Film Photography: Polaroid Skies

I've been kind of hooked on these Polaroid shots lately. Maybe it's a function of the move or the season, but I haven't been as driven to be out everyday with the Hasselblad or FM2n. I've shot a few rolls of 120 and 35mm color film that are sitting here waiting to be developed, but I haven't been as impatient to get them developed as usual. I think some of this has to do with the fun I'm having with the Polaroid Land Camera. I've shot several packs of instant film since the move and have a growing stack of photos by my desk. Last week, I posted a dozen Polaroid shots for Film Friday at Kate's blog, Embarrassment of Riches. There I mentioned that "This week features probably one of the most fun cameras you could ever shoot with: the 40-year-old Polaroid 420 Land Camera."

The Land Camera certianly has its limitations for someone used to shooting manual cameras, but there are things that the Polaroid does so well that you forget those limitations. I learned this last night when I wanted to take a picture of a beautiful tree that was kind of lost in shadows against a perfect sky. The tree came out a big, black, blob while the sky was perfectly exposed. With a manual camera, you could have chosen to meter the tree or split the difference between the tree and sky. Not with the Land Camera - it chooses the exposure for you.

But when you shoot something simple with a less latitude in color, it's pretty much perfect.

Clouds, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, Polaroid 420 Land Camera and Fuji FP100C Instant Color Film

Plane in Blue Sky, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, Polaroid 420 Land Camera and Fuji FP100C Instant Color Film

I was underwhelmed with this image at first, but the more I look at the it, the more I love the idea of that plane lost in blue. I think it's one of my favorite picutres that I've taken this year.

US Open Sky Writing, Redhook, Brooklyn, Polaroid 420 Land Camera and Fuji FP100C Instant Color Film

I took two pictures of this, but prefer the one with the power lines. It kind of grounds the scene. One thing here to note is how the photo is more saturated in the lower right hand corner. Instead of peeling this after 90 seconds, I let it sit for over an hour until I got home. I had read that the FP100C is "self-terminating," meaning that you can peel it hours later and still get a good exposure, but that the photo will be a little darker or more saturated. That is certainly the case here.

Prospect Park Lawn and Sky, Brooklyn, Polaroid 420 Land Camera and Fuji FP100C Instant Color Film

This is getting a little difficult for the Polaroid to render properly as the dark green of the huge lawn and the light blue of the sky are almost too different for the camera/film to capture correctly.