Why old sports photos often have a blue haze ...


"Rich Clarkson’s photo of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, then named Lew Alcindor, in the 1968 NCAA Men’s National Basketball Final Four semifinal game in Los Angeles is a masterpiece of composition, timing and exposure. The square format is the result of shooting the game action with a Hasselblad – a practice that continued into the early 2000s. But that isn’t what makes this photo historically interesting.

"The blue haze that adds such a wonderful ambience to the arena is caused by cigarette smoke. The California Indoor Clean Air Act of 1976 was one of many regulations that started to clamp down on public smoking, and thus, we traded better light for better health."

For sure, this is for the good. In any case, when nostalgia strikes, we can always add a blue tint in post-production. Not that we recommend it though. Read more, here.