Recently I had one of the best experiences ever with instant film and it all went down on a photo shoot I decided to go on with my good friend Francisco. Normally when I go on shoots I bring my trusty SX-70 with me, but I was a bit weary to do so this time. The local film shop was selling Impossible’s PX-70 Cool for $25 a pack! Not only that, but judging by my recent experience with this camera I would only have about 2 or 3 usable shots out of 8. Not the best ratio in my opinion. Still, I caved and decided that those 2 good shots were worth it. Even when you get that one perfect shot you were going for and you can tell you nailed it as it develops, that feeling right there, that’s what makes me shoot this stuff over and over. And so, I dropped the $25 for the last pack of PX-70 Cool film that Pardee’s in Sacramento had, and managed to snag an expired pack of PX 600 UV+ Grey Frame from Francisco, which I shot in my SX-70 with an ND filter.
To my surprise the integral film came through, more so than it ever has before; I’ve never been so on point with my SX-70. I think weather conditions on this shoot had a bit to do with my success. It was an overcast day, not too much sunlight, so shielding was a breeze (remember to shield old generation impossible film!) At first it might seem like something that would work against the SX-70 since it needs so much light, but it did not hinder it at all. Since Cool film has a higher ISO than normal SX-70 film, I would darken the wheel all the way. As the light started fading, i turned it to about 2/3 or even 1/3. Although it was a bit chilly outside, temperature was not too big a problem,
I will say that I have a very special place in my heart for Impossible’s old generation stuff. While it’s not at all as stable as their newest batch of films, it’s more than usable and each type produces a look unique to themselves, so if you come across this stuff don’t ever hesitate to shoot it. With Cool film, I find it to produce colors that are a lot more, well, cool. Since it’s not as sharp as the Color Protection stuff it has a dreamier look and I dig that look very much. I could do without the little crystals that some of you may be familiar with, and as far as the grey frame shots go just about all of them had some banding (where the pods of chemicals develop at different rates) but nothing too crazy. In the end I would say the shoot was a great success.
I think from now on I will have a little more faith in instant film and my ability to shoot it. Not everything I shot came out perfect, and that’s expected; it’s the risk you take when shooting this stuff. The unpredictability is half the fun, though, and when you do get shot you were dreaming of it makes it all worth it.