Frugal Film Project – May update

A short-roll this month as it turned out. Most of my hand rolled cassettes have 30-36 exposures but for some reason this one had less than 20. A fact I only found out when I got to my ultimate destination and found just one frame left in the camera. Ho hum, the FFP has been good at throwing curved balls so far this year so I wasn’t that surprised. Slightly disappointed as I was looking forward to exploring a new-to-me location.

The FED-4 performed impeccably again although this time out I paired it with a new-to-me lens that had only arrived that morning. The Jupiter 11 lens has a focal length of 135mm and a maximum aperture of f4. This isn’t the time or place for a lens review. However, my lack of experience with the lens, indeed I have limited experience of using a telephoto lens within the urban environment, meant that not ever image worked out. By the end of the short roll though I was starting to get my eye in I thought.

Polling station selfie

The viewfinder of the FED-4 is calibrated for the 50mm lens so with a 50mm lens fitted you focus and compose using the same viewfinder. Fit a 135mm lens though and whilst you still focus using the viewfinder you need to fit an external viewfinder to the cold shoe in order to compose the image. It was an interesting experience especially as mine kept sliding out of the cold shoe which made for some fun and games.

Depth of field is going to be a big consideration with this lens
I even managed an image for a forthcoming project – “Peeking”

So, despite the disappointment of an unexpected short roll I really enjoyed this month’s roll. The 135mm lens will add a new dimension to using this camera too; I just need to practice a bit more with it before June!

WPPD 2023: the runners-up

I used eight sheets of Acros for my WPPD entry this year, of which just one will be submitted to the WPPD portfolio. I’ve narrowed it down to two (see previous post) but what of the others? Well, of the eight, one sheet just didn’t work out for me, but the others are presented here for posterity along with the shortlisted two.

I probably need to take the processing for this one!

I chose an iconic location and made the iconic composition albeit with a pinhole camera. I then explored a few compositions that I’ve previously photographed with a lensed camera, before my final two sheets which were a composition I’d not spotted prior to that visit. Whilst I did take them with the Canon VL before leaving the two sheets through the ONDU 5×4 Rise pinhole camera were the first and they are also the shortlisted pair.


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