Friday, September 25 – Sunday, September 27, saw the fifth iteration of the Instant Film Society‘s Polacon event, and my fourth in a row. Given that this is 2020, usual activities were few, with most moved online (to Instagram Live) and a few cancelled, and I skipped the Denton Polawalk for the first time, opting instead to, well, stay well distanced, but made it to more of the talks and all, so overall Polacon V(irtual) was a total win, and huge thanks to everyone at the IFS for putting it all together!

Over the weekend, I shot through the rest of my out-of-date Polaroid Originals film, as well as two packs of Instax in the Lomo LC-A Wide (or LC-Widestax). As mentioned in a previous post, the Polaroid Impulse SE is working well again, though there’s still a spot somewhere on the mirror or inside where I can’t clean it off easily, and I’m lusting after a Mint SLR-670 again… Given my tendency to buy film and figure out what to shoot whenever, though, I can’t really justify the expense, given how rarely I would (probably) shoot it.

That said, watch this space, as I might just order one here once I pay my car off (hopefully before the end of the year).

Anyway, back to Polacon V(irtual)!

Day 1, Friday, saw me working, and in a ton of meetings, so aside from a quick trip to Target to get a new coffee maker (and pick up some Instax), I didn’t shoot much. Well… I did take some selfies.

As much as I love the Polaroid SE and large size of the Polaroid film, its color and storage characteristics leave me very happy with the Instax mini and the LC-Widestax, even with the heavy vignetting and general softness. I prefer the LC-Anstax for the narrower focal length, but my second LC-A developed a sticky shutter for the second time and I left the LC-A+ I bought to replace it at my Mom’s house in Arkansas back last month, so the LC-W it was.

I forced myself to finish the Polaroid pack I started on Friday, but didn’t get much worth sharing.

Day 2 saw me out early. I went to visit my Dad, who gave me a few cameras. Not that I need any more, but… I’m now the proud owner of a Wardflex tlr, a Olympus Infinity Zoom 210, and a Minolta Freedom Vista Panorama (aka Riva). I’ll put a roll through the Wardflex just to see, but its top speed of 1/300th and simple winder put it behind the Yashica-Mat 124, so it’ll probably be given away. The Olympus is chunky and slow and probably beautifully sharp, but not particularly pocketable. I’ll finish the roll that came in it and see what I get, then probably give it away too. But I’m a bit excited by the Minolta: its tiny and pocketable, and reportedly nice and sharp. Hamish Gill sold his XPAN and keep the Minolta, and they go for outrageous sums on eBay these days, so once I run a roll through it, if I don’t keep it (which seems unlikely at present), I’ll definitely sell it.

Anyway, after picking up the cameras, I drove home, resisting stopping for donuts all the way. I saw this strange snow cone shaped light display on a transmission shop and couldn’t resist shooting a frame out the window. I really should’ve stopped, but… well, I didn’t, and I sorta like the results.

Later Saturday morning, Hana and I went to a small park on the north side of Grapevine Lake and walked around some. I got a great Polaroid of my darling wife, one of the best pictures I’ve made of her in years, but she wasn’t wearing hijab, so I can’t share it.

If you take a picture but can’t show it to anyone did you take it at all?

Anyway, we had a nice time, and the out-of-date Polaroid actually worked rather well for this seascape.

I’m quite pleased with that.

The LC-Widestax worked ok, but is a bit wide for Instax, I think. It works well close up, but landscapes are hard.

(One of those pictures of Hana is relevantly similar to the Polaroid I made, but she’s too far away to see anything clearly and the image, while pleasant enough, isn’t nearly as pleasing as the Polaroid one. Oh well.)

I shot through the rest of both packs of film that evening.

I like that selfy… I look way handsomer and fitter than I really am (see above)… maybe a new avatar? Hummm….

Sunday, Day 3, I had high hopes for. Alas. I won’t get into it, but it didn’t happen, and I just shot flowers around the yard. *yawn.

Wow… I did a rather poor job of cropping the scans… Oh well.

I like the sky pictures. The Widestax version, in particular, looks like Gondwanaland or something. Coming in for a landing, maybe, looking down from space.

So that was Polacon V(irtual), for me.

You can find all the interviews and workshop things on the Instant Film Society Instagram TV, and I encourage you to do so. There were some good and fun discussions, and I’ll probably revisit a few and watch some of the ones I missed.

Polacon VI is on, set for the last weekend in September, 2021. If you can make it, if we’re able to do things again, do it! It’ll be a good time. And if we’re not able to congregate (as seems likely), well, it’ll all be online anyway, so you won’t have to travel or miss out on anything, unless you really want to. Good times.

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