A few weeks ago,I went back into the Darkroom for the first time since arriving here in Jakarta. While there, I began to realize that my approach to film photography has changed some what. I mentioned this in a blog post or two, and I wrote a bit about it in some of the Darkroom pages above (see HERE) but I thought it was worthwhile to pull it all together. Nothing revolutionary here just a bit of a different approach.
I am shooting HP5+ with an exposure index (EI) of 200 instead of the recommended 400. This is my favorite set up now. But I have also changed my development and darkroom process to adjust for this. For example, I am developing the film at the recommended time for EI 400 and then remove 10%. End result is a very smooth image, great tonality and I find that the tones blend into each other much better.
The drawback of overexposing in the camera is the loss of 1 stop of light and the speed that it represents. But as explained in this article HERE, using HP5 gives me the latitude to shoot from 1600 to 100 with the same film!
Reading a recent article by Johnny Patience HERE, has introduced a new possibility of shooting HP5 overexposed and overdeveloped. Essentially that translates into shooting HP5 at 100 or 200 EI and then developing it as if I had shot it at EI 800. He recommends this approach for contrasty, thick negatives to give a good darkroom print as well as a scan. I have not tried this but it has given me something new to try!
In the Darkroom I have been using split grade printing which is explained HERE. This gives me the latitude for producing difficult prints in a much easier fashion. I highly recommend diving into it although the filters that Ilford sells are crazy expensive.
In terms of gear I am traveling lighter than before. Two film cameras (with these old cameras a back up is always a good idea) but one stays in the hotel. One digital camera and two lenses each. Lighter than normal but I believe this gives me more freedom. If I go on a photography specific vacation I will obviously carry much more.
So, all in all, minor adjustments but it seems to be working better.
Patrick...confirmed film & digital photography addict.