Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Behind the Scenes at the KGES Today Show

Friday, December 01, 2017

40 Years Ago Today - December 1977 Part I

Because December 1977 is a bit slow, I'm sharing some random photos from the year. These were photos that are in my collection but one is a mystery. So if you know who it is, please send me an email at

First up, we have the Kalinowski family. From left to right: Mary Kalinowski, Claudia Kalinowski, Joann Kalinowski, Sig Kalinowski, and Ted Kalinowski.

And then we have the mystery photo. I have no idea who she is or what is written on the back.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

40 Years Ago Today - November 30, 1977

While it's no surprise by now that I saw the doctor frequently as a baby, this particular visit is a bit of a mystery. Apparently I had a head injury and needed x-rays.

Monday, November 20, 2017

New Polaroid Film In An Old Polaroid Camera - A Review

A recent Instagram post by my local camera shop (shout out to Richmond Camera!) showed some new Polaroid film hitting the shelves. As in, old film that's not so old any more. As in, I can use my old camera now!

Some History

As I was doing some research for my 40 Years Ago Today project, I had many Polaroids that needed dates on them. I could guess based on what was in the image but if it wasn't labeled, I couldn't tell for sure. The research was further complicated by the fact that I had Polaroids from several different people in my collection.

As I began to research the film itself, I quickly learned there was a way to identify when the film was manufactured. Once I found the production codes on the back of the film, I was able to better guess as to the range of years the Polaroid came from. I could also get a clear picture on which photos were from the same production batch. This helped in some cases where I may have had two different pictures from one single film batch but only one picture had a date on it.

Another interesting tidbit I never knew about Polaroid film until I did this research was that the batteries to power the camera were inside the film cartridge. This means that when the film is used and the cartridge is ejected, there are no batteries left to corrode in the camera. And for me, this meant that the camera was left is nearly pristine condition when I started using it again. Granted, I probably should have cleaned the rollers inside like the directions said and should have made sure everything looked good, but hey, it worked right away after decades of sitting around.

If you look at this Polaroid, it was manufactured in October of 1976. But the photo was taken in May of 1977.

The Film

There are eight (8) photos per cartridge. And at roughly $20 per cartridge, you're talking an average of $2.50 per photo. So think about your photos wisely. Below are some photos of the film as it's sold today. Note that the box has a stamped date on the bottom for when it was produced.

I can't really show you the cartridge until I finish this particular pack of film. But from the looks of things, it hasn't changed much. Although the battery does look a little more modern.

Included with the film is of course an instruction page. I really enjoy the part about shaking it.

The Camera

The camera is old. As in, I'm not even sure how old it is but I'd guess early 1980s. This is based on a photo taken in June of 1981 and a family photo in 1982. It's also the first camera I ever remember using as a kid. I specifically remember visiting my mom in Salinas, California in the trailer park that she lived in. We went up to the pool house and she gave me the camera and I took a picture of her. It was pretty crooked but I remember the awe of being allowed to use this fancy camera. I also learned that I needed to hold the camera steady and straight.

Since then, the camera has been a staple of most of the 1980s. It wasn't the best camera and my dad would eventually use a 35mm Canon for most of the important stuff but that meant the camera became mine. And while I didn't always take pictures of everything, I did use it. Once I got older and began using 35mm and then digital camera, I eventually left the Polaroid in a drawer or box never to be used again. At least that's what I thought.

Below are some photos of the camera. I can't show the serial numbers inside the flap until I finish this pack of film. But I'll try to come back and update the post later.* Note the light/dark dial on the front, the photo counter on the back, and the shutter button. The flash shown is a disposable flash bar that is powered by the battery in the film pack. I do have another flash that snaps onto the top of the camera and is powered by four AA batteries.

I found a used Polaroid exactly like mine at a local Goodwill store on November 28, 2017. I purchased it, along with the external battery-powered flash bar, for a whopping five dollars. After a light dusting, I put a new cartridge of film inside and pushed the shutter button. And it worked! Sadly, the flash bar was too compromised by corroded batteries to work. Below are photos from the inside of this new Polaroid camera.

The Results

The first photo I took, I used the flash, stood under a single lightbulb, and totally overexposed the film.

The second photo was a little worse. I assumed the overhead lights would be enough to light the subjects, but it wasn't. Should have used the flash. I also had some issues with the shutter button. I'm not sure if it's because I have fat fingers or if the button was recessed too much or if the button is old and not working right or if I was just being stupid. What ever the source of the problem, it didn't quite work as expected. Which I assume is why the image is blurry.

My third photo went much better. I stepped further back, had more lights (including the flashbar), and took extra care to press the shutter button carefully. As you can see, much better! But you'll also notice the image looks a little washed out some with the colors. They don't exactly "pop" but then again, it's an old camera using new film.