Why haven’t I tried this film in 35mm before? I’m talking about Fomapan 100, a film I’ve used extensively in 5×4 sheet form with good results. Yet until Sunday I’d never tried it in the small format.

Despite being on a quest to reduce the number of film stocks I keep on hand I do need to pick up some more of this to give it a proper work out I think. In the meantime here’s a few of the images from this first roll. All images Leica IIIf, Elmar 50mm f3.5 lens and no filters. Developed in R09 (1+25).

Toned in Snapseed
My favourite of the roll

So, there we have it. A revelation and leaving me wondering if Fomapan 100 might replace Ilford FP4+ in my bag? The Achilles Heel of the film is of course it’s reciprocity curve, but I don’t use 35mm for pinhole photography and don’t tend to use anything slower than 1/30th second with 35mm cameras so that’s not a major issue.

I’ve picked my favourite from the roll … what’s yours?

World Pinhole Photography Day – on location

Well it took some negotiation but I managed a pass for WPPD despite grandson having a rugby match close enough for us to get to easily. Negotiations only concluded the night before and so I awoke on WPPD with no clear idea on a location. I’d only decided on the camera I’d be using the night before.

I decided to use the ONDU 5×4 Rise, packing an orange filter and eight sheets of expired Fuji Acros (original not the current Acros II) in the shoulder bag with it. In previous years I’ve used two pinhole cameras but I wanted to keep things simple this year. For the same reason I left the spot meter at home and took the TT Artisan cold shoe meter with me and cross-checked exposures with my phone.

On location
Metered at 1/10th second became a twenty second exposure

Still undecided on exactly where to go I jumped in the car and allowed myself to go with the flow. I found myself heading into Halifax and at that moment made a decision. The snicket it would be.

Unusually for me a “shot list” began to form in my mind. Two from the bottom (the traditional viewpoint), two half way up and two of the bridge at the top. The composition for the final two sheets would occur to me once I was on location I thought, as indeed it did.

The third composition

So, eight sheets of expired Acros 100 have been exposed, I will hopefully get to develop them tomorrow morning and once they have been developed, dried and digitised I will be back with WPOD – the images.


35mm lucky dip – a mini project

At the start of this year I decided that this would be the year that I used up all the odd rolls of 35mm film in the fridge so that I could start 2024 with just three 35mm film stocks in my kit bag. I also want to standardise my developing regime too and start the new year with no more than three, perhaps four, developers in regular use. Looking in my odds-n-sods box yesterday I realised that whilst I’ve made some inroads I’m not likely to meet my objectives unless I stop using my go-to Ilford films for a while. I’m using far more 35mm film this year owing to my rangefinder experiments but I am constantly falling back on my old favourites of Ilford HP5+ and FP4+, especially for testing cameras. I actually ran out of Ilford HP5+ a few weeks back, necessitating the purchase of a 100 foot bulk roll.

Ilford HP5+ | Leica IIIf

Indeed, I’ve just totted up and found I’ve used 16 different B&W film stocks this year so far and used 9 different developers (it will be 10 when I open the 510 Pyro that arrived in the week). There are other films in my fridge I’ve not used before so 16 won’t be sweet 16 for much longer if I do manage to make inroads into my stockpile. So much for 2023 being the year I simplify my workflow!!!

Ilford Delta 100 | Canon VT de luxe

So, in an attempt to move things along I’ve just put my hand in and drawn out four films at random. These will be the next four 35mm rolls I use. Given that I’ve some weird and wonderful films in the box, including some 2 and 5 ISO films, I was amazed that of the four random films three were rated at 100 ISO. The next four films I will be using therefore are:

Adox CHS-100 II
Adox HR-50 (a bulk-loaded roll gifted to me)
Kodak ProImage 100 (colour!)
Orwo UN54 (also a bulk-loaded gif

I will make individual posts for each of these rolls in due course. For now the CHS-100 has been loaded into the Canon VL2 paired with the Jupiter 12 35mm lens. The ProImage is in the Leica IIIf. A deliberate choice as the Leica is perfect for my exploration of the photographic style of Saul Leiter and whilst he did use black and white film he is better known for his use of colour. I doubt that I will use this roll up as quickly as the other three.

Adox Silvermax 100 | Leica IIIf

So, there you have it. A small-scale project that should produce four more blog posts too. I just need to pull my finger out and make some inroads into my odds-n-sods box.

Stoating without intent

Finding myself in Batley recently with an hour to kill I did what comes naturally and took what fellow #believeinfilm photographer John F calls “a wee stoat”. Armed with a Canon VT rangefinder camera (not something JF would probably choose) and a roll of Ilford Delta 100 I turned my back on the car and went in search of some images.

I rarely, if ever, go out with a clear plan or objective. Occasionally I will have the aim of making some pinhole images for example but rarely is there a clear plan with regards to subjects. This wander was no exception and I simply attached a yellow filter to the Canon 50mm lens, set my cold-shoe meter to ISO50, slipped my hand through the wrist strap and set forth. You could say I was about to go stoating without intent, which is just how I like it!

No, not that Jessops

Back home with the developed film on the light pad I noticed a fair few images that could loosely be described as architectural and the thought occurred that these would make a nice little set for a blog post. I therefore copied the negatives with a digital camera (oh, the irony) and uploaded them to my tablet.

I’m just a tinkerer at heart and whilst I spend very little time these days using Photoshop or indeed on the computer I do use the tablet every day and do 99% of my photo editing on this handheld device. My app of choice for this is Snapseed and I’ve a pretty consistent workflow these days designed to keep my photo editing to a minimum. My go-to adjustments are both global and local contrast tweaks, sometimes correcting the exposure and regularly applying good old-fashioned dodging and burning to an image. Occasionally however I will go off-piste as it were and play with some of the filters and effects that are also part of the software but rarely in my sights. Today I added a “noir” filter to one of the architectural images, liked the effect and applied it to a few others. The results are here for you to see.

I’m part-way through writing an initial appreciation of the rangefinder cameras that I’ve been playing with recently for this blog. I have also just concluded the purchase of a lovely little Leica IIIf from another #believeinfilm stalwart who I’ve got to know through the Twitter community. I am a somewhat anti-social individual at heart, enjoying my own company (something I learnt during my working life where I was often away on my own working) but the #believeinfilm community on Twitter is changing that at quite a pace!

Think I prefer this version

So, I hope you like these images; do let me know what you think in the comments.

I can’t resist a bin (dedicated to Andrew K)
A little slice of AC heaven

Three Sheets of Acros 100

I recently came across my few remaining 5×4 sheets of the original Acros 100; expired 12/2016 but as I’d stored it in the cellar at a constant, cool temperature I was pretty confident it would be just fine so decided against making any exposure adjustments to allow for age. Spoiler alert: it was just fine.

Intrepid 5×4 | 180mm lens | Acros 100 | f32 | 1/4 sec | no filters
Intrepid 5×4 | 180mm lens | Acros 100 | f32 | 1 sec | orange filter
Chroma Snapshot 5×4 | 65mm lens | Acros 100 | f22 | 1/4 sec | orange filter

For the curious I developed these sheets in Moersch Finol staining developer at a ratio of 1+1+100 for 17 minutes at 20° using my trusty Stearman tank.

Three Sheets

Having been using 35mm rangefinder cameras almost exclusively for a few months now I decided it was time for a change. What could be more of a change than putting the Intrepid 5×4 large format camera in the car and taking that for a spin. I made three exposures using the 180mm lens. Unfortunately, my spot meter chose that morning to go on strike so I was left to meter the scene with my phone. Not ideal for large format film but it worked out OK in the end.

Fomapan 100 | F32 | 1/4 sec | no filter
Fomapan 100 | F32 | 1 sec | orange filter
Fomapan 100 | F32 | 1/2 sec | orange filter (toned in post)

Back home I developed the sheets in HC-110 (diluted 1+31) for six minutes at a temperature of 20° and hanging the wet sheets to dry I was immediately struck by the amount of detail and also the range of tones captured. The lack of a spot meter and the reliance on average metering from my phone did not appear to have been a problem. I shall however be investigating the problem with my spot meter as it is invaluable in more difficult or complex lighting situations. Fortunately the location I chose for these sheets was fairly straightforward to meter for.

I did take a couple of sheets of Fuji Acros with me. I shall pop those two sheets in a separate post however.

End of the roll

Yesterday’s post had a definite theme but there were a few images on the end of the roll of HP5+ that didn’t fit the theme. So, rather than waste them I thought I’d post them on there own this morning.

Looking over my shoulder as I carefully negotiated the cobbles downhill
Last look back over my shoulder at the snicket
North Bridge sneaking in from the left, the modern flyover just creeps in top right too – user error!
Halifax flyover, designed to ease town centre congestion, and traffic using North Bridge, it was completed in 1973.
A last look back at the snicket from the car park
The last one on the roll

Revisiting the Snicket

There’s a famous 1937 photograph by Bill Brandt simply titled The Snicket. Taken on a visit to Halifax it’s one of a handful of images he made along the route of a now long-disappeared railway line. I’ve traced many of the locations but this one was most poignant as I’d unwittingly been parking next to it for quite a while when picking up the wife from work. I’ve written about it on this blog many times and this week I returned for a brief visit whilst the wife was shopping nearby.

The Snicket is actually a steep, cobbled slope leading up to the old railway bridge and Brandt made his famous photograph from the bottom of the slope looking up along its length. Seen in context it has little of the brooding presence of that 1937 composition; which can still be seen today albeit with an overhanging tree coming in from the right that wasn’t present back then.

I had the Fed 4 rangefinder with me, the N61 55mm lens and a couple of short rolls of film. One was Kentmere 400 for the FFP and the other my everyday film Ilford HP5+.

An overview of the wider scene, the bridge would have been there in Brandt’s time. The Snicket is just behind the modern concrete pillar to the right of the frame. That is one of the modern flyover supports and wouldn’t have been there in 1937.

Apart from the number of cars the area is little changed from the 1930s. The old mills have been renovated and whilst the carpet manufacturers and the like have long gone the buildings still bustle with new industry. Travel agency, insurance company, art gallery and a hairdressers for example. There’s even a small theatre company based there.

This visit was short. I walked there from the supermarket car park and after photographing the snicket from the bottom I walked up the steep cobbles to the top where it joins the railway bridge. Pausing to load a new roll of film I made some images looking down the snicket and also captured some of the graffiti on the old bridge which is still in daily use as a footpath. All too soon though my phone beeped and I was summonsed back to the car. It’s no hardship though, I’ve photographed this location many, many times in the past. Here’s to many more visits too!

Looking back down from halfway up
Looking up from halfway down
From the top looking the other way. To the right is the site of the long-gone railway line that served the mills in the Dean Clough complex.
Stood on the site of the old railway line looking back at the snicket

The Frugal Film Project – April update

Up until two days ago I was planning on knocking this project on the head. I was encouraged to participate on the basis that it would be interesting and fun. Well, it has been interesting but as for the fun. Hhhmmm.

The Sprocket Rocket (RIP) sent me down a rabbit hole of testing the film before it departed this life. The Zenit XP works but it is an absolute pain in the butt to remove the film from and I just can’t be bothered with the hassle. It was time I felt to throw in the towel. Until, I had a brainwave. The Soviet-era FED 4 (£29 + p&p) sat on my shelf would be ideal. It fits the budget and it works.

So, today, just a week before the end of the month, I loaded the April roll of Kentmere 400 and headed into Halifax. Returning home I loaded the film into the tank, poured in stock Perceptol and sat back to wait for the negatives to dry.

It was worth it too! For the first time since I started the FFP I’m keen to share the results. I’ve had good reports from friends of mine regarding Kentmere 400 and this is the first roll thus far where I can share the same thoughts. Gritty, grainy. Well yes, but in a good way. This roll has soul almost!

So, here are a good selection from the April roll, I hope you enjoy them too.

A Sunday Stroll with Saul

“I go out to take a walk, I see something, I take a picture. I take photographs. I have avoided profound explanations of what I do.”

Saul Leiter

Today I did indeed go for a walk. Nothing unusual in that. I did see something(s) too and took photographs. Whilst walking I was pondering the quote from Saul Leiter (above) and, without wishing to be pretentious, I was thinking, not for the first time recently, how well these words chime with my own thoughts. I’m not however comparing my work to Leiter’s, I’m simply acknowledging my debt to him and his influence on my own photography.

Out for exercise
Camera ever present
No explanations

Today I decided to walk to the top of Elland and have a stoat around a more residential area, where some of the larger and more expensive properties are to be found. The walk started along familiar lines from my front door but, having done the hard bit and slogged up the long, steep hill to the Memorial Park I suddenly decided I’d rather wander around the grittier centre of town.

Start of the walk – Canon VT
I got to the top of the hill to the left … and changed my mind!

A quick change of direction and I was cutting back and down through the park towards the town centre. Sub-consciously at first but with a growing realisation that what had prompted the about turn was that what I wanted to do was photograph shop windows! Saul Leiter was inside my sub-conscious it seemed. The ad-hoc reflected-self-portraits of last week are slowly evolving into a more considered project it seems. I had two cameras with me, both ideally suited to the purpose too.

Spot the ‘tog – Canon VT
Shop windows – Canon VT
Dowload our app – Canon VT

At the start of the walk I was switching back and forth between the two cameras. The Canon VT, loaded with Ilford Delta 100, was fitted with the lovely Canon 50mm f1.4 lens and a deep yellow filter. Jon’s Leica IIIf meanwhile was loaded with Ilford HP5+ (rated at ISO 250) and sported the 35mm Jupiter 12 lens and an orange filter. However, as I reached the edges of the centre I popped the Leica back in my shoulder bag and used just the Canon.

Doubt they will be able to do much for my “hair”
Canon VT
Canon VT – The Restaurant through the bus shelter
Leica IIIf

This last month or so I’ve really got into the swing of using rangefinder cameras after decades of avoiding them in favour of SLR cameras. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times; I’m not getting any younger and the fact I can drop these rangefinders in a pocket really appeals. My back appreciates this new-found interest in the format too.

Canon VT

I’ve used three different Leicas, three Zorki 4/4K cameras, a Fed4 and of course the Canon VT de luxe. Of these the Barnack Leicas have definitely wormed their way into my photographic heart and it is only a matter of time before I give way and buy my own. The Canon VT however has been a revelation. Manufactured in the year I was born I found an immediate affinity with this camera and it’s barely been out of my hand since I got it.

Canon VT
Canon VT – next stop the pub next door
Leica IIIf

As I reached the further edges of the centre and turned for home I found myself outside the craft pub run by our local brewery. It would’ve been rude not to pop in and say “hello”. Suitably refreshed I swapped the Canon for the Leica noting there were ten frames left on the short roll of HP5+. The final leg of my walk was along very familiar ground and I finished the roll of HP5+ with a couple of images of the local bakers window.

Canon VT
Tasty Bites – Canon VT

I had some Perceptol stock made up specifically for the HP5+ which I metered at 250 deliberately as I find pulling the film in this way and developing with stock Perceptol gives some lovely negatives. I decided to also treat the Delta 100 to a bath in Perceptol too for simplicity.

Leica IIIf
Leica IIIf

As I’ve mentioned, I’m new to rangefinder cameras but it seems that I’ve taken to them like the proverbial duck to water. Their small size and the ease with which I can carry not just one but two has been a revelation. Today I was using black & white film and the twin bodies enabled me to have both my preferred 35mm focal length covered but also the 50mm which I’m slowly falling back in to using. I started all those years ago with 50/55mm prime lenses but slowly over the years gravitated towards 28/35mm as my preferred focal length. I have a Zorki 4 sat on my desk loaded with colour film too and could quite easily add that to my shoulder bag without really noticing the added weight/bulk.

Anyway. I trust you’ve enjoyed your afternoon wander through town with me. Catch you again soon!