An Adventure With Expired Film

When inspiration is lacking for shooting stock (this happens frequently), I like to try something different – new processing techniques, Lensbabys, infrared, a different type of film –  anything really.

So this is a short post for anyone who has wanted to see what happens if you shoot expired colour film in a cheap 35mm compact camera. Something of a ‘Lomography’ type experiment but without a Lomo camera I suppose.

Funfair Ride – Distorted Colours

I’ve tried to reproduce the ‘look’ in Photoshop but failed.

Getting Hold of Expired Film

If you mention to friends or colleagues that you still occasionally shoot film they might ask if you’d like some old print film from the back of the fridge (or a sock drawer). I always say yes, as I don’t have a clue how it will look when it’s processed – which I like a lot. It’s also available on Ebay if you don’t mind paying for it.

So once you’ve got some expired colour print film, it’s probably best to rate it at 1/2 it’s box speed. Overexposure isn’t that much of a problem for print film, and if it’s aged badly it might need a bit more light to help it along.

I’d saved one roll of Kodak Gold for a wander around one Sunday with some photo friends, and one roll for a vintage car rally. Expired film duly loaded into a cheap refurbished Olympus Trip (auto exposure, zone focussing, 40mm lens, no battery required) these are the results. All scanned on a Plustek 7500i and tweaked about a bit in Photoshop (sorry I can’t be more specific).

Day 1 – A Wander Around and About

Expired Film 1

As with all ‘experimental’ photography; I was pleased to get any result at all. This one reminds me of a set from ‘The Prisoner’ – a cult 1960’s British series which is difficult to describe unless you’ve seen it!

Expired Film 2

Expired Film 2

These look far removed from ‘clean’ digital shots which is sort of what I was trying to achieve. Maybe a bit too ‘grungy’.

Expired Film 3

As you can see, this one wasn’t in focus as I forgot  to set the focus zone, but I liked it anyway because of the square ‘bokeh’. This is something I’d never seen before, and a result of the Trip’s square aperture. I might try to use this in some other shots.

Day 2 – The Vintage Car Rally

Vintage Car 2

Vintage Car 3

I’m sure this car was a deep red rather than orange!

Vintage Car 4

Definitely different, and might suit a 1960s/1970s era fashion shoot.

As with most of this kind of photography, it’s down to personal taste. It was a really different photographic experience, having only the wind on wheel, zone focus and shutter button to play with. I liked the results and would encourage anyone else to give it a try if you’re stuck in a photographic rut –  it doesn’t cost much and you never know what you’ll get!


One thought on “An Adventure With Expired Film

  1. Hello Robert,
    anyone writing up his experience with an Olympus Trip really has to be awarded with a big Thank You.
    This camera is a permanent guest in my cars glovecompartment. Always loaded with expired film. Always working, frozen during winter and cooked in summer. I love the results, especially as I shoot about 1 film a year with it. Quite surprising what I’m getting the film back.

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