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.

Impossible Project PX-70 Old Generation Film

Impossible Project PX-70 Old Generation Film

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.

Wedding shot with Impossible Project PX-70 Old Generation Film

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.

Impossible Project PX-70 Old Generation developed at 60 degrees

Impossible Project PX-70 Old Generation developed at 60-65 degrees

- Del's Burgers - Impossible PX-70 COOL - Shot at 85 but developed at 65 degrees -

– Del’s Burgers – Impossible PX-70 COOL – Shot at 90 but developed at 65-70 degrees –

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.


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