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8 Exposures: Portugal

You were wondering if I’d abandoned the 8 Exposures series weren’t you?  Well, OK, you weren’t but it’s back.

In fact on my holiday to Portugal at the end of May, I took a whole 64 exposures, 8 packs of Impossible Project PX70 Color Protection film.  I’d decided that I wanted to capture this trip and this place in a different way, one that reflected its slower pace.

I was nervous about taking the film through airport security but the folks at Impossible had told me that it was OK to send the film through the x-ray machines in your carry on.  I did ask the security officer at Heathrow to hand check my film to which she replied, “No.”  My further questioning still led to a “No” so, in total, the film went through an x-ray machine three times.  And thankfully, it still worked just fine.  Well done Impossible.

At times, the elements were against me when shooting with the SX-70. On one particular occasion the wind was blowing so briskly that it blew away the dark slide and nearly my film as the camera ejected it. The dark slide I’d been using to shield the film was even blowing up backwards and into the viewfinder. And I’ve learned a lot about shooting in super bright sunshine on really warm days. Definitely required some adjustments from my normal shooting technique in dreary old England.

But overall, I am so pleased with how these images turned out.  I’ve only just finished scanning (the worst part!) them in so now it’s time to start sharing them.  And what better week to start doing that than Roid Week, a week during which instant film enthusiasts from all over the world share and celebrate this art form.

This series was from the first pack of film I shot on the trip.

The fortress at Peniche.

Polaroid Peniche Fortress

The view of the cliffs and the sea from inside Peniche fortress.

Polaroid Peniche Portugal

The laundry, hanging to dry at a house in Peniche.

Polaroid Peniche Portugal

Peeling paint on a building in Peniche a reminder of the weathering effects of the sun and the sea.

Polaroid Peniche Portugal

A walk along the old city wall of Óbidos revealed this window to a windmill in the countryside.

Polaroid Obidos Portugal

The church in the main square of Óbidos.

Polaroid Obidos Portugal

Vegetation covering the side of a house in Óbidos, it’s branches about to reach through the window.Polaroid Obidos Portugal

Oxfordshire Polaroid Photographer

8 Exposures: The Harcourt Arboretum

With just one day to spare to get my 8 Polaroid shots in this month, I took advantage of the lovely spring weather and took a photo walk around the Harcourt Arboretum in Oxford.  The warmth and bright sunshine made it a perfect day for Polaroid.

Every time I shoot with my SX-70, I fall in love with it all over again.  The process of shooting with this camera is much more slow and deliberate, I find myself paying much more attention to the details in my frame.  Now, I finally feel like this camera and I are starting to get into a groove.  It’s only taken about a year, but my ratio of successful to failed exposures in a pack of eight, has significantly improved, only one massively overexposed frame in this bunch.  I’m beginning to understand my SX-70’s strengths and weaknesses, it’s likes and dislikes.  And it’s rewarding me with these dreamy images.

Oxfordshire Polaroid PhotographerOxfordshire Polaroid PhotographerOxfordshire Polaroid Photographer

Springtime is well underway at the Arboretum.  The magnolias are in full bloom and there are bursts of color around every corner.  But you can still see signs of even more beautiful things to come, buds and bluebells that have yet to emerge.  They’re waiting to burst forth and show their spring color in a few short weeks.

Oxfordshire Polaroid PhotographerOxfordshire Polaroid PhotographerOxfordshire Polaroid PhotographerOxfordshire Polaroid Photographer

In case you missed it, I did shoot 8 exposures in March, but shared them over at Mortal Muses.  So have a wander over there to see what I found on a walk around Oxford.


8 Exposures

Last year, I rekindled a love affair with film, Polaroid to be exact.  And, I’ve had some ups and downs as I’ve reacquainted myself with this medium.  It’s so easy to get used to the super sharpness of digital.  With Polaroid, it’s as if you have to retrain your eyes to accept imperfection.

But, as with anything in life, the only way to get better as something is just to keep doing it, to keep practicing and learning.  So throughout the year, I’m going to share my experiences as I shoot more Polaroid.  I plan to shoot and share at least a pack of film a month (probably more), the 8 exposures that make up a pack of Impossible Project film.  I know this doesn’t sound like a lot when you consider I’ll shoot hundreds of digital images in a month. But film is a different animal completely.  More deliberate and considered.

One of the challenges I’ve had shooting Polaroid at this time of the year is that the film does not like cold weather.  There are a number of tips and tricks for shooting Impossible Project film in cold weather.  Me, I’ve found that the body heat tactic works best for me.  I just cover the images with a dark slide and stick them under my bra strap.  This keeps them nice and warm and snug until I can get inside.

Boars Hill Tree Boars Hill Tree

We had our first snow this week and I was very curious how the exposure would work in the snow.  And, it’s not like you’ve got a built-in light meter to tell you how to set the exposure wheel on the SX-70.  It’s really just trial and error until you get more experience.  These in the snow, I think could have been a little lighter.  I think I overestimated the impact that the snow would have on the brightness.

Snowman Snowman

And our little snowman.  I think I was too close for the second shot.  Or I didn’t have my glasses on.  Or I just plain can’t focus.

Polaroid Selfie Polaroid Selfie Purple Shoes

I was also inspired by Meghan Davidson to include some self-portraits on film.  I tell you what, nothing teaches you more about good body position in photography than a few self-portraits.  And, even though I do have a remote shutter release for the SX-70 these are still pretty out of focus.  Is it me or the camera?  Or maybe even the scanner (they seem sharper in real life)?  Or, have I just not yet trained my eye to accept the softness of this film?

I’ve also realized in looking at these, that I want to shoot more Polaroid portraits not just of me but of other people. So maybe that’s what you’ll see more of, more people who I persuade to humor me and stand absolutely, completely still for the eternity of time it takes me to set up and expose a frame of film. Any takers?

These 8 Exposures on Impossible Project PX70 Color Protection Film.