Long Beach on Vancouver Island is one of the few places in Canada I’ve been that feels like nowhere else. Situated in the Pacific Rim area of the island sandwiched between two small holiday towns (Tofino and Uculelet) and surrounded by the rainforest, it’s pretty magical. Not to mention there is nothing between it and the raw span of the Pacific ocean that reaches all the way to Japan. It feels like a raw untapped environment, the bear lockers as well certainly back that up. The highway trip there however might persuade you not to visit; we twisted and turned constantly through the mountains for a few hours to get to this secluded area of the island. Even after only being there twice in my lifetime once as a kid and an adult I feel a connection with the place. If you ever get the chance or plan a trip to Vancouver Island – I’d say jump on it. These were all taken with my Polaroid Super Shooter Shot using Fujifilm FP-100C film instant film.
I absolutely love taking double exposure with vintage Polaroid land cameras, although not always successful it’s really fun to test and see what you can get. I’ve shared these photos before but wanted to reshare them as after a year of taking multiple exposures with instant film these are my personally most successful. I find using trees as one of the shots usually results in an interesting result however putting this post together I realized how often I use them and really want to explore this summer on using more variety. I’d love to do a series of double exposures with graffiti from around Montreal so hopefully I will get a chance to explore that idea more. Man it feels like a really long time since I’ve actually used my Polaroid Colorpack or Super Shot cameras, I really need to pick up more film and get back into shooting. Hope you enjoy the shots.
This month’s DIY is one of those projects I’ve wanted to do for years and could never get myself organized enough to actually do. So I’m finally doing Polaroid Emulsion Lifts! Emulsion lifts in the grand scheme of things are actually very easy to do and the results can be utterly wonderful and most importantly unique. I love any project where you can do your own spin to it. Now mine are technically not ‘Polaroid’ Emulsion Lifts as I shoot with Fujifilm FP-100C and the two types of film do require slightly different techniques so my steps are for Fujifilm emulsion lifts but the tips I have are useful to both in case you shoot with Polaroid/Impossible Project film. The two big things that you need are instant photographs and a surface, let’s get into it.
What You’ll Need:
- Fujilfim or Polaroid instant film
- Boiling & cold water
- 2 Baking container
- Paint brushes
- Canvas, wood, watercolor paper, metal…
Time and Cost:
Cost is roughly $10 depending on how many pieces you want to make if you already have the film. The small pieces of wood and canvas were around $1 each from my local art store. If you don’t have any old Polaroids or Fujifilm FP-100 you can easily buy a vintage Polaroid camera, and buy Fujifilm FP-100 film or Impossible Project film. The price for that would depending on how cheaply you can get the camera but I would encourage you that if you like these, it’d be worth your while. Plus then you’d have an instant camera you could keep and continue to use. The cost of film depends, Fujifilm is $10 per roll of 10 exposure and Impossible Project is $20+.
- Shoot the film and decided what ones you’d like to use for this project. Film can be used at anytime, most of the lifts I did were on ones I shoot a year ago.
- Cut the white sides of the film that frame the photo so just the image remains.
- Setup area, have both bake trays beside each other. Have paper towel, your surface, medium and brushes handy. Fill one tray with tap water.
- Boil water and place into other bake tray, let cool down slightly.
- Drop in film and wait for 1-5 minutes
- Place in cold water
*You can skip the cold water, it’s not necessary however I find the emulsion tends to be a bit more relaxed and less likely to curl in the cold water over the hot and you can leave it in the cold water.
- Start using the brush to remove the emulsion part of the film away
*You can use your fingers or a card to scrape it away as well
- Remove the paper part of the film and throw away.
At this point you have two separate choices on how to apply the emulsion to the desired surface:
- WET METHOD: With emulsion still in the water simple place surface below it and smooth out emulsion until you have it the way you’d like. Place back in water anytime if you want to uncurl the emulsion or rearrange it. Lift out of the water and dry the surface using a paper towel. Apply medium on top of the lift and the sides. Make sure fully coated and no corners are sticking up.
- DRY METHOD: Apply medium to your surface using a paint brush only on the area you would like the emulsion to be, acting quickly take the emulsion out of the water and dry before spreading it out over the surface, using your brush, fingers or roller to smooth out the emulsion or create patterns.
Now I know I usually have photos or a video for my DIY’s but this type of project has been around for decades and the internet is virtually filled with videos on how various people do their emulsion transfers. To be honest I don’t do mine like any of the video’s I’m about to link you but they are great for learning the ropes of how to get started doing emulsions lifts. It’s a very easy project and there isn’t a lot to figure out, it’s mostly just practice makes perfect / trial and error. Two great videos however are Tiffany Teske’s video of Fujil Emulsion Lifts & Transfer and Wayne Lam’s Polaroid Film Lift.
Tips and Tricks:
- I shoot a lot of instant film and sometimes mistakes happen so those underexposed, overexposed and just plain blurry shots are great to work with while you are building your confidence up and technique.
- Fujifilm emulsion is actually moderately sturdy, my general impress prior was that it would delicate and not allow for much handling but it’s surprisingly okay with being man handled. It’s similar to saran wrap.
- So now that I’ve said you can man-handle it a bit, here is where I say – try not to man-handle it too much. It can tear, but honestly most of my tears happened because I didn’t trim the edges of the film fully.
(I didn’t trim the white edges in this one)
- The white part of the film is very well secured to the emulsion so save yourself the hassle and trim it off.
- Hey maybe you want to tear your film, or make is wavy like the ocean, the emulsion doesn’t need to be laid perfect stretched out, in fact that gets a little boring after a while.
- Those shots you thought are ‘bad’ or not what you wanted could make an amazing lift, just try it out.
- Do not have the water too hot or leave it in the hot water too long, the film texture will change or bubble.
- Sometimes the water will go a yellow color, this is most likely just left over chemical from the development process, don’t be scared.
- Layer up!
(mine isn’t an epic layered lift, but just google emulsions lifts – there is so many amazing ones)
- Watercolor paper is my favourite surface, the texture it gives the emulsions I find really pleasing. The emulsion will take on the texture of your surface so keep that in mind. It will also to a degree take on the color of the surface as well.
- If you are doing the dry method and you make a mistake and think your medium will dry simply put back into water and rinse both the surface and emulsion and start work again. I use the water method the most as you can just play with the emulsion a lot. You can also use a piece of glass or clear plastic to play with the emulsion prior to drying.
- Do as many tests are you need to feel comfortable, don’t jump into doing your favourite Polaroid or Fujifilm shot in the first few tries as I’d hate for your to be feel like you wrecked a photo you really liked. I actually am terrified of ruining them even though I scan all my instant photography so I have a digital copy. So terrified that most of the lifts I’ve done so far are ‘whatever’ shots.
- Don’t be pretentious about them, and try any surface you can find.
This was mostly “I Tried” instead of full DIY as I just really wanted to do the project. I’m still no fully convinced I’d want to do this on my more beloved instant photos but it’s super fun and I can’t wait to actually shoot film with the intention of turning them into emulsion lifts. I’ll be showing all my emulsion lifts that I’ve done so far this upcoming Tuesday as this post is already pretty long. Let me know if you make any of your own and share below. I’m obsessed with these and love looking at them. This is a project I really want to get better at.
Okay so the title is a little bit of an extreme but these polaroids definitely had a long journey from being taken to being scanned onto my computer. Mostly because I decided to sleep for 2 hours before getting up super early to go apple picking with Zara and Victor and was a lacking in the brain power to basically function. No only did I manage to lose one of my bag straps (that closes my camera bag) and my triceratops brooch from Hungry Designs….I forgot all the polaroids in Zara’s car. We don’t see each other much so let’s just say it was probably 4 months before I saw them again. Lol. Much to my dismay since these are probably the best instant shots I’ve taken in the last year. I’ve had them for a while but it felt weird sharing photos of sunny skies when it was -30 outside and snowing. A little late is always better than never (that’s my photography slogan by now I think). All of these were taken on a sunny late October day that looked like it would rain at any moment. We walked through a wonderful apple orchard in D’Oka picking apples and eatting them too (until we felt sick). It was a lot of fun and we ended up with a haul of apples and even pumpkins in the end. We also got to pet goats they had there too, that was probably my favourite part! I share some none instant photos of this day back in November so check them out here is you want to more.
On Saturday I tagged along with Starchild Stela (check out her blog) as she worked on a Jem and the Holograms piece. I brought with me my Polaroid Super Shooter Plus to capture some instant shots since I haven’t had a proper chance to test it out since picking it up last month . I’ve been so bored of the snow and there wasn’t much happening in March to get excited about and document. I am beyond in love with my new camera though. It’s pretty much identical to my Colorpack IV except it doesn’t have the distance dial (which I do actually miss quite a bit as my sense of distant is abysmal) and it comes with rollers. I love the rollers instead of however you explained the Colorpack’s way of spitting out film. So much smoother – no jams at all in the 2 packs of film I shot on Saturday. The rollers are so much more satisfying when pulling on the film as well.I dare say it’ll be my go to instant camera from now on. I’ll hold off on the full review until I’ve had a chance to use it a whole bunch though. Excited for when shooting will not be so tricky, since it is still cold here I had to walk around with the cold clip under my armpit every time I took a shot to keep it warm. I also had a plastic bag on the ground with all the film scattered on it trying to dry – looked quiet the sight to say the least. I brought with me my Nikon as well so there will be more shots over the next few weeks in various posts of Saturday but I just had to share the Polaroids right away.
How To: Battery Conversion for Polaroids
I am very excited about today’s Vintage Tuesday post as it’s my “How To” for converting Polaroid cameras to take AA or AAA batteries instead of the original camera battery. I’ve been waiting a long time to do this modification to my Polaroid Land Camera 210 and as soon as my battery holder arrived in the mail I pounced! Most older Polaroid Land Cameras use a custom 3V or 4V battery type that is hard to find (not impossible mind you if you look online) and relatively expensive. So it’s ideal to do this simple and cheap conversion and that way you can spend more money on film! Speaking of film, I heard right after doing this mod to my camera about the discontinuations of FP-3000B Fujifilm Black and White instant film. Let’s just say I am very sadden by this news and have signed this petition to have Fujifilm reconsider – highly suggest you sign if you use instant film because this the last and only black and white instant film on the market anymore. Anyways sad news aside below is simple steps for the conversion, it took me no time at all and the only thing I bought was the battery holder for $2. Make sure to click on the photos for the better view of the steps.
- A Polaroid camera
- Electrical tape
- Electronic pliers
- Battery case holder
*for AA or AAA batteries (3V bought here)
*to figure out what voltage you need for each type of Polaroid camera this guide is great!
- Using pliers snip off the old battery ends as we will not be using them.
- Using the pliers stripe the plastic coating so you have exposed wiring for both black and white.
*I did go back and restrip so I had more exposed wiring as this amount was not long enough
- The battery holder I am using comes with wiring already and had the ends striped. However you can trim down the length.
*it’s been awhile since I’ve done any wiring so I left mine intact in case I made any mistakes.
- Now twist the wires, black to black and red to white.
*I had to do this a few times as my wires were not that long and the older Polaroid wiring was frayed badly.
- Before doing anything else put batteries in the holder and test to make sure the connections are being properly made. There is two ways to see if the shutter is working. First: open up the back of the camera where the film goes and try taking a photo, you should be able to see the light from the open shutter. Second: Fire off the shutter once when there is no batteries in the holder and again when there is and listen for the difference. If the batteries are connected correctly there should be a 2nd distinct click sound when you let go of the shutter that wasn’t there before.
- Take electrical tape and wrap the exposed wires.
- Take pliers (or anything that will work for you) and snap off all the old battery holder plastic to make room for the new case. This step should be #1 but I wasn’t very confident and well I am one of those people who hates doing permanent modes to cameras.
*this was actually the hardest part and took me an hour, keep in mind I had to be careful about the wiring so I think it’d be much easier if done as the first step. I also gave up towards the end so my holder just barely fits.
- Insert the battery holder with the batteries and close the case.
*you can add foam to secure the case so it doesn’t move around however since I didn’t gut the insides out completely it’s tight enough that it doesn’t move.
*as you can see my wires are very long – would reccomend trimming them however not a big issue.
- Take photos!
In January I started exploring doing double exposures with my Polaroid Colorpack and took a few shots from the area around my work in downtown. I love the juxtaposition of the trees with the statues and buildings of the downtown core and the subtle hints of color in the otherwise white color scheme. I’m excited about the exploration of double exposures within instant photography and cannot wait for more opportunism to try it out with different subject matter. It’s thrilling being able to try new things. It makes it just that much harder the idea that Fujifilm will probably soon stop making pack film completely. With the black and white FP-3000B discontinued I don’t have much hope in Fujifilm continuing making the colored version much longer. Film photography is really important to me and it’d be shame to have Polaroid cameras become just relics. Below is my first double exposure I took with the Colorpack, it is just my balcony but I hope it’s the start of something.
Today’s Vintage Tuesday is Polaroid shots taken in November from a walk to Parc La Fontaine and in our back balcony. I love the first shot of the man-made lake, it’s so calm and the smearing of the ink on the side make it almost looks like a water color. I haven’t shot any film with my Colorpack in almost a month now, I’ve been trying to get my other land camera polaroid to work instead so I’ve been holding onto my film. I am actually going to do a How To for my land camera because I need to convert it from a speciality battery to AAs. However ever place I ask about buying a converter to install I just get blank faces but I haven’t resorted to buying it online yet so it’ll take some time to track it down locally. I did watch a few videos last week about making double exposures with Polaroid film. I am very curious to test it out so maybe I’ll load my Colorpack up again soon and see if I can. It’s freezing here so not the best time of the year for taking instant photos. Let me know if you’ve tried taking double exposures with Polaroid cameras and if you had any luck!
I keep finding photographs around my house that I forgot I had, this is what happens when you don’t unpack everything after a move. Lol. This week I am showing some classic Polaroid shots that I’ve collected over the last few years. I have never owned a classic Polaroid camera before and until I picked up my vintage Polaroid I wasn’t really into instant photography that much. Although now I am kinda getting obsessed with it and wish they still made this classic film. However I have friends with Polaroid’s cameras and ended up getting a few over the years that I treasure…
The first two were taken by me with my friend’s Ali’s camera at a New Year’s Party at her cousin’s house. It’s her and my other friend Mark with his amazing Mohawk. That night is probably one of my best memories of my early 20’s and I kind of treasure those two shots so much.
This was taken at the beach for a friend’s birthday party (or going away party) of me and my best friend Ana. I look totally crazy but hilarious none the less, I think I drank too much because I don’t even know who toke this photo but I remember begging to keep it.
My old roommate Sarah had a camera with expired film in it still from after they stopped making it and she let me take a photo of her with it. Even though it looks like just blurs and nothing I can totally see her and really treasure it. So much love for this girl.
Hahahah this was taken I think at a grocery store and it’s me! I know hard to tell, I look like a little boy. I have no idea how it’s a triple exposured but it’s one of most treasured childhood photos. I look amazing in my dinosaur sweater.
That’s all of them, I know it’s such a small collection but I think it’s pretty good for someone who’s never owned a Polaroid camera before. I really wish Polaroid still made film because the Impossible Project film just doesn’t seem to be worth it but instant film is so much fun. I am dying to pick up a Fuji instant camera, perhaps for Christmas I will treat myself.
Butter of the Week today is in theme with Vintage Tuesday`s Polaroid portrait shots. I’ve only taken a few shots of my cat with the Polaroid Colorpack as I don`t use the flash with the camera and Butter is an inside cat. I always crank the light setting but there is still not enough light for a really good shot but I love them none the less. It doesn`t help that she moves way too much, her eyes are always ghosts like which is freaky. I hope to grab a good one of her in the summer when she goes outside a bit more. Hope you like these, have a great weekend!