Recently, I decided to book a last minute holiday to Tenerife to get some winter sun before Christmas.
I had never taken my SX-70 camera abroad with me before, and since discovering the use of the ND (Neutral Density) filters that I can add to the Polaroid 600 film instead of having the extra bulk of adding the mint flash to the camera, I decided it would be good to take it with me on this trip.
For anybody not familiar with the ND filters, here is a picture of them and they can be purchased direct from Polaroid:
The reason I use the ND Filters is because I prefer using the Polaroid 600 film in my SX-70 camera. This is because I like the different variety of frames you get from that film. The SX-70 film tends to have only white frames which I personally find quite dull.
These were the three Polaroid film packs I took with me:
I took the camera and film in my hand luggage and asked at Gatwick airport if the film needed to be handed over rather than go through the x-ray machine.
I was fortunate enough to speak to a young male employee at Gatwick Security who was a keen film photographer himself and he explained that any film up to ISO 1000 was fine to go through their x-ray machines. Although on this occasion, the film was carried through for me without going through their machines.
I made the mistake of not taking the SX-70 camera out of my bag and somebody different was checking the x-ray machine so they had to do a search through my bag as they thought the camera was an electrical device.
I also had the same issue with the camera through Tenerife security so my advice would be to take your polaroid camera out of your bag (like you would your laptop etc) when going through x-ray at security.
These particular polaroid films had been sitting in my film stash for sometime (since last year!) as I had planned to use them at some point in the summertime but for whatever reason, this never happened either last year or this year.
I had written in a previous blog post about using up my current film stash when I had recently done a film inventory and I knew this was the perfect time to start using up my polaroid film which I’d accumulated over the past two years.
When I got to Tenerife, I realised that all the films I had taken with me had either expired last year or earlier this year.
They had all been stored in the Fridge but I know how temperamental polaroid film can be so prepared myself that I may not get great results with these films.
I decided to first use the Tropical film since that had the most summertime feel to me and it certainly was nice and sunny in Tenerife:
The photos came out fairly well considering the film expired last year. I had to do an initial test shot which I found takes a good 10-15mins to properly develop (oh how I miss the original polaroid film!). This was frustrating when wanting to take further photos because I had to wait since I didn’t want to waste film if exposure wasn’t quite correct.
Thankfully, I found that the film worked fine with normal exposure and and I didn’t need to amend the exposure dial on the camera.
There were streaks on some of the photos but I expected this since it was an expired film.
On the next day of my holiday, I visited a little fishing port close to where I was staying in San Blas and decided to use the summer type coloured frames:
The photos exposed again quite nicely without having to amend the exposure dial on the camera. However, some of the photos were streaky and there was even a ‘lightning bolt’ effect across one of the photos of the fishing boats which looked quite cool but I can imagine some people would be annoyed by this and view it as ruining their photo.
On the following day I decided to use up the primary coloured frame film but the battery that is built into the film pack didn’t work to eject the actual photos so I couldn’t use them at all!
If the film had been in date, I could have returned it back to Polaroid and got a refund or a replacement. However, since it had expired several months ago, I was unable to do this.
One lesson I have learnt from this is that I’ve realised I need to use the Polaroid film within the expiry date if I want to try and get the best image possible.
I’ve got some more expired Polaroid film in my film stash so I plan to use this asap before purchasing anymore.
Lastly, I just wanted to mention that I have an instagram page @natalie_smart_photography where I had posted photos of my trip before writing this post, for anybody that doesn’t currently follow me who may want to.