Over Two Decades of Progress

Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia) – Wheaton, Maryland

Here is a comparison of two different images taken 24-years apart. The top image was taken yesterday, and the bottom image was taken back in 1997. The top image is digital, and the bottom image is a scan from a 35mm slide. They were taken an entire continent apart from one another, in different light, and at different times of the day. The top image I could see instantly and the bottom image I couldn’t see until the film was returned to me after processing a couple of weeks later.

As much as I’ve always loved the super-saturated colors of the bottom image – Velvia slide film is known for that – I feel that the upper image is more accurate in terms of color, saturation, and natural-looking bokeh.

Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia) – Laguna Beach, California

Technology marches on. I imagine someday that I’ll be able to take a photo with a smartphone that will eventually equal or exceed the quality of either of these two images, both of which were taken with state-of-the-art camera gear of each era.


Photo info:
Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia)
Brookside Gardens Conservatory
Brookside Gardens
Wheaton, Maryland
June 2021
Voigtländer 65/2.0 APO Macro lens
Sony a7 III digital camera

Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia)
Heisler Park
Laguna Beach, California
May 1997
Fujifilm Velvia 50 slide film
Leica Noctilux 50/1.0 lens
Leica M3 35mm film camera

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia) – Laguna Beach, California

The Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia) is one of my very favorite flowers, and this specific example was just one in many hundreds that I saw on this particular day. I love every over-the-top aspect of this bloom – the crazy colors, the jarring semi-architectural angles, the very weirdness of it. To me, it’s like an exotic hand beckoning me to follow it somewhere, but in wild Technicolor hues.


Photo info:
Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia)
Heisler Park
Laguna Beach, California
May 1997
Fujifilm Velvia 50 slide film
Leica Noctilux 50/1.0 lens
Leica M3 35mm film camera