I had never pushed film before but upon my arrival on a recent trip to Dublin, Ireland I thought I would try my luck with some old-fashioned analog night photography. As it may be risky to travel with highly sensitive film, upon my arrival I immediately sought out a roll of ILFORD Delta 3200 Professional to shoot at EI 6400.
John, as the Dubliners call him, warned me that ILFORD Delta 3200 Professional was really a 1600 ISO film pushed 1 stop and that pushing it more would render more grain and more contrast. This being said I loaded the film in my Minolta SRT100x that has a light meter that goes up to 6400 and I wandered the streets of Dublin, a city famous for its pubs and lively nightlife. Here are the results of my first film.
When seeing the results, I was astonished by the grain. I guess I was waiting for a something much grainier as I knew ILFORD Delta 3200 Professional already was a very grainy film. One thing to bear in mind though is that ILFORD Delta 3200 Professional is not a film which is known to push very well. Indeed, in some shots, a gray haze appears independent of how the picture is exposed. I have had both underexposed and overexposed shots show this haze.
Another useful information is to take into consideration how your light meter works when shooting this film at night. Most built-in light meters measure the average luminance for a zone. As Ansel Adams explains in his book The negative it is important to take this into consideration, because if the zone you are metering for is very dark then you should expose more than the reading on your light meter.
This being said I usually exposure one stopover what my meter gives, and it has proven to be a good strategy
In general, I am extremely pleased with the result of my “test” and it most certainly opened my appetite for shooting more night photography!
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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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