OK, so it probably looks like Bertie and Coco spend most of their time loafing about. But the truth is, this is the best chance I’ve got of a getting something in focus. I’ve got a stack of photos that consist of little more than a blurred tail leaving the scene.
I’ve been shooting a few rolls of HP5 lately, after years of mainly using Kodak 400 speed films. The contrast is a bit more subdued, and as such I had some good results on New Year’s Eve pushing it a couple of stops.
These ones didn’t come out too bad either. I think Bertie was rather pleased with his tonality, but Coco just rolled over on her back and wanted her tummy tickled. I sometimes feel she’s not taking it seriously.
Bertie (with added Coco) the working cocker spaniel puppy at 7 months / Nikon F100 / Ilford HP5 / Developed in HC-110 1+31
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
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
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
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