The Experiment: I decided to see what would happen if I stuck a pack of Fuji Instax Mini film in my freezer and then shot it without defrosting it.
The Equipment: Fuji Instax Mini 90 and a sense of impunity.
The Location: Graniteville, VT and The Millstone Trails.
These two photos were shot with film from the same double pack, in the same location in the same weather, but were NOT frozen.
No quarry tours this time of year, but you can still buy gravestones. I came very close to needing one during this experiment.
Rock of Ages, Graniteville, Millstone Trails
If instant film photography were to die, we would buy its gravestone from Rock of Ages. A few of their abandoned quarries are now a public park with ski trails managed by the Millstone Trails Association. This is the story of how I got horribly lost looking for a place to park and test my frozen Instax Mini film.
Where am I? It is really easy to get lost in Graniteville and it doesn't help that the area is full of a lot of really cool stuff.
The outside temperature was about 18f. For these two images, the frozen film spent the most time exposed to ambient temperatures. Cold on cold.
What you can't see is that there are gigantic piles of snow covered granite behind the houses acting as giant mirrors. I noticed that in some cases, the Instax Mini 90's meter was unable to compensate for the full sun reflecting off the bright snow and granite. I was, however, able to get better results my adjusting the exposure settings of the camera.
This is one of the deepest quarries in the world and I should not have gotten this close to it. Edward Burtynsky did some amazing photography here in the late 1980s.
More giant Jenga with the big bad quarry in the background. I stood up to my knees in snow for this photo.
I also found success adjusting the camera's setting for shade.
I'm more than a little terrified/in love with the Rock of Ages logo.
I did finally make it to the Millstone trails, they are totally awesome but that is for another blog post.
My final shot of frozen Instax Mini film.
Freezing Instax Mini film will have an impact on the quality of your final images but not enough to negatively impact the film's value as a creative tool. More importantly, choosing the right settings on your camera will have a greater impact than tempreture.
- Huge white holes covered in snow are not a great test of film quality.
- Do NOT accidentally get lost and drive into an active quarry.
- Use the Barre Town Forrest parking lot to access the Millstone Trails.
- It is illegal in Vermont to use a handheld cellphone while driving.
- Please leave a donation for the Millstone Trail Assocation.