Back in 2019, I must have been feeling rather ambitious about shooting film because I placed a few orders for some film that did nothing but sit around here at home. One of the rolls was some Seattle Filmworks expired black & white film and I can’t even find a record of where I bought it from. Despite being old and broken with a failing memory, I do recall that one of the appeals of buying this film was how old it was (It expired in 2001).
Having rekindled my desire to shoot more film compared to digital, I thought it was time to drop this roll into the Canon A-1 and see what I could get. All of the images on this roll were shot on the A-1 with Canon FD 50mm f/1.4.
I have had times when I leave film loaded in a camera for too long. I keep waiting for some magical moment or location to hit me before shooting the roll. This time around, I thought I would just go with it, and shoot whatever I could. Some of these were taken at our local library, however, the bulk was shot at a car wash that was abandoned and scheduled for demolition. A car wash doesn’t seem like that interesting of a place to shoot and it is certainly nowhere I would intentionally drive any great length of time to get to solely for the purpose of taking photos. But hey, I had some time to kill.
As I am typing this, the entire site has now been leveled, so I am glad I went over there to shoot what I could when I did.
This time around, I wanted to try a different company to develop the film. Having followed Reformed Film Lab for some time now on Instagram, I opted to give them a shot. For a timeline of how quickly the photos were developed and scans turned around, here you go:
- Order placed: Sunday, June 12
- Film shipped USPS Priority (KY to FL): Monday, June 13
- Film delivered: Thursday, June 16
- Confirmed receipt of film: Friday, June 17
- Scans received: Thursday, June 23
I was given a link to WeTransfer to download everything from the roll. Bonus points for this business as they offer a rewards type of program based on points. After my first order, I also got a coupon to use for my next order.
One thing has held true with expired film: You never know what the result would be. When I first saw these images, I was disappointed. I thought that perhaps it was something I had set incorrectly in the camera, until I saw that the entire roll was the same, even with photos where I knew I had made adjustments in-camera. I guess there is still the possibility that I screwed something up. Given my track record with film so far, it would not surprise me at all.
Here are a few samples of what I mean:
Once I tinkered around in Lightroom with a few of these, I wasn’t as upset. I was able to punch these up a good bit. With all of the film I have been shooting lately, I have done my best to steer clear of heavy editing and corrections in Lightroom. I want the image to be as true to what I shot as possible. But the faded look here just wasn’t going to cut it for me.
I was pleased to see some of the high-grain images as well. Not sure what it is about that look that I enjoy so much. I realize some people are not a fan of it, but I’m not on that team.
- Seattle Filmworks 200 film gallery via Lomography