I wasn’t ever a big fan of pushing or pulling film; developing prices tend to increase drastically, and try as I may I could not wrap my head around it. However, now that I develop my own film, and after seeing some photos online, I decided to have a shot at it with some ILFORD HP5 PLUS at EI 800 while in Azerbaijan to see what was up.
I brought the Leica IIIf with me on the trip. It has been my main carry for the past three years, and I have grown used to it’s quirks: cutting the film leader, placing it in the take-up spool, setting the frame counter (the one I forget to do the most), and looking through the separate range/viewfinder. What has made it my favourite camera is how compact it is, especially when paired with the collapsible Elmar 5cm f/3.5. Small and sharp, the only gripe I have with it is the front placement of the aperture ring, which makes it hard to quickly change it (at least without smudging the lens with my fingers), which is a must for street shooting using sunny 16. The whole kit fits in my pocket with ease.
I only spent a two days in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital city. Sandwiched between the Middle East and Europe, it’s a clash of times, architectures, and cultures, and one that never ceases to surprise. Shooting with the IIIf I was thankful that the weather was mostly overcast, since the shutter speed caps at 1/1000s which would have made shooting in bright light a bit more complicated than I would have liked.
When I returned from the trip, I developed the roll in ID-11 1+1 using the provided times from digitaltruth.com. I have to say that I love the way that the grain looks like on HP5+ at 800; it just has a more defined and organic look to it that ASA 400 doesn’t give.
Overall, I’m fairly happy how the roll turned out. I am looking forward to pushing film more often in the future; HP5+ at 800 might just become my go-to from now on.
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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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