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.
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.