My first adventure with ILFORD HP5 PLUS ISO 400 black and white film was exactly what I hoped for — this film is great. I’m relatively new (less than 6 months) to analogue photography, or indeed any photography, and this film is known as one of the best all-rounders with good reason.
I shot this on a fairly tidy yet ultimately old and basic Nikon F-401, which I paid around £10 for. I think it did ok! For the shoot, I kept my camera in Aperture Priority mode, as I wanted to see how the film performed, whilst exploring manually adjusting f/stops and focusing.
I took myself off for a walk in Exeter, UK to see what I’d find to shoot. My intention was to capture an emotion, or feeling, on this film so I had no set pictures or frames in mind. My stop was Exwick cemetery, with its old stone and jauntily angled markers, it seemed a good spot to try. It started as a very hazy morning, so I had to hunt around for the ideal light and shadowed spots. I was pleasantly surprised with what I captured, I got the impression of the place conveyed well in my pictures, and I really enjoyed exploring different ideas.
The final shot, “the locked cemetery”, was taken of a locked and mostly forgotten small cemetery in the center of Exeter. It is inaccessible, and I feel keen sadness whenever I walk past it. It is the Dissenters Graveyard — Protestants that dissented from the Anglican Church from 1748 to 1854 are buried here.
The next part of my adventure was to process my film. I do this at home, whilst I have flirted with Caffenol C on some old expired colour film (I’m a sucker for sepia) I kept it textbook with Ilford ID-11 for this film. I’m like a kid at Christmas when film is drying. I repeatedly want to look at it, and see if my efforts are to be rewarded.
The real joy is scanning them in, and watching an image bloom into life across your screen. Seeing these pictures gave me the idea that I might actually have a basic understanding of how to use a camera, and that I didn’t need to be a pro with years in photography to get out there and have fun! I am looking forward to my next adventure already.
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This series is 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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