Arm-Wrestling and Beer, Part 2.

February 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

Once again, just kidding. This is another blog entry about kittens. A few months ago, I wrote a post about a litter of kittens that a stray had given birth to at my aunt’s veterinary clinic. Read it here.
At the time of that post, the kittens were a week old. Now, they’re twelve weeks old. This past weekend, I went home to Massachusetts and was able to see the kitten my sister adopted for the first time since the original post. As a bonus, my aunt brought over the two other females from the litter. I got some good photos and thought it was fitting to write a follow-up entry. A “where are they now?” kind of thing.

Here’s a shot of my sister’s kitten, who she named Milo, at 6 days old…

(Taken with Polaroid SLR 680 SE, Impossible Project PX 600 UV+ film.)

And here she is at 12 weeks…

(Taken with Pentax IQ Zoom, generic 35mm film.)

I threw in the Polaroid Zip for scale purposes.

You may also remember the polydactyl kitten from the first post, who we got to calling Polly (ha). This was her at one week…

(Polaroid SLR 680 SE, Impossible Project PX 600 UV+ film.)

Here she is now…

(Polaroid Electric Zip, Polaroid Viva film.)

It was nice to see how they’ve changed but also how they’ve retained some of the little characteristics they had when they were hamster-sized. It’s also nice that my sister has a new cat after having to put down our family cat in November. Milo and my sister already seem to have a strong bond with each other. I wish them the best, and I hope the others find good homes.

To pick up some Impossible Project PX 600 UV+ or some of their other instant film, visit

On a similar note, feel free to come by the opening reception of a gallery exhibition in which some Impossible Project photographers, including myself, have some work. It’s in Brooklyn on Thursday night, February 24th, from 7-10pm. More info at

And, as always, don’t forget to stop by My Photo Stream to see what’s new.

(Polaroid SLR 680 SE, Impossible Project PX 600 UV+ film.)


Wintry Mix.

February 1, 2011 § 2 Comments

One morning last week, I woke up to snow falling lightly outside my window. It was that real-deal snow, the light fluffy stuff that’s actually shaped like snowflakes. On the fire escape outside our living room window, there was a layer of soft, clean, untouched snow. I grabbed my SLR 680, which contained my last pack of 600 film and took this…

The day before, I had switched the pack of 600 film from a dead SX-70 over to my 680, and some light must have leaked into the cartridge, hence the burn at the bottom. It gives it a dreamy effect, which is fitting because the photo kind of captures the sense of quiet and cleanness of snow falling.
So, I got to thinking, with all the snow we’ve been getting lately, it seemed natural to dedicate a blog entry to winter-themed photos. I went through my photostream and picked out what I felt were some of my better winter shots.

This one I took like 7 years ago with a cheap, plastic Polaroid 600 camera…

This is one of those shots where I feel like I captured the perfect moment. I’m happy with the composition. I like that the cool blue of the sky seems like the only color. I love the cottony clouds, the dead trees reaching out. In spite of being taken with one of the crappier Polaroid models, it’s still one of my personal favorites.

This next one was taken in Cavendish, VT….

My fiancee Amy’s parents have taken us to Okemo for several years to ski. I’m not a skier, however. While the rest of her family is on the mountain, I drive around exploring and taking pictures. That barn drew my attention because of the vintage signs and the tired-looking silo. I used one of my last packs of expired Type 88 film, which was possibly my favorite Polaroid film. Expired film for an expired farm scene.

This was also taken at Okemo…

Simple Holga shot, using a cheap Chinese brand of 120 film called Lucky. Amy and I took a stroll down the mountain so I could take some pictures. It was a nice time of day with really good natural light. I like how, because of the Holga’s cheap plastic lens, Amy is what’s in focus, while the image gets foggier toward the edges of the frame.

The next shot was taken in my hometown of Milton, MA.

This line of Massachusetts’ T, the Ashmont-Mattapan High-Speed Line, wasn’t operating for a while due to station renovations. When the renovations were completed, and the line was up and running again, they incorporated the old-fashioned, refurbished trolleys. I sat and waited at this spot for the trolley to come by for probably a half hour in the cold, that’s how badly I wanted this shot. It’s not as “high-speed” as it sounds. I’m fond of this one because it reminds me of vintage postcards.

This next one was taken with my Kodak Instamatic 124 camera…

I used to be a teacher of English at both the high school and middle school in my hometown. At the end of one school day, after my students had been dismissed, I snapped this shot from the library window, of the buses lining up outside the school (Yes, I almost always have a camera in my bag). When I scanned the negatives, I liked the frame next to the bus shot as well, so I took half of each.

Lastly, while this next shot isn’t exactly a winter scene, I felt it was appropriate…

This was part of a series of Polaroids I did of the small illustrations on the back covers of Life Nature Library books. These educational books are amazing. They’re from the 1960s, and cover a variety of topics including birds, primates, the desert, the forest, the mountains and the sea. The above shot features the illustration from the back cover of “The Poles.”

Now, as much as I enjoy these winter shots, I’m very anxious for summer to get here, so I’m thinking maybe I’ll make another blog entry of my favorite summer shots to get people hooped up about summer. Stay tuned.

And why not flip over to My Photo Stream?

Arizona, Part 2.

July 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

In the summer of 2008, I traveled to Arizona with my girlfriend to stay with my cousin and his wife and kids. We had such an amazing time that in April of 2009, I returned, but I was flying solo. As a teacher, I had April school vacation off, but my girlfriend couldn’t get away from work. Again, I shipped a large box of film ahead of myself, but this time, it wasn’t just instant film. I also sent 35mm, 120 and 126 film.

(Taken with a Lomo Supersampler, 35mm film.)

In addition to spending time with my cousin and his family, my goal was to travel to stretches of Route 66 that I hadn’t yet seen. On my prior Route 66 road trip, I had visited points to the east of Flagstaff. This time, I drove north from Phoenix through Flagstaff and went west, first stopping in Williams on 66…

(Polaroid SX-70, 600 film.)

Williams is a small town comprised mostly of motels, restaurants and souvenir shops selling Route 66 t-shirts, shot glasses and magnets. There’s so much history on 66, and the people who live in these small towns through which it ran before being bypassed by Interstate 40 hang onto that history. The signs are neon and the cars are classic. In some ways it looks like it could still be 1960 there. Ash Fork was my next stop, and it was no different…

(Taken with Imperial Instant Load 900, Solaris 126 film.)

Time honestly stands still in these towns. The people there don’t want to let it go, but that’s fine by me. The time warp of 66 fits with vintage cameras and film, so I’m in heaven there. Ash Fork is an even smaller town than Williams, so I passed through quickly on my way toward the next town.

As I mentioned before, Route 66 was decommissioned a few decades ago and bypassed by Interstate 40. Much of 66 no longer exists in the form it used to, but here and there, Old Route 66 forks off of 40, running parallel. The Crookton Road is one such segment. Just to the west of Ash Fork, I jumped onto the Crookton Road…

(Taken with a Holga, Fuji 120 film.)

It’s an 18-mile drive from Ash Fork to Seligman on the Crookton Road, and all it is is open plains. The entire ride, I saw maybe one other car. Driving this stretch of 66 with the windows down blasting Rush’s “Power Windows” album was an experience I can’t really put into words. I hope that you all get a chance to do this in your lifetime. The music is your choice, of course. Next stop, Seligman…

(Taken with a Polaroid Colorpack II, Type 669 film.)

Seligman was a little more lively than Ash Fork and Williams. It’s a very nostalgic piece of 66. It was touristy, with numerous Route 66 memorabilia shops, but it wasn’t tacky. I stopped and walked around a bit with a backpack full of cameras, talked with some of the townspeople and shopkeepers, all extremely friendly and happy to be where they are.

For this trip, Seligman was as far west as I was able to go on 66. I backtracked on I-40 and took Route 89 south toward Prescott, passing through Chino Valley where I found this abandoned homestead…

(Taken with Polaroid Zip, Type 88 film.)

I can’t say enough good things about Arizona and the southwest in general. I can’t wait to go back and cover the remainder of the western portion of 66. Go there if you can!

(Imperial Instant Load 900, Solaris 126 film.)

To see the rest of my photos from this trip, go HERE.

And don’t forget to stop by My Photo Stream to buy some magnets and shot glasses!

either way.

March 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

This is my girlfriend Amy’s sister Becky. One afternoon in October, we went up to the roofdeck of the apartment building where Becky lives with her fiance Scott. I had been wanting to shoot up there on a nice day like this, and I hadn’t shot anything with Beck before. She was game. We shot a bunch of stuff, Polaroid and 120 film, but this shot here was my favorite from that day.
This was taken with my Polaroid Electric Zip camera. Polaroid’s square-format pack film cameras like the Zip and the Square Shooters are some of my favorites to shoot with. I had found an old pack of Type 88 film frozen to the back of my refrigerator and brought it to test it this day, and it worked! It is a crime against humanity that Polaroid discontinued Type 88. 

This photo is one of those rare times when everything works out perfectly. The minimal focal length of the Polaroid Zip is about 3.5 feet, and that must be about exactly how far I am from Becky here. Her posture sums up who she is. A little bit of a lean, little bit of a smile, hair falling just right. Another thing that you really have to get down to a science is development time.  Type 88 is meant to develop for 60 seconds. Less than 60 yields pale, underexposed tones, but more than 60 will give you a darker image with green hues. Development also worked out well here.

I love this photo.

Please visit My Photo Stream.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Zip category at patrick f. tobin • photography blog.