The Hoff – Rolls 17 and 18. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

So two more rolls for The Hoff to share with you.

The first roll for this write up (roll 17) was Ilford HP5 Plus. This roll sat in The Hoff for nearly 8 week’s before completing it. I decided to rate it at 320. I like HP5 pushed but when shooting ‘normally’ I tend to prefer it rated at 320. For the few shots where I also used an orange filter I adjusted the exposure to 200 to compensate.

So why did the roll take so long. Partly it was the same reasons that affect us all. Finding the time, everyday stuff taking precedent and not having the opportunities to shoot. I also think however that I went through a bit of a phase of ‘is The Hoff the right camera for me’ as I found myself taking out my Olympus OM cameras with me. To explain, when I had the opportunities to go out shooting, I picked the lighter, faster and no requirement for a light meter camera. During this period I also contemplated if medium format film really was for me and should I stick to 35mm. This roll really became my wall I needed to breakthrough. I did eventually by forcing myself to take the camera with me one lunchtime at work to finish the roll with the view that if I didn’t feel it then I would need to make an honest decision about keeping the camera. I enjoyed it again and that was helped by the fact external non-photography reasons were falling away. I also reminded myself that this was a possible lifetime camera, there was no rush or pressure to shoot it regularly or indeed always take it with me as I have other cameras that may be more appropriate for the day’s shooting I was planning. I broke through the wall and The Hoff remains.

Here are a few images from that roll. Some scans adjusted in Snapseed.

By now you may be wondering why I have Christmas in the title well let’s move on to roll 18. We were taking the kids to see the Christmas lights in London and I happened to have a roll of Cinestill 800T in 120 so I figured why not load The Hoff and take it with me. I really like the Cinestill film, the 50D is also fantastic. I prefer to rate it at 500 (based on the Kodak Vision 500T) that is derived from. For those of you familiar with London, or any city centre for that matter, at night with street lights, shop lights and car lights, trying to meter to get the Christmas lights right is no mean feat. So to be honest I didn’t even try. I went with my gut, set the camera to wide open (2.8) and slow shutter 1/60. This was based on experience shooting Cinestill at night previously, trying to capture specific lit areas of the frame.

See what you think, scans adjusted in Snapseed

New York Snow Storm

I was working in New York recently and got caught up in the first snow storm of their season. The traffic was at gridlock and the subway rammed with people trying to get home. Thus I did what any self respecting Brit would do. I enjoyed happy hour (3hrs) in a bar to pass the time. Whilst sitting in the bar I suddenly thought, I don’t know when I will be back in the city, let alone when it is covered in snow. Thus I decided to sacrifice the last 4 exposures that were left in my camera and load a roll of Ilford Photo HP5 and shoot it in the snow on my way back to my hotel.

Thus here are the results of my walk. Ilford Photo HP5 shoot at 3200 and thus pushed 3 stops in development. Olympus OM1n.

Who was that?

I learnt through experience last year that it is good to have themes for my photography, that having a goal and themes helped me when I was out and about.

This doesn’t mean I can’t photograph random or interesting things whilst out with my camera, but having an overall purpose or theme helped me narrow down and not just take a picture for the sake of it.

In the early days I tended to theme a whole roll at a time.  So for 35mm, for example, that would mean trying to find 36 shots on a similar theme.  I took me a while to realise that I didn’t have to be so rushed and that actually my various themes could be a body of work over months or even years.  This is probably known already to most of you that are experienced, but to me it came as a bit of a revelation.

So today I would like to share one of my themes as an example.  This is by no means the finished article or indeed any images that would make a final cut, whenever that will be.  I also may start again using just one film stock only, who knows.

I am not a big portrait fan and also when it comes to it am very reserved in terms of approaching people to ask to take their picture.  I however like solitude and a bit of mystery but with a human element involved.  Thus my theme (and I still haven’t worked out the title) is around who was that person, where have they been, where are they going?

Hope you enjoy the images, many of which you may have seen before but maybe not tied together.

14090033R1-04310-0028R1-03961-0023R1-02981-00050955000614090032R1-04111-000809550005R1-02981-001933160034

 

Best before 2016

No this is not a post lamenting that the best years of my life are behind me. I’ll stick to film photography here at least.

This is about the film I choose to shoot.

Try not to roll your eyes at the next sentence as I mention it a lot but it is relevant to the conversation.  I have only been shooting film for about 2 and one half years now so am a relative newbie.

I’ve shot a number of film stocks and there are many more I need to try.

I’ve tried a few weird stocks and over the last couple of months seem to have tried a lot of expired stocks.

All this has been good for me to learn and experiment.

But it must stop now.

Over this year I will work through my expired film and buy no more except for the odd roll that suits what I want to do.

I will move to only buying and shooting fresh film for two reasons

1. To support the manufacturers out there who are keeping the film community alive. It’s important, they ultimately are a business and we need them as much as they need us.

2. I want to start bringing more consistency in my photographs. It takes time and practice to truly learn a film stock. I want to do this and I want to do this on a film stock that will be around.

I will still shoot the odd expired film and where possible join all the fun Believeinfilm and Emulsive led community events and parties as that’s part of what makes film photography fun for me and you never know what you might discover .

But I have made a few decisions on what film stocks I want to shoot and why and explain as much below. I should mention here I get my films lab developed.

Black and White:

For both 135 and 120 I plan to only use two stocks for standard shooting.  The first is not even a ‘true’ B&W film, Ilford XP2 400 Super. I love this film, it has a great look and it was the first film I used regularly thus I feel a connection to it.  The second choice will be a slow B&W film, again Ilford and either Pan F or FP4. I am minded towards Pan F.  I used to be very nervous of slow films and always though they were too hard especially for English weather. What I have come to understand is I shouldn’t be scared of it, just be prepared for it.

Colour negative:

I only have one choice in this category for both 135 and 120. That would be Kodak Ektar 100. The more I see of it the more I like it. As I will explain below, for me Slide film is the way to go for colour.  However it’s not always practical and is more expensive to develop thus my choice of Ektar. It can give a similar saturated look and in my laymans opinion seems quite versatile.

I like Portra but it’s not for me as a regular film. I know it’s meant for portraits but I find it has a slight orange cast. I am also not a portrait photographer and if I was my choice would be B&W.

I also like Fuji Pro400h, I like its pastel tones but I prefer the stronger saturation of Ektar

I appreciate there are many stocks I have ignored here, I’m fine with that.

Colour Positive/Slide film:

This is my go to film for colour. I love slide film. There is nothing to match its colours, nothing!

In 120 I will focus on Provia 100f for as long as Fuji continue to sell it and hope that Kodak will come into this market.

In 135 I will continue with Fuji Velvia 50, but am eagerly awaiting the the new Kodak Ektachrome. I worry about the long-term viability of Velvia plus it’s eye watering price!

Others:

I plan to do more long exposure and night photography this year and whilst I can and will use some of the stocks above, from my reading and what I have in mind, I plan to try Fuji Acros 100.

I enjoyed Film Washi S so will definitely try that again

Iford SFX for infrared

Whilst I enjoyed double xx and Kodak vision films, they are a pain in the ass to get and also get developed (vision especially)

Why not these:

I will consider Film Ferrania as and when they finally give us the E6 film they promised and it looks like a long-term solution.

I am very pleased for Bergger and will try it as I want to be supportive, but I was born in Ilford and will always have an affinity for their films

I HATE TRI-X

I have not tried T-max but will do as part of the T-Max party and similarly I liked Ilford Delta but still.

So in conclusion I want to learn my stock. Does that mean I will never shoot other films, of course not but it means I will be more focussed on learning this craft with consistent films. It’s time I got more serious.