Archive for hp5+

Lost and Found

Posted in black & white, film, lost and found, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 6, 2017 by yammerman



6x7027As readers of my last blog will know, I misplaced a film during the windswept expedition to West Wales and, as a lover of a happy ending, I am pleased to report its return.

Gather round….

I went walking yesterday and took the Mamiya 7II out but didn’t take a single shot. When I left, I took a new box of spare film as I have a fear that aliens will descend from the sky suddenly or Lord Lucan will appear strolling on the promenade and I will be stuck without enough film.

On my return, as  I took the spare film from my pocket, I had one of those problem solving revelations that used to strike me quite often as a computer engineer.  I’d be trying to fix something for hours (I’d confess to days but that would make me sound completely hopeless) when suddenly inspiration would strike and the opaque would become transparent.

In this case, the moment I noticed the spare film box was open I knew what some idiot had done and that I would find the lost film inside. This is something I ordinarily never do but in extremis, like a war zone or a little wind and rain on a welsh hill, the centre cannot hold.

As I pulled the film from the box, I still couldn’t quite believe it; had I not brought the full weight of my man looking skills to bear on the search?  Had I not looked several times; would my wife not present this to a jury of my peers as evidence that I cannot find a damn thing?

A man without my moral courage might have just overlooked the whole thing, but when I processed the film in Illford HC  1/31 @20 degree for 6.5 mins I had four images I liked well enough to share.

In Rain and Sun with a Mamiya 7II

Posted in black & white, film, penarth, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2017 by yammerman


I made a visit to West Wales where the stereotype that it would rain the whole time was confirmed by plumes of spray on the motor-way and low cloud pressing down on the hills.  I patiently followed a cement mixer along the winding country roads for many a mile, hypnotised by its slowly turning drum as the rain continued to fall.  I’d come to visit a friend in Cardigan and mount a photo expedition with my Mamiya 7II.  We dined on Shepherd’s Pie and red wine that night; a sound preparation it turns out for the next day and a wet and windy Pentre Ifan.

The following morning, the BBC Weather app normally so unreliable proved accurate as their picture of a cloud with two drops of rain could be confirmed by a drawing back of the curtain.  But a couple of eternal optimists like our good selves were not to be discouraged by the predictions of a supercomputer and so we found ourselves leaning into the wind and rain, my Mamiya 7II wrapped in a plastic bag.

One thing I can confirm is that the ancients did not erect these stones for the purpose of shelter although, when combined with a decently placed umbrella, you can change a 120 film with reasonable speed.  Unfortunately it does appear that you lose the film you take out at this point and it has not as yet turned up.  An enquiry into who was at fault in this matter is yet to be convened.

I normally don’t wander about in the rain with a camera so that may explain why some pretty basic stuff becomes something of a challenge.  Taking the lens cap off and focusing, it turns out, are somewhat essential to photography even when you are trying to keep the damn camera dry.

The ancient gods smiled upon us for our efforts and the cloud base did lift enough that we could see the coast from our lofty position.  We then visited the beach north of the river at Parrog, where the remnant of Storm Brian had left seaweed in great quantities giving the appearance that it was making an attempt to become a land based creature.  It didn’t appear to be raining but the air was full of water, pleasantly warm while clouds hung upon the higher ground.  I imagine in summer it would prove to be rather idyllic. We breakfasted late or lunched early in the Vic North Cafe an establishment of some pedigree and highly recommended.

Then next day as I drove home the autumn sun shone, mist hung in the valleys and the mirth of the photographic gods could be heard echoing through the hills.

I still had 5 shots left in the camera and so, on my return to Penarth on a completely different kind of autumn day, I finished the roll.  I’d processed the two rolls of HP5+ in Ilford HC 1/31 @20 degrees for 6 mins before remembering there must be a third roll I’ve misplaced.  Gratification delayed for an eternity I fear and possibly the greatest images taken but never processed, I like to think.

In a radical move I tweaked them in Lightroom using a colour preset.



West Sussex on a Roll of HP5+.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2016 by yammerman



I’m slowly working through the rolls of exposed film sitting in the darkroom. It’s not quite the 2500 rolls that Gary Winogrand left but given a fair wind with my health and a continued need to click a shutter, a small mountain might yet be in my grasp.

I’m currently processing one at a time just to get a feel for how the chemistry is working.  Using Ilford HC instead of Rodinal gives slightly better grain with Ilford HP5+ to my eye though that is using the Epson V700 rather than darkroom printing. I will fire up the enlarger at some point if only to see the difference.

I used a more concentrated Ilford HC this time at 1+31 instead of 1+47 which at 20degrees only takes 6:30. The HC has turned a tinge of brown in the bottle but still seems to have some potency. A lot less dust this time but I kept the windows closed (I’m a bit of a genius on the quiet) which is somewhat easier with autumn coming on. I changed back to the Ilford wetting agent and scanned the film as soon as it was dry. Still the odd blob but not the blizzard I had been getting.

This roll is shot on the south coast around Emsworth and Chidam. Nothing exciting tweaked in Lightroom with a bit of noise reduction and an Antique preset. Likely  shot with Leica M3 and 50mm Summicron.

Training for a Marathon with a Nikon F3 and 18mm f2.8 Lens

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2014 by yammerman


I’m in training for a marathon; not the 26 mile torture that involves the human body searching for a wall to hit, but the photographic kind. The Cardiff Photo Marathon has been going since 2004 and I try to take part as often as I’m able. The rules require 12 photos in 12 hours on 12 topics supplied 4 at a time throughout the day. Sounds easy enough but it is in fact a grueling test of both your physical and creative stamina.

It was switched to digital a few years back which meant the loss of the delayed gratification that comes with using film.  There are no weeks of excitement now, waiting for the exhibition to see what on earth you captured on your precious roll of film. At the end of a long day, you now know if you have got photographic gold or a series of ‘What was I thinking?’ moments. I realised last time that deleting as I went along was a mistake, because by keeping all your ideas for each topic in chronological order you can then edit the set with a retrospective view on the whole day.  There is nothing wrong with that but it’s quite a different challenge than when you use film. The truth is, I imagine, that plenty of people were taking digital snaps to see how their film idea was going to work……I sure did once or twice.

This year I noticed they were allowing 50 people to use film and in a purist moment of madness, I volunteered for this option.  Since then, I’ve been slightly panicking about what kind of hair shirt I’ve just pulled on. Choosing a camera is exercising me; should I take the easy option of a modern AF or old school manual.  To this end I’ve been shooting with my trusty old Nikon F3HP to see if it can hold up to the challenge. This did not start well and it pains me to confess the first roll didn’t load correctly and, unspotted by me, was failing to wind.  Imagine my horror when I realised this after an hour of purposeful photographic art … oh, how I chuckled.

Chastened by this disaster, I considered abandoning old school in favour of a Nikon F80 but thought I’d probably learnt my lesson and persisted.  This time I made sure I loaded the film correctly in the F3 and selected a Nikon 18mm lens to wander around the Cardiff Barrage.  I’m really not used to shooting this wide and had no idea what to expect which I guess is half the fun.

The viewfinder on the F3 is huge and uncluttered like a HD TV stuck to your eyeball.  That is a great advantage compared to looking at a digital LCD on a sunny day. I did occasionally forget I’d moved the exposure compensation dial and using 18mm as your field of vision increases the danger of tripping over stuff, but not for nothing was this camera a classic.  It feels solid and comfortable while all the controls fall easily to hand.  It was a dull old day and frankly the Barrage has very little new to offer me, but I managed two rolls of HP5 with ease.  By the end, I was warming to the idea of rocking up at the Millennium Centre with this rather lovely machine.

I processed in Ilford HC at 20 degrees   1 to 31 dilution for 6 minutes.  It’s the first time that I’ve used this developer for a while and it always seems stronger than I expect, resulting in over-processed negatives –  not so great for scanning.  It all gets a bit grainy for my tastes, so I’ll probably increase the dilution next time.  A tweak in Lightroom 4, with some Antique preset, and I’m done.


Ordering the Chaos with a Bessa R2a and Canon 50mm LTM.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2012 by yammerman

I went for another wander in the environs of Chidam armed with my Bessa  R2a (which has mysteriously started working again) and the Canon 50mm F1.4 LTM. It was late afternoon and I wandered alone as the sun sank in the west. A roll of Hp5+ was followed by Rollei 400s which gave me about 50 shots. I processed the two films in Rodinal; Hp5 needs less time than the Massive Dev chart states and Rollei 400s needs exactly what it says.   I scanned and loaded them into Lightroom and selected those with which I was most pleased.

It is at this point my ruminations began, as once more it was the shots where I had control of the frame that appealed to me most. They are the details and patterns, mostly small pieces of the world. I vaguely remember reading that this kind of photography is the photographer trying to bring order to a chaotic world and I’m not adverse to that view.

A friend of mine once wrote a line that went ‘Everything I see, I see with a camera’  and it has come back to haunt me in the years since I have taken up photography. Before I did photographic courses, I took mostly snaps just recording the passage of life. The only time I used a camera extensively  was on a year long trip to Australia and it was there I can see I started to try and record small details. It was 10 years later when being taught photography that I became aware how drawn I was to shoot like this when left to my own devices.

What had been an instinctive thing was distilled by the intensity of being taught something new. The way I saw the world actually changed by looking at it through a viewfinder.  Everything I saw, I did indeed see with a camera. Now I walk around even without a camera thinking details, frames, light, shade and patterns.  I don’t think it’ll ever go away now as what could be better than a pattern of bricks, a fence or an old drain cover.

And have I succeeded in bringing order to a chaotic world?  Well, judging by the news these days  that seems to have been a spectacular failure but what else is there to do but keep on trying.

Large Format Macro with Wista VX and Nikon 120mm.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2010 by yammerman

Back in the garden again for some 5×4’s I’ve had waiting to develop for an age. Shot some time in the summer with a Wista VX and Nikon 120mm Macro. I had thought I might have a problem with these as I’d left them so long but I guess my dark slides really are light tight.

 I’m not sure if I’ve processed large format HP5+ in Rodinal before and if I have I don’t remember. I went for a 1:50 dilution of the Rodinal  at 24degrees C for 7 minutes. I use three trays in complete darkness with a pair of skin-tight rubber gloves and a speaking clock, the Cobolt Talking Timer , for the times. Operating the clock is the hardest part, but once you’ve set it in motion it’s fine. It is always a relief to hear the first count off to know I pushed the right button.

 Ten minutes in the dark is plenty enough time for me, so I switch light on about half way through the fix time and it was a joy to see 6 evenly developed negatives . This isn’t always the case as finding ways to screw this up is one of my specialities. Washed for an hour then dipped in a diluted solution of Ilfotol.

 Hung them up to dry and waited to see how many scratches and bits of dust would spoil the whole thing. The scans revealed the usual problem with dust but nothing too horrendous; all in all I’m pretty pleased.

 I’m set up now to print these large and I think I’ve a couple here that might be worth doing. In the meantime, to undo all the hard work, here’s the the digital versions which really don’t do them justice.

Chidam with Fotoman 45PS and Schneider 90mm Super Angulon

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2010 by yammerman


I’m trying to catch up with some stuff I’ve done recently, mostly slowed down by the tedium of scanning. Took the Fotoman 45PS to the in laws in West Sussex where there is a an old building that I’ve been particularly attracted to over the years. I rattled off far too many images too quickly, some on a family walk, and thus the blunder rate was higher than I’d hoped. This included accidently pulling the darkslide off a previously exposed shot and crumpling the film when trying to put the darkslide back in. It’s a heart sinking moment when you realise a hard won image has been trashed by your own incompetance at some stage in the procedure. I also had evidence of chemcial flow on some of the shots when I scanned them so I’ve invented a new way for things to go wrong. I’m guessing it’s some weakness in my technique when tray processing. Still I’m reasonably happy with what remains and I got the barn. 

Shot with a Schneider 90mm F8 Super Angulon with HP5+. Processed in trays using Xtol 1+1 and scanned using Epson V700.