A fresh snow the night before set the scene for a perfect photographic outing in mid-December 2020. I grabbed my Nikon F with a 35mm lens, loaded it with ILFORD Delta 100 Professional and headed for Minden Park, a location I’d been eyeing for such an occasion. There was a fairly overcast sky which would give me an opportunity to capture images that wouldn’t be excessively contrasty. I rated my film at 50 ISO as to not underexpose the snow.

My Nikon F with a Nikon Nikkor-S 35mm f/2.8, Steve Bode
My Nikon F with a Nikon Nikkor-S 35mm f/2.8, Steve Bode

The Nikon F was a camera I always wanted when I was younger but I couldn’t afford one. I picked this one up including a 50 mm lens for $250 from a local camera repairman. I added a 35mm lens since I’ve never been fond of shooting with a 50mm. I’ve been fairly impressed with the camera. It is very well built. My only complaint is the aperture ring is very close to the camera body and it makes it a little clunky to set the f/stop.

The meter works OK but you have to be sure that if you’re wearing a baseball cap, you reverse it, or the bill will shade the window at the top of the meter and you won’t be able to see your meter needle through the camera viewfinder. I’ve used this camera with 35mm lens on previous shoots taken in small towns in Nebraska with populations under 1000. These town have a lot of abandoned buildings which make for interesting subjects as well as telling a story.

I processed the film in Rodinal for 9 minutes at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The massive development chart recommended 68 degrees but I bumped the temp up a bit in order to get a bit more contrast. I was quite impressed with all the images. The exposures were real consistent making scanning a piece of cake. All negatives were scanned with an Epson 500 scanner. Minimal adjustment was needed on the scans.

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I am a retired studio owner of 25 years, who made a living photographing weddings, family portraits, high school seniors, and pets. I started photography back in the early 70’s and made my first money with black and white photography. In 1976 I was driving around out in the country and came about a Black Powder shoot. Everyone was dressed in buckskins, like mountain men. I ran around with my Minolta 101 and grabbed a bunch of portraits. I printed up a bunch of 8×10’s on India tone paper and sold $200 worth. A windfall for me at the time. This was the first money I made in photography.

I started shooting black and white after I retired in 2011. It took me a little while to get back into the swing of things when it came to getting good results processing. I’m quite impressed with Delta 100 Professional and have had better luck with it than ILFORD FP4 PLUS. I really miss Kodak Plus-X which was a staple for me in the 70’s.

~ Steve

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About the author

Avatar - Steve Bode

Steve Bode

Started in photography in 1972. I taught science for 13 years and started a full time portrait studio in 1984. My special interest was pet photography but made my money shooting weddings, H.S. Seniors, and families. I retired in 2011. Most of my photography...


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  1. PS, Rodinal needs far more skill than I original thought. I’ve semi-given up on it, even though it has some superb attributes. I would like to suggest that the reader considers TD-3, by the Photograpers Formulary. It’s hard to work with and you’ll need to develop 12 rolls or so, to find the right technique but the results are simply amazing. XTOL is good but not overwhelming. D76 is very similar ie, it’ll do the job but won’t excite. I’ve been taking film since my parents bought me a Kodak Bownie in 1959, when I was 8. I stayed developing films in my attic at that age and have done so, continuously, for 63 years.. I’m starting to get good at it!
    I’m happy to interact or advise written anyone starting out with film. It’s a beautiful, artists medium. I do take the occasional digital photo but thy technology leaves me cold.
    Sent from Brisbane, Australia September 5th 2022.

  2. Steve,
    Nice photos. I see a potential Christmas card using the image of the snow draped tree and the fence.
    I loved working with my FTn (stolen out of my car in 1974.). They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but that chunk of meter with the flat name plate just proclaimed “tough as nails.” Once again, you’ve proved that there is nothing wrong with decades old equipment. Keep it clean, keep it functioning and you’re good to go.
    Dan (from Connecticut.)

  3. What battery are you using in your Photomic Head? I used an F Photomic back in 1976 and would like to use one today but I thought getting batteries was a problem.

  4. I like your snow shots, but I hate snow when it falls on my head. I loved that ugly beast of a Nikon FTn (c. 69-71.) Slab-sided, heavy and when you mounted a lens, it was like chambering a round. Mine was fitted with the legendary 105 Nikkor as my ‘standard’ lens: long enough to keep a safe distance and still be able to fill the frame like a 50mm lens.
    I hope you continue having good luck with the Nikon!