Fernhook Falls on Deep River near Walpole from 4×5 inch Polaroid negative. This is one of my final images made during a short hiking trip in November. I will miss Polaroid Type 55 as it gives a lovely negative to print from.
My supply of 4×5 film was well past its expiry date by a few years and needed using. Polaroid type 55 film gives a polaroid print and negative. This image was processed several days later after I returned from my trip. I seldom develop out the polaroid in the field, rather I used it as a conventional film. Here’s why….
Rubbish in the field
Processing Polaroid in the field is less than ideal. I found that the peeling apart the paper developing enclosure had the potential to release of caustic gel. This is something I don’t want in the field. Where could I wash my hands or dispose of the waste? Water can be stored in a plastic bag and hiked out with me, but water is too valuable for washing. On the other hand, you don’t want caustic gel on your skin or accidentally in your eyes from contaminated fingers. So, I left the whole instant thing for later.
This negative prints really easily. The tones are smooth and the detail from the effective 32 ISO negative film is fine. The polaroid print itself is a little blown out in the highlights, which is to be expected as the print speed is faster than the negative emulsion. It is a wonderful thing to place a Polaroid negative in my 4×5 enlarger carrier and project it onto the baseboard. This one is destined for a 16×20 inch silver gelatin print on fibre based paper.
Photography at the forefront of technology
Photography has always been on the cutting edge of technology. I still marvel at the beautiful tonal range of polaroid type 55 film negatives and the sophisticated technology that underlies its apparent simplicity.
Technology is a topic that generally surfaces in one form or another at workshops, usually as comparisons between film and digital approaches. One common theme that seems to emerge, is that whilst there will always be new photographic products and technologies. Although they will enabling faster outcomes and greater volumes, it is not always the speed at which you arrive at a photographic point but the journey in getting there.
Since it is with the undertaking of that journey and its experiences, that you begin to learn. Failure is a necessary part of the learning journey towards success. Don’t let convenience rob you of learning.
Fernhook Falls Walpole. Wista 4×5 with Polaroid 545 back and Polaroid Type 55 PN, 90mm Grandagon Lens.