why i drove 400 miles to take a polaroid

polaroid night photography at the very large array (vla) outside of datil, new mexico.

day one of 'Roid Week 2008


if you are interested in how i did this, it's kinda easy...


a) set your polaroid sx-70/680/690 on a tripod. they don't lock too well to the tripod btw, be careful about overtightening.


b) set focus to manual and focus on infinity.


c) cover the photocell with a finger while pressing the shutter.


d) after the shutter has fired, open the front of the camera using the release (like you use to take out/put in film). this turns off the electronics and locks the shutter open. as soon as you are doing this, the film is being exposed....


e) start timing..... when you think you've gone long enough, close the front of the camera and then fire the shutter button again. in a short moment the film will eject.


f) wait... look at the pola with a flashlight, or even better in the car/house. reshoot as needed. i tried basing the exposure off the D3, but it didn't work. reciprocity failure, i suppose....



oh! and the reason that the dish is lit up like that was that the (more-or-less) full moon had just risen a couple of minutes before the shot. the colors in the sky are from the twilight, not light pollution.

  • fotonomous 7y

    i've been to the VLA - a very unique place! but i was there in the daytime - a night capture is very cool indeed!
  • Lady Vervaine 7y



  • Peter S. 7y


    Btw, I got a sunrise shot that required getting up at 4:00 and having a 1200m ascend to get there. It was worth the effort. And so was Yours! :-)

    Best regards
  • Keren Fedida 7y

    i would too. oh we have already.
  • David Teter 7y

    @keren fedida we should have stayed an hour longer... i still have the fireworks. :)
  • Percy Duran 7y

    I can see why. great work
  • Narciso P. Antúnez 7y


    SAL, U2
  • jeff tolentino 7y

    seriously awesome
  • Megan Dugan 7y

    Fantastic! happy to have you on my contacts, and proud to be a native new mexican
  • Aaron 7y

    AWESOME!!! I really wanna check out the VLA
  • gab- 6y

    tanks for your tecnique!
  • 28may2013 6y

    very nice
  • Shålaco 6y

    Amazing amazing shot.
    And thanks so much for sharing your polaroid hack!
    I used to live in Datil NM oddly enough.
    Some of my most beautiful memories are from the VLA.

    Mad props!
  • sproutgrrl 6y

    Wowzers! That is completely awesome!!!
  • Myron Hensel 6y

    Quite the photo, major props. Love the feel.
  • Martin Wallgren 6y

    This is absolutely amazing and very inspiring. Makes me wanna grab a rare pack of Polaroid 600 even more. Thanks for showing!
  • j.furino 6y

    This has to be one of my favorite photos on Flickr, no lie.
    Just...everything about it is fascinating.
    Amazing job.
  • jojonas~ 5y

    both a very nice photo and a good instruction. thanks! :)
  • Jess Harvey 5y

  • enriquevw 4y

    so good!
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Taken on April 21, 2008
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