Thursday, July 8, 2010

gear: cold storage and expired film

Too bad refrigerator space doesn't increase as frequently as computer hard drive space does cause my fridge is really starting to fill up and I can't really afford another one. Well, not a full-size one anyway, but maybe something like this would be doable. Cute too.

I remember being warned years ago that photos (and songs) eat up valuable hard drive space, so it's best to take care about much you try and put on (or in) your computer. I wish someone had warned me about how much fridge space film eats up. And based on some of the pics I've seen on Flickr, the amount of film I have is nothing compared to what others gots!

On the left side of the fridge door (in what is intended to serve as the butter drawer), I've stored some of the expired film I've found (mostly online). What doesn't fit there is kept in baggies and help in a storage basket on the bottom shelf along with new rolls of 120/220, infrared and other specialty films. Beneath the butter hutch, I store most of my Polaroid film. I've only allowed film to take up 1/2 the shelf space there so, again, what doesn't fit there, goes in the storage basket on the bottom shelf. The left bin at the bottom of the fridge (not pictured here) is marked, I think, for fruits and vegetables. That bin is filled mainly with 35mm film. It contains canisters of film I've purchased as well as cartridges that I've reeled/filled myself here at home.

Finding expired film at reasonable prices online has been a hit or miss thing. I, for one, have never found expired film at an antique store or resale shop unless it's film that is already loaded in the camera. The first couple times I ran across cameras with film still in them, I thought, "wow--how could someone not finish this and/or not remember to have this developed?" Six months later, I'm sitting here with 8-9 cameras loaded with film and I've got nowhere to go (i.e., nowhere, that is, that would allow me to take interesting photographs) and I suddenly "get" how this could happen.
My best online find was a lot of 5 rolls of expired kodak verichrome pan film--120 and 620. The image left was taken with a Diana+ camera with film that expired Dec 8, 1962. I can't recall now what I paid for the lot--I think it was about 12 bucks.

Whenever possible (by this I mean, when it's available and the prices aren't crazy), I'd rather purchase and take images with expired b/w negative film. I bought 5 rolls of Tungsten slide 120 film (expired 3/2000) a few months back and I've really not been crazy about the results. Then again, part of the problem is that my tastes tend toward images that are yellow/orange/red (what I tend to refer to in conversations with myself as "burnt" rather than hot images)--I have to say I care less for cool images--those with a lot of blue in them. In cases like these (i.e., when the final product looks the boat image above), I know I'll likely end up grayscaling the image in post. If nothing else, it helps to disguise the light leaks--something I'm not always a fan of.

I have the same b/w over color preference when it comes to found film--film that's been exposed by someone else and then developed at home by me. Though I admit that I have less control over this--if I see a camera with a partially (or better yet, mostly) exposed roll of film in there, I'll buy it regardless of whether it has color or b/w film inside. It's just that I feel happier or luckier when it happens to be, say, verichrome pan! The "snow tree" image above was found on a partially exposed roll of verichrome pan that came inside the first Windsor (Diana clone) I purchased. The cool thing is that the seller didn't mention that the camera still had film inside. I was lucky I noticed this before opening the back to test the shutter.

Contrast the b/w found image above with this one that I've titled "yellow chairs." Bleeeck. Grainy and wacky-ass color results. And it wasn't a matter of my color dev kit going off. But I guess grain and crazy-colors is fine if your tastes run this way. . .and I guess I did say earlier that I like the yellow/orange/red images more than the blue ones. Still. I was disappointed by the quality and color of the images found on a partially exposed roll of 120 film housed inside a Kodak Duaflex II camera I bought this spring.

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