Expired Film Day

On March 15 (the day that Caesar expired), a Colorado man organized Expired Film Day to encourage people to use that film that’s been sitting there for years.

Well heck, I have tons of expired film — mostly because I keep finding camera bags with film in them. However, I limited myself to three “rolls”.

First up was a pack of Polaroid 600 film that expired in 1998. It was given to me a couple of years ago,1 and has been taking up space in the fridge since then. In one of our many boxes I found a Polaroid Impulse camera that looks like it’s hardly been used.

Luckily, the batteries in the pack were still good, but I can’t quite say the same for the chemistry.

Bright orange vertical stripes with a solid green smudge at the top. There's a faint image of a dried flower in the center.

Orange Annabelle

All of the pictures from the pack are orange with that undeveloped area at the top. It seems the blue has given up the ghost. I like this image because the developing fault follows the fence boards, and the dried hydrangea blossom is “expired” much like the film.

After I finished the Polaroid pack at home, I loaded Stubbie (my Holga) with Plus X film that expired in 1997. Plus X is supposed to be ISO125, but Stubbie doesn’t have any real exposure adjustments. Since it was mostly cloudy I set the aperture to the biggest it can do (about f/8) and just hoped something would end up on the film.

I drove to a nearby dam and made some pictures…

Square image of smooth water with two buoys in it; dramatic clouds overhead. The edges of the frame are dark.

Huron River Dam

A sign blocks the road before it comes to a fence and a railroad. More road is visible on the other side of the tracks.

Road Ends

Except for some contrast adjustment (and spotting), these are pretty much as scanned. I think I’m going to try to print these in the darkroom because I love the sky in them.

While I was at the dam, I used my Kodak Stereo camera (from ca. 1957). This camera uses 35mm film and makes about 22mm square stereo image pairs. It’s a bit difficult to separate the negatives (and to figure out the pattern for which images go together), but it can be fun. It was loaded with TriX 400 speed film from about 2000. The camera does have some exposure adjustments, but basically I tried to hew to the Sunny-16 rule (even though it was mostly cloudy).

This one has been spotted, cropped, and animated in Photoshop. One day I might try an anaglyph version.

All in all this was a fun diversion. I’ve been so intent on my classwork that it was nice to do something else for a day. There’s a competition too, but prizes don’t really matter — I won the day for myself.

  1. I thought it was useable in my DayLab, but it turned out that it’s not.