5 Frames… Of Polaroid Originals on an old Burke & James Orbit 4×5 camera and Ilex Paragon Anastigmat lens – by Nathan Acevedo

April 2020. I purchased my first 4×5 camera, an old Burke & James Orbit 4×5. Learning to use it was immensely fun and rewarding. I noticed an almost immediate change in how I approach my image-making. Roll forward six months and in October 2020 I find myself with a surplus of Polaroid Originals 600 and I-Type film. This is odd, as I am not usually a Polaroid, or Instant, photographer.

So I searched for a fun way to use the film, aside from the original intentions. Lo and behold I found a way to combine the instant with what is almost the furthest from instant there is: that Burke & James Orbit 4×5 camera.

More specifically:

Burke & James Orbit 4x5 camera, Ilex Paragon Anastigmat f:4.5 EF 7 1:2” lens and Polaroid OneStep CloseUp, Nathan Acevedo
Burke & James Orbit 4×5 camera, Ilex Paragon Anastigmat f:4.5 EF 7 1:2” lens and Polaroid OneStep CloseUp, Nathan Acevedo
  • The old Burke & James Orbit 4×5
  • An Ilex Paragon Anastigmat f/4.5 EF 7 1/2” lens
  • The film – Polaroid Originals 600 Color
  • A Polaroid OneStep CloseUp to “develop” the film

Off we go.

Frame 1 – The classic mirror LF selfie

5 Frames... Of Polaroid Originals on an old Burke & James Orbit 4x5 camera - by Nathan Acevedo
5 Frames… Of Polaroid Originals on an old Burke & James Orbit 4×5 camera – by Nathan Acevedo

…did not go well – the focus was off, the lighting was poor. The Polaroid camera I used to develop the image only ejected the frame halfway and I had to pull it out manually. Had a drink and waited til morning to try again.

Frame 2 – Much better

5 Frames... Of Polaroid Originals on an old Burke & James Orbit 4x5 camera - by Nathan Acevedo
5 Frames… Of Polaroid Originals on an old Burke & James Orbit 4×5 camera – by Nathan Acevedo

Made sure the Polaroid sat perfectly flat in the 4×5 film holder. Added some light, nailed my focus. Polaroid camera for developing the frame worked as it should.

Frame 3 – To the patio garden!

5 Frames... Of Polaroid Originals on an old Burke & James Orbit 4x5 camera - by Nathan Acevedo
5 Frames… Of Polaroid Originals on an old Burke & James Orbit 4×5 camera – by Nathan Acevedo

Set up some cacti and succulents. Took the meter reading, focused, loaded the Polaroid frame into the Orbit. Breathe slowly. Take the shot. Then realize, post-development, that I had loaded the Polaroid frame backwards. Cool.

Frame 4 – It’s OK!

5 Frames... Of Polaroid Originals on an old Burke & James Orbit 4x5 camera - by Nathan Acevedo
5 Frames… Of Polaroid Originals on an old Burke & James Orbit 4×5 camera – by Nathan Acevedo

This is what it’s all about, isn’t it? Let’s slow down and try again. I did not slow down. I rushed during the reload and forgot to bring my aperture back to shooting value after checking my focus. Five to six stops overexposed. Realized post-development. Cool.

Frame 5 – …

  • I double-checked it all:
  • The Polaroid frame is flat.
  • The Polaroid frame has the correct orientation.
  • The 4×5 film holder is loaded correctly.
  • My focus is correct.
  • The light hasn’t changed but I take another metering anyway.
  • My shutter speed is correct.
  • The aperture is correctly set.
  • I do a couple of test shutter fires before removing the dark slide. Fires perfectly.
  • Take a breath. Take the shot.
  • Remove and load Polaroid frame into Polaroid camera. It rolls it out as it should.
5 Frames... Of Polaroid Originals on an old Burke & James Orbit 4x5 camera - by Nathan Acevedo
5 Frames… Of Polaroid Originals on an old Burke & James Orbit 4×5 camera – by Nathan Acevedo

The image is under exposed, or rather it looks exactly as it should because I didn’t use a fill light, though I do love the end result regardless. Rationalizing my love of this frame, in order to not try again, also goes off perfectly.

I was in need of a small project to kick my creative flow out of the dam it hit. This helped immensely and I will absolutely be continuing the practice.

At least til the film runs out.

~ Nathan

Submit your 5 Frames... today

Get your own 5 Frames featured by submitting your article using this form or by sending an email via the contact link at the top of the page.

Share your knowledge, story or project

The transfer of knowledge across the film photography community is the heart of EMULSIVE. You can add your support by contributing your thoughts, work, experiences and ideas to inspire the hundreds of thousands of people who read these pages each month. Check out the submission guide here.

If you like what you're reading you can also help this passion project by heading over to the EMULSIVE Patreon page and contributing as little as a dollar a month. There's also print and apparel over at Society 6, currently showcasing over two dozen t-shirt designs and over a dozen unique photographs available for purchase.

Nathan Acevedo

Nathan Acevedo (b. 1987) is an American photographer based in Richmond, Virginia, United States. Nathan uses traditional darkroom processes for as much as his work as feasible. He has shown a total of...

Join the Conversation

4 Comments

 

  1. Nathan, Having gone through a few of these steps myself (sometimes more than once), I really appreciate what you shared. Best of all, at the end of a dismal day, you treated me to some good laughs. Thanks!
    And good luck with your continuing film endeavors.