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

Thorpe Park With The Olympus Trip 35

If you’d asked me when I was a kid where I wanted to live, I would’ve said next door to a theme park would be second only to living in a sweetshop.

It’s funny how things change. These days I struggle to contain my indifference about living within walking distance of Thorpe Park. I’d still be up for that sweetshop though.

But children have birthdays. And who wouldn’t want to spend a day with three children doped up on sugar and spun round till they’re green-faced and exorcist vomiting?

Actually, it was me who turned green. After one supposedly family-friendly ride. Yeah, whatever.

The Olympus Trip 35 seemed the perfect camera to take. Compact, easy to use, and easily replaceable should something happen to it. When I wrote my Ten Photos In Ten Years retrospective I realised how much I enjoyed using it, and how long it had been since I’d last taken it out.

I had a rummage round in the fridge for some film. The day looked like being sunny, and I found a roll of Ilford Delta 100 from when I was going through my Delta-curious phase. That’ll do.

Thorpe Park / Olympus Trip 35 / Ilford Delta 100 / Developed with Bellini Foto EcoFilm (Liquid Xtol)

thorpe park olympus trip

Bellini Foto Ecofilm

thorpe park olympus trip

Bellini Foto Ecofilm

Bellini Foto Ecofilm

Bellini Foto Ecofilm

Bellini Foto Ecofilm

Bellini Foto Ecofilm

thorpe park olympus trip

Bellini Foto Ecofilm

thorpe park olympus trip

Bellini Foto Ecofilm

thorpe park olympus trip

Bellini Foto Ecofilm

thorpe park olympus trip

thorpe park olympus trip

Bellini Foto Ecofilm

thorpe park olympus trip

A Little Bit Of Development Geekery

Kodak’s D76 is my go-to developer for 35mm film. It comes as a powder that you mix with water, either in 1 or 3.8-litre packs. I use the small packs because it’s easy to mix and store.

D76 was first marketed way back in 1927, but Kodak also has a much more modern developer: XTOL. It’s used by many professional labs, and in my experience is marginally better than D76. It’s also fairly eco-friendly. But there’s a big downside. It’s a two-powder mix, which is a faff, and it only comes in 5L packs. You have to mix the whole lot in one go, so storing 5L of liquid is a pain. Plus I’m unlikely to use that amount within the shelf life.

Enter Bellini Foto EcoFilm Developer. This is a liquid developer formulated to work like XTOL. I got mine from Nik & Trick Photo Services, who are worth checking out as they have some interesting stuff. It comes in handy 500ml bottles that make 1L of stock solution. This is the first roll of film I’ve tried with it and I’m very pleased with the results. Recommended.