Lomographers of Acadiana: Mini Mississippi Road Trip

These are just a few digital shots; I also shot most of a roll of Fuji Neopan, Kodak Ektar, and medium format Velvia, but I didn’t finish any of the rolls. Hopefully I can do that this weekend and send them off to Dwayne’s on Monday.

Oh, and I shot a pack of Silver Shade in my SX-70 that looks GORGEOUS. I complain about The Impossible Project–although they’ve made some improvements to the Color Shade, it still has exposure problems and needs a half hour to develop. Although I appreciate that they are working on improving it, rather than just resting on their laurels because enough hipsters were willing to shell out money for the original sub-par film. Apparently they were scanning it and making corrections with PhotoChop, which, what? Do you not understand what INSTANT film is supposed to be?? But the Silver Shade I have no problems with, I love every photo I’ve ever taken with it. My oldest ones are about 18 months old now, and I haven’t noticed any fading, discoloration, or crystallization.

Yesterday my friend Trish and I roadtripped into the Natchez area of western Mississippi; Trish is self-employed as a massage therapist and has to work most Saturdays, so she doesn’t come to many of the regular meetups. I wish we saw each other more often, because she’s probably the only other childfree atheist in Louisiana.


PICT0654, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

We had lunch at Mammy’s Cupboard just outside of Natchez, on US 61. This… is not progressive, I admit it. But they have really good pie, so I made myself enjoy it as kitsch.

Our first stop was the “ghost” town of Rodney in Jefferson County, although there are still a few people living there, and we actually saw a UPS truck deliver a package, which kind of blew my mind. To get there you have to drive through the campus of Alcorn State University (the first land grant college in the US, built during Reconstruction to educate freed former slaves, which makes it an interesting place in its own right), then take this narrow unpaved road that’s kind of tacked onto the end of a parking lot. You go down for a couple of miles–and I mean DOWN, like the road was blasted through low hills. It’s really weird. Then turn right, go a couple more miles, and suddenly you come out into the town.

I didn’t take many digital photos here, just a few pictures of the 2 churches.


PICT0655, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

The inside of this church is pretty much gutted; the pews are still in there but they’re all knocked onto their sides, and the walls have been stripped down to the lathing. And I wouldn’t recommend going inside during summer, because I saw like a hundred wasp’s nests stuck to the rafters.


PICT0657, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

This Presbyterian church is on the National Register of Historic Places and there’s been a little restoration on the inside.


PICT0656, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

It was fired on by a Federal gunboat during the Civil War and there’s still a cannonball sticking out of the front. The story is that some Federal soldiers tried to attend services (the preacher was said to be a Union sympathizer), Confederate soldiers arrested them, and the USS Rattler started blasting away.

Then we went to the Windsor Ruins, which are only about 15 minutes away. They’re the remains of the largest antebellum Greek Revival plantation in the state. The plantation grew cotton and was so large that part of it was in Louisiana. It survived the war, only to burn down in 1890. The only thing left is the columns, plastered brick with metal finials and a few scraps of wrought iron balcony railing connecting some of them. It was wonderfully eerie to come upon them suddenly, standing all alone, propping up thin air.


PICT0661, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

PICT0662, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

PICT0660, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

PICT0668, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Here’s a couple of the Silver Shade Polaroids.

It was a lot of hours in the car yesterday–3.5 hours to get to Natchez and almost another hour to Rodney (although Trish did all the driving and we left my car at the restaurant)–but so worth it. And Natchez itself looked really interesting, I plan on going back there some day.

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this is my superbowl

I took Friday off work to go to the semi-annual sale at the Schoolhouse Antique Mall in Washington. It’s the second week of April and October, and I haven’t missed one since I moved to Louisiana in March of 2010. Seems like there weren’t as many extra vendors this year, though. And a lot of the rooms in the schoolhouse were empty. When the economy sucks, antiques are one of those total non-essentials that are one of the first to fall by the wayside.

Anyway, I kept the damage minimal: some vintage postcards from Opelousas, a couple of silver-plated teaspoons for Mom (she didn’t feel well and couldn’t make it), and a Polaroid “The Button”. (Get a load of the balls on that seller: $300? I paid $18.) It’s the same camera as the Polaroid “rainbow” One Step, just with a different body. They were the last generation SX-70s, a bridge between the old folding SX-70s and the 600 series, the model that Polaroid more or less stuck with until their demise.

Yesterday I decided to poke into a few of the good antique stores in Lafayette. I thought it might be fun to have one of the rainbows as well; I could get one on eBay, but it’s more fun to find one in a store. (One good thing about these cameras is that the batteries were in the film pack, so corroded batteries in the camera is never a problem.) And whattaya know, I found one for $22 in the very first store I walked into.

I found an eBay seller that sells the flashbulb bars for $7 and bought one for each camera. I thought it would be fun to have them, even if I never use them (like the flash holder and bulbs for my Kodak Brownie Hawkeye).

I don’t know when I’ll actually use them. You can’t get new film for them anymore, of course. Unlike with the older bellows-style Land Cameras, there isn’t any Fuji film that’s compatible with it. You can either buy really expired film, or that Impossible Project stuff. It’s pricey–$23.95 for 8 exposures. I would happily pay it if the film were more stable, though. But it tends to fade or speckle or crystallize. The first year or so it seemed like they were trying to improve it, but all the stupid hipsters are willing to plunk down money for crappy film. So they’re like “Develop it in the dark between 72-75 degrees and store it upright in an airtight container!”, and they sell a bunch of accessories to try to keep the photos from looking like crap. So it’s not really in their best interest to make the film better. It’s a pity, I had really high hopes for IP when they launched.

blue polaroid type 100, shot in the holgaroid

A few months ago I bought a “triple dip” of type 100 expired Polaroid film from The Impossible Project: 1 pack each of sepia, chocolate, and blue. I shot the sepia a few weeks ago and got some great photos, but this is the color I was really looking forward to using.

This is just a view of the shop’s roof, so nothing real exciting, I was mostly just testing development time and wanting to see how blue it came out. (Answer: pretty damn blue!) The development is more or less the same as for the regular Fuji color type 100; this was developed for about a minute and a half — I went back indoors before I pulled it out of the camera because it was pretty cold outside.

This film is only ISO 80, and as I found out later that night it does NOT work indoors, even with a flash. (The flash on the Holga is kind of weak, anyway.) So pretty much this is a bright sunshiney day film.

We’re going to New Orleans on Thursday, and I would LOVE to bring this along — I still have 7 exposures left — but the Holgaroid is not really practical for walking around in a city. You have to stop and time the development, and the photos create a lot of trash. Maybe I’ll bring it in case there’s something really cool right near the car I can shoot, then leave it in there.

I bought another triple dip about a month ago when it was on sale, and since no one bought me any for Christmas I think I’ll buy another. I mean, once the existing stock is gone, that’s probably going to be it. I don’t think TIP plans to re-create Polaroid’s pack film, since there isn’t as much of a need or desire for it as integral film.

navigating the impossible project almost lives up to its name

Okay wow, there are a lot of different kinds of Polaroid film. I guess I knew that, but the 600 series was the kind that was made for pretty much my entire life, and they all shot the same kind of film, so I sort of thought of Polaroid film as being homogenous, even though I knew intellectually that wasn’t the case.

The Impossible Project makes more than a half dozen types of Polaroid film, some of which I’d never even heard of (“Zink”?). And it’s hard sorting out which cameras you stuff which film into, because TIP doesn’t give you a comprehensive list. They want you to buy the (ludicrously overpriced, IMO) cameras they sell, so they only tell you which cameras that they sell that are compatible with each kind of film.

But thanks to flickr Polaroid groups, Camerapedia.org, and crippling insomnia, I think I have it sorted.

Silver Shade is integral film for the 600 series, which is what my generation thinks of when we think of Polaroid. They started producing them in the early ’80s and the final evolution of the line was the Polaroid One.

TIP also makes Silver Shade for the SX-70, Polaroid’s first SLR and integral film camera. Also for the SX-70 is a weird film called Fade To Black, that goes through a bunch of color shifts before (yup you guessed it) becoming solid black after about 24 hours. Neat concept, but ultimately kind of a waste of $$$.

The Chocolate, Blue, and Sepia films are Type 100, a pack or “peel apart” film that goes into the old bellows-style Land Cameras. It seemed kind of weird to me that they would even make this film, but I guess pack film is easier to manufacture than integral film, or it wouldn’t have been invented first. And amazingly, these old cameras are still quite commonly found on auction sites in good condition, so I’m putting a 250 or 350 on my wish list.

I went ahead and bought a Super Shooter, because I found one in great condition on Etsy for only $19.99, and I was afraid someone would beat me to it. TIP makes one type of film for this camera, in Chocolate; but it also shoots Fujifilm FP-100, which is still being produced.

So whenever I get some more buxx coming in, I’m going shopping for a Land Camera and possibly a 600 One. Although if TIP has plans to make Silver Shade in Type 100, I might not bother getting a 600. Although although, it might be fun to have one for nostalgia’s sake. Although (3), that may be a color that can only be produced in integral film, not pack, in which case I could always wait for/hope that TIP releases it for the Polaroid Mio. I know Mio owners can shoot Fuji Mini Instax, so it stands to reason that the opposite should be true.

So many variables!

ETA: Reading the specs of the Super Shooter a little more closely, I think it can actually shoot both Type 80 (square) and Type 100 (rectangular) film. It looks like Polaroid made very few models of pack film cameras that wouldn’t shoot both. Basically, if a camera could shoot Type 100, it could shoot Type 80, because a square can fit into a rectangle. Cameras that were designed to only shoot Type 80 (ie. the Square Shooter) couldn’t shoot Type 100, because a square is smaller than a rectangle.

So long story short, it looks like I can shoot the tinted Type 100 film with my Super Shooter, in addition to normally colored Fujifilm FP-100. In which case, the Polaroid 250 will go onto my Cameras That I Would Like To One Day Own list and off my Cameras I Must Own Immediately list.

ETA (again): A little more research into TIP’s integral film leads me to believe that it’s not worth the money to buy any right now. It’s nowhere near to perfection — extreme light and temperature sensitivity, images fading or speckling, crystals forming in the photo — and probably shouldn’t even have been released. I guess it’s basically like a beta test for instant film, but it sounds like it’s giving TIP a bad reputation.

now that i’ve (temporarily) sated my lust for box cameras, i’m moving on to polaroids

I’ve been thinking of getting a Polaroid ever since The Impossible Project launched. They have some mind-blowingly amazing tinted films, like Silver Shade, Blue, and Chocolate.

Blue

Silver Shade

Chocolate

I know a lot of people have been comlaining about the price of film from TIP, and it definitely isn’t cheap, but I think they’re missing the point. This isn’t film you take to the company picnic so you have something to put on the breakroom bulletin board. You have to think of these photos as one-of-a-kind, very small pieces of art. Thought of like that, $1 or $2 a photo is cheap. My main beef with TIP is they run out of stock a lot. I guess they weren’t anticipating the popularity of the film!

However, I think the first Polaroid I’m going to get is a mid-’70s Super Shooter. There are still a few floating around. The main problem seems to be with previous owners having left the batteries in the camera, resulting in massive corrosion. But if you look hard enough you can find some non-corroded ones on eBay or Etsy.

It uses the old Type 80 peel-apart film, which TIP does sell (in chocolate). But the neat part is that it can also shoot Fuji Type 100, which is still being produced. I didn’t think anyone was still making peel-apart instant film, but apparently it still gets used for things like passport photos pretty often.

Eventually I’m also going to get a type 100 Polaroid (probably a Polaroid One), so I can shoot all that gorgeous tinted film. TIP sells cameras, but they are horrendously overpriced. I would also like to have a Holgaroid back, but I might ask for that for Christmas.

Not immediately, however. I’ve been going a little too wacko with the cameras lately. Not having to pay rent every month kind of went to my head. I have a job interview on Friday, though!