Before I moved to California and traveled a bit I managed to purchase some new experimental film from The Impossible Project. It was a completely pink film, or as they called it a monochromatic magenta. It was very similar to their Cyanograph Film, which was completely blue. I bought 2 packs and I brought them along with me to my trip to Ireland and Spain. The film was made for 600 series cameras, but I used it with my SX-70 folding SLR camera with a Neutral Density filter. The photo above is of Slane Castle in County Meath, Ireland. Many great concerts have been performed on the grounds including U2 and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The above photo was taken in Barcelona Spain in Camp Nou. It was a pretty hot and sunny day, and I was surprised that the photo came out as well as it did without it being completely washed out. You can just make out the stadium seats spelling out MES QUE UN CLUB.
This is a follow up to my The Impossible Project Film in the heat of summer post. Their film is very temperamental and if it’s not developed in the right conditions the colors may be a little off. The main things that affect the development process is temperature and light. I am going to give my insight into developing pictures in cold weather today.
I live in Boston, and to say the least it has been a very long, snowy and cold winter. Taking pictures in this weather is not easy considering I generally walk about town with camera and film in tow making it susceptible to the outside weather. I decided to take out two different cameras out one day during a light snow fall, but it was about 15 degrees F outside. I took with me a more modern 600 series camera with built in flash from the 90’s and a folding SLR SX-70 Sonar OneStep. Both films for the cameras were taken out of the fridge and set out to reach room temperature for about an hour. So after the hour I load the film into the camera and I am out the door.
The super cute SX-70 The Button camera was I believe first manufactured in 1981 for about the cost of $30. It has an off white colored body and a light grey face plate with the words The Button in cute white typeface lettering on the right front part of the camera below the lens. it’s main features are that it has a light meter knob and a socket on the top to take flash bars. This camera can sometimes be found in stock in my Etsy Shop or you can also find them on Ebay.com and in thrift shops. Since it is somewhat “newer” than a lot of other Polaroid Cameras it tends to be in good shape. The main problem that I tend to see when I get these types of cameras is that the socket for the flash bars no longer works or the light meter sensor no longer works. It is most disappointing to find that the light meter no longer works. All of your Polaroids usually come out overexposed, but you generally don’t find out this is the problem until about 3 photos later which have basically all been wasted. I will put a post up on that later that shows how you can tell with using just an empty cartridge that still has battery life and a flashlight.
The Color Protection Film is some of the latest and greatest film that The Impossible Project has made. It is amazing that we no longer have to shield the Polaroid from light once it has come out of the camera. Although their film is still in its early development stages and I glad that they have been able to progress so far in this amount of time. As of right now the Color Protection film only comes in color, but it is currently being made for 600, SX-70 and Spectra model cameras. You no longer have to shield it from light and it develops in about 40 minutes.
So I work alot with Impossible Project Film and their last batch has been fantastic. As you can see in all the Polaroids the colors are amazing minus the fact that they all had a row of white spots going across them. I was out picking apples that day with a friend that had come into Texas so I wanted to use my whole box of film in the nice sunny fall weather. I was so sad when they pictures started to come out with dots since I really hadn’t dealt with it before. I was busy picking the apples and enjoying myself so I didn’t look into it too much and just kept snapping photos.
Later I got home and I was able to figure it out. Apparently in the first shot that was taken the little pouch of chemicals at the bottom of the Polaroid burst. These chemicals are spread across the Polaroid with the rollers as it ejects to cause the development reaction. So the pouch burst causing some of the gunk to get on to the rollers causing them to now be uneven. (I simulated this “gunk” in the pictures with toothpaste because I didn’t take pictures at the time.) Now every time a Polaroid was taken the gunk would leave an indent every few cm as it was being pushed out through the rollers. The indent caused the chemicals to not really get spread correctly in the spot causing it to be white. whomp whomp.
So I have learned to make sure that your rollers are clean in your Polaroid Cameras! This goes across the board for most types including, SX-70, 600, Spectra and pack cameras. If they aren’t clean they will cause your picture to have undeveloped or incorrectly developed spots. You can simply use a little bit of cotton or a Qtip and go over them with some rubbing alcohol.
Super Clean Rollers!
Although this is a way to try to prevent these spots from happening it does create a kinda cool affect that you can only get from this type of analog photography. I am still happy the way the images came out at the end and now think they are pretty neat. Maybe you can experiment with globs in different places and create a pattern effect.
I hope you enjoyed this little trouble shooting session based on my experiences. I hope to keep them coming every so often and help others out before they make the same mistakes 🙂 Drop me a line if you are having some Polaroid camera issues and if I am able to address them and write about them.