Saturday, September 23, 2006

Dusty Memories

Haven't done anything cool the past few weeks...just school or work, work or school. I have a couple new cameras I want to try out. One being the Konica WaiWai wide angle (reloadable) disposable camera. Also expecting a Lomo LC-A+ in the next few weeks. Put off getting a Lomo forever, but this camera looks like fun. Been wanting to get some kind of nifty little quick 35mm camera (I never use my bulky Pentax), so maybe this will fit the bill. So, since I haven't been doing anything, and I'm tired of work and school, I'm dreaming of leaving, so here are some shots I took in Palm Springs last July. They were taken with my Snappy Diana clone. We were driving back from Los Angeles and I had to stop, since I don't drive through the area more than once every couple of years. It's actually a neat area. You can drive pretty much wherever you want in the desert. There are fences around the windmills, but in some spots you can get as close as 25 feet away. They are huge! The shots I took are very muddy and quiet...I assume a combination of the camera (the Snappy is by far my favorite of my Dianas), the film ( 200, don't really care for it), Diafine (lots of development artifacts, with the banding and all), the smog/dust and the sun being low on the horizon. Anyway...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

"Expired" Expired Film

I like to experiment with expired film, as evidenced in my previous posts, but sometimes expired film is just...dead. This was a roll of Kodak Plus-X 127 film, expired October 1953, shot through a Brownie Holiday at Zion National Park. I can see very faint images when I hold the film to a light. The edge of a frame, the shadow of a tree...but much too faint for even a scanner to pick up properly. And I've scanned some pretty faded negatives.

So what have a learned from using expired film? Number one: if you are shooting for a day, a few hours, whatever, don't rely on the expired film. I always shoot with multiple cameras, and I make sure I have non-expired film (or at least no older than 10 years). I would hate to make an effort to drive someplace cool, shoot five expired rolls, and find out I got absolutely nothing from of the experience. For me, expired film is kind of like icing on the cake. I go out with an idea of what I want to shoot with my cameras, and I take a roll or two of expired along and just shoot here and there when I think it might be interesting. I rely on my regular film and hope for the best with my expired. Sometimes the icing is nasty and makes your stomach hurt...other times it's the best thing you've ever had and you have some sort of icing orgasm. Or something. Bad analogy, but at least I got to use the word orgasm in my blog. Anyway, toy cameras are often unpredictable, and expired film makes them doubly unpredictable. But that, for me, is also part of the fun. And even the 'non-photos' that result are sometimes beautiful, with a somewhat minimalist painting quality. I could see one of these at six feet across.
One final tip when using expired film: lots of contrast. The greater the difference between your blacks and whites, the greater the chance of getting a usable image. Sometimes you just get the perfect shots regardless of lighting conditions (at least as far as a toy camera will tolerate), but you want to try to shoot with the worst possible results in mind. You can't hurt good film with contrast, so it's the best way to go about it. Don't let the above images scare you! Photography is about having fun. If you take it too seriously and it becomes work, then it's just work. I like to say the reason they call it work is because someone has to pay you to do it. If you can get payed to take photos, great. But it should still be about adventure and experimention. Anyway, I'll shut up, because I can see your eyes glazing over!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

More Expired Polaroid

Sad news...Polaroid will be discontinuing Type 80 films in the last three months of the year. I love Type 87, so I guess I'll have to stock up. The other option is to buy expired film. Buying expired Polaroid is a bit of a crapshoot. It dries out after a period of time, depending on how it was stored. Five year old film can be bone dry, and 30 year old film will still have working developer. It also tends to not be cheap (not usually as expensive as new Polaroid, but still enough that one can be unsure of spending cash on what may amount to a nice display box).
The attraction of expired Polaroid, at the same time, is it's unpredictability. The chemistry is different, which already creates different tones that of current Polaroids. Couple this with old film and old developer and yoy can get some truly fantastic results. These pictures were shot with my modified Square Shooter and Type 88, expired 9/96.

Skorj also has some nice examples of expired film on his flickr site.