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A Night in a Wigwam

When I was planning a trip to the desert and clicking around on google maps to get an idea of places to go, I saw the Wigwam village in Arizona and knew it had to be part of the trip.  I had heard of this place before, and seen pictures, but was never exactly sure where it was.
This Wigwam Motel was part of a chain of motels built in the 30s and 40s. There were seven total; two in Kentucky, and one in Alabama, Florida, Arizona, Louisiana, and California. Unfortunately all but three of them survived, but they are now on the national register of historic places. The surviving ones are in Cave City Kentucky, San Bernardino California, and Holbrook Arizona.
This one, in Holbrook, is just a straight shot from my house down the interstate in my backyard!
The wigwam village was the final stop at the end of a long day which started at Monument Valley included a long drive through the Petrified Forest and then a trip to Two Guns Ghost Town.
This was the first day that I really experienced the crazy desert wind, and wished I had brought something to keep the hair out of my face.
Each Wigwam was paired with it’s own vintage car. It felt like stepping back in time.
We stayed in Wigwam #8.
The interior was cozy.  Nothing too fancy, but it was a blast to stay in this funny little Motel.

It was a frigid night, but luckily there was a nice heater inside our wigwam.  We awoke in the morning to find the lightest dusting on snow on the ground!  Snow in Arizona!  I couldn’t believe it.  But soon I was about to see even more…

I am dreaming up trips that involve staying at the other two wigwam motels.  Kentucky is close by, and I still can’t get California out of my mind.

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Land Camera Photo Shoot

 
I have been working on fixing up my polaroid land cameras. Getting them all cleaned, restoring their batteries and writing a little user guide. Then I got inspired to do a photo shoot with my first and favorite one, and before I knew what was happening, I had a whole 1960s thing going on.


And maybe it was because I have watched a little too much Mad Men, but I couldn’t seem to take a photo without having a crabby expression..







I sure do love this camera and I can’t wait to share more about it soon!  I also can’t wait to find some vintage clothes to fuel this new 60s vibe I’ve been feeling.
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A Year in Land Camera Photos

About a year ago I found this vintage polaroid land camera on a thrifting trip. I had been wanting one for a while, but wasn’t ready to spend a couple hundred bucks on a restored one.  I luckily found this baby in great condition for 20 dollars! All I had to do was replace the battery and now it works great! I even found this flash for it a few months ago.

 Fujifilm still makes film to fit it and I wanted to share the photos I have taken in this past year. There aren’t a whole lot, due to some tragic film jams I ended up losing quite a bit of film. 🙁

This is the first photo I took with it (that came out!)  I forgot to focus, however..

We spent a weekend in the mountains last spring and I snapped this view from our motel.


We took a trip to a dairy farm last summer and I brought my regular camera, but forgot my battery at home!  I was so mad, but I luckily I brought my land camera with me! I think a land camera photo is worth about 100 digital photos.



From our beach trip. I forgot to focus again.. But I kind of like the dreamy out of focus look.

My Mom’s haunted house.
Christmas day. This is where I realized the camera shouldn’t be used indoors unless you have a flash. Surprisingly this was a bright and sunny morning!

This was taken with my new flash bulbs!

And this is my latest photo which I am very excited about. I tried to take a picture of the house, but didn’t hear the click of the shutter so I thought it didn’t work. I took it inside to look at it and then I took a test shot of the backyard, (because a neighbor had come outside in the front of the house, and I didn’t want them to see me of course!) And it turned out the shutter had worked the first time and I ended up with this amazing double exposure!

I definitely want to take a whole bunch more land photos this year, I just love the way they look!
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Land Camera Model 95 Tutorial

One of the highlights of my birthday adventure back in February, was finding this antique land camera.

I’ve had a fascination with polaroid cameras ever since I saw my uncle using one on a beach trip when I was eight years old. I just knew I had to have my own. For my birthday the following year I got an izone camera, and two packs of film. It made tiiiny little photos and I had a blast taking pictures of my pets and my toys. But eventually I used up all the film and for whatever reason never got any more. I never did get a real polaroid camera like I wanted and early this year I discovered the polaroid land camera and knew that was the camera I needed. Not only was it a super neat vintage camera, but you could still take pictures with it! So imagine my surprise when I happen to stumble upon one the next day.

Since finding this particular camera I have learned quite a few things about it that I wanted to share!

You can collapse the camera and the lens folds up to give you a handy way of carrying it around. This is mainly to protect to lens but it’s also convenient  if you don’t want people staring at you while you lug around a bulky 70 year old camera.


To open it you just press the silver button at the top and drag the lens out until it clicks into place.

Closing it is a bit more difficult though, you have to press down on the metal bars towards the back and then force the lens to slide back in. I’m sure it worked great back in the day when it was new, but it’s a struggle to get it back in now. Especially if you’re out in public and trying to rush to put away before it prompts someone to come over and ask you a bunch of questions! (Oh the horror!)



The inventor of this camera was Edwin Land and it was the first instant film camera ever made.  I read a story that said one day his daughter asked him why she couldn’t see the photos he took right away, and that led him to develop this instant camera that was manufactured by polaroid. The polaroid company dropped “Land” from their camera names in 1983 when Edwin Land retired. 

The one I happen to find was the first ever model of the land camera which was produced in 1947! Unfortunately these older models take what is called rollfilm, which stopped being produced in 1992. 🙁 


However you can still find the film on ebay if you’re lucky!  It’s a gamble buying expired film though, because you have no idea if it will actually work or not until you try it.  It takes polaroid 200 roll film, and it can also take polaroid 3000 rollfilm but since it’s such a fast speed I think I read that you need a special filter for it.. I haven’t gotten around to messing with that part yet.



To load the film you have to completely unfold the camera

Pressing the long button will open up the first hinged flap of the camera



And flipping this switch will open up the rest

 When you open a pack of film you will find two rolls, one is the negative film, one is the the positive film and they are attached together with some ancient scotch tape.  DO NOT BREAK THE SCOTCH TAPE. There are directions on the back that show how to load it; the negative roll goes on the right side,  the positive roll goes on the left side and the wrapper wraps around the first hinged flap and a small portion of it should be hanging out once you completely close the camera.

Gently tug on the wrapper to pull it out. It will be about 15 inches long and then it will stop. This means the first exposure is in front of the lens and you are ready to attempt a photograph!

There are a just a few settings you’ll need to adjust before taking a photo. The most important is the aperture, which is done by rotating the knob shown above. The numbers range from 1-8; One being the largest aperture and eight being the smallest. The larger the aperture the more light it lets in, so a low aperture setting is good for shooting indoors and a high aperture setting is best for bright sunlight outdoors. As you turn the knob you can see the aperture changing, which is great way to check to make sure you have the setting right.

The next setting to adjust is the length of the lens, depending on how far away your subject is. This is easily done by just sliding the lens forward or backward.


And then you’re ready to take a picture! Just press down on the shutter button and the aperture opens to expose the film.

The image will not start to develop until it is pulled through the rollers which release the chemicals. To do this, you press the film release button which is the little round button on the back of them camera. After you press it, pull the roll of paper until it stops; the photo you just took should now be in the back of the camera and the development process has started. The box of film says to wait about a minute or so, but since the film is super old I usually wait about three to five minutes before opening the back of the camera to get the picture out.


Once the time is up you can open up the back of the camera and get your photo. Just grab the little triangle tab and pull it off.


However, using expired film that is over 20 years old is risky and more often than not, will not work out! The picture above shows the remnants of an entire roll of film that did not work out.

I have actually managed to take one photo! It was the first roll of film I ever tried and it took me a while to realize that the negative roll had broken away from the positive roll (Remember that very important piece of ancient scotch tape I mentioned above?!) Well the tape had ripped apart by itself so I was only pulling the positive roll of film through and my photos weren’t developing. Once I realized what the problem was I was able to take this photo, but it just happened to be the very last exposure on the roll. This was a particular bummer because I bet I could have gotten an entire roll of photos if I had realized the problem sooner. -_-

But that’s ok, I’m still amazed I was able to even take one! It’s of my plants on my windowsill, I was a little annoyed at myself at first that I didn’t take a photo of something more interesting, but then I remember that the first photo ever taken was out a window so I thought it seemed kind of fitting.



My reaction to a bad exposure covered in old goopy chemicals. 

I am determined to take at least one more good photo with this camera!