Review: Impossible’s LIFT IT Brush Set

October 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve recently started using Impossible’s LIFT IT! brush set for emulsion transfers. Included in the set are four brushes, varying in size, which aide in the removal, positioning & manipulation of the gelatinous emulsion during transfers. In the past, I was using regular watercolor brushes to remove the emulsion from the mylar surface of instant images. That had been working OK, but since I’ve gotten these, I’m never turning back …

Impossible Project's LIFT IT!Brush Set

Impossible Project’s LIFT IT Brush Set

I’ve heard, “Aren’t these the same as brushes that I can pick up at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby?” At first, I assumed they might be. Not quite the case. When I would use other brushes, the bristles would flare out and I’d end up using the base of the bristles to push off & remove the emulsion. Sometimes I would end up tearing the emulsion while I was removing it, because invariably I was using the metal/wood portion at the base of the bristles. The LIFT IT brushes are designed well. The brushes that need to stay ridged and/or soft deliver. The #1 brush for instance, stays ridged while you use the soft bristles of the brush to remove the emulsion. This helps the user remove it without the heightened risk of tearing it. When you’re dealing with a gelatinous material, being as careful as you can is key.

Since I’ve started using the LIFT IT kit, I’ve made a handful of transfers for family & friends. I made a couple more this evening for this blog post to walk you through the steps. The steps might vary from person to person. This is one of the methods I use. I used three images to make two emulsion transfers. One will be dried & stowed away in the “another random transfer” file & the other will end up being a card for my grandmother.

Images for emulsion transfers

Images for emulsion transfers

Using a sharp knife, splice the edges of the film ...

Using a sharp knife, splice the edges of the film …

Run the knife around all four sides ...

Run the knife around all four sides …

Run the knife around all four sides ...

Run the knife around all four sides …

Keep going ..

Keep going ..

Carefully peel back the layers ...

Carefully peel back the layers …

Discard the bottom portion ...

Discard the bottom portion …

I repeated the process on the remaining two images ...

I repeated the process on the remaining two images …

The three peeled images

The three peeled images

Pour hot water into a tray/bowl

Pour hot water into a tray/bowl

I submerged the three images ...

I submerged the three images …

Brush #3 was made to shape, distort and to remove contortions after the transfer, however, I found that it also served well as a tool to wipe away the developer residue from the backside of the emulsion.  The brush is super soft and the fine bristles worked really well at this task.

Using brush #3, I gently wiped the developer residue away

Using brush #3, I gently wiped the developer residue away

Using brush #3, I gently wiped the developer residue away

Using brush #3, I gently wiped the developer residue away

Using brush #3, I gently wiped the developer residue away

Using brush #3, I gently wiped the developer residue away

Using brush #1, I began removing the emulsions from the mylar

Using brush #1, I began removing the emulsions from the mylar

Using brush #1, I began removing the emulsions from the mylar

Using brush #1, I began removing the emulsions from the mylar

I gently moved the emulsions into a tray/bowl of cold water

I gently moved the emulsions into a tray/bowl of cold water

Once all three emulsions were in the cold tray ...

Once all three emulsions were in the cold tray …

I slid a piece of card stock under one of the emulsions

I slid a piece of card stock under one of the emulsions

I then placed another emulsion on top of the other to help frame it

I then placed another emulsion on top of the other to help frame it

Once I had maneuvered it around to my liking ...

Once I had maneuvered it around to my liking …

I gently slid a brush under the middle and lifted it out of the water

I gently slid a brush under the middle and lifted it out of the water

At this point, I used brush #4 to brush away some of the creases. After a little bit of brushing the creases grew on me; I decided to leave it alone and let it dry.

For the last emulsion, I slid a card into the water ...

For the last emulsion, I slid a card into the water …

Moved the emulsion on top of the submerged paper ..

Moved the emulsion on top of the submerged paper ..

Positioned it how I liked it using brush #1 & #2 and gently removed it

Positioned it how I liked it using brush #1 & #2 and gently removed it

Positioning these onto paper can be a little difficult. It’s best to use small delicate motions with the brushes to move it around. Once the emulsion is spread out, I’ve found you can position the paper underneath, and use gentle side-to-side motions to carefully make water movement push the image around. It takes a little bit of practice. Once I get the image where I want it, I slide a brush underneath the paper and gently push up from the middle to bring it out of the water.

Using brush #4, I added some tears around the edges

Using brush #4, I added some tears around the edges

Using brush #4, I added some tears around the edges

Using brush #4, I added some tears around the edges

Using brush #4, I added some tears around the edges

Using brush #4, I added some tears around the edges

About halfway through this process, brush #4 was a little gunked up with the gelatinous goo. Nothing a quick dip in cold water couldn’t fix; it was as good as new.

When I was finished transferring the emulsions, I used the soap provided in the LIFT IT kit and thoroughly cleaned the bristles. They were clean within a matter of seconds and I set them aside to dry.

– The Transfers –

Example #1

Example #1

Example #2

Example #2

Should you buy it? Of course. Why? For a couple of reasons .. the main one is they really do work well and if cared for properly, these brushes should last you many, many, many transfers (years!). #2 – Do I really have to say it? You’ll be supporting one of the only instant photography companies by purchasing it. Buying their products empowers them to keep providing us with great analog materials to create art. It’s a no brainer!

Help keep instant alive!

If you have ANY questions whatsoever, please send a message my way. I’m always happy to help in any way that I can.

Thanks for your time!

-Justin

www.goodephotography.biz

CLICK HERE to buy Impossible’s LIFT IT! Brush Set

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 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

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

Using Impossible Project Film in a Mamiya RB67 aka “The Patrick Clarke Method”

June 21, 2012 § 5 Comments

In my previous blog post, I touched briefly on Impossible’s viewfinder article on Patrick Clarke regarding his use of a Mamiya RB67 with Impossible Project film.    The article did a great job of explaining how it works and for photography-minded individuals nothing further is needed.  However, for people just getting into instant film or photography in general, a pictorial on the subject would clear up any potential guesswork that has be done.

Mamiya RB67 + Polaroid SX-70

Mamiya RB67 + Polaroid SX-70

This method (not what’s pictured above ;-)) works with Impossible’s SX-70 & 600 series film.  When I first read about this, I was stoked because I knew I had the gear to try this out.  It’s a pretty backwards way of taking a photo, BUT the fact that you’re able to do it, is really cool.  Clarke touched on the RB67’s qualities in the article  “… amazed at how technically perfect the camera and its lenses were. I could control the depth of field, the shutter speed and aperture exactly like I wanted. My exposures were dead on, and the images were sharp as I could want” .. I couldn’t agree more.   The fact that you can utilize these qualities with Impossible film is awesome.

Now the how to’s ..

First, from this point forward, **anything inside asterisks MUST BE DONE in complete darkness (in a dark room, light-tight bag, dark closet etc.)**  Dealing with undeveloped film, because it’s so sensitive to light,  has to be kept in the dark until it’s developed.  This particular method, extracting film from a cartridge for use in another camera, needs a certain level of care in order to keep the image undeveloped until you’re ready.

If you don’t have access to a darkroom or a really dark closet, you will need to insert a dark slide into the cartridge to protect the film from light before removing it.

Release the lock to swing down the rollers ...

Release the lock and swing down the rollers …

Pull out the film cartridge just a little bit ...

Pull out the film cartridge just a little bit …

Carefully insert a dark slide OVER the top of images inside the cartridge

Carefully insert a dark slide OVER the top of images inside the cartridge

There’s a great video on Impossible’s website that teaches you how to swap film packs between cameras that talks about these first steps if you’re interested.

Push the dark slide all the way in ..

Push the dark slide all the way in ..

Pull the film cartridge ....

Pull the film cartridge ….

Out of the camera ...

Out of the camera …

Gently press down and push the dark slide all the way up ...

Gently press down with your thumbs and push the dark slide up … NOTE: Do this in a dark area so light doesn’t leak onto the top of the image. 

Voila! Happy unexposed film ...

Voila! Happy unexposed film …

Take the Polaroid back off of the RB67 ...

Take the Polaroid back off of the RB67 …

At this point, you need to put the Polaroid back & the freshly removed film cartridge in a changing bag (a light tight bag used to extract film) or your darkroom ;-).   In total darkness you will need to …

Open the back ...

**Open the back and remove the empty film cartridge**

Place the unexposed photo face down in the film back.  Use a photo before hand to figure out the optimal placement for the film.

**Remove & place an unexposed photo face down in the film back** Use a photo before hand to figure out the optimal placement for the film.

Gently replace the empty FP-100C cartridge to hold the film in place.  Make sure the photo doesn't move when you push down the cartridge ...

**Gently replace the empty FP-100C cartridge to hold the film in place.**Make sure the photo doesn’t move when you push down the cartridge …

Remount the Polaroid back to the RB67 and take your photo!

**Close it up** and remount the Polaroid back to the RB67.

Go take a picture of something!

The RB67 opening is almost the same size as Impossible images ..

For reference: The RB67 opening is almost the same size as Impossible images ..

Once you have shot your image, remove the Polaroid back and put it back in the changing bag with the Impossible film cartridge & a SX-70/600 series camera (or go to a darkroom if you’re so lucky ;-)).  Remove the exposed image from the Polaroid back and …

Pull the plastic light seal down and squeeze the sides of the cartridge gently to make room to insert the exposed photo

**Move the plastic light seal down. Squeeze the sides of the cartridge gently to make room to insert the exposed photo**

Slide the exposed image back into the cartridge

**Slide the exposed image back into the cartridge …**

**Push it all the way into the cartridge**

**

**Reinsert the cartridge into the camera**

**Reinsert the cartridge into the camera**

**Push it in and close the front ... the photo ejects and starts to develop**

**Push it in and close the front … the photo will eject and start to develop**

At this point, I normally slide an empty PX70 box inside the changing bag to store & remove the exposed image.

EXAMPLE:  Note the reversed image when shooting this way … 

Impossible Project PX-70 + Mamiya RB67 + 90mm f/3.8

*

7702447828_2de9915d4f 8269155974_e182df1704

That’s about it!  Now this method will work with any NPC back that uses FP-100C film.   The only question will be how much ‘real estate’ is being exposed on the negative.

Thanks for reading and thanks to this blog post for the inspiration!

-Justin

www.goodephotography.biz

BUY IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT FILM HERE!!!

Ten Reasons to Shoot Impossible Project Film

June 5, 2012 § 10 Comments

This past weekend, Impossible Project announced the winners for their ‘Spring Comes Alive’ contest.   I was lucky enough to have been chosen along with 4 other photographers; I am super grateful & happy.   There were over 450 photos entered into the contest over about a month’s timeframe.    Looking back through the photos, I am very humbled as there were some incredible submissions.

I’ve been shooting Impossible Project’s photos for almost 2 months now.  I must say, I’m really impressed with how they treat their customers.   They are incredibly pro-active about promoting their users on the internet and have a great online presence.   If you need to know anything about their films, they have all the information you need accessible on their website; blog posts & various how-to videos detailing many important characteristics of their products.  If it’s not available on their website, they are a phone call away.

SX-70 - PX-70 Old Generation Film

SX-70 – PX-70 Old Generation Film

I’ve been on a blogging kick lately and the instigator was my initial experience with these films.   After I popped my IP film cherry, it was the first time I really wanted to blog about something film-related.   I typically post my photos to Tumblr or Flickr, add a few tags and that’s that.  About a month ago, it changed and  I’ve been writing ~ 3 posts a week.   Whenever I found out this past weekend that I was chosen, I knew I needed to write a “Top 10 Reasons to shoot TIP film ” to hopefully persuade some people to try it out.   It’s the very least I can do to thank TIP.

Here, in no particular order, are the reasons:

1) You’re supporting a new film company – New film company?  Yes.   The Impossible Project has been around since 2008 and they are the only company that makes new film for Polaroid SX-70’s, Spectras and 600 series cameras (update: Impossible is now making film for 8×10 view cameras).  As some of you may know, Polaroid ceased operation a few years back.   Other than FujiFilm’s limited options (FP-100C peel-apart film & Instax film), The Impossible Project is the only other prominent provider of instant film.  By using their product, you are investing in the life of instant film & the development of new instant films.

2) Helping to keep instant film around for the ‘next generation’ – If you were born during the last century, chances are pretty good that you’ve got a few old Polaroid images lying around somewhere of you as a child.   My grandparents have massive amounts of Polaroids in family albums that date back to the 1950’s.  Sure, we’ve all got our digital cameras and we upload our digital images to a hard drive and post them to Facebook, but then what?   Do you ever make prints of your digital images?  Few actually do I’ve found.  One of the great things about using instant film is the fact that you are ensuring that your family will have ‘polaroids’ to share with each other in this century.

3) You’re shooting a classic Polaroid – In my opinion, in the world of instant photography, there aren’t a lot of things that are cooler than Polaroid SX-70’s and pack film cameras.  Henry Dreyfuss’ ingenious, classic, art-deco design of the SX-70 makes every head turn when you whip one out for a photo.  Polaroid pack film cameras get the same type of attention.   Cameras just aren’t made like this any longer.   If you’re wondering where you can find an older Polaroid, there are many places online.   You can buy refurbished Polaroids direct from the Impossible Project or you can try your hand at finding a used camera on Craigslist or Ebay.

4) The images are analog – Forget 1’s and 0’s.   Chemistry is where it’s at.    The images produced with Polaroid cameras are tangible.  They are real.  Keep in mind however that this film isn’t like the Polaroids that your parents shot.  Impossible’s films are sensitive to a variety of variables during the development process; including but not limited to ambient light, temperature & pressure just to name a few.   The beauty of that delicate balance is that you have a hand in how your image eventually turns out and it heightens your awareness of what is needed to create a successful image.

5) Real instant gratification – Once the image has fully developed, you have a print in your hand.   Slap it on the fridge, give it to a friend, make a postcard .. do whatever you want with it.   It’s not stuck in your digital camera or iPhone.  It’s in your possession right then and there.   Overall that seems a little better to me than going home, downloading, editing and uploading the images to the web so you can bask in their glory through the monitor.  Sure, I’ve done it.   But this is so much better.

6) Image Transfers & Manipulations – Am I talking photoshop?  No.   Check out this page for a growing list of ideas of what you can do with your Impossible images once you have some in your hands.

7) Impossible films are predictably unique every time –  One of the greatest things about these films, is that you can count on it being an artistic representation of your subject.  Due to a variety of variables, there are random artifacts and nuances that come along with each release of film.  The guaranteed unpredictable subtleties are what keeps me coming back.

8) The images can be scanned – Are you worried about it not being digital?  That can be remedied easily.   Even with a really sub-par cheap scanner, you can get a HUGE digitized file from these images that can later be printed & reproduced.  Because it is a positive print and not a negative, you don’t necessarily need a pro-grade scanner to get a worthwhile digital image.

9) The Impossible Project promotes their supporters & users –  Day after day, I see the Impossible Project marketing team promoting their clientele on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr etc.   They do a bang-up job at it.  The cool thing I’ve found about that, is when you post an image that catches their eye, they will repost, re-tweet or blog about it on their websites.   THAT is nice and definitely noteworthy in my book.   It’s a mutually beneficial thing, but for most if not all film companies I’ve found, that rarely happens.    Since the Impossible Project is still a small company they can give their fans a level of personal attention that is lacking in many other companies.

10) You inherently become a better shooter – It’s true.   When each image you are shooting is costing you $, you become picky REAL quick.    Forget the digital days of bang bang bang bang bang!   Unless you’re a sheik, you probably won’t be burning through a lot of exposures when you shoot this stuff.     Like most things film-related, shooting these films force you to slow down and really think about all the variables that will affect the shot.    In doing so, you start to build on your ability to get the shot right the first time without having to go back and redo it.

Are those good enough reasons??? I think so.   If I’ve piqued your interest and you’d like to buy some let me know (info@goodephotograhpy.biz).   I’ll send you an invite through TIP so I can gain some brownie points 😉

-Justin

www.goodephotography.biz

Leica M2 + a Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5

June 4, 2012 § 8 Comments

The Leica M2.   This is by far my favorite 35mm film camera to shoot with.  It’s fully mechanical and void of any electronics.    The beauty & challenge of that is there is NO light meter within the camera.    It forces you to either use a hand-held meter or “do it old-school” and rely on the Sunny 16 rule.  I use two lenses; an older rigid type Leica 50mm f/2 and a Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5.   Eventually I would like to find a 35mm f/2.8 or a 35mm f/2, but for now, those are working wonders for me.    The 15mm especially.    Some Leica-snobs might scoff at the fact that I’m not using a Leica lens on a Leica body, but I could care less.  The results I get with it are wonderful.

1959 Leica M2 + a 15mm Voigtlander f/4.5

1959 Leica M2 + a 15mm Voigtlander f/4.5

Because the 15mm is such a wide lens (100 degree horizontal viewpoint), you can capture the world in a very unique way.  Along with this however are some characteristics to the lens you might want to be aware of.    Because of the ultra-wide perspective, there is distortion around all edges of the frame.   I’ve found it’s typically best to keep people out of the very edge otherwise parts of their body will be distorted.   Also, with any ultra-wide angle lens, there is some natural optical vignetting that will occur when you’re shooting wide open.

One of the cool things about this lens, is that anything beyond ~ 5 feet is in focus when you’re shooting wide open at f/4.5.    It turns the camera into a 35mm point & shoot.    There’s little need for focusing unless you are shooting something within the 5 foot range.    For me, that’s maybe 5-10% of the time.   I’m usually shooting landscapes & architecture with this lens and that is where this thing excels.

My experience with the 15mm is mainly film-based.    I’ve shot slides, color neg and b+w with it for about a year now.    I did sneak it onto a Leica M9 digital one day in my friend’s shop but I can’t really call that “experience”.

The first time I had my hands on this lens was when I was visiting my Dad in Washington, D.C a few years ago.   I immediately fell in love with it.   I was able to get everything I was seeing on the frame and then some.     I captured some really cool images of Washington when I was there on a Leica M7 & the 15mm;  one of which was selected to be in the New Texas Talent competition, back in 2009,  at the Craighead-Green Gallery.

"Destination Unknown" - Leica M2 - Voigtlander 15mm - Kodak 400TX

“Destination Unknown” – Leica M7 – 15mm Voigtlander – Kodak 400TX

Over Christmas of 2010, my wife surprised me and she gave me a Leica M2 with a 50mm lens.   She’s always been supportive of my drive & passion for photography and I can’t thank her enough for that.    A handful of months later, I saved up and finally picked up a 15mm of my own.    Ever since then, using this lens has helped me capture unique images that are only possible with an ultra-wide angle lens.

If you have the time, enjoy some of my favorite images I have taken with the 15mm & the Leica M2.

Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Delta 400

Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Delta 400

Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Arista 400@800

Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Arista 400@800

The Ballpark in Arlington - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Delta 400

The Ballpark in Arlington – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Delta 400

Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Delta 400

Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Delta 400

Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Adox 20 - Rodinal

Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Adox 20 – Rodinal

Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Arista 400@3200

Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Arista 400@3200

Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Arista 400

Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Arista 400

Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Rollei Pan 25

Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Rollei Pan 25

Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100

Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100

Aspen, Colorado - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Velvia 50

Aspen, Colorado – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Velvia 50

Maroon Bells - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100

Maroon Bells – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100

Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100

Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100

Joe Ratcliff Walkway - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100

Joe Ratcliff Walkway – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100

 Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100

Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100

 Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100

Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100

Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100

Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100

 Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100

Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100

Embacardo - San Francisco -  Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100

Embacardo – San Francisco – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100

Pier 39 - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100

Pier 39 – San Francisco – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100

San Francisco -  Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100

San Francisco – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100

Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100

Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100

Monument Valley - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100

Monument Valley – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100

Monument Valley - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100

Monument Valley – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100

Wilson's Arch - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100

Wilson’s Arch – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100

Delicate Arch - Arches National Park - Leica M2 - Voigtlander 15mm - Ektar 100

Delicate Arch – Arches National Park – Leica M2 – Voigtlander 15mm – Ektar 100

Club Med - Punta Cana, DR - Leica M2 - Voigtlander 15mm - Provia 100

Club Med – Punta Cana, DR – Leica M2 – Voigtlander 15mm – Provia 100

Club Med - Punta Cana, DR - Leica M2 - Voigtlander 15mm - Provia 100

Club Med – Punta Cana, DR – Leica M2 – Voigtlander 15mm – Provia 100

Club Med - Punta Cana, DR - Leica M2 - Voigtlander 15mm - Ektar 100

Club Med – Punta Cana, DR – Leica M2 – Voigtlander 15mm – Ektar 100

Club Med - Punta Cana, DR - Leica M2 - Voigtlander 15mm - Provia 100

Club Med – Punta Cana, DR – Leica M2 – Voigtlander 15mm – Provia 100

ALL of these photos are available as prints.   If you’d like more information on purchasing, contact me at info@goodephotography.biz.

Thanks for reading the blog and taking the time!

-Justin

www.goodephotography.biz

A Small Texas Wedding + a Pho-Tak Traveler 120 + Impossible Project & More

May 26, 2012 § 13 Comments

A couple months ago, a friend of ours booked my wife and I to photograph her wedding in Terrell, Texas.  She mentioned that it was going to be a small ceremony on May 26th, at a friend of a friend’s house, who happened to also own a few classic cars.    I’ve known Amy for a while and I was happy to hear that she wanted to use us for the wedding.   When I met up with her to talk things over, she mentioned that she loved our photography and was looking to have a classic, vintage look for her wedding photos.  She also told me that she had been holding onto her great-grandmother’s camera and was trying to find the right home for it.  It seemed fate was potentially going to have a hand in the outcome of these images …

Within a week or so, she contacted me and I swung up the road to pick up the camera.  I had no idea what to expect, but was intrigued when she handed me a Pho-Tak Traveler 120 box camera.    When I got back into the car, I examined the camera and knew that the  “120” was probably an indication of what film it used.  I opened it up and found a metal Kodak spool which was indeed for that size film.   120 is still made … how cool would it be to shoot some of her wedding photographs on her great-grandmothers’s camera?  VERY COOL.   I called her up and she was thrilled with the idea.

Pho-Tak Time Traveler 120 Box Camera

Pho-Tak Traveler 120 Box Camera

I took it over to my friend’s camera shop to clean it up and to determine what the shutter speed & aperture might be.   This is a point-and-shoot camera in the most literal sense.   It has one shutter speed & aperture, using a singlet lens, that produces a 6x9cm negative.  We thought that it was probably sitting at about a 20th-30th of a second and possibly f/5.6.   I tried a roll of Ilford 3200 indoors and it was extremely underexposed (3-4 stops).   It’s not f/5.6.   I talked it over with another friend and he mentioned, that since this camera was made in the 1950’s, it was probably meant to use ASA 100 speed film or slower.   I had a ‘duh moment’.  Having a shutter speed of only about 1/30th, using the sunny-16 rule, I figured it was probably sitting at about f/32.   I tested out a roll of Fuji Acros 100 developed in Rodinal and had decent results.  From the test roll I noticed a couple of things;  it focuses about 5-10 feet away & you really have to make sure the camera is stable when exposing.  The best way to trip this shutter is to slowly put consistent pressure on the shutter release until it clicks.  The rollers in the camera did scratch the crap out of the negative but what are you gonna do?  It’s an old box camera.   The aged look it produced was perfect!

Test shot - Pho-Tak Time Traveler 120 - Fuji Acros 100 - Rodinal

Test shot – Pho-Tak Time Traveler 120 – Fuji Acros 100 – Rodinal

I packed a variety of film cameras to use on the day of the wedding; a Leica M2 (15mm + 50mm), a Polaroid SX-70, a Polaroid 100 Land Camera & the Pho-Tak Traveler 120.   I figured with Amy’s request for vintage, classic images & the automobiles, bringing cameras relevant to the era would be a good idea.   For film, I packed some Tri-X, Ektar 100, Impossible Project PX-70 COOL & some Fuji FP-100C.  My wife was armed with our trusty Nikon D700, F100 and a Nikon FE.  Our bases were covered …

I like having a plethora of cameras to choose from at our photo shoots.     The beauty of having a variety of film cameras at your disposal, is that each camera is different and produces unique results.   Forget trying to edit a digital image to match the results you get with film.  1) It can’t be replicated  2 ) it’s boooooooring and SO overdone.  If you’re trying to emulate film it’s just a whole lot easier to shoot film.   It takes less time in the long run to get really cool, unique, vintage images.

Anyhow, off the bat, the place looked to be really cool.  The owner had pulled out a few of his classic cars and they were parked on the lot by the garage.   We scouted out some locations around the area that would be good to shoot at during the wedding.  I met up with the groom, Adam, and I pulled him aside to snap a pic of him on some of the Impossible Project PX-70 COOL I brought with me.

- Adam aka The Groom - SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL -

Adam aka The Groom – SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

After a little bit I went over to where Amy was getting ready.   I brought Hannah, the flower girl, outside for a snapshot on the front porch with the SX-70 and then one with the Pho-Tak box camera.

- "Hannah Rae" aka the Flower Girl - SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Hannah Rae aka the Flower Girl – SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Hannah Rae - Pho-Tak Time Traveler 120 - Kodak Tri-X 400@200 - Ilfotec DD-X

Hannah Rae – Pho-Tak Traveler 120 – Kodak Tri-X 400@200 – Ilfotec DD-X **side note** I had tested the Pho-Tak box camera in the middle of the day with 100 speed film.    I decided to load it up with Kodak Tri-X 400 and would pull the development to 200ASA.       I wanted the option of either developing at 200 or 400 if needed.

At this point, Amy was almost ready and we grabbed a few photos before the ceremony …

- The Bride - SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL -

The Bride – SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

Texas Wedding - SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

The Kicks – SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL

The ceremony was short & sweet! I did have enough time to knock out some pics on the M2, the FE, the Pho-Tak, the SX-70 and a few on the Polaroid 100.

Texas Wedding - Pho-Tak Time Traveler 120 - Kodak Tri-X 400@200 - Ilfotec DD-X -

Texas Wedding – Pho-Tak Traveler 120 – Kodak Tri-X 400@200 – Ilfotec DD-X –

- Texas Wedding - SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL -

– Texas Wedding – SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL –

Texas Wedding - Leica M2 - 15mm Voigtlander - Ektar 100

Texas Wedding – Leica M2 – 15mm Voigtlander – Ektar 100

FP-100C - Polaroid 100 Land Camera

FP-100C – Polaroid 100 Land Camera

Texas Wedding - Polaroid 100 Land Camera - Fuji FP-100C

Texas Wedding – Polaroid 100 Land Camera – Fuji FP-100C

Bleached Fuji FP-100C - Polaroid 100 Land Camera

Bleached Fuji FP-100C – Polaroid 100 Land Camera

Bleached Fuji FP-100C - Polaroid 100 Land Camera

Bleached Fuji FP-100C – Polaroid 100 Land Camera

The Bride & Groom - Pho-Tak Time Traveler 120 - Kodak Tri-X 400@200 - Ilfotec DD-X

The Bride & Groom – Pho-Tak Traveler 120 – Kodak Tri-X 400@200 – Ilfotec DD-X

- The Married Couple - SX-70 - Impossible Project PX-70 COOL -

– The Married Couple – SX-70 – Impossible Project PX-70 COOL –

All in all, I’m pleased with the images from the Pho-Tak Traveler box camera.   Granted it uses a singlet lens and it’s not uber-sharp but who cares?  It has that insta-vintage look without all the editing fuss.  Also, it goes without saying, BUT the Impossible PX-70 COOL yielded some really neat analog results as well.  I’ll definitely keep this stuff stocked for my future gigs and personal shoots.   Their film deserves to be shot .. a lot.

-Justin

Interested in booking us for your wedding?  Contact us at info@goodephotography.biz 

www.goodephotography.biz

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