Expired film – embracing unexpected outcomes

Untitled (Gardening For Ordnance series) 2023 copyright Douglas Stockdale –

A couple of days ago, I wrote an article about the need to embrace unexpected outcomes when solar printing cyanotype prints. So imagine my surprise when last night I obtained the film scan results from a lens test while using some of last reserves of expire 120 film. I did not see this coming, but I really am enjoying the surrealist results!

Backstory; I recently purchased (finally, why did I take so long?) a used, but in really good shape, a 50mm f/4 Distagon lens for the Hasselblad. I realized that I needed to quickly do a film check to ensure that the lens was operating properly in order to determine if I should send it back within the short grace period. When firing the lens for the various shutter speeds, the progression sound seemed appropriate, but the only way to evaluate the lens shutter speed and aperture openings was to run a couple of rolls of film though it.

So I went on a short local walk to photograph some of the landscape that I have been contemplating for my long term project, Gardening For Ordnance, living on a decommissioned WWII practice bombing range here in Southern California. And I was going to use some of my expired 120 film, which in this case was FujiChrome Provia 100F (RDPIII), and all three 120 rolls had expired in June 2005, some 18 years ago.

The image above is from the first roll, initial exposures and from my calculations, a trifecta exposure…potentially four, as I can not tell for sure and that four would correspond to my frame count of 12 for a single 120 roll. I have not had any multiple exposures with this Hasselblad and 120 back, so my guess is that this might be related to the use of the expired 120 film. Sometimes when using the expired film, weird things occur and I have an unexpected outcome. Such as this one. And it is the only multi exposure frame from all three rolls of film.

Interestingly, I had composed all of the exposures with a similar center balanced framing, thus the overlay of the multiple images stacks up in a very complementary manner. One tree is in bloom, while another was bare and just starting to bud out. Too funny, but when this film results came back, both of these trees had evolved, the large white blooms of one are gone and the other has a nice amount of spring foliage; so if I want either of the intended images, I need to remember and do this over next year. One of the downsides of using film, eh?

I also completed a preliminary assessment of this image as potential cyanotype and I can see its immense potential. So this image has quickly joined my short list to print as a solar cyanotype for further evaluation. Cool!!

Going to make some sweet lemonade from this unexpected ‘lemon’.

Cheers & make every day an Earth Day



 The Flow of Light Brushes the Shadow, an artist book from Singular Images Press, Fall 2022 release, $60.00 (CA sales tax for those residing in the USA) plus shipping expenses. Message me douglas.stockdale.artist@gmail.com or singularimagespress@gmail for shipping details and PayPal invoice.

Note: The Artist Special Edition (book + extra print) is Sold Out.


One thought on “Expired film – embracing unexpected outcomes

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: