Impossible Project Film: Keeping it Cool
May 1, 2012 § 1 Comment
One of the challenges I know I’m going to face this summer is keeping Impossible Project film at a decent temperature during the development cycle. I picked up a PX-70 Old Generation bag a couple of weeks ago and have burned through a few packs of film. One of the things I’ve read, and Billy has told me, is that Impossible Project film’s colors are sensitive to temperature as it develops. That poses a little bit of a problem for me when the ideal temperature to develop is in the 65-75 degree range. I live in Texas. It is going to be 100+ degrees for at LEAST a couple of months this summer. From my brief experience with this film, the warmer it is while it’s developing, the warmer the colors seem to be.
I snapped a quick picture of my niece, on my Sonar SX-70, just after she ate the other day. We were inside our carport, a few feet from direct sunlight and it was probably in the low 80’s. When this was developing it was probably near 80 in the house as well.
I shot this image at a wedding a couple of weeks ago. We were in direct sunlight and it was also around 80 degrees outside. It developed in a box, in my camera case, for the duration of the wedding.
Billy had mentioned to me that a mutual friend of ours had suggested using an icepack in the camera bag to keep the temperature stable. It got my wheels turning … Would it work well and would the temperature be in the range I needed it to be?
I grabbed an icepack out of the freezer, placed it in a gallon-sized freezer bag, wrapped it with a couple of paper towels, and THEN wrapped it in an old baby
diaper burp rag (it insulates quite well actually). I put two empty boxes of PX-70 just inside the first layer of the bundle.
I stuck a thermometer inside the bottom box, tucked it down in my bag and waited about 5 minutes. When I rechecked the temp it was sitting around 65 degrees.
When I checked it after another 5 minutes, it was close to 50 degrees; Waay too cold. The instructions state; Impossible films are sensitive to temperature: developing below 15 degrees celsius / 59 degrees fahrenheit tend to make pictures too light and low in contrast. What about the box above it? Sitting happy at 65-68 degrees. I can live with that. Now I am experimenting with this in April/May and have little insight if the temperatures will be able to hold during the summer. UPDATE: I did another test the other day and the temperature of the top box held a consistent temperature of 66-70 degrees for 8 hours in the camera bag.
I went to the HEARD Nature Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary last weekend with my wife. We went walking around and really enjoyed the wildlife out there. I did try this method of development when I was there. When this picture was taken it was probably 80 degrees outside but it developed at about 60-65 degrees in my bag.
I think as the summer months increase in temperature, I will be using this method more and more to keep my film COOL and in a stable temperature range during the development stage.
Interested in Impossible Project film? If you have a Polaroid camera, I highly recommend picking up some of this stuff to experiment with. It’s quite a challenge but the results are unlike anything you’ve experienced before .. guaranteed.