Friday, December 18, 2009

My Shot of the Day, and reflections on Polaroidal Year

In October 2008 I bought my first Polaroid camera, previously my passion for photography had waned quite a bit. I shot mainly digital, while it was fun and easy... there was just something missing. Maybe digital photography is a bit too clinical, I don't really know. I still have 4 gigabytes on digital photos on my flash card from my European trip in 2007. I never really bothered to upload or do anything with them.

Anyways, I heard that Polaroid was going out of business so in October 2008 I bought a OneStep Camera for about 60NZD and 3 packs of film for $100NZD. I figured I give it go, I remember growing up we took alot of holiday snaps with Polaroids and they where great fun - though picture quality wasn't as crisp as either film or digital.

I must say I got hooked 'instantly'. I think Polaroids serve that void between digital and analogue. Digital film provides instant pictures but not prints. Film must be processed to get the prints. Polaroids offer prints instantly. The also add character and ambience to prints that digital doesn't readily give (not without long efforts in Photoshop unless you count cheap and dirty hacks like Poladroid).

Anyways, this year has been magical for me. I have churned through 100s polaroid prints this year - mostly crap photos but at least its crap with a bit of charisma. Every shot was a bit unpredictable and a learning experience. I bought about 7 Polaroid Cameras this year. 2 of my favourite cameras (ee55 and Macro 5 SLR) broke down on the same day.

This September I started to shoot some miniature action figures, I had heaps of fun with them. But it came with great surprise that on December 17th, the first shot I ever took with the actions actually won Polanoid Shot of the Day. Its quite an honour as the Polanoid site has some of the most talented photographers regardless of what medium they shoot.

I am having my first photo exhibition in New Zealand this coming January - They are actually reproduction and enlargements of my Polaroids (with a couple originals thrown in). I'll update the blog with exact dates and times.

In a few hours, I am flying to Vienna with my partner to see family and friends. Vienna is the heart of polaroid revival. In so many ways I feel my photograpy has gone through a bit of rebirth as well thanks to Polaroids.

I'll be back in January - I have several Polaroids to scan when I get back. Until then - I wish you all the warmest of holiday greetings and thanks you encourage the past years. May your 2010 be filled with amazement and wonder - see you then! ~ Parahanga

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Redhenge 99

I recently bought this wicked Polaprinter - you can use 35mm slides and project them on polaroid/fuji packfilms. I had some packfilm, 669 (very expired) and fp 100c, so I decided to have a go.

My first attempt was to print my digital pics on transparencies using my epson printer - it was complete crap. Though the inkjet negative looked good - the enlargements don't lie. they were crap. I'll do a bit of a write up about this later. So I basically went through a pack of 669 trying to get something to print.

Finally, and wisely, i decided to use it on some real b & w slides and the results where much, much better. I have no idea what kind of film I used below, but the negative was red, but I do know it was for colour film. The shot was taken at stonehenge during late December of 1999.

Edit 14/01/2010: This is colour negative film, not colour slide film. Apparently colour negative film has orange/red mask to it. The polaprint is designed for colour slide film.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Hanged Man

I had this idea to do a tarot card of the hanged man with a polaroid shot - this is the result with my newish ee55 camera:


Odin hung himself for 9 days on the world tree to gain secret knowledge - don't know if this little action figure got any wiser though! Shot at Tawharanui with an EE55 and 125i film.

Across the Divide

I tested out my EE55 Camera today, absolutely loved it. Its a fixed body camera, unlike my EE100 Special - no light leaks. It performed wonderfully today. Here is the first shot I took, at Tawharanui Park near Matakana:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Oh Shit!

The edge was giving away...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Polaroid 600 Onestep Review.

This camera has heaps of reviews - so I won't go into to much detail about, and just talk about a hack that I use. If you are new to polaroid, want to know more about what kind camera to choose - go visit this post on the mocking-bird blog. Or here. Or just about anywhere on the site.

I am primarily a pack type of guy, so I don't use this camera very much as it uses integral film (the type of film most folks associate with polaroid film). Generally quality of the film that goes in this camera absolute shiite, but thats why you should love it. Seriously. Polaroid Integral have their own look and feel to it. They are kinda like bulldogs of analogue world - these beasts are ugly and cute at the same time. And chicks really dig them.

Now, this here one step is good camera. Its actually the first polaroid camera I bought. Its the only integral film Polaroid Camera I use. Here's a pic of this bad boy.

Here are some notes on using this camera:
  • If you can get 779 Film, its a bit harder to come by but the results are typically better than standard 600 film.
  • Focusing close ups you can get up to 60cm away from the subject, This camera has a focusing slide for this. Use a measuring tape for this.
  • The flash is overbearing most of the time. If I do have a take a shot using the flash, put your finger in the middle of the flash (so it divides the flash bulb evenly) and take the shot. This usually diffuses the flash enough so it doesn't over expose the subject. Also you the shuttle release has 2 levers. See image label shutter release. Use the one in the behind the main release and it will fire without the flash. I didn't
  • Never, Never, Never leave camera in open position when not in use. Why? It will drain your battery. The Camera has no battery, the battery is in the film pack. You drain the film battery, you can not shoot any of the film left in the camera. There is a little green light that comes on the back of the camera to indicate the camera is ready for use - this will drain the battery in the film pack. I will show no pity to you if leave your camera open by mistake. You have been warned. A closed camera will look a bit like the head of Ridley Scott's Alien.
  • It works really well outdoors with a polarising filter.
  • Shoot in as much daylight as possible - I haven't had much luck shooting at night.

Ok - don't have any custom built filters for this camera, however being the kinda of guy with more practical sense than with any style - here is how I use a polarising filter with the camera that obviously doesn't fit the lens. You will need the items below:
  • One non fitting polarising filter (mine is 58mm in size)
  • One piece of foam

  1. Place the filter so it rests on the lighten/darken slider, make sure that the slider remains in the middle.
  2. Scrunch up the foam on top so it holds the filter in place. its ok that it bulges, just make sure that it doesn't bulge over the lens.
It should look somewhat like this:

Yep, I know its not pretty, but you can get some great results using a polarising filter:

However, if you fail to push all the foam back, it will show on the film. You'll have to look at the front of the camera to make sure its not bulging out as it does in this:

So enjoy your 600 OneStep, don't be afraid to use it.

EE100 Special Polaroid Camera Review

Ah the EE100 Special, yes it indeed is special. Like most polaroid cameras available on online auctions, owners have long abandoned these jewels in favour of snappy little digital cameras. I was able to pic this one up on the cheap.

The first thing you will on the EE100 Special has very sketchy details.? Hey I even found it here as listed as a digital camera!

First of all, EE100 Special is a Packfilm Camera, and you can still buy film for this (get yourself some expired Polaroid Packfilm (type 100) or FP-100c film. You will notice there are some funky features, most notably, the square plastic lever on the side. What is this thing?

I posed the question on a flickr polaroid forum, in which user Becky replied:

That is the flash cube diffuser which probly can be taken it basically doesn't do much. But some more than likely swear by it. I never found use for it. You can also find that thing on several other Polaroid models.

So if you flash cubes (in which this camera doesn't) it would basic take off some overexposure caused by flash. My diffuser remains a vestigial limb on on my camera.

Another feature is that it allows 3000 ASA film or 75 ASA (you can use 75 setting for most of your polaroid/fuji films). The 3000 setting is primarily for black and white films, and said to be useful for low lighting. I haven't used it, but its nice to know its there (circled in red below):

Ok the biggest complaint on the internets about this camera are light leaks. Like all older Polaroid cameras with bellows, your gonna get light leaks, these are commonly caused but tiny holes in the bellows themselves. Here is an example photo with light leaks:

Generally, the bright the light outside, the stronger the light leaks. However, don't be dismayed and buy a digital camera just yet, or moan on the Flickr forum about horrible this camera is!You can fix the light leaks to large degree, and quite cheaply. And you don't have to go into a very dark cave and shining a torch inside the bellows to find the microscopic holes.

Now, this ain't pretty solution, its working solution. What you need is a back T-Shirt, so find that old black AC/DC T-shirt (the one numerous stains of unknown origins) and rip off the sleeves:

After doing this, wrap the black sleeve over the bellows like this:

Try cover as much of the bellows as possible. The added bonus is that you also have sleeve-less black t-shirt, so you can now show off your biceps from lifting crates of expired Polaroid film you bought from Ebay (you have been hoarding film, haven't you?). Now the camera ain't gonna win any beauty contests, however - some of your pictures might!

This should eliminate most light leaks (some occasionally sneak through) but you can wrap the bellows with another black sleeve.

This EE100 Special has become my favourite packfilm camera, I use it all the time. In short I love it, I reckon it takes splendid photos and is super durable.

Some notes:
  • To set the picture to darken, turn it down to the 'O' feature not the filled in 'O' at the top. I made this mistake several times and got a very pale photo as a result.
  • If you plan to do close ups, make sure you invest in measuring tape (and for you Yanks out there, make sure you get one with the metric system). You set the distance by turn the lens to the appropriate distance. If you shoot alot at 1 metre, i've noticed that you usually add about 5-10 centimetres extra - my shots at exactly 1 metre are a bit blurry.
  • Unlike my 104 Polaroid Camera, this doesn't eat Fuji FP-100C film. I've never had a problem pulling out film from this camera!
  • Its plastic, but durable. Seems like these cameras (aside from the bellows) have a good shelf life. You can often find these on the cheap, its well worth it.
  • Like any Polaroid camera, you might waste a few films getting a few shots right. This is the badge we where as Polaroid photographers. Smokers have there cigarettes, we have our film. They are both cause severe addictions and are expensive habits. However, cigarettes are bad, full stop. Polaroid film can you take you both to the depths of despair to the heights of ecstasy. Polaroid Film is much more rewarding addiction.
Now get out there and shoot some film!

My Polaroid Cameras (Collection so far...)

These are my polaroid cameras to date, I'll do a basic review on them a bit later, click to enlarge:

  1. Polaroid 104 Camera
  2. Mini 202 Portrait Camera
  3. Instax Mini Camera
  4. Onestep 600 Camera
  5. 452 Portrait Camera
  6. Instax Wide Camera
  7. EE100 Special Camera
  8. Polaroid 104 Camera (backup)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Beautiful Day - # 4

Out on a limb
its sink or swim
but it doesn't matter
cause its a beautiful day.

Beautiful Day - # 3

Beautiful day at the beach.

Beautiful Day - # 2

Taken at Auckland Domain.

Beautiful Day - # 1

Taken at Awhitu Peninsula.

Polaroid Photo Gallery

If you are looking for my polaroid photos, click below to activate my slide show.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Electric Blue Aura

Here's another classic example of Polaroid light leaks. Its these imperfections that I love about film, especially polaroids. Though I shoot digital, the results can be rather sterile when compared to polaroids. Shot on FP-100c gloss.

Heaven let your light leaks down

The EE100 Special Polaroid camera I own has alot of light leaks - I typically use a black t-shirt sleave to block out the leaks from the bellows of the camera. Sometimes they still get through. Here is an example of some unintentional (but perhaps artistic) light leaks from this camera. This was shot on 690 Film.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cloud Factory

Here's another Polaroid Blue Film - this is the Glenbrook Steel Mill (they suck out iron sand and make it into metal) However, it looks more like a cloud factory to me :)

Blue Church

I bought a pack of polaroid 'blue film' last year. Its a very interesting film. Here's a shot I took today of a small church on the Awhitu Peninsula:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Strange Artifacts

Mask in the tidal pool.

bury the booty

Some more miniatures - inside the box is actually a gold chain, the colours are a bit too muted to show it here.

Polaroid Transfer of my Girlfriend

Polaroid Transfer of ID UV Film to Kodak Inkjet Photopaper

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Warming up

The barrel is actually an old battery I found at the beach. Unfortunately the figure in the trench coach got a bit singed when the wind blew the fire in his direction!

The Tide is High... and Deborah Harry is not around to help...

Poor fellow's transmission is munted. Hope he's insured...