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

Christmas 2019

When my father died in 1985, the remnants of my family fractured and three years later I left home. I found myself living in the northern county of West Yorkshire, a place very different from my hometown of Cambridge. It was there that I spent one of the loneliest years of my life. I lived in a small terraced house in the Sandal district of Wakefield, and slept in a small room that backed on to the railway line. Thirty years later, I can still remember the feeling of lying in the dark, listening to the trains speeding down to London and wishing I was on one of them. Eventually I was.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.

Whilst I went north, unbeknown to me my mother went west. Hereford is a small cathedral city that lies about 16 miles east of the border with Wales. To me, it feels remote and isolated, but that’s only because I’ve spent so many years living in and around London. For my mother, she’s managed to create a happy life there over the last three decades. It was, however, many years before I was able to visit her there.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.

My blood family now only really comprises my mother, my niece, and myself. Over the last five or six years we’ve spent Christmas together in Hereford. For the three of us, it’s sort of become traditional.

A tradition doesn’t necessarily have to be something that’s been going on for generations. I think you can make your own traditions. What’s more important is how long you want it to continue, rather than how long it’s been going on. My mother is 86 now, but I’m hoping for many more Christmases together.

That’s what I wanted to talk about.

Christmas 2019 / Nunnington, Hereford / Fujifilm X100F

Five Happy Things We Did On Jane’s {Redacted}th Birthday Weekend

Two weeks ago it was my birthday weekend. This weekend it was Jane’s turn. Here’s what happened:

All photos Fujifilm X100T

1: Curry and playing games with friends. I’m officially the world’s worst Uno player, although it doesn’t help when everyone gangs up on you. But hey, I take it in good humour. Bastards.

2: Watercolours!

3: Chilling!

4: Sunday afternoon in the pub with friends, for the sole purpose of showing the kids how not to behave. Children’s education is so important.

5: Lots of walking with the dogs.

Coco’s recovering from an operation, so she’s wearing a très chic little French number she just threw on. This is far more fashionable than the usual cone of shame. Is cultural appropriation OK when it’s dogs doing it?

Four Happy Things I Did On My 53rd Birthday Weekend

1: Hung around with small humans and small animals

2: Got taken to Wagamamma. Other restaurants are available, but this is my favourite. I am unsophisticated.

3: Walked to the pub and back for Sunday lunch

4: Walked the dogs on an autumnal misty morning

All photos taken with Fujifilm X100T

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

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Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

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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

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Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

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Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

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Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

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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

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Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

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Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

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Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

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Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

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Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

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Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

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Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

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Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

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Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

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Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

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