New Year’s Eve 2019 & Push Processing HP5

The last time I push processed a roll of film was about ten years ago. A friend asked me to take some pictures at his 50th birthday party. Things didn’t work out so well and I only ended up with a couple of frames I was happy with. We don’t talk about it now.

But time heals, and I reckoned it was time to give it another go. I’ve recently started to reacquaint myself with Ilford HP5. It’s less contrasty than my usual Tri-X and Tmax 400, so I thought it’d be a good candidate for pushing.

I decided to go for two stop push and shot at EI 1600. Microphen is a great developer for pushing, and I coupled that with a carefully restrained agitation routine in order to control the grain and contrast. Thirty seconds agitation initially, and then one gentle inversion every thirty seconds. For the final third of development, I reduced the inversions to one a minute. This is a well-known technique to reduce the grain, and it seems to have worked well, with a really pleasing level of grain and tonality. Inevitably, some of the blacks are a bit crushed and lacking detail, but I don’t think it matters for these type of shots. They’re not fine art landscapes and I’m not Ansel Adams.

Anyway, this was my New Year’s Eve: friends, kids, dogs, beer and games. I’d like to have plenty more of all those things in 2020, with the possible exception of beer. Although I say that every year.

Nikon F100 / Ilford HP5 shot @ 1600 / Push Processing HP5, Developed in Microphen stock for 11 minutes

Push Processing HP5

Push Processing HP5

HP5 Pushed 1600

Push Processing HP5

HP5 Pushed 1600

Push Processing HP5

HP5 Pushed 1600

Push Processing HP5

HP5 Pushed 1600

Push Processing HP5

HP5 Pushed 1600

Push Processing HP5

Push Processing HP5

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square, London

The International Monetary Fund is not known for being a hotbed of radical eco-warriors.

Nevertheless, in September 2019 they said the following:

The risk of catastrophic and irreversible disaster is rising, implying potentially infinite costs of unmitigated climate change, including, in the extreme, human extinction.

In the run-up to the 2016 Brexit referendum, politician Michael Gove attempted to dismiss the negative economic forecasts. “People in this country have had enough of experts”, he famously said. These days, everybody considers themselves to be an expert. Whether it’s Brexit, Climate Change, or championship whist, the internet has allowed the democratisation of truth. Each of us is now entitled to our own version of the facts.

In my wayward youth when I was still smoking cigarettes, it was the evidence of Doctors rather than tobacco giants that convinced me to quit.

When CFCs were suspected of causing the hole in the ozone layer, I believed the scientists rather than the deodorant manufacturers.

I’m not an expert. I’m neither a scientist nor an academic. All I can do is put my trust in those that I find the most credible. Consequently, I’m going with the overwhelming majority of scientists who believe that immediate action on climate change is needed to avert serious consequences. This is in spite of what some bloke on Twitter says.

I broadly support the aims and methods of Extinction Rebellion. I support ‘using non-violent direct action to persuade governments to act justly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency’. And however unpopular they are in some quarters, I believe it’s having an impact.

And yes, they’ve caused a lot of inconvenience for many people. But in the future, if your grandchildren ask you why you’ve handed them such a mess, I don’t want you to have to tell them it was too inconvenient to do otherwise.

N.B. There’s a lot of photos here, but I spent two days with them and shot three rolls of film.
Extinction Rebellion, Trafalgar Square, London / Nikon F90X & Nikon F100 / Kodak Tmax 400 / Developed in D76 +1

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Bertie News | Episode 03: 12-14 Weeks Old

These photos might give the impression that Bertie’s a sleepy, placid puppy.

What they actually demonstrate is that it’s only worth trying to get a decent picture when he’s sleepy. True to the working cocker spaniel breed, Bertie’s energy levels are off the scale. The good news is that now he’s had all his vaccinations, he can burn some of that energy off outside in the fields.

Nikon F100 / Ilford HP5 / Developed with Bellini Foto EcoFilm (Liquid Xtol)

Bertie the working Cocker Spaniel Puppy

Bertie the working Cocker Spaniel Puppy

Bertie the working Cocker Spaniel Puppy

Bertie the working Cocker Spaniel Puppy

Don’t worry Coco – you’re still top dog

Coco the working Cocker Spaniel

Thoughts On Ilford HP5

I’ve probably shot most of the popular black & white films over my four decades of shooting film. In more recent years I’ve tried to whittle my choices down to a handful of films that give me consistent, predictable results. The downside of this is that I can’t always remember why I might have previously discarded certain film stocks. And so it is with Ilford HP5. Seeing Jim’s recent appraisal, I thought it was time to give it another go and refresh my memory.

You can only draw limited conclusions from one roll shot under one set of conditions. Grain is more controlled than Tri-X, with a flatter, less-contrasty look. That said, the highlights were blown on quite a few of the frames. I suspect this was down to over-development rather than poor metering. I’ve just started using Bellini Film EcoFilm Developer. It’s supposed to mimic XTOL and use the same times, but I had a similar issue with a roll of Tmax 100. I have one more roll of HP5 to shoot, and I’ll probably decrease the developing time by ten per cent. Let’s see how that goes.

Check out all episodes of Bertie News here

West Wittering Beach On The Hottest Day Of The Year (So Far)

Saturday was the hottest day of the year (so far) in the UK. As things cooled down in the evening, we headed to West Wittering Beach with Coco The Cocker, sausages, marshmallows, smoothies and sun cream.

As you can see I’m back on the Tmax 100, but there’s a couple of rolls of Delta 100 in the fridge for the next sunny day. In this country, that could be some time away.

West Wittering Beach / Nikon F100 / Kodak Tmax 100 / Developed in D76 1+1

West Wittering Beach

West Wittering Beach

West Wittering Beach

West Wittering Beach

West Wittering Beach

West Wittering Beach

I’ve been to West Wittering Beach before

Delta 100 & The Team Meeting In The Park

Experimenting with different films, chemicals, and developing techniques is great fun. And over the years I’ve probably tried most things. But I’ve come to appreciate consistency and the ability to predict the results I’ll get. These days I’ve whittled down the films I use to just a handful. The flip side of this is that I can’t always remember why I might have rejected one film in favour of another. So I thought it was time I let Ilford Delta 100 have another crack at the whip.

As the so-called Saharan Bubble heat wave drifted across Europe this week, France recorded it highest ever temperature of 45.8℃. In England we generally prefer to be a little more understated, but the temperature did top out at 34℃ on Saturday. And as things heated up on Friday, we took our team meeting out of the office and into the park.

It’s not particularly sensible to make any judgement based on one roll of film shot under one set of conditions. That’s not going to stop me though. These photos clearly have a different look than the photos I shot last week of Brompton Cemetery on Kodak Tmax 100. Both films are incredibly fine-grained, but Delta 100 doesn’t have the biting sharpness and contrast of Tmax 100. Delta has a more traditional look, by which I think I mean more old-fashioned. But I like it, and I’ll be keeping a few rolls in the fridge from now on.

There are changes happening in my country and others at the moment. Attitudes that I thought were history are now resurfacing. I work for a company that has offices in over 190 different countries. Looking at these photos of my colleagues and friends, I’m very happy that I’m surrounded by people who speak Italian, French, Tamil, Spanish, Punjabi, and Portuguese, amongst others. There are 500 people in my office, representing 36 different nationalities. I feel very proud that all of these intelligent and highly educated people have chosen to come and work in London.

Nikon F100 / Ilford Delta 100 / Developed in D76 1+1

Ilford Delta 100

Ilford Delta 100

Ilford Delta 100

Ilford Delta 100

Ilford Delta 100

Ilford Delta 100

Ilford Delta 100

Ilford Delta 100