5 Frames… On New Year’s Day 2020 in Hong Kong with ILFORD HP5 PLUS (EI 800 / 35mm format Nikon FM2) – by Nick Lumber

This is not your ordinary “5 Frames…” article. Unlike my fellow shooters who took their cameras on trips or journeys, I took my Nikon FM2 onto the busy streets of Hong Kong during a mass rally against the government on New Year’s Day 2020.

I have been a casual film shooter for the past year yet I mostly focused on colour negatives. This is the fourth roll of black and white film I have shot for the entire year. I decided to grab the “god-tier” ILFORD HP5 PLUS for a spin on a cloudy day, and I felt like a roll of black and white film suited the situation. When I got the results back from the lab, it was a pleasant surprise.

To deal with the overcast and dark shadows, the entire roll was shot at EI 800 and push processed one stop. The grain is more significant and less fine than if it had been shot and developed at for the film’s ISO 400 box speed. However, I like how the graininess brings the nostalgic feel to the pictures. The photos were sharp and showed a great amount of detail and the film gave a strong performance overall in such unpleasant weather for shooting. The atmosphere was also suitable for some black and white shots.

My favourite shot out of the bunch was the final frame, which was taken on a bridge located mid-way through the route of the protest. Looking out over the huge crowd dominating the street was a spectacular sight, mind you, the photograph only covers a fraction of the people who took part in the protest that day.

In the end, the march organisers claimed a turnout of more than 1 million.

With such an excellent reputation, ILFORD HP5 PLUS doesn’t need my comments and recommendation as it already stands out from its rivals. While this is an article about film photography, I would also like to seize this opportunity to mention the problems arising within my hometown, Hong Kong.

In case you are not aware since May 2019, the people in the “Pearl of the Orient” have been suffering from the government ignoring the demands from the public, the police abusing their power and causing brutalities. I hope this article doesn’t only share my experience with HP5 PLUS, but also to raise awareness of what’s going on in Hong Kong around the world.

~ Nick

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This series is being produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.

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Nick Lumber
Nick Lumber
A rookie photographer who is passionate about film. Born and raised in Hong Kong.

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