President’s Day

American Flag 2 8 13 Polaroid SX70 Impossible Project Color Protection Film 2 Notches Darken

Taken in 60 MPH winds during the blizzard known as Nemo.

Monday is President’s Day in the US. While not a holiday for those of us in the private sector, schools, banks, the post office, all closed for many. Car sales, and furniture sales for those who are off. I did take this SX-70 image during Nemo, but decided to save it until now. I used the #120 Lens Shade, and darkened the wheel to 2/3 towards darken. These represent some of the colors I have really been wanting to get out of PX-70 Color Protection film. Almost a dreamy muted look. It was really exciting to watch this one develop. The flag was on my front porch. A neighbor’s house can be seen in the lower part of the frame, across the street. Given how the electric eye chose to expose here, really surprising that the white house didn’t completely wash out and overexpose. It was snowing, so the sky overexposing was no surprise.

To those celebrating, happy President’s Day.

A side note- the challenge of blogging on a regular basis is complicated somewhat by several factors. WordPress keeps changing the blogging engine of their website, the iPhone application, and the layout. Constantly. I have no idea how to scale the size of the above SX-70 image, so that it is as large as the previous ones posted in this blog. it defaults to a much smaller size, and the editing engine now also defaults to HTML. WordPress, can you please stop the constant tinkering with the features and functionality of this platform? Just let it work. So bloggers can work.

Addendum- they never told us this, but you have to change it in the “Advanced” settings manually now. The default sizes are now much smaller ones.

English Draughts

Lego Guys On Checkerboard

Lego Guys On Checkerboard

Or, as known in America, checkers. A cold, gray, snowy day, and one frame of PX-70 Color Protection film left in the SX-70, before starting a fresh pack. What to do?

Took out a couple of my son’s Lego figures. But, I have already photographed such subjects with the close-up kit. Why not put them on his checkerboard? Into a small environment? I tweeted out earlier that this was something I wanted to do- shoot indoors, and maybe get some softer, muted colors. A fellow SX-70 photographer recommended for natural light to set it on the tripod, and use the cable release (#112 Remote Shutter Button). Exactly what I did here. But it was also recommended that I set the lighten/darken wheel into darken. Counterintuitive, but that it would yield a better exposure. I set it a third into darken here. The long exposure worry out of the way, I could have gone even more into darken, but the colors might not have been as soft. The Lego guys definitely did overexpose, but the #121 close-up lens gave me that crazy shallow DOF that has often eluded me in SX-70 photography. Not sure where the vignetting came from, but I like it here.

SX-70 photography does entail a lot of experimentation. Maybe more so than traditional photography. But the results can be curiously gratifying, as can the medium’s idiosyncracies.

Finding Nemo

A recent poster on this blog, commenting on an entry, said they had to laugh when I said this area has miserable weather. Trust me, it does. It really does.

Here’s a few prints of instant photographic proof. Once again, Polaroid 450, Fuji FP-3000B, and the cloud filter. I took these yesterday morning, after a 30 inch blizzard:

Volvo Snow Drift Nemo 2 9 13 Polaroid 450 Fuji FP3000B Cloud Filter

The blogger’s Volvo, buried in drifts.

Front Stairway Nemo 2 9 13 Polaroid 450 Fuji FP3000B Cloud Filter

This is what I woke up to.

Neighborhood Nemo 2 9 13 Polaroid 450 Fuji FP3000B Cloud Filter

Believe it or not, plowing ran non stop all night.

Neighborhood (2) Nemo 2 9 13 Polaroid 450 Fuji FP3000B Cloud Filter

Looking out towards the main road.

I was able to achieve these vintage looks a few years ago in snow, with the 3000B film and the cloud filter. Love the look. Hoping it doesn’t take another blizzard to achieve it again.

Nemo

A few Polaroids from this brutal nor’easter blizzard, dubbed by the media as “Nemo”. It dumped over 2 feet of snow in my town. Cars are now banned from the roads, and rightfully so- this storm is dangerous. Taken with the Polaroid 450. The little tree was photographed with my second to last pack of Fuji FP100B. The others with Fuji FP3000B, a tripod, and the Polaroid #191 Cable Release. There is beauty, some, in snow…

Street Nemo 2 8 13 Polaroid 450 Fuji 3000B Cable Release Tripod

One notch towards lighten.

Front Step Nemo 2 8 13 Polaroid 450 Fuji 3000B

Front steps

Tree Nemo 2 8 13 Polaroid 450 Fuji 100B

Mini tree, with the Polaroid Cloud Filter, and FP100B

Street (2) Nemo 2 8 13 Polaroid 450 Fuji 3000B Cable Release Tripod

The other end of the street.

That Cost HOW Much??

Now that I have three Polaroid SX-70’s, and am enjoying shooting Impossible PX-70 Color Protection film, tremendously, I have been hearing a lot from friends and colleagues about the price of instant photography. Mostly complaints. Truth be told, instant photography was never an inexpensive craft. The trade-off was the very nature of the film itself- a print in your hands. No darkroom, no development, no chemicals, no sending out to be processed. The medium always encouraged taking, maybe, more than one shot, using more film in the process. If you didn’t like the print you created, change the settings, lighten, darken, add flash, shoot again. Yes, using more film in the process.

But how much does that all cost? OK- a pack of original Polaroid SX-70 film, in 1972, cost $6.90 US. Converted to 2013 dollars? It would cost a whopping $38.55 today. A pack of Impossible Project PX-70 Color Protection film today costs $23.49. Still expensive, but not as bad when adjusted. SOURCE- DollarTimes.com

Now, for the camera. The original SX-70, in 1972 sold for an original retail price of $180.00 How much might it retail for today? $1005.55. My beloved 230 Land Camera, which my father bought in 1967, sold for $99.99. In 2013 dollars, $697.81. Polaroid, in its prime, was never, ever, inexpensive.

Prices on eBay for an original SX-70 are not looking so bad. Some advice here. Although when browsing through the listings, there are lots of troubling trends. If I was in the market for one, I would stay well clear of the folks who post ‘this was my grandma’s- I know nothing about cameras”, or that say “I don’t have film available- cannot test”. Film not available? Come on. These are some of the many reasons why it gets belittled as “FleaBay”.

Also, stay well clear of the “no returns”, or the “untested”. You are taking a huge gamble. You might get lucky, but is it really worth $200, only to find the camera DOA? It is happening a lot. And, anything related to SX-70, even carrying cases, are going for a premium. Don’t pay $70 for an SX-70 leatherette case. Don’t do it. I got mine for $30, and a little Armor All for it got the case looking beautiful.

Finally, unless it is a gold-plated SX-70 (yes, Polaroid did make a few of those), don’t believe anything described as “rare”, or “one of a kind”. It’s an SX-70, but it is also a Polaroid. They were made in large quantities. There is very little “rare” about Polaroid gear. But, as can be seen now on the eBay, ShopGoodwill, Salvation Army, pawnshop, and Craigslist markets, anything designated SX-70 carries a premium, and maybe even considerable price gouging. Even broken cameras, and the simple “box” plastic non-folding cameras. I’d say price and demand, but the cameras, accessories, and odds and ends for SX-70 photography are plentiful. No longer manufactured, but they are everywhere.

As Greg Brady’s father told him, Caveat Emptor, or, let the buyer beware.