My vintage Polaroid collection is quickly growing. What began as a curiosity is quickly turning into a new hobby. The Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera is probably my favorite vintage camera that I own. In fact, it was the vintage camera that I decided to bring along with me on a recent trip to Maui. It is now common for me to lug both a digital and film camera when traveling.
Honestly, shooting digital now feels like work, akin to sitting down and writing an essay assignment. Shooting with an analog camera feels more like play. Not to say that these vintage Polaroid cameras are toy cameras (like, say, lomography), because they are not. In fact, they are quite the opposite. Analog cameras, like the SX-70 are simple, yet sophisticated at the same time (read Vol. 3). For me, shooting with an analog Polaroid film camera offers a much more fulfilling and satisfying experience. Having something to hold in your hand and keep is, like MasterCard likes to say, priceless. These photos are not sitting on an SD card or hard drive, instead, they are very real, tangible, and meaningful objects that you can hold and experience. That’s the magic of film. That’s the magic of Polaroid cameras.
For this set of 8 exposures, we took a walk along the Wailea Coast. The latest formula of color film for the SX-70 by The Impossible Project (TIP) was used to feed the SX-70. I learn a little more about TIP film with every use. One thing is for certain, they are very sensitive to temperature. In Hawaii, average temperatures are usually in the mid to high 80’s, with relatively high humidity. With TIP film, the hotter the outside temperature is, the warmer your shots will look. They will tend to have a yellow tint with heavy contrast. At cooler temperatures, TIP enthusiasts suggests that the shots will develop with a much softer look, and blue/green tint. Shooting in Hawaii, I have yet to experienced the blue/green tint. When is it every 50 degrees here? On the other hand, I have experienced the yellow tint, and it is very visible in this batch of photos. Polaroid/TIP photographers have suggested the use of filters, namely a blue filter that would attach to the lens, to counter the yellow tint. For that reason, I kind of want to test out this product from MiNT.
It seems that each time I shoot with one of my Polaroid cameras, I gain a nugget of knowledge. And that brings us to a Vol. 4 tip from me to you. This tip is dedicated to Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliot and her classic song, Work It. When shooting outdoors, it’s important to shield your photos as soon as they are ejected. For that reason, I suggest purchasing either a shield or frog tongue for your SX-70 camera. Typically, when shooting outdoors, you want to have something, either a bag or used TIP film box to throw your prints in immediately following ejection. But what if you don’t have either? Do as Missy Elliot says, “put my thing down, flip it and reverse it.” I found this tip to be very useful during my Wailea Coastal Walk shoot.
- As soon as your TIP film is ejected, you want to flip your SX-70 over.
- Once you got it flipped over, pull out your photo from your SX-70. The photo side of you print should be face down.
- Immediately place the TIP print face down on the underside of your SX-70, and hold it in place with your finger of choice.
- When convenient, find a suitable place to to put your photo while it is developing. In the meantime, use Missy Elliot’s lyrics to help keep your photo shielded from light.
So there you have it, Missy Elliot’s seminal 2002 hit will indeed help you to take better photos with your vintage Polaroid SX-70.