A twist to the whole roll project format this time as we turn out attention to instant photography via a 10 exposure pack of Fujifilm FP-3000B black and white peel-apart instant film, shot by Lea Williams in a Polaroid 220 Land Camera
Photographer: Lea Williams
Camera: Polaroid Land Camera 220
Film: Fuji FP 3000B (10 exposures, black & white)
Scanning: Epson V500
These photos were taken in Hong Kong in February 2013 and in a very rare occurrence, almost all turned out ok. Considering each print costs around $1.50 this was a major win.
FP-3000B is peel-apart film (or pack film) – you pull the picture from the camera, wait for it to develop and then peel the paper from the print. You can even use what you leave behind (the negative) to produce a slightly different image, but more on that later…
There’s limited exposure control on the 220 – a lighten/darken knob on the camera lens is pretty much it. For me, setting the right level is a combination of guesswork and practice, but neither guarantees a great image. I was happy with this shot though – taken on an overcast, smoggy day through a window with the lighten control turned up a little, produced a nice image.
I love photographing scenes in fog or mist, and on this particular morning Hong Kong really delivered. The magic of FP-3000B is its amazing tonal range and beautiful blacks. It’s one of the most versatile films around and because I’m a sucker for a classic b&w, it’s easily my favourite instant film.
While the exteriors of Hong Kong’s skyscrapers are imposing and spectacular, their interiors too reveal nice photographic moments. This is Island One East, a 69-storey building on Hong Kong Island. Indoors on an overcast day, so I ‘lightened’ to compensate and bumped up the contrast a bit post-scan. It was a quiet Saturday morning, so capturing these two pedestrians was a nice bonus.
In some ways this image epitomises Hong Kong – bustling streets, tall apartment blocks with overhanging air conditioners, street signs jostling for attention – it’s a sight we don’t see in Australian cities and made an appealing photographic scene. This image was taken from an overpass following the street market down to the tall building in the distance.
And then there’s the beach. Yes, beach! Shek-O is Hong Kong’s surf beach (no, not Bell’s Beach surf, but waves nonetheless) located at the south of Hong Kong Island. These iconic lifeguard towers line the beach and look oddly futuristic. This day was bright and sunny, so the exposure was ‘darkened’ to compensate.
The picture on the right was taken directly into the sun – I totally winged the exposure compensation by pushing the knob as far to darken as it would go. I was pleasantly surprised to get this image – sheer luck in this case I think. There’s a light leak in the bottom left of these two which seems to happen regularly when I get to the end of a pack.
So that’s my pack of FP-3000B. My Polaroid Packfilm Cameras (100 and 220) are undoubtedly my favourite cameras – they’re large, unforgiving and can be temperamental, but so much fun to shoot.
The added bonus of FP-3000B is the ability to use the negative. So if you happen to give away the original print, you can keep the negative and create an image.
Below is an example of the process. Image 1 is the original print – way too dark, but a good candidate for negative scanning. Image 2 is a straight scan of the negative. Image 3 shows the scan inverted and flipped, with the levels adjusted slightly.
You’ll notice there’s much more detail in the final image (eg the outline of the rocks along the shoreline and in the foreground). I particularly love the textured edging, giving the photo a vintage feel that is quite unique.
If anyone has any questions or feedback about Polaroids, FP-3000B film or using instant negatives, I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks Lea, a great set of images showing the range of possibilities from what is indeed be a temperamental but rewarding camera. And thanks also for that set of images showing us the versatility of the negative.
You can see more of Lea Williams’ Polaroid work on flickr.