I have to admit that as much as I’ve enjoyed discovering and using Impossible’s film, which is getting better all the time; there is something to be said about the unpredictability and challenges offered by “difficult” earlier batches.
When I first (re)started on this hobby and shot PX 680’s First Flush; I was very disappointed. But with hindsight and the experience of shooting more and more “full colour” and “more accurate” film; I look back and miss the dreaminess and unpredictability of First Flush.
Well from the grumblings of Impossible’s own website and from Flickr, there is apparently nothing more difficult, unpredictable and challenging than their PX 70 Push film. The Push film is very divisive. Many like, many hate it, many just don’t care. I was told that Push is special in a sense that it represented a branch of what Impossible was trying to do in terms of the chemical composition. This uniqueness has created this special type of film that is unlike anything else available from Impossible.
Thanks to a new friend I made here in Singapore (thanks Zheng Hui) I was able to secure 3 packs of PX 70 Push film. This film is getting rarer to find and is currently only available on the Asian Impossible website and eBay. This is my first photo of Push (above shot at a coffee shop at 11pm) and it’s not bad. Lots of advice from Zheng Hui and the Flickr group. We pushed the exposure all the way to the dark and used a cigarette lighter to warm (push) up the shot. This is an absolute must with Push.
The next day saw me experimenting on my kids. I did get a good shot of Prudence as she was dancing (shot indoors with GE Flash Bar) and this time, I had the aid of a hair dryer which really helped in bringing out some detail to the photo.
The early morning shot of my boys was overexposed, probably because of the white structure of the balcony behind them and the morning sun. This was also a notoriously difficult kind of shot for Push. According to many others, Push works best with lots of light; shade from the sun; lots and lots of heat AND a close-up of one primary object.
And following this advice does yield some good results. A few things jump to mind when using this film. It’s far from perfect and doesn’t yield accurate colours. But it does give you very unique results and much to Impossible’s credit – if this was one of their first go at integral film; the level of detail and sharpness is very good. Another credit to this film is that none of the eight exposures on this pack had any issues at all with undeveloped patches. (I’ve shot 12 shots of Push in total thus far as of this writing). I wonder again if this is to do with the type of chemical balance that went into this film. Note that I’m shooting film that was produced in October 2010, almost two years ago and older than anything else I’ve shot.
The one thing I haven’t tried with this first pack is to shoot outdoors. I need to really go out and take some photos out in bright daylight to get a better feel for this film. Another thing I’m still playing with is the exposure. I was told to push the exposure wheel all the way to the dark and it did yield results in a sense that I didn’t get any bad / blank images that others have reported. However I wonder if this was the cause of me getting a sort of soft-focus effect with the area on the edges of each picture being blurred / blue’d out. I’m already experimenting on my 2nd pack and with the exposure wheel on the light or medium level, I am getting different types of images.
My favourite shot of this pack is also one of my favourite photos I’ve taken with Impossible Film which is quite a surprise I have to say, since so many have complained so much about Push. It’s a snap of my wife looking through a breakfast menu during one of those days when we were able to sneak a few hours away from the kids and everyone else. A very nice day, a very nice meal, and a wonderful photo of my wife from Impossible’s Push PX 70.