If you’re unfamiliar, Polacon is an annual Instant Film Convention, held the first weekend of the State Fair of Texas, mostly in Denton. I totally missed the first one, didn’t even know about it. I made the photowalk in downtown Denton on the second day of the second one, and was absolutely committed to making the third one in full. After all, with lectures and demonstrations on everything from tintypes to travelogues, photowalks, raffles, and loads of good people, over three full days, right in my backyard, how could I miss it?

I’ll tell you how: a mix of something missing from my diet that week, mild general depression/malaise that’s a relative constant, and what we Muslims call waswasa, or the whisperings of the devil, what Stephen Pressman calls “Resistance,” deeply negative self talk.

After clearing it with my darling, adorable wife months ago, and calendar reminders set, I missed the opening festivities on Friday the 28th, at work, then at the community prayer, then at a going-away-party I threw for my sister-in-law, all of which were largely forced good times, as I was in full on meltdown mode, mentally, for most of Thursday night and all of Friday.

Saturday morning arrived, and I wasn’t feeling any better, but I forced myself into the car early, then up to Denton for the morning photowalk. I wasn’t feeling it at all. I smiled and was friendly, but didn’t talk much, met some nice, friendly people, who all seemed perfectly willing to include me in the festivities, but I wasn’t having it.

For Instant, I took along the Polaroid Impulse SE, with a pack of Polaroid Originals Ice Cream Colors loaded, and the LC-Anstax with some plain mini in it. For film, I had the Hamm Camera Co. PinBox (review forthcoming: tl;dr nice, cheap camera, fun to build, reasonably sharp, good times!) with some Ilford Delta 100, the Olympus XA with some bulk loaded Fomapan 200, and the Konica WaiWai with some… I’ve forgotten, plus the fun little Casio Exilim S20 (a 2 megapixel digicam from the early naughts).

I went on the photowalk, then hung around the Denton Camera Exchange, saw a demonstration on tintype photography from Ellen Leathers-Wishart, went to the first two lectures (on travelogues with Anne Holland and the three Impossible Project/Polaroid Originals cameras with Andy Odam), then took myself to lunch at Dix Coney Island (veggie burger, fries, Root Beer, less than $10, tasty and worth a visit), and by then just couldn’t take it any more and fled.

On my way out, @lordrichardhead (really nice guy that planned a work trip from California to coincide with Polacon) stopped me and asked if I was leaving. I lied and told him that I was going to wander around Recycled Books for a bit, then practically ran to my car and cursed myself all the way home.

In all that time, I shot one pack of Polaroid Originals, two Instax Mini frames, 2 or 3 shots from the Oly, and that’s it.

So I missed the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday, lectures on FP100C, Instax, 8×10 Polaroids, the TrailerCamera, and more tintypes, plus photowalks, roundtables, and a swap meet.

God wiling, I’ll be in a better place, physically and mentally next year. I really want a good reason to go to the State Fair at night, get that pinhole shot of spinning things on the midway and all…

Anyway, here are my few pictures.

The first Instax frame is dark… I had the LC-A serviced back in March, and I’m pretty sure the people in the Ukraine oiled the shutter, and I think the oil has gummed up here in north Texas. They did an otherwise amazing job restoring my beloved LC-A, but it never had the sticky shutter problem before, and after a few months on the shelf, now the shutter is erratic, at best, and completely frozen at worst. Looks like I have a fun project ahead, one that I’ve never before been willing to attempt, but after taking apart and fixing several other cameras, I have some hope, now. All I need is time, focus, concentration, organization, and steady hands…

Wish me luck.*


*I don’t need luck, baby… I got skill.

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