A few weeks ago I travelled to Con Dao island in Southern Vietnam – one of the very few destinations which are yet to be destroyed by the growing tourism industry in this country.
I expected some dramatic seascapes, therefore I decided to bring my Hasselblad 500CM and Carl Zeiss Planar C 80mm f/2.8 lens with me, along with some rolls of film, including 1 roll of black and white Fomapan 100 Classic. There was no particular reason for why Fomapan 100 was my pick for the trip, I simply just had it in my fridge for a long time.
I almost always use color film for landscapes, but since I ran out of film during the trip I decided to use the Fomapan as my last option. This is the second time I’d shoot with this film, the first time was last year, also during a trip to another island. I remember I bought this film simply because it is probably the cheapest and the only black and white film stock available in the store.
My experience with this film is not much but I could tell right off the bat that it is one hell of a contrast negative film, it is also sharp and can handle overexposure extremely well. During the trip, I came across a shipwreck lying on the shore when the tide was low and surrounded by vast landscape. There was barely a cloud in the sky as well. So, I decided to go and blow the scene by 2-3 stops (even 4 or 5 stops in some pics) and go minimal. I didn’t develop or scan the negative myself, I sent it to a professional lab and after 3 days I received the photos in my email.
I was surprised by the results. The highlight is really well maintained in generally really high contrast and sharp images with gorgeous grain. I am more than happy with the result and I will definitely print some of these photos big. For some reasons Fomapan 100 was never in my thoughts when it came to buying black and white film stock, especially in situations that require clean and sharp images like landscape photography (I would recommend Kodak Tri-X or ILFORD HP5 PLUS for the cleanness) but from now it’ll be on my list of favourite film stocks, for its grain and contrast.
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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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