Five Tickets to Ride Day and Night

After my recent success in mixing vintage Verichrome Pan film with Kodak Instamatic film (88 Minutes in Chinatown), I wanted to try this splitfilm trick again.  And I wanted to create something that was a “day versus night” exposure, using the lights of an amusement park or the midway of a county fair to build my image.

With that, I loaded a roll of 616 backing paper with four – yes, four – 12-exposure Kodak Gold 200 Instamatic films.  Trust me, these films are so old, they were probably manufactured just before the Berlin Wall came down.  So although I’m taking a big chance in using all these films due to their age, I’m figuring that if I use four films, I’m increasing my odds that at least one or two of the films will be fresh enough to produce images.

It’s Tuesday night and I’m at the Altamont Fair.  I’m hoping for a nice clean view of the Ferris wheel on the midway, as arranged by the ride company Dreamland Amusements.

And lo and behold … I get lucky.

I set up my AGFA Clipper Special f/6.3 camera, tripod mounted and ready to go.  I adjust the focus, the aperture, the shutter speed … primitive as it is on this 1930’s-era camera … and then I wait.  The sun – at my back – will drop behind the Helderberg mountains very soon.  I should be able to get some great static shots of the Ferris wheel here.

Ferris Wheel. AGFA Clipper Special f/6.3 camera, Kodak Verichrome Pan film. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

So this is one of the exposures, captured with Kodak Verichrome Pan film, taken at about 6:30 p.m in the early evening.  There’s still sunlight in the sky, so there’s some visible cloud cover here.

After I used up the Verichrome Pan roll, I waited for about an hour – waited for the sun to set – and loaded my prepared roll of Instamatic film.

Let’s make magic.

Ferris wheel top. AGFA Clipper Special f/6.3 camera, Kodak Instamatic Gold 200 film. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

Meanwhile, while the top of the Ferris wheel was captured by one roll of Instamatic film, the bottom of the Ferris wheel was snagged by a second roll of Instamatic film.

Ferris wheel bottom. AGFA Clipper Special f/6.3 camera, Kodak Instamatic Gold 200 film. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

So out of five films exposed that night – two of the Instamatics and the Verichrome Pan came out with useable images.  The other two films were just too old to achieve a workable image.  Good thing I went with a safe bet, eh?

Now comes the post processing.  Adjusting levels.  Cropping.  Masking.  Tightening.

Ooh, this has a chance.

And then … finally … I posted a test image on social media.  It was received favorably.

But I noticed that one of the Instamatic images was just a hair out of alignment.  And it just looked … off.

So I re-adjusted.  I grabbed another Instamatic image from the batch.

And here’s the final result.

Five Tickets to Ride Day and Night. AGFA Clipper Special f/6.3 camera, Kodak Instamatic Gold 200 film (two rolls) and Kodak Verichrome Pan B&W film. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

Bang.  Not only do I have the Ferris wheel’s perimeter perfectly lined up, I also have some of the spokes going THROUGH that Instamatic frame’s lug hole.  AND you can make out the Kodak labeling on the Instamatic rolls.

Yeah.  Chuck likes this.  Likes this like Freddy Cannon likes Palisades Park.

I named this picture “Five Tickets to Ride Day and Night,” an allusion to the amusement parks where you had to purchase blocks of tickets to ride certain rides – two tickets for a kiddie ride, maybe six tickets for a roller coaster or one of those scrambler rides.  I figured a Ferris wheel was a five-ticket ride at the most – or maybe it was three tickets for a single ride, but a couple extra tickets earned an all day – and all night – excursion.


I know, I know … I’ve been going on this resurrected Instamatic film kick for ages.

It just means that at some point in time … I’ll get the image I want.

I don’t care how many tries it takes.

All I care is that the last image I capture is the best image I can achieve.