very good. I thought it wasn’t too terrible once I figured out the logic, but important things like the PASM modes and exposure compensation are buried in the fan, so I was discouraged from changing these settings. I mostly just left it in aperture priority and trusted it. The film advance motor on this camera is silent, so quiet that I almost opened up the camera to check if it was actually advancing the film. (It was.)

The film is a 24-frame roll of Kodak Ultramax 400 I found sitting in my childhood bookshelf, probably from high school days, (so at least eight years old). I’m sure it was expired but I think the results look pretty good. Maybe on the grainy side, even though I shot at ISO 250 rather than box speed.

Pantoll Road. Downtown San Francisco can be seen in the distance at the upper left.
The California poppies were in bloom.
Baby needles at the tips of a pine tree of some sort. These were super soft to the touch.
Hiking back to O’Rourke’s Bench.
It’s hard to believe that the ocean is 2,000 feet below these hillsides.
Last rays of sunlight on the hilltops.