I met up with my friend Erik in late November 2019 near the Christmas market in Strasbourg. However, the Christmas market was not our main destination, no, it was the city of Strasbourg itself. Strasbourg is a beautiful city that has a lot to offer besides its world-famous cathedral.

I wanted to and did photograph the city mainly with my Rolleiflex T, but I also had my Rollei 35TE (with ILFORD Delta 400 Professional) in my jacket pocket. The Delta was actually in the camera for night shots at home. That’s why the dial was set to ISO 1600/33°. And I can’t change anything in the middle of the film, it’s not digital.

We first wandered around the Christmas market and then dived into side streets without the hustle and bustle. But the Christmas market was spread all over the city centre. It was hard to escape it. In no time at all, we were back inside again. Around noon, hunger led us to a restaurant, which proved once again that Strasbourg is worth a visit for its good cuisine alone. And I know that goes for the whole of Alsace. All of France, of course.

Well fortified, we continued to wander through the city. Towards evening, when it was already getting dark, we stopped off at a cute bistro. It was pretty dark in there. A nice place to end the day with a good feeling. And ideal for my little Rollei on 1600.

The next day while developing, I was perhaps a little thoughtless. I had already made a plan in my mind beforehand, HP5 PLUS in Ultrafin liquid with the Delta pushed in HC110. I first developed the 120 HP5 PLUS, wonderful.

Then I spooled the Delta into the developer can and dumped the Ultrafin into it.
While filling the developer, I realised my mistake: Ultrafin is not at all suitable for pushing, at least not for the Delta 400.

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What to do? I had already tried developing for a longer period of time, but that didn’t work. Dump it and exchange it for HC110? Who knows what the result will be? I didn’t dare. I then did 9 minutes of continuous agitation and then another tour with fresh Ultrafin for 12 minutes at one-minute intervals.

When I finally saw the film, I was not so enthusiastic. I wanted to throw it away but then hung it up to dry.

Under the scanner and in Adobe Camera Raw it was still a bit of work to get decent pictures, especially with the shots in the bistro.

I had also enlarged them in the darkroom. Not quite as contrasty despite gradation 5, but with a little dodging I was happy with it. I gave the prints to my niece, she liked them so much.

~ Olaf

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I'm a hobby photographer who has been pursuing this for a long time. I really started in the mid-1980s, when I got my first and especially my second SLR camera, a Minolta X-300. It still serves me faithfully today. But then it went blow by blow, I discovered...


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  1. I think this might fall under the heading of ‘a happy acccident’ – the grain and contrast especially in the bistro shots looks very graphic and stylised, in a good way. Much more interesting than a technically perfect image of the same scenes. I’m bookmarking this for future reference. Thanks for posting!

    1. Thank you Peter! Well, technical perfection, perfection in general. That’s something for those who have to earn their living with it. For me, it’s just a lot of fun and sometimes it takes a bit of luck.