A Time-Lapse Video from our PolaWalk in Deep Ellum with the Instant Film Society

February 4, 2013 § 1 Comment

A little over a week ago, we hosted our monthly PolaWalk with the Instant Film Society, this time in Deep Ellum.  Steve Reeves, of Makeshift Photography, who was kind enough to let us use his studio for this particular get-together, set up his camera above the studio, snapped thousands of images during the 7+ hours we were there and created this really cool time-lapse video afterwards showcasing the event.

If you’d like to see more images from our PolaWalk, click here or check out this article the Dallas Observer posted.

Enjoy!

PS – Thanks so much for taking the time to create this Steve.

-Justin

www.instantfilmsociety.com

www.goodephotography.biz

CLICK HERE to learn how YOU can get into instant film.

My journey into the world of 8×10 Instant Photography

January 14, 2013 § 24 Comments

About a year ago, I was surfing the Craigslist photo ads here in Dallas and up came an ad for a free 8×10 view camera.  I quickly emailed the person and within 15 minutes I received a message back.  A gentlemen was moving out of town who had an old Burke & James Grover 8×10 that he had been meaning to restore & use but had never got around to it.   He asked me if I was into large format and stated that he really wanted this camera to go to the right home.  I enthusiastically conveyed to him that I was the right person and would eventually make my way up into the world of large format.

Burke & James Grover 8x10 View Camera

Burke & James Grover 8×10 View Camera

The Burke & James Grover is a utilitarian view camera that is meant to get the job done.  It doesn’t have some of the bells & whistles that current 8×10’s have, but it works well, it’s pretty stable and for all intents and purposes, it was just what I had always wanted and needed.

When I arrived at the gentlemen’s home to pick it up, he had a few random camera accessories outside that he later told me was going to throw away on his porch.  I looked at them in passing and then rang the door bell.  When he greeted me, he was smiling while holding the Burke & James.  This was the first time I had seen an 8×10 in person.   It’s a pretty unique piece of equipment that’s been used for over a century in the world of photography.  I can’t state just how excited I was to simply have the skeleton, if you will, of an 8×10.  There was no lens, no 8×10 film holders, a busted lens board and frankly, the camera was pretty dusty.   He stated that it had been in his garage for quite some time and he did not have the time to restore or use it.  After about 20 minutes of photography small-talk, I thanked him emphatically for contacting me back.  He chuckled and said “You know what? There were literally 15 to 20 emails about this 8×10 in 15 minutes.  If you ever put “Free 8×10″ in an ad, you’d be surprised at how many respond to it.”  I grinned a wide smile. “I bet.”  I thanked him one last time and then made my exit.

I was on cloud nine.  I had an 8×10.   These things aren’t exactly cheap, and granted this thing isn’t the best 8×10 money can buy, but you know what? It was an 8×10 and more importantly, this 8×10 was going to get a lot of use … eventually.

When I got home and showed Synthia the newest acquisition, she was really shocked at the size of this thing and also a little nervous because she knows very well just how into things I can get.  “How much is that thing going to cost to get up and running?” she said.  “Ummmm .. well it’s not exactly going to be cheap.  But, it’s not something I’m going to do tomorrow baby.  It’s going to take some time to piece everything together that I’ll need for this.”  This put her at ease a little bit and with the placement of the 8×10 on the top of a bookshelf, the notion of using this thing faded away.

A few months later, The Impossible Project announced that it was going to start making black & white 8×10 instant film.  Whoa.  At this point, I was shooting a lot of instant film and the dream of shooting instant film on 8×10 was just that .. a dream.  There was no way I could get everything lined up to use this with instant film.   It cost so much money and some of the required items needed (Polaroid 8×10 holder & the Polaroid 8×10 processor) were starting to go for astronomical prices on Ebay.  On top of that, I didn’t have a lens and I still had a busted lens board.   Oh well .. one day.

Months went by.  My focus was on instant photography and eventually into promoting its use and helping others get into instant via the Instant Film Society.  Some of you reading this might know that I’m a pretty persistent person and when I find things that truly strike a chord within me, I obsess over them and learn everything I can about it.    That’s happened over the past 9 months with instant film and using Impossible’s film.   I love it.  In using and promoting this medium, I have come in contact with an amazing network of people that I would have otherwise never tapped into.  I’ve met a slew of photographers, educators, enthusiasts and amateurs who all enjoy this form of art.

Slowly, things started falling into place.  A friend of mine had some extra large format lenses laying around that weren’t getting any use, so I borrowed one of them and ordered a lens board on Ebay that fit the Burke & James.  Also, maybe two months ago, I was buying film at Don’s Used Photo Equipment here in Dallas and on my way out, I noticed a Polaroid 8×10 Land Film Holder sitting on the shelf.  I walked passed it and before I got to the door, I thought to myself “This is one of those serendipitous situations”.  I walked back over to the 8×10 holder and asked the owner, Todd, what he was selling this for.   He said “Man .. I have no idea. Make me an offer.”  I gave him a number which he liked and then out of nowhere he said “You know .. I might have some Polaroid 8×10 in the back.  Let me go see.”  I started to get excited.  About 5 minutes later he came back with an unmarked box and was smiling. “Let’s open this thing up and see what’s in it.”  A pocket knife flipped open and within a few seconds 15 negatives & positives of Polaroid 809 revealed themselves. I asked him if it had been cold stored.  It hadn’t, but I knew that he kept his place at a decent temperature for storage.  After some debate and negotiating, we made a deal that I was very happy with.  When I got back home, I was curious if the pods that held the developer paste had dried up in storage (always a risk with expired instant film).   I opened up the cartridge that held the 15 positives and gently touched a pod.  They were soft to the touch.  The magical goop hadn’t hardened at all.

There was still one key thing needed; an 8×10 Polaroid processor.  In order to develop Polaroid 8×10 film, you need a machine that runs the positive and negative side of the film through these giant rollers (either electronically or manually) to spread the developing paste in between them so the development process starts.  Polaroid checked out of the instant market in 2008 and these machines hadn’t been made in years.  Sure they are out there, but they are expensive. These processors are in high demand.  When Impossible Project announced they were going to start making 8×10 instant film, the price of the processors skyrocketed during the following months, from under $100 on average to $500-1000+.  Yikes.  Not exactly cheap.  When I got back home from Don’s, I started looking at instant images shot on 8×10 cameras and I stumbled upon a girl in town who had shot Impossible’s 8×10 test film. I messaged her up and told her about my interest in 8×10 and asked if she had access to a Polaroid processor.  Annie was in school in Florida, and she did have a working processor, but wasn’t going to be back until Christmas.

Some time went by and I continually scoured the internet, looking for something that I could possibly pick up.   Nothing.  Everything was out of my budget and it seemed like the 8×10 instant photography dream would just have to wait.  Then one day, while searching online, I found a guy in Kansas that was selling one.   I emailed him, told him a little about myself and what I was doing here in Texas to promote instant film with the Instant Film Society.  I asked if he would be interested in donating the processor so I could use it to help teach others about instant photography and help spread the love of instant.   He messaged me back, told me that he wished that he could donate to such a worthy cause, but he really needed the money for it.  Totally understandable.  It was worth a shot.   He did say however, that he was willing to work with me on it and would like to come to some sort of an agreement that was beneficial for both us.  After some quick negotiating a happy medium was met and within a few days he shipped off the processor.  I had him send it to my friend’s camera repair shop, just in case I wasn’t home to receive it, and when I got the call that it had arrived, I raced up there to go pick it up and test it out.

I ran inside and picked up the box.  Uh oh.  I could hear what sounded like small bits of plastic moving around.  I opened up the box, which was packaged to perfection I might add, and pulled out the 8×10 Polaroid Processor.  I flipped the cover open, turned some tabs and removed the rollers.  Oh boy.  Sitting before me were two rollers that were completely detached and busted from the roller assembly that holds them in place.   This is not good.   I called the gentlemen that I had purchased it from on the phone and within a few minutes we were discussing how this could have happened and what we were going to do. Well, at least I had a processor.   Not a functional one at this moment, but I knew with a little bit of work, things would be OK.  I called my friend Steve (who was introduced to me by Annie actually and also has an 8×10 processor) on the phone and he and I started brainstorming on what we could possibly do.   He stated that I probably shouldn’t repackage it up and ship it back, because at this point, a) I had a processor b) I might be able to find a non-working processor to repair this one and  have extra parts for later .. good point .. and c) maybe .. just maybe we could get some parts printed with a 3D printer or have them created from a mold made from parts out of his.   Challenging but possible.  I assume these processors haven’t had replacement parts made for them in YEARS.  My options were limited.

After a little bit of time, it was looking like creating a 3D print was going to be the best place to start.  Steve got in contact with some friends at Dallas Maker Space, an organization he’s involved with in town and started sharing some of the images of the broken part via email . The feedback he got was positive so we met on a Thursday night and enlisted the help from one of its members to create a 3D model and print.   Mike was all about it.  He jumped right to it, set up his 3D printer, a Maker Bot I believe and began taking measurements, creating a model on his computer and eventually, after about 4-5 hours of work, began printing the part that was needed.   His level of expertise and knowledge were greatly appreciated.  This sort of thing just doesn’t happen.  Serendipity is a wonderful thing.  Mike ended up working late in the evening on this, but after some time, he told us he needed to clean up the 3D model a little more.  He worked on it over the weekend and suggested we have the part printed up professionally once the model was finished.  At this point in time, I’m in limbo and hope that this works. *my fingers are crossed*

I had booked a shoot with Sarah Sellers that upcoming weekend and I can’t tell you how excited I was to finally shoot this stuff.   Even with the shipping mishap, luckily Annie (who left to go back to school for the semester) left her processor with Steve & I so we could use it while she was away.  If you’re reading this Annie .. THANK YOU AGAIN.   I picked up the processor and knew I had to test out a shot or two before Sarah’s shoot.   Friday rolled around and I decided to cruise up to my friend’s studio to test out an image (probably a good idea right?).   I set up a handful of strobes with stripboxes and an octabox.  I framed Synthia holding a camera, loaded the negative into the Polaroid 81-06 holder, double checked my focus with a loupe on the 8×10, slid the holder into place, removed the dark slide and tripped the shutter.   I gently slid the darkslide back into the holder and removed it from the 8×10.  Nervously, I placed a positive sheet (which has the developer pods at the top) into the 81-09 tray, slid the Polaroid negative holder into place and pressed the button.  The processor grabbed the negative & the positive and smeared developer paste between the two as they whirred through the rollers.   Now the longest four minute wait of my life …

Impossible Project 8x10 PQ Film - Burke & James Grover

Impossible Project 8×10 PQ Film – Burke & James Grover

Whoa …

I was practically jumping up and down freaking out!  I was in awe of just how incredible this looked!  After my excitement wore off (really it never did) I messaged Sarah up telling her how excited and anxious I was about her shoot.  It was going to be, for lack of a better word, epic.  Epic beyond belief.  8×10 … 

Saturday rolled around and my brother Josh, who’s worked extensively with Sarah over the past year producing new songs with her with his engineering parter Brad, opened up the music studio they work out of and we shot a handful of images there.  For all of these images, I used a three light setup with Alien Bees.  If you’re interested in heavy technical details I can give them to you.  Just send a message my way to info@goodephotography.biz and I’ll be happy to pass the info along.

I shot 3 images in 3 hours and frankly, I don’t ever want to create images in any other form or fashion again.  I feel that using this 8×10 camera has spoiled me. There’s absolutely nothing like large format photography.   I’m hooked …

Impossible Project 8x10 PQ Film - Burke & James Grover

Impossible Project 8×10 PQ Film – Burke & James Grover

Photo: Synthia Goode - EXPIRED PZ680

Photo: Synthia Goode – 9/11 EXPIRED PZ680

Impossible Project 8x10 PQ Film - Burke & James Grover

Impossible Project 8×10 PQ Film – Burke & James Grover

Impossible Project 8x10 PQ Film - Burke & James Grover

Impossible Project 8×10 PQ Film – Burke & James Grover

Following Saturday’s shoot, we met back up on Sunday at a photography studio in Richardson to shoot some more material.   This time around I wanted to capture a really good close-up of Sarah, a full length shot and of course anything else that came to mind.   When she arrived, I set up a beauty dish and a couple of strip boxes and set the 8×10 up.

Photo: Synthia Goode - EXPIRED PZ680

Photo: Synthia Goode – 9/11 EXPIRED PZ680

This time around, because of how close I had to focus, the bellows was extended waaaaay out.  I think the bellows extension factor ended up being about a stop and a half if not a little more (thanks for the tip Mat Marrash).   Nervously, I slipped the holder into place, held my breath, hoped that Sarah hadn’t rocked too far back or forward and tripped the shutter.

Impossible Project 8x10 PQ Film - Burke & James Grover

Impossible Project 8×10 PQ Film – Burke & James Grover

Sweet!  Another successful image.  Phew!  Shooting this stuff isn’t exactly easy and it definitely makes you think about everything .. i mean EVERYTHING when shooting each image.  It’s just a little bit stressful, but I’m OK with that.  I set up the lights for a full length shot and Sarah got changed into another outfit.   Admittedly, the first image I took in this scene was about a stop under-exposed (I had a hunch but didn’t listen to myself .. I’ll listen next time).  I loaded up another image and tried one more time.  Bam.

Impossible Project 8x10 PQ Film - Burke & James Grover

Impossible Project 8×10 PQ Film – Burke & James Grover

By this time, we had probably spent a good 2-3 hours in the studio setting up lights and arranging things so they were just right.  Out of all the images taken, I had yet to take an image outdoors.  Synthia had a great idea and asked what it would look like if Sarah held the close up we had taken earlier in front of her face for an image.  Brilliant.  I am a fan of picture in picture images.  Why not take a picture in picture with Impossible’s 8×10 PQ?

We set up outdoors in the alleyway (it was so cold!) and I snapped this image of Sarah ..

Impossible Project 8x10 PQ Film - Burke & James Grover

Impossible Project 8×10 PQ Film – Burke & James Grover

It was getting close to sunset, so we decided to take a break and would meet back up in an hour to take another image.   For this image, which ended up being the final one of the day, I wanted to shoot a silhouette of Sarah’s profile using a two light setup.  I set up a speedlight behind her with a reflector around it to create a circular shape on the wall and then set up a strobe with a stripbox to shine a little bit of light on her face.  Once it was metered out and she was in the right position, you guessed it, I did the 8×10 Polaroid shuffle and waited with Sarah as the image developed.

Impossible Project 8x10 PQ Film - Burke & James Grover

Impossible Project 8×10 PQ Film – Burke & James Grover

My thoughts on this film?  Challenging, elegant and unforgiving.  There are so many variables that you have to think of and be aware of when shooting 8×10 instant film.  It really tests your skills.  This stuff isn’t child’s play.  I can’t stress enough just how stressful it can be to shoot, but are the results worth it?  Absolutely.  The experience of shooting Impossible’s 8×10 instant film are unlike any other that you will have.  It creates a special bond between the photographer and the person being shot.   You know that all of the work put into each image will create something unique .. something beautiful.  When you shoot 8×10 instant film, you’re not just creating a photograph .. you’re creating a tangible, analog work of art.

What’s next in my journey with 8×10?  Sharing this experience with others.  On January 26th, I’m hosting a PolaWalk in Dallas, TX with the Instant Film Society.  If you’re in the area and would like to witness this process in action, you’re more than welcome to join us.  We’ll be shooting 8×10 instant images of the participants of the walk at the cost of film (hopefully we’ll have enough).  If you’d like more information, click here.

Thank you Impossible for bringing back this legendary film format.   Keep doing what you’re doing …

PS – Sarah Sellers, thank you for trusting me to shoot these images with you.  Synthia and I had such a great time.  It was a weekend we will NEVER forget.

-Justin Goode

www.instantfilmsociety.com

www.goodephotography.biz

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Impossible Project 

Spreadin’ the love of Impossible Project Film at Brookhaven College

October 5, 2012 § 16 Comments

About a week ago, I got in contact with Daniel Rodrigue, the journalism & photography instructor at Brookhaven College.   He had seen a post about the PolaWalk that I was hosting at the State Fair and after a brief telephone conversation, we decided to meet up.   When we did, he and I instantly clicked.   We’re both like-minded individuals and the passion that we share for instant photography is one in the same.   During our meeting, he asked me if I would mind talking to his students at his Photography 1 class about instant film & The Impossible Project.  After some thought, I quickly agreed and it was decided that I’d meet with them the following Tuesday.

I messaged The Impossible Project and they were ecstatic that I had the opportunity to help spread the word about instant film and would send some promotional material for the students.  I was really excited for the students and also very grateful for the opportunity from Daniel.

I’m not a public speaker.  However, I’ve been inspired to talk a lot about this medium.  It’s moved me in a way that no other facet of photography has.   It’s incredibly unique and the company that provides it, is just as much.

Following my meeting with Daniel and my conversations with TIP, I wrote a three page introduction about the company and its films; history, how to use it, special techniques and finally, closed it with a little bit of motivation to help spread the word.

Tuesday came along and I was fully prepared with everything that was needed.   I had a handful of cameras to show & use, Impossible Project film, an emulsion/lift transfer kit with examples, cork boards filled with many of my favorites Impossible images and finally, the confidence needed to pull this off.   This was my FIRST public speaking event.   I would by lying if I said I wasn’t nervous.   I woke up very early that day and was hyping myself up all morning.   I knew I had the knowledge to give them, but more importantly, I hoped that some of the inspiration I’ve gotten from using instant film would rub off on them.

When I got to Brookhaven, Daniel was all smiles and very excited for his students.   I brought in my box of goodies, gave Daniel a poster from The Impossible Project and started organizing all of the material.  Students eventually started to make their way into class, and I could tell many of them were enthralled with some of the images I brought.   It made me happy and also was a little calming to see the excitement that was brewing.

Ten-thirty rolled around and I began the class.   I started off talking about why I like instant film, how it’s completely different than using digital and the ways it can help improve your skill set.  One of the main reasons I love instant film, is that it forces you to slow down.  When every shot really counts and burning images, like one does with digital isn’t an option, you think about EVERYTHING (light, exposure, composition, the development temperature, etc.)  You inherently become a better shooter because of this.  Doing this day in and day out, with every image you take, increases your awareness of what is needed for a successful image and improves on your ability to take great images.   Slowing down helps you to produce quality images a lot more frequently.

Teaching Brookhaven students about Impossible Project film

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue – Teaching Brookhaven students about Impossible Project film

Teaching Brookhaven students about various Polaroid cameras

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue – Teaching Brookhaven students about various Polaroid cameras

I had an hour for this portion of the class and I was going to meet back up with the photography club at 3 o’clock to show them how to perform emulsion transfers & lifts.  At this point, I had talked and answered questions for about 20 minutes, shown them various cameras that I use, but I really wanted to get some cameras & film into the hands of these people.  Sometimes seeing & feeling what it’s like to shoot instant film, is what it really takes to push people past the tipping point.   I went over how to shield their images, how to shoot the camera and off they went!  The energy was palpable!

Armed with a handful of Polaroid One Steps, some PX-680 CP and PX600 film, the students ran outside and started snapping away!  Daniel and I raced around, trying to find the groups of budding photographers that were snapping off instant film as if it were going out of style.   Integral film was blazing out of these cameras.  It was a sight to see!  Many of the other students around campus were looking and I’m sure wondering “Why did I not take a photography class? Polaroids?!? ”  Strangers were walking up to Daniel asking him what was going on.  It was greatness!

Enjoy some of the images they took …

 – Students, if you would like credit for the images you took, please email me and describe which one/s are yours and I will add credit (first & last name) to your image – 

Photo: Adriana Salazar

Photo: Adriana Salazar

Photo: Adriana Salazar

Photo: Adriana Salazar

Photo: Adriana Salazar

Photo: Adriana Salazar

Photo: Jennifer Chevallier

Photo: Jennifer Chevallier

Photo: Brian Finch

Photo: Brian Finch

Some of the images I took of the action …

Unfortunately, it was nearing the end of the hour and the students had to get to their next class.  We found most of them and regrouped for a quick photo.

I asked the students if they would mind if I held onto to some of the photos to scan for a blog post.   All of them wanted to keep them (of course) but I assured them that I would bring them back within a couple of days.    We spread out an assortment of photos that were taken and took a quick snapshot ..

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue – Happy students!

The bounty of images!

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue – The bounty of images!

Photo: Justin Goode - RAWR! The Brookhaven Bear!!

Photo: Justin Goode – RAWR! The Brookhaven Bear!!

Later on in the afternoon, I taught their photography club how to do emulsion transfers & lifts.   I had made a few examples at my house a few days earlier.

Emulsion Transfer Example

Emulsion Transfer Example

Image Lift Example

Image Lift Example

Once everyone had arrived, we arranged some trays in a sink and I started showing them how to perform a transfer.   For most, if not all of them, this was the first time they had seen anything like this.  I really enjoy seeing people’s expressions, when they see the emulsion become detached from the plastic cover of integral film.   Most jaws are usually dropped once the emulsion starts to separate.  It looks like an octopus underwater!  I wave my arms around, with octopus-like motions, or what I think an octopus-like motion looks like ;-), when I describe the process.

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue - Teaching students how to do an emulsion transfer

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue – Teaching students how to do an emulsion transfer

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue - Teaching students how to do an emulsion transfer

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue – Teaching students how to do an emulsion transfer

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue - Teaching students how to do an emulsion transfer

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue – Teaching students how to do an emulsion transfer

Photo: Justin Goode - A student peels apart the negative from integral film

Photo: Justin Goode – A student peels apart the negative from integral film

Photo: Justin Goode - A student separates emulsion from integral film

Photo: Justin Goode – A student separates emulsion from integral film

Photo: Justin Goode - Moving the "goop" from hot to cold water

Photo: Justin Goode – Moving the “goop” from hot to cold water

Photo: Justin Goode - A successful first transfer!

Photo: Justin Goode – A successful first transfer!

Photo: Justin Goode - A handful of emulsion transfers

Photo: Justin Goode – A handful of emulsion transfers drying

After I had finished teaching the photography club, one of the students, Scott Mitchell, asked me if he could take my portrait for an article he was writing.  He was going to pitch it to the school’s newspaper later on in the week.   He wanted an image of me, with an assortment of Polaroids taken in their studio.   I dragged the box of cameras in, arranged them on a prop table and he snapped this pic …

Photo: Scott Patrick Mitchell

Photo: Scott Patrick Mitchell

I had the most amazing time teaching these students.   I wouldn’t have done this, if it hadn’t have been for my enormous love for instant photography.  I want to infect people, like a virus, with the passion that I have for instant film.

A giant TEXAS-SIZED shout out to Impossible for providing such an incredible product.  I can’t express enough, how incredibly happy each of them were during this whole process.   Your film just makes people smile and brings joy into this world.  Instant photography is so special.  I haven’t met ONE person that doesn’t appreciate its value.   THANK YOU for enabling me to give the gift of your product to these students.  I have no doubt that I have impacted and inspired them.  I am forever grateful …

Sincerely,

Justin Goode

www.goodephotography.biz

– If you’d like to buy film for your Polaroid camera from The Impossible Project, CLICK HERE – 

A Very, Very WET #PolaWalk at the Texas State Fair on 9/29

September 30, 2012 § 6 Comments

Phew!  I’m sitting at my desk right now, 3 hours after my arrival back home, and I can’t help but to keep grinning at all of the things that happened today.   What an amazing experience.    I can’t begin to stress how great it was, to see such happy pepole on a day like today.  On any other day, we probably would have been miserable!  The non-stop rain .. the endless, torrential downpour that pummeled the group today … But you know what?  EVERYBODY was smiling.   Not one person was unhappy about making the trek out to the fair to meet fellow instant photographers.    I say it all the time, but it’s incredible the type of people that this medium attracts.

Photo: Synthia Goode - Polaroid Spectra SE - Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Photo: Synthia Goode – Polaroid Spectra SE – Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

My day began, with knowing that it would be wet … REALLY wet today.   The forecast was 80%-90% rain throughout the duration of the day with thunderstorms likely ALL day.    What do you do, when you’ve organized an event and promoted it for a month.   Do you abandon ship?  No.   You go through with it as planned and hope for the best.   I can’t stress enough, that “the best” did occur.

Synthia and I left the house at noon, so we could make our way down to the Texas State Fair and grab a Fletcher’s corny dog before we hooked up with everybody else.  Parking was fairly easy (plenty of spaces) and of course, there weren’t the usual crowds that normally accompany the fair’s 2nd day. We made our way in and I snapped off a couple of photos as we made our way towards Big Tex.

Polaroid Sonar SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

Polaroid Sonar SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

Polaroid Sonar SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

Polaroid Sonar SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

Daniel R. and Catherine met up with us first and they were both smiling.   They rain hadn’t affected their moods in the slightest (i wouldn’t have thought so, they are really kind & cool people).   After some chuckles and small talk, a fellow photographer I met online, Richard, made his way towards our group and introduced himself.  He jumped in with both feet; pulled out his cameras, started gabbing photography, it was greatness!  It seemed like he was really happy to be around other instant photographers.    Unfortunately, for whatever reason, he had to split early and didn’t end up hanging out with us.   Hopefully he can make it out to the next event that gets organized.   Before, he left I snapped a quick picture of him with his 680 SLR …

Polaroid Sonar SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

Polaroid Sonar SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

At this point, Christian & Elaine showed and were grinning from ear to ear as well.   Christian helped promote this event and it was definitely appreciated.  He mentioned that he had been so excited about this event that he could hardly sleep.  Truth be told, I had been tossing and turning most of the week.  A few minutes later, Jeremy & Amber showed up.  I introduced them to everyone, passed off one of the Spectras I brought for them, and got them up to speed on the ins and outs of the camera.   One of Daniel R’s students arrived, Adriana, and all of us introduced ourselves to her. She walked up holding this super cool pink, black and yellow neon Polaroid Cool Cam.   It looked awesome!  We waited around a little while longer for two more guys that I had met online; Daniel P. & Matthew.   They drove in from Tyler and once they arrived, they were already soaked, but again nothing but smiles.   I handed Daniel a Polaroid Automatic 100 with a few packs of FP-100C that I had promised him and we quickly organized a group photo.

Polaroid Spectra SE - Impossible Project PZ680 Old Generation Film

Polaroid Spectra SE – Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Daniel R. spotted an interesting looking character walking towards a streamliner that was parked near Big Tex and asked him if he could take his photo.   The moment I saw the guy, I knew it was “the voice of Big Tex”.  I ran over there with my camera and once Daniel was done shooting this image on his Instax …

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue - Fuji Instax Mini

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue – Fuji Instax Mini

I snapped off a quick triptych on the SX-70 .. .

– CLICK IMAGE FOR LARGER SIZE – 

Polaroid Sonar SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

Polaroid Sonar SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

We all snapped off a few more photos, while we waited around a little while longer for any stragglers …

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue - Polaroid One Step - Impossible Project PX-100 Old Gen

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue – Polaroid One Step – Impossible Project PX-600 Old Gen

Photo: Synthia Goode - Polaroid Spectra AF - Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Photo: Synthia Goode – Polaroid Spectra AF – Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Photo: Jeremy Minnerick - Polaroid Spectra AF - Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Photo: Jeremy Minnerick – Polaroid Spectra AF – Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Photo: Jeremy Minnerick - Polaroid Spectra AF - Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Photo: Jeremy Minnerick – Polaroid Spectra AF – Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Photo: Amber Minnerick - Polaroid One Step - Impossible Project PX600 Old Gen

Photo: Amber Minnerick – Polaroid One Step – Impossible Project PX600 Old Gen

Photo: Christian Oliveria - Polaroid SX-70 - Impossible Projet PX-70 CP

Photo: Christian Oliveria – Polaroid SX-70 – Impossible Projet PX-70 CP

Photo: Amber Minnerick - Polaroid One Step - Impossible Project PX600 Old Gen

Photo: Amber Minnerick – Polaroid One Step – Impossible Project PX600 Old Gen

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue - Polaroid One Step - Impossible Project PX-100 Old Gen

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue – Polaroid One Step – Impossible Project PX-600 Old Gen

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue - Polaroid One Step - Impossible Project PX-680 CP Film

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue – Polaroid One Step – Impossible Project PX-680 CP Film

Then we started making our way towards The Midway area and commenced burning some film!

Photo: Christian Oliveira - Polaroid SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

Photo: Christian Oliveira – Polaroid SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

Photo: Daniel Poe - Polaroid Automatic 100 - Fuji FP-100C

Photo: Daniel Poe – Polaroid Automatic 100 – Fuji FP-100C

Photo: Daniel Poe - Polaroid Automatic 100 - Fuji FP-100C

Photo: Daniel Poe – Polaroid Automatic 100 – Fuji FP-100C

Polaroid Sonar SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

Polaroid Sonar SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

Photo: Jeremy Minnerick - Polaroid Spectra AF - Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Photo: Jeremy Minnerick – Polaroid Spectra AF – Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Photo: Jeremy Minnerick - Polaroid Spectra AF - Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Photo: Jeremy Minnerick – Polaroid Spectra AF – Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Polaroid Sonar SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

Polaroid Sonar SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

Photo: Synthia Goode - Polaroid Spectra SE - Impossible Project PZ680 Old Generation Film

Photo: Synthia Goode – Polaroid Spectra SE – Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Polaroid Sonar SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

Polaroid Sonar SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

Photo: Jeremy Minnerick - Polaroid Spectra AF - Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Photo: Jeremy Minnerick – Polaroid Spectra AF – Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Photo: Amber Minnerick - Polaroid One Step - Impossible Project PX-680 Rainbow Frame

Photo: Amber Minnerick – Polaroid One Step – Impossible Project PX-680 Rainbow Frame

Photo: Adriana Salazar - Polaroid Cool Cam 600 - Impossible Project PX-680 Old Gen

Photo: Adriana Salazar – Polaroid Cool Cam 600 – Impossible Project PX-680 Old Gen

Photo: Adriana Salazar - Polaroid Cool Cam 600 - Impossible Project PX-680 Old Gen

Photo: Adriana Salazar – Polaroid Cool Cam 600 – Impossible Project PX-680 Old Gen

Photo: Adriana Salazar - Fuji Instax

Photo: Adriana Salazar – Fuji Instax

Photo: Christian Oliveira - Polaroid SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

Photo: Christian Oliveira – Polaroid SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

Photo: Amber Minnerick - Polaroid One Step - Impossible Project PX-680 Rainbow Frame

Photo: Amber Minnerick – Polaroid One Step – Impossible Project PX-680 Rainbow Frame

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue - Polaroid One Step - Impossible Project PX-680 CP Film

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue – Polaroid One Step – Impossible Project PX-680 CP Film

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue - Polaroid One Step - Impossible Project PX-680 CP Film

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue – Polaroid One Step – Impossible Project PX-680 CP Film

Photo: Synthia Goode - Polaroid Spectra SE - Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Photo: Synthia Goode – Polaroid Spectra SE – Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Photo: Jeremy Minnerick - Polaroid Spectra AF - Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Photo: Jeremy Minnerick – Polaroid Spectra AF – Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Photo: Amber Minnerick - Polaroid One Step - Impossible Project PX-680 Rainbow Frame

Photo: Amber Minnerick – Polaroid One Step – Impossible Project PX-680 Rainbow Frame

Photo: Jeremy Minnerick - Polaroid Spectra AF - Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Photo: Jeremy Minnerick – Polaroid Spectra AF – Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Polaroid Sonar SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

Polaroid Sonar SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

The rain was relentless!  It just wouldn’t stop.   I’m still in awe, that all of these people came out in such high spirits, despite the rain.   Nothing was going to stop this group!! Rain?!? Pshaw!! Whatevs!  After a while, we decided to make our way into the Food Court to dry off a little bit, relax and get to know each other a little more.

Photo: Amber Minnerick - Polaroid One Step - Impossible Project PX-680 Rainbow Frame

Photo: Amber Minnerick – Polaroid One Step – Impossible Project PX-680 Rainbow Frame

Photo: Catherine Downes - Instagram - Part of the slew of equipment we rolled with ;-)

Photo: Catherine Downes – Instagram – Part of the slew of equipment we rolled with 😉

Photo: Christian Oliveira - Polaroid Spectra 2 - VERY expired Polaroid Spectra film

Photo: Christian Oliveira – Polaroid Spectra 2 – VERY expired Polaroid Spectra film

Photo: Synthia Goode - Polaroid Spectra SE - Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Photo: Synthia Goode – Polaroid Spectra SE – Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Photo: Christian Oliveira - Polaroid Spectra 2 - VERY expired Polaroid Spectra film

Photo: Christian Oliveira – Polaroid Spectra 2 – VERY expired Polaroid Spectra film

For Synthia and I, this was the first time we had met most of these people.   I’m usually not the type to go out and seek the company of strangers for events, and for that matter, I really don’t like talking to strangers.   It’s funny.  My passion for using instant film is helping me turn a new leaf in my life.  Many of you have never met me, and don’t know that I stutter.  Sometimes it can get the best of me, but most of the time, it’s not that big of a deal.   Sure, it doesn’t define me, but it has shaped me into the person that I am.  For a guy like me, meeting strangers and talking to new people is a thing that I try and avoid most of the time.   When I started thinking about hosting this PolaWalk, I knew that I would killing a few birds with one stone: 1) I’d get an opportunity to “break the mold” so to speak, and get out there and meet strangers and force myself over this hump. 2) I’d get the chance to spread the love of Impossible to other shooters.  And 3) I’d be able to make new friends in the area that share the love that I feel for photography.  All in all, it was a winning idea all around.

Anyhow, at this point Jeremy, Amber, Synthia and Adriana all had to bolt.  So we packed up our things and made our way back outside.   We started walking along and WHOOMFFF!! A huge gust of wind ripped apart my umbrella, haha!  It was hilarious!  Daniel R. snapped a quick pick while everybody was laughing.   Later on, Amber wrote something about it being an UNbrella.  Very fitting Amber …

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue - Polaroid Spectra SE - Spectra Soft Tone Film

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue – Polaroid Spectra SE – Spectra Soft Tone Film

We headed indoors to the petting zoo.  Walked around a little while and eventually made our way back outside.

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue - Polaroid Spectra SE - Polaroid Spectra Soft Tone Film

Photo: Daniel Rodrigue – Polaroid Spectra SE – Polaroid Spectra Soft Tone Film

Most of us were pretty tired and fairly soaked (COMPLETELY) so we decided to call it a day.   We all parted ways and made our way out of the park.  I snapped a couple of images on the way out, but by this time it really started pouring some heavy rain.   I had no umbrel … UNbrella at this point, so I got even more soaked!  Luckily, I had some plastic bags in my backpack and saved my gear & film from getting completely drenched.

Polaroid Sonar SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

Polaroid Sonar SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

Photo: Daniel Poe - Polaroid Spectra AF -  Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Photo: Daniel Poe – Polaroid Spectra AF – Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen

Polaroid Sonar SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

Polaroid Sonar SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 CP Film

Overall, an incredible experience!  I can’t wait to schedule more of these around the metroplex and help spread the word about the greatness that is Impossible Project film.  If you are interested in learning more about this medium, please get in touch with me.  I’m an open door and would love to help you get into this medium.   There’s nothing better for personal photography.  Even more so, it’s a fantastic medium for the professional photographer.  Offering this sort of “out of the box” photography is giving your clients something you can’t get anywhere else.   There’s only ONE company making integral film.  Get off your butts and support them!  Doing so, gives the gift of “the polaroid” back to this generation and hopefully the next.

-Justin

www.goodephotography.biz

To buy Impossible Project film, CLICK HERE. 

A Polaroid Macro 5 SLR + Impossible Project PZ680

September 18, 2012 § 6 Comments

Last weekend, Synthia and I went to the ranch to photograph Erica Perry’s bridal & promo photos.    When we were finished, we headed up to Synthia’s parents house to celebrate her niece’s b-day.   While we were visiting, her mom told us that she had an old 35mm camera at the dentist office that she wanted to give us.   The three of us cruised up the road and rummaged around the attic and found the camera; a Yashica inter-oral macro camera.   The lens has an inner ring flash and is fixed to the body (pretty cool, needs an odd battery).   While we were up there, Synthia’s mom mentioned that they might have an old Polaroid too.   She went searching through some boxes and dug up a Polaroid Macro 5 SLR.   I quickly figured out that this could use Impossible’s Spectra film.

Polaroid Macro 5 SLR

Polaroid Macro 5 SLR

The excitement was buzzing through me!  Macros with a Polaroid??? I’d probably seen one of these in the past, but I’d never realized what it could do.    With a SX-70, the closest you can focus is 10 inches.  Being able to focus closer, provides a whole new realm of creativity to dive into.

When I got back home, I searched online and found the Polaroid Macro 5’s manual.  There are 5 different distances in which you can focus the camera; 52, 26, 10, 5 and 3 inches. You press the shutter down 1/2 way and it emits two dots of light from the camera.  As you bring the image into focus, the dots intersect and overlap each other; a dual-light rangefinder. There are two flashes on either side of the lens (which you can toggle on & off separately) and there’s also an external PC port on the camera, so you can slave flashes off-camera.

For those that are going to try any off-camera flash photography, you’ll find the following chart useful.  You should note, that the Polaroid Macro 5 has a fixed shutter speed of 1/50th.   For proper exposures using off-camera flash, you’ll need to use a handheld flash meter to figure out the right output for your strobes/flashes.

Polaroid Macro 5 SLR Camera Specifications

Polaroid Macro 5 SLR Camera Specifications

The first image I shot, cliche yes, was of Synthia’s eye.   I wanted to get a feel for just how close this thing could focus.   I set the Macro 5 to focus at its closest distance (3 inches), kept the exposure at neutral with the flashes on, and snapped the photo.

Polaroid Macro 5 SLR - Impossible Project PZ680 Old Generation

Polaroid Macro 5 SLR – Impossible Project PZ680 Old Generation

Later on, I went to Archinal Camera to show my friend Robert the newest acquisition.  He’s got a TON of old cameras on a shelf above his desk.   I grabbed an old Kodak camera and snapped another macro for the blog.

Polaroid Macro 5 SLR - Impossible Project PZ680 Old Generation

Polaroid Macro 5 SLR – Impossible Project PZ680 Old Generation

Afterwards, I went to my brother’s house and snapped a photo of Edie (my niece).  She was hanging out under the kitchen table.   I set the focus to 26 inches and started rocking back & forth until she was in focus.  She wasn’t too fond of the focusing lights.  When the image developed, I noticed a time stamp on top of the photo.  I pressed the Mode button on the back until “– — —-” showed up, hoping it would turn off that feature.  It did.

Polaroid Macro 5 SLR - Impossible Project PZ680 Old Generation

Polaroid Macro 5 SLR – Impossible Project PZ680 Old Generation

What about its off camera flash capabilities??   I set up a Nikon SB-600, set at 1/16th power, about 3 inches away from a dead fly I found.   I figured, why not?  I set the camera to its closest focusing distance (3 inches) and hooked up some Pocket Wizards.  I turned the Macro 5’s internal flashes off and fired a photo.

Polaroid Macro 5 SLR - Impossible Project PZ-680 Old Generation

Polaroid Macro 5 SLR – Impossible Project PZ-680 Old Generation

As stated in the Macro 5’s manual, “Test exposures may be required to determine the correct location and settings for the auxiliary flash unit for correct exposure”.  That’s definitely the case.   My Sekonic L-358 can only meter up to f/90.  I was guesstimating the right output on the SB-600 and the exposure is overexposed.  Regardless of the outcome of this photo, it’s pretty nice that you CAN use slaved flashes if you want to venture down that path.

One more test shot with slaved flashes.   This time I used a SB-600 & SB-800 and cross lit my Leica M2.  I set the focusing distance to 10 inches and tested the flash output with the L-358.  It was sitting around f/51-57.

Polaroid Macro 5 SLR - Impossible Project PZ-680 Old Generation

Polaroid Macro 5 SLR – Impossible Project PZ-680 Old Generation

Phew!  Talk about a tough camera to shoot with off-camera flash!  With a fixed shutter speed of 1/50th and also dealing with an aperture range of f/20 – f/100, it certainly makes it challenging.  Now, I haven’t given up on its capabilities yet, however, I think I’ll save this thing for the next time I’m at the Dallas Arboretum.  I would imagine this thing would be great for flower & insect macros.

If macro photography is your cup of tea, you might be interested in picking up a Polaroid Macro 5 SLR from The Impossible Project here, or you can find them online on Ebay.

Thanks for reading!

-Justin

www.goodephotography.biz

PS – Impossible Project has just announced their newest batch of film.  To learn more about the latest advancements CLICK HERE. 

NEW Impossible Project PX-680 V4C Black Paste Film

September 4, 2012 § 6 Comments

Round three!  Impossible improved on its previous version of PX-680 opacification test film and offered another batch to their pioneers to test.   This time around, I picked up as many as I could (4 packs).

Impossible Project PX-680 V4C Black Paste Film

Impossible Project PX-680 V4C Black Paste Film

Luckily, a couple weeks ago, I had picked up a ND4 filter.  I don’t have a 680 and/or 690 so this filter was going to come in VERY handy.  For any non-photogs reading this, a ND4 filter reduces the amount of light that hits the film by a measurement of “2 stops”.   When using a SX-70, a camera optimized for 100 speed film, a ND4 is necessary in order to get proper exposures with 600 speed film.    You still have to underexpose, BUT it makes using PX-680 in a SX-70 do-able.

After the four packs of test film arrived, I loaded up the SX-70 and waited on an opportune time to head outside to snap some test images.  After dinner, Synthia and I decided to walk around part of White Rock Lake.  Killing two birds with one stone; a little bit of exercise & an opportunity to grab a frame …

White Rock Lake - Dallas, TX - Impossible Project PX-680 V4C Black Paste Film

White Rock Lake – Dallas, TX – Impossible Project PX-680 V4C Black Paste Film

I used the ND4 filter and cranked the exposure down 2/3’rds of the way.   Trusting the ‘black paste’, I ejected it without shielding it, and tucked it away in my bag.

NOTE: When using a ND4 filter with PX-680 film in a SX-70, be aware that the camera is metering for 100 speed film.  Exposures might be a little on the long side depending on where and what you are shooting.  You’ll see examples of softer images in this blog post.   DO NOT think for one second, that PX-680 isn’t sharp.  It’s ridiculously crisp.   

The following afternoon, I burned a few images on my buddy Mike Hawkins; a brilliant guy & solid friend.   He’s been living in Alaska for the past year and just recently got accepted into the Peace Corps.   He’s in town for a month before he makes his way out to Vanuatu (between Papa New Guinea & Fiji) to go teach English.   Ya .. he’s one of those people 😉

I figured a triptych would suit him well.  Hawkins-style; headband, RayBans, some old plaid shirt and his Nalgene.  Word.

– Click the image for a larger size –

Michael Hawkins - Polaroid SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-680 V4C Black Paste Film

Michael Hawkins – Polaroid SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-680 V4C Black Paste Film

Later on that evening, Synthia and I went to my grandparents for dinner.  When we arrived, it was nearing sunset, so I grabbed the two of them and snapped a couple of photos before it was too dark.  You should have seen their faces.  They lit up when the image came out of the SX-70.   “A Polaroid!!!”  Yes, Mema & Papa.  That’s how I roll.

My Grandmother.   She's 82 years young :-)

My Grandmother. She’s 82 years young 🙂 ND4 – 1/2 underexposed

Papa - 82 years young as well :-)

Papa – 82 years young as well 🙂

That weekend, my wife and I shot a wedding in Carrollton, TX.   For almost all of the Impossible images I shot, I used PX-70 COOL, but for one image, I used this test film.   There was an elderly couple, that had just finished dancing and I grabbed a quick pic of them as they were walking off the dance floor.    I used the MINT flash bar and had it set, as suggested, at 1/2 power.  I showed their son the image later on and he was ecstatic that I was going to give the bride & groom a stack of ‘polaroids’ that included this one …

Impossible Project PX-680 V4C w/ MINT Flash Bar

Impossible Project PX-680 V4C w/ MINT Flash Bar

A few days later, I went out to play some disc golf with Hawkins.    I snapped one image while we were there.   It was nearing twilight, so the light was fading quickly.  The exposure was nearly a 1/3 – 1/2 of a second.

Impossible Project PX-680 V4C Black Paste Test Film + ND4

Unshielded Impossible Project PX-680 V4C Black Paste Test Film + ND4 & Neutral

Later on during the week, I stopped by our local neighborhood convenient store to grab a drink.   I’ve been going here for a good 15+ years and the owners are super friendly.  Ryan, the one I seem to talk to the most was working this particular afternoon.  As I was paying for my drink, I asked him if he would mind if I took a photo of him with this new test film I had.   He smiled and said “Of course!”  We stepped outside and I had him sit on the curb in front of the store.   Because were we pretty deep in the shade, the exposure was a little long (maybe 1/10th).

Impossible Project PX-680 V4C Black Paste Film

Unshielded Impossible Project PX-680 V4C Black Paste Film

After I snapped his photo, I took a quick snapshot of their sign (ND4 & -2/3rd’s).  I ejected the film, without shielding it, in direct sunlight.  I cruised back up there later on and gave Ryan the images I took.   I figured he & his family would appreciate them.

Unshielded Impossible Project PX-680 V4C Black Paste Film

Unshielded Impossible Project PX-680 V4C Black Paste Film

Overall .. WOW!  A huuuuuuuuge improvement in the color, compared to the PX-680 V4B that I tested out a month ago.   ALL OF THESE images were shot without being shielded, upon ejection.    The anti-opacification molecule is working wonders.   Granted, if you don’t want a vintage look like the image above has, you might want to shield in direct sunlight.  However, having that look as an option just gives you more creative flexibility on the spot.    How cool is that?

The only thing I’m wondering is, upon the release of these new films, how long will it be before Impossible reveals the camera they have been working on?

-Justin

www.goodephotography.biz

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT

Impossible Project PX-70 V4B Opacification Test Film

August 24, 2012 § 6 Comments

A new batch of test film via The Impossible Project!   This particular batch is PX-70, optimized for use in SX-70 cameras.  PX-70 is rated at 125 ASA, where as the PX-680 V4B I tested was rated about 640 ASA.  For these tests, I’ll be shooting in various lighting scenarios; in the shade, overcast day, sunny day, indoors, using flash etc.

Impossible Project PX-70 V4B

Impossible Project PX-70 V4B

— The first image I shot was of our boxer, Maybelle.  She’s been catching/chewing up sticks & tennis balls in the backyard lately.  I shot this with a dark-slide protecting the image from direct light nearing sundown, however when I went back inside and removed the photo, I placed it right side up to develop.  I’m guessing, but it looks as if the anti-opacification juice has been ‘upped’ a little bit.   As stated on their website, this version of PX-70 does take 35-45 minutes to fully develop.

Impossible Project PX70-V4B Anti-Opacifiation Test Film - Polaroid SX-70

Impossible Project PX70-V4B Anti-Opacifiation Test Film – Polaroid SX-70

Off the bat, A HUGE IMPROVEMENT over the PX680 I tested a few weeks ago.  The colors that were in the scene are represented very well in this image.

— My wife and I had a portrait shoot in downtown Dallas.   While I was in the Arts District, I grabbed a quick photo of the new Museum Tower.  When the newsletter came out for this particular test film, Impossible stated that you should “shield from direct sunlight, with little stress if the sun hits it shortly”.  It was an overcast morning, and admittedly I was overcautious. I did shield this particular image and tucked it away in a box to develop.  I cranked the exposure all the way down and fired away.  I checked on it every minute or so for the first 15 minutes and then brought it out into the open light to watch it develop.

Museum Tower - Dallas, TX - Impossible Project PX-70 V4B - SX-70

Museum Tower – Dallas, TX – Impossible Project PX-70 V4B – SX-70

— Fair Park: For the following, the image was taken with the exposure dial cranked all the way down and the image was ejected into the open in the shade. The image was exposed to ambient light for about 5-10 seconds, while I flipped it over and tucked it away in a box.  There looks to be little difference in the sky, between the image shielded at the Museum Tower and the image of the Texas Star Ferris Wheel.

Fair Park - Dallas, TX - Impossible Project PX-70 V4B - SX-70

A peek at The Texas Star – Dallas, TX – Impossible Project PX-70 V4B – SX-70

— I had picked up some flowers for Synthia, so I decided to use them to test the color indoors.  I set them near the window and cranked the exposure dial down 2/3’rds of the way on the SX-70.  I’m weary of over-exposure; can you tell?  For this image, it was shot near a window indoors, without being shielded, and was developed out in the open.   To be honest, I would probably focus this a little differently if I had the chance to do it over.   In my hurried state of excitement, I just let the autofocus go where it wanted to.

Polaroid SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 V4B

Polaroid SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 V4B

— I went out later to a DART rail station by my house.  The sun had just set, so I went ahead and shot the image, cranked 2/3’rds of the way down & unshielded.  Once it ejected, I tucked it away in my bag.   When I got back to my car (after maybe 2 minutes), I pulled the image out and drove back home.

Polaroid SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 V4B

Polaroid SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 V4B

— Another image grabbed was at a Rangers game.  The last time I went to one, I had shot some with a Spectra & some PZ680.   This time around, I was happy to have the SX-70 loaded up with this test film 🙂  We had tickets alllllllll the way up top and I snapped an image of the viewpoint.   This was shot unshielded @ 2/3’rds dark and was tucked away into a box to develop seconds afterwards.

The Ballpark in Arlington - Polaroid SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 V4B

The Ballpark in Arlington – Polaroid SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 V4B

Unfortunately, since it was an evening game, I didn’t get to shoot as much as I would have liked.   The ambient light faded quickly and I decided to NOT test fate on iffy exposures.

— I went up to Zak’s Donuts to snag a quick pic of a donut with sprinkles.   It would be a good test of the film’s sharpness.   I did the, now, normal routine of shooting it unshielded & tucked it away in the box.  I shot this @ 2/3’rds dark, near a window.   NOTE:  As as I’ve also seen some state online, this particular batch of PX-70 film needs a little more exposure than what you’re used to giving it.   I probably could have shot this at 1/2 – 1/3 dark and been OK.

Polaroid SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 V4B Opacification Test Film

Polaroid SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 V4B Opacification Test Film

— A quick shot of Synthia at the park.   I used the Impossible flash bar by MINT @ 1/2 power and had the exposure dial set in the center.   Shot unshielded and tucked away.  It’s a little underexposed.   I’ll try full power and maybe 1/3’rd dark next time around at this distance.

Impossible Project PX-70 V4B w/ MINT flash bar at 1/2 power

Impossible Project PX-70 V4B w/ MINT flash bar at 1/2 power

— We ate at the Crazy Horse Saloon in Rockwall, TX.   I snagged this photo just outside the restaurant/bar that’s located in the marina.  Synthia suggested to shoot it upside-down.  It was a little tricky but not too bad.  This image was shot 2/3’rds dark and unshielded.

Polaroid SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 V4B

Polaroid SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 V4B

The last example image shot was the one at the beginning of the article.  I used the Impossible Flash Bar at 1/2 power to fire 3 other flashes in a small studio setup.   I used two strip boxes and a SB-800 flash to help illuminate the scene.  Please excuse the flash stand haha … 

If you’ve never shot Impossible Film before, NOW IS THE TIME to get on the wagon.   Word on the street is that these versions of their films will be available THIS FALL.   Think about it.   Pick yourself up any type of Polaroid 600, Spectra, or SX-70 and you’ll be set!  Because the newer batches of film aren’t as sensitive to light, all you have to do is tuck the image away within a few seconds to develop, OR if you’re indoors, you can watch it develop!  Up until this point, the images have needed a high level of protection in order to keep them safe from ambient light when the initial stages of development had begun.  Shielding the film has been a necessity.   Very quickly, that level of protection is becoming less & less needed.

-Justin

www.goodephotography.biz

BUY IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT FILM HERE

Using Impossible Project PZ film in a Polaroid 95A

August 17, 2012 § 7 Comments

A couple months ago, I shot a pictorial showing how to use Impossible Project film in a Mamiya RB67.   Ever since then, I’ve been intrigued with the idea of using instant film in various cameras.  The fact that you can use film in a camera it’s not intended for is so cool to me!  You can breathe life into old cameras.  This morning, I was looking at the size of PZ680 Spectra film, and I noticed a dusty old Polaroid 95A sitting on my shelf.  When I got this thing, it was basically useless.  Film for this camera hasn’t been made in a loooong time.

Polaroid 95A

Polaroid 95A

Would the back be big enough to fit a frame of Spectra film in?

PZ680 placed inside the back of a Polaroid 95A

PZ680 placed inside the back of a Polaroid 95A

Like a glove.  I did some quick research online about the camera; f/8.8 with shutter speeds from 1/12th – 1/100th & a bulb setting.  Using this technique, I extracted the photo from my Spectra and put it inside the 95A while in the darkroom,*my closet*.  NOTE: When closed, the 95A’s back holds the film in place perfectly.  Nothing extra is needed to keep the film flat & in place.  If you’re removing film from your camera in the darkroom/closet, you will need a darkslide to put over the top of the cartridge BEFORE inserting it back in the camera.  

– CLICK HERE for the Polaroid 95A Manual –

The camera has notches for focusing from 3.5 – 50ft.  To check its close focus, I snapped a quick photo inside my bathroom, with the lens roughly 21 inches away from the mirror.   I metered the scene; 1/4th,  f/8 @ 640.  I tripped the shutter at the #1 setting @ 1/12th.

EDIT: Once I shot the image, I took the camera into the darkroom/closet to extract the photo, slid it back into an empty cartridge, stuck the cartridge in the Spectra and it ejected the image to start development.

Impossible Project PZ680 - Polaroid 95A

Impossible Project PZ680 – Polaroid 95A – 1/12th

SWEET.   I went up the road to Archinal Camera and had Robert test the shutter speeds.   On the 95A I have, the average shutter speeds are …

1.  1/12th

2.  1/20th

3.  1/35th

4.  1/60th

5.  1/65th

6.  1/70th

7.  1/80th

8.  1/100th

When testing, the speeds were a little erratic.   They would jump around slightly, but for the most part, when I pressed the shutter release slowly, the results were fairly consistent.

NOTE: If this is something you are going to try, take in account that with the 95A you might have, there will be some variances to the shutter speeds because of aged mechanical parts.  Also, when using this method, because of the 95A’s limited range of functionality & Impossible’s film sensitivity, you will be restricted as to where and when you can shoot.  

I loaded up another image later on in the evening and shot a 1 second exposure of a reflection near my house focusing at 50 ft.   I used the bulb setting on the 95A and estimated the one second exposure.

Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen - Polaroid 95A

Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen – Polaroid 95A – 1 second exposure

It’s a little overexposed (and not too great of an image) BUT at least I know for the things I’ll use this for, the focusing works.

Also, for close-ups at 3.5 ft, FRAMING IS DIFFICULT.   I took a quick picture of my neighbor Tom and as you can see, I wasn’t quite centered completely.  The viewfinder really doesn’t work for this distance, so you will have to try and position the lens where you think it should be for the composition.  Tom was really excited to have his picture taken.  His father used to take pics of him with a Polaroid 95A in the 50’s …

Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen - Polaroid 95A - 1/35th

Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen – Polaroid 95A – 1/35th

Later on in the evening, I grabbed a picture of the South Side building near downtown Dallas.   NOTE: All images are reversed when shot through the 95A … 

South Side on Lamar - Dallas, TX - Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen  - Polaroid 95A - 1/35

South Side on Lamar – Dallas, TX – Impossible Project PZ680 Old Gen – Polaroid 95A

If you’ve got a Polaroid 95A just sitting on the shelf, like so many people do, it can still be used!  When/if you try this,  I WISH YOU THE BEST OF LUCK!  As long as there are no light leaks and you gently handle the film when moving it from place to place, everything should be OK.  Granted, it’s not the easiest way to make an image, and there are a handful of extra variables, but who cares.   If you enjoy a roundabout creative process, pick yourself up some Spectra film and try it out!

Take your time and enjoy the fruits of your labor 😉

-Justin

www.goodephotography.biz

BUY IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT SPECTRA FILM HERE! 

Olympus XA: The Mini-Rangefinder

August 12, 2012 § 7 Comments

About 6 months ago, I was visiting my friend Robert at Archinal Camera; a repair shop/photography studio in Richardson. I’ve known the owner for a few years now and I regularly stop in to say hello. When I’m there, I usually look through the random assortment of items & cameras that he has around the shop. It can be a glimpse into the past; sort of a visual road map of where photography has come from. His family has been in the camera repair business since the 50’s, so as you would imagine, there is quite an array of assorted odds & ends. On this particular day, I was browsing through the display case up front. One camera had always caught my eye, yet I had never picked it up, nor had I ever asked about it. It was an Olympus camera with a weird looking flash attachment on its left side. I asked Robert “Hey, what’s this?” He chuckled, “That old thing? It’s a useless old Olympus rangefinder. They used to be really popular back in the 1980’s. You want it? Here!” He picked it up out of the display case and set it on the counter. “It’s yours!” he exclaimed. “That thing has been in there forever …”

Olympus XA 35mm f/2.8 w/ A16 Flash Attachment

Olympus XA 35mm f/2.8 w/ A16 Flash Attachment

Useless? I think not. It’s a mini-rangefinder!! After we visited a little while longer, I thanked him and made my way home. Once there, I proceeded to fiddle with the camera; looked through the viewfinder, checked how the focus worked, looked at the lens (35mm f/2.8-22), played around with the flash, screwed around with the apertures, etc.

– CLICK HERE for the Olympus XA Manual –

This thing is a rockin’ little camera. It can fit in your pocket, purse or wherever. When the flash attachment is removed, it easily fits in the palm of my hand. For film lovers, the XA is a great camera for snagging & sneaking images, of any subject you like, at any particular time.

Olympus XA 35mm f/2.8

Olympus XA 35mm f/2.8

I took it with me to the drive-in movie theater near Ennis, TX. The Galaxy Theatre is a blast!  Well .. when it’s not 100 degrees at 9pm. Lucky for us, even though it was August, there was a storm front moving through, so we enjoyed the movie when the temps were in the 80’s.

Galaxy Movie Theatre - Olympus XA - Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

Galaxy Movie Theatre – Olympus XA – Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

Galaxy Drive In Theatre - Olympus XA - Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

Galaxy Drive In Theatre – Olympus XA – Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

Galaxy Movie Theatre - Olympus XA - Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

Galaxy Movie Theatre – Olympus XA – Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

A few other snapshots from the Olympus XA …

f/22 @ 1/60th - Olympus XA - Delta 400 - D76

f/22 @ 1/60th – Olympus XA – Delta 400 – D76

Cavanaugh Flight Museum - Olympus XA - Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

Cavanaugh Flight Museum – Olympus XA – Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

Cavanaugh Flight Museum - Olympus XA - Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

Cavanaugh Flight Museum – Olympus XA – Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

You can bring this thing with you everywhere! It’s useful for many things, but I’ve found it’s particularly nice for grab-shots with family & friends. Because it’s so small & quiet, once you get out of the initial oh-you’ve-got-a-camera-and-you’re-taking-pictures-of-me stage, most of the time taking an image with it will go unnoticed. You can use the rangefinder to accurately focus, or if you like ‘shooting from the hip’, simply pick an aperture that will give you the right amount of depth-of-field, pre-focus the camera using the scale on top of the lens, and plink away snapshots.

Olympus XA - Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

Olympus XA – Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800

Olympus XA - Kodak 35mm Ektar

Olympus XA – Kodak Ektar

Olympus XA - Kodak Ektar

Olympus XA – Kodak Ektar

Olympus XA - Kodak 35mm Ektar

Olympus XA – Kodak 35mm Ektar

A quick test of the A16 flash. Ride ’em Jones!

Olympus XA - Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800 w/ A16 Flash

Olympus XA – Ilford HP5 Plus @ 800 w/ A16 Flash

Now this is definitely not the sharpest lens/camera option out there, but that’s not what I’m after when using this camera. When shooting with the XA, you go into it knowing there are optical concessions.

For those that enjoy film photography, this camera is nice to keep on hand, wherever you go. Because of its size and how it’s built, it can be the perfect film camera to stow away for quick candid grab shots and other photo opps that interest you.

-Justin

www.goodephotography.biz

OLYMPUS XAs ON EBAY

Impossible Project PX-680 V4B Opacification Test Film

August 1, 2012 § 8 Comments

Impossible Project announced to their pioneers last week, that their chief chemist Martin Steinmeijer, had invented a brand new opacification molecule.   They said it’s designed to completely absorb light as the photograph exits the camera and remains colorless and transparent once the image has fully developed. TIP also stated “this new molecule is as powerful as the molecule used in the original Polaroid materials and for the first time will allow you to take your Impossible photographs without the need of immediate shielding.” THIS is what everyone has been waiting for.

I received the pioneer newsletter in my email one morning, and when I saw how fast the packs were going, I snagged two of them (limit of 4). I was going to wait, but I’m so glad I didn’t … they sold all 400 packs available in the states, in under 30 minutes.  When the film came in the mail a few days later, I was pretty excited.  This was the first time I’d been able to test a new batch of film … I ripped open the package.

Impossible Project PX680-V4B Test Film

Impossible Project PX680-V4B Test Film – SWEEEEET.

I didn’t have a Polaroid 680/690 to shoot this film with, nor did I have a ND4 filter to slap on the SX-70 .. but I did have a Polaroid One Step Flash that had been sitting on my shelf.  I figured I’d shoot a variety of subjects with the OneStepFlash, the RB67 and possibly the SX-70+ND2 lit by the mid-day sun, indoor on-camera flash, studio strobes, ambient light, long-exposures etc.

I loaded up the first pack of film and headed out with Synthia. We ended up going to the Design District Gallery Day to check out some new photographs that were at PDNB. I was going to snag some photos but it was 106 outdoors and nothing really looked worthy enough.  We ended up cruising up the road to one of my favorite overlooks of downtown.  Over the past couple of months, I had come here to snag two other impossible photos on an overcast day and in the evening.   I jumped out of the car, cranked the exposure down & fired off a shot with the OneStepFlash.  WITHOUT SHIELDING THE PHOTO, it ejected into the blazin’ sun when it was still 100+ degrees.  During the ride home, the photo developed out in the open & in my lap for about 30 minutes (at 80ish degrees I would imagine).

Dallas, TX - Polaroid OneStep Flash - Impossible Project PX-680 V4B

Dallas, TX – Polaroid OneStep Flash – Impossible Project PX-680 V4B

Regarding the color you’ll see in these images, TIP stated “these packs are not yet fully optimized for color performance .. it is still being worked on at this time .. the focus was on the opacification layer.”

My friend JV had met up with us to check out the gallery, so after we got back home, I set up a few lights and took a picture of him.  Don’t look too serious now buddy … 😉

Impossible Project PX-680-V4B Test Film - Mamiya RB67 - 105mm SF-C

Impossible Project PX-680-V4B Test Film – Mamiya RB67 – 105mm SF-C – Developed @ 75 degrees

I shot this particular impossible photo on the RB67.  After I shot it, I went to a dark closet to extract the photo, put it in an empty PX-70 pack and slid it fully inside the SX-70.  Then I brought the SX-70 out into a lit room, closed the front .. *camera ejects film* .. and BAM – opacification molecules doing their ‘thang’ in the light.  It sat on a table for 25 minutes developing in the office.

Later on in the weekend, I figured a test of the highlights, and how the film handled harsh on-camera-flash would be good to have.  I snapped a pic of Maybelle indoors (by enticing her with treats) and walked the exposed picture over to an area I had set up by the window.  I shot a stop-motion video sequence with the D700 so I could show how the picture developed. I snapped a photo every 5-10 seconds over a 25 minute period, but admittedly it was probably every 3-5 once the development started to kick in.  The image is about as good as I would expect from a OneStep indoors, with a bright blaring flash .. *poor Maybelle .. she got lots of love after being temporarily blinded*

Polaroid OneStep Flash - PX680-V4B - Even Exposure

Polaroid OneStep Flash – PX680-V4B – Even Exposure – Developed @ 80 degrees

The next day, I ended up experimenting a little bit and extracted a test photo *in the darkroom*, slid it inside an empty Spectra pack and loaded up my Spectra AF.  Why not?

I went up the road and snagged a quick photo of a donut shop.  The sun was probably a little behind me to my left and it was 4 o’clock.   I shot it with an even exposure.  When I got back home, I went back into the closet to do the impossible shuffle and again, brought the camera out to eject the photo into the light to test the new opacification molecule.

Spectra AF - Impossible Project PX-680 V4B

Spectra AF – Impossible Project PX-680 V4B – Developed @ 75 degrees

One thing I have noticed, is that the level of goopyness in the shadows isn’t as pronounced as it has been in the past.   In previous versions of their films, there were blobs and a splotchiness to the images (which honestly I liked) which is not prevalent in these test packs.

I liked the outcome of the first Spectra image, so I loaded up another shot and went out later to test a long exposure.   I ended up cruising to The Dog Stop; a place I ate at years ago with my wife one day.   I set the Spectra up on a tripod and bumped the exposure up 1/3rd of the way; it was about a second or two as I recall.   I drove back home and did the impossible shuffle yet again, so the image could develop in the light.

Spectra AF - Impossible Project PX-680 V4B

Spectra AF – Impossible Project PX-680 V4B – Developed 75 degrees

The following day, I stuck with the theme of ‘random-buildings-i-have-always-wanted-to-shoot-but-never-have’ around the area and snapped another photo with the Spectra.

Como Motel - Spectra AF - Impossible Project PX-680 V4B

Como Motel – Spectra AF – Impossible Project PX-680 V4B – Fully Underexposed – Developed 75 degrees

OK – Enough with the building photos ..

I loaded up the PX680-V4B in my SX-70 and swung by the lake.  The sun had just set and there was this incredible light on the lake (isn’t that always the case ;-)).  I cranked the exposure dial all the way down and hoped for the best …

White Rock Lake - Impossible Project PX-680 V4B - Polaroid SX-70 - Exposure Down

White Rock Lake – Impossible Project PX-680 V4B – Polaroid SX-70 – Exposure Down – Developed 90 degrees

Again, less goopy-ness in the shadows.  It does look like the overall quality of the highlights & shadows are improving.   It seems, like in this image, it’s getting a little less gunked up and is rendering smoother tonal gradations.  Now with that said, I love the gunk/funk of the old images.   That’s part of what makes those old-gen, 12/11, NIGO and other variations so cool.  I just like it gunky.

EDIT: One more from the RB …

Mamiya RB67 - 105mm SF-C - Impossible Project PX-680 V4B

Mamiya RB67 – 105mm SF-C – Impossible Project PX-680 V4B

Same thing.  Did the impossible shuffle to extract the photo and get it into the SX-70, however, after I ejected the photo in the light, I stowed it away, a few seconds afterwards, in a box for the duration of the development @ 75 degrees.

Overall, it looks to be a massive improvement in the way their films can handle direct ambient indoor light & outdoor light once the image has started its development.  The Impossible chemists have been trying to solve the opacification issue for a while.  Soon in the near future, as I did with these,  you WILL NOT HAVE TO SHIELD THE PHOTO as it ejects from the camera.  This is a HUGE step forward.  There will be no need to teach shielding techniques to new shooters, nor will there be a need to convince them that all the hassle is worth it.   For the average person, who might want something special beyond a digital snapshot,  this is a massive leap in their direction.   Convincing them to use Impossible Project film will be a hell of a lot easier, when shielding the film isn’t a necessity.  Bravo Impossible .. Bravo.

-Justin

www.goodephotography.biz

CHECK OUT this discussion regarding the new opacification test film on Impossible’s Flickr page

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