Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Box o' Polaroid

I work nights now, so my sleeping schedule is all wonky. So last night I'm trying to sleep because I have a work-related class in the a.m., but, of course, I'm wide awake. And with a headache. So...I made a camera. Makes sense.
In my continuous pursuit to make the coolest, ugliest Polaroid camera ever, I've done the pinhole, and I've done a few different Diana-roids. I did the Imperial Continental Polaroid. Time to move up and onward.
I bought this old box camera for $8 at an antique mall...

Open it up and find this huge spool inside.

Not 120. It's a Kodak No. 2 Brownie. So, okay, a camera I can't really use. It was cheap, and I just let it sit on a shelf. So, last night, feeling all crappy and with insomnia, I get the sudden urge to make a Polaroid camera out of it. Again, makes sense. Pain breeds creativity. That's probably not true. Anyway, so I pull the box camera apart. Very, very simple. The front is attached to the inside spool holder by four small nails.

Takes me less than two minutes to take it apart.

What to use for a Polaroid back? I have my old ProPack back, but I decided to use my Polga, which is the back for a Holga. Pretty much very disappointed with the Polga. Overexposes square film and I just don't much like the Type 100s in it. I'll have to mess around with it some more, but it is kind of a piece of junk. The film gets stuck in it a lot, and the rollers gunk up after just a couple shots. So let's use it for something else.

Kind of cool, it is the exact same size as the box camera.

So I measure the focal length...

Which is about 118mm...take away about 4mm to adjust for the film place being set back a bit farther in the back. Then I cut out the sides using mailing boxes.

Amazing, the back is the exact same size as the box camera top... so they fit together perfectly.

For some reason, I didn't take a picture of the camera all taped together, but it looks like that with black tape all over it. Because I did this at 3:30am, I couldn't try it today after my class I took it out front and shot a shot, a shot I say. Using expired Type 679.

Well, looky there! That is pretty sweet! Big question mark, though...why the black box? Looks like 600 in reverse. I took one more shot, of myself, just to verify that something funky was going on. I looked so rancid that I gave myself George Harrison hair, because no one was cooler than George Harrison. I think it works. I look like a rock star. A rock star found dead on a bathroom floor in a pool of his own piss and vomit.

Moving on...why the black box? Pull the thing's the problem.

Stupid Polga has a frame in it. Why? I don't know. It shouldn't matter if you are using a Holga. The frame isn't going to extend beyond the frame of the Polaroid anyway. Junk, I say. Okay, so let's go back to my ProPack back. I also discovered that the body of my camera is slightly smaller than the width of a Polaroid shot, so I had to make it wider at the bottom. Fortunately, I already had a base from previous experiments. Tape it all together...the beast:

Take it out again and take the last shot on the pack of 679...

Well, that's some expired film. But! It is full frame! and it looks like it works! That black bar on the side happened because the print was crooked on the developer side.
Drop in a new pack, this time UV-ID, expired I think January of this year. Out to the pool, another shot.

Works! A bit overexposed. The shutter on the box camera is kind of slow and the aperture is very wide. I tried a shot using my 3000 filter.

Hmmm...that's too dark. I need something a bit brighter, maybe a 1-stop ND filter. Though I really like the overexposed look of the expired 679.
That's all I've done so far. I'm hoping to take a road trip this weekend. I'm still waiting for my 180, so if that shows I'll definitely go out and play with the polabox some more.
I am really tired. Until next time...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Blue is the new orange.

Not much happening lately. Went up north to shoot, drove across the Navajo reservation last week. A couple days ago I drove through San Carlos reservation, which is Apache, with sol exposure. I took loads of shots on the Navajo rez, but not so many shots on the Apache rez. Too many Native Americans out and about, and I kind of stick out like, well, a white guy guy with a large camera. The Navajo rez is a bit more 'out in the middle of nowhere', as it covers about 1/4 of the state of Arizona, so it was easier being less conspicuous. Here's a few Polaroid shots from the Diné Nation.

And a couple from the Apache reservation.

I also scored a couple boxes of Polaroid Tungsten 64. Very, very bloooo. I like it, may have to search for some more. Some with my 195 and some with the Colorpack III, and very expired, of course.

Very nice tones...
So, I now have a Polga, which is a holgaroid, or Polaroid back for a Holga. I put in a pack of Chocolate and pretty much had problems right away. The first shot came out decent enough.

But the second shot was mostly blown out. It needs some kind of filter to keep it from overexposing.

And the third shot...well, the tab never came out, so I lost it. I transfered the pack to my Square Shooter when I got home. I have a pack of 679 in right now, but haven't had a chance to go out and shoot again.
I got a very nice 180 for a decent price, so after I've used it a bit, I'll write up a comparison to the 195. I also got a nifty little Agfa 120 box camera for $5, I'll talk about that if it works out okay. And, I want to talk a bit about 126 film at some point. I've had issues with getting a 126 camera that actually works, but I was gifted a very nice Instacora-F2, so maybe now I can use up some of my 126 stock.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Bedrock City...uhhh... rocks.

Sorry, haven't been around for awhile. Been busy dealing with my board exam (which I passed) to get my RN license. So I haven't done much interesting recently. Plus, it's like 111F outside and getting humid from the monsoon. Blech. But, about three weeks ago I did head up north and finally checked out a cool place called Bedrock City, which is in Valle, AZ. Valle isn't even incorporated, so it's basically just a nowhere place in the middle of nowhere on the way to the Grand Canyon. But, they do have Bedrock City (and some kind of air museum).
If you hadn't guessed, Bedrock City is from the Flintstones, so it's a Flintstones-themed park. Though it's not really a 'theme park'...more of a giant playground that looks like Bedrock. There aren't any rides, Just lots of houses to wander around in, a slide, a tram for kids to ride, stuff like that. Sounds boring? The place is just about the sweetest dig I've ever been to. Here's a little history.
So I went early in the morning. Plus a big front had come through, so even though it was June, there was snow on the surrounding mountains. The park itself is on a barren plateau, and the winds were whipping at 30mph and it was probably 40F max. Needless to say, I was the only person there. Which absolutely rocked (Bedrocked, you might say...or not). So for $5, I was able to wander around all by myself for a couple hours and take photos. The place has a very vintage vibe...I can't wait to go back.
I mostly used my Polaroids, though I also shot a roll with the Great Wall. I decided the place was worthy of shooting one of my remaining packs or Type 85. Type 85 is like Type 665, in that it produces a print and a negative. Impossible to find anymore, but I bought some while it was still available. It expired in December 2006.
So it's kind of fun having a print and a negative. Sometimes the print works better, while with other shots it's the negative that works better. Each have their own charm. The prints tend to be high contrast, while the negatives, of course, are loaded with detail. The print also requires coating, which was how Type 107 (667) used to be until they came up with a coaterless version. Coating is basically just a stick of goo that you spread over the print. Any areas that don't get coated usually fade or turn brown... which can sometimes add a cool effect. Anyway, here are some shots of Bedrock City using my Square Shooter and Type 85. Print and negative versions for comparison. Like I said, some shots work better one way or the other, but for you to see what they look like, I'll post both regardless of which I prefer.

And one more Type 85 shot from the top of Mount Elden in Flagstaff.

Two more packs of 85 left! How will I use them? Dunno, but it will have to be someplace at least as nifty.
I also shot a couple other packs of expired film...Type 689 and ID-UV. Also shot a pack of 667, and managed to overexpose most of the shots because I forgot to change the settings back after using the 689. Anyway, here are some random shots of Bedrock City. You can see how middle of nowhere it really is. Nothing in the background at all!

And a couple Great Wall shots, just because...

Bam Bam will haunt your dreams.
Alright, I'm done for today... Blooger is acting all screwy (as always) and I keep getting error messages for every other thing I do.
I'm finally getting a Polga, which is a Polaroid back for a Holga. It's advertised as the new version that uses Fuji FP-100C (wouldn't that be a Folga, or Fulga? ...though that sounds like lady parts). Of course, you could use Fuji film before, but with the death of Polaroid, it's a marketing direction to keep selling the things, obviously. Full report when received and tested, of course. There was something else I was planning on talking about, as well, but I can't think of it now.
Thanks for reading! Or at least looking...