Over the last couple of years, a couple of friends have given me a few rolls of 35mm film, all of them long past their expiration date. Inspired by Chip Litherland’s shooting of expired film at the Daytona 500 and Kentucky Derby, I brought a film camera and four rolls of this expired color film to the Region 2A Track and Field meet last week at East Rockingham High School. (All of these photos were shot with a Canon Elan 7e and 35mm lens. The Elan uses the same lenses as my digital camera, so that made life a little easier.) If you’ve ever been to East Rock, you know it’s in a beautiful location, surrounded by mountains.
The thing about shooting expired film is that you don’t really know whether you’re going to get anything until you get the film back from the lab. A lot depends on how/where the film was stored. We know that this film was at least 20 years old. As film goes past its expiration date, it can lose some of its sensitivity to light, so there’s a “general rule” to overexpose the film one stop for every 10 years past its expiration date. At the time, I wasn’t quite sure of the age of the film, so I overexposed between one and two stops, and that seemed to work pretty well for most of the photos. The color can get a little wacky with expired film, but that’s what make it fun. And, if you’ve read this far, and happen to have some old film laying around in a drawer somewhere, I’d be glad to take it off your hands 😉