5 Frames… With ILFORD FP4 PLUS (EI 125 / 35mm format / Nikon F2) – by Francisco Válga

The two things I like the most are surf and film photography so naturally, the beach and the waves are a constant in my photos. Photography was always on my mind. It’s an old love that never, till now, was taken too seriously. I remember when I was twenty my friends used to pay me for some surfing photos, but I was such a cool friend that I only ask then to pay the lab price.  

Photographing surfers it’s not what I like now, maybe I’m old, but nature is so beautiful that is enough to capture my eyes. Recently I found a beautiful Nikon F2 on the second-hand market and I couldn’t resist. It’s like I’m holding a piece of history, and it’s so nice when you are walking and people come to you to see and remember how lucky you are to have one such beautiful cam.


So… now my heart is even more divided between grabbing my board and going surfing or taking the camera and embarking on what I consider to be a wonderful trip of attachment between me and the camera. Someone once said “we see more when we are shooting” and I could not agree more especially shooting B&W when reflections, shadows, light contrast is what you want to photograph. 

I’m totally addicted to black & white photography and my favorite film so far is ILFORD FP4 PLUS. It produces an excellent contrast of black and whites and that’s what I like and look for the most. It’s perfect for a sunny morning with some sea air and seagulls flying everywhere.

This morning the waves were not very good so the beach ride was longer and in the end, I had that feeling of satisfaction that until then only a good session of waves made me feel and then I thought “life is perfect”.

I live in the north of Portugal and this day I took a short drive to one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal which is Cabedelo in Figueira da Foz and after receiving the scanned negatives from the lab I confirmed what I already suspected, that morning had been Perfect even I couldn’t paddle into waves. But my surf on that morning was on dry land!

~ Francisco

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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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Francisco Válga
Francisco Válga
I am from Portugal and I am completely in love with film photography. Unfortunately it is not photography that I work with, it is just a hobby but I have not given up on becoming something more.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Nice choice of hobby, gear and composition, Francisco. I wonder why the images look so grainy. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy some nice grain, but FP4 being a relatively low ASA film, I would expect to see finer grain. Do you push your film in development? What developer do you use?

    Anyway, nice work, thanks for the writeup.

  2. Hi Francisco,
    Love that hunk of Nikon glass. My favorite shot is the surf with the large whitecaps. Shows the power of the ocean.
    That lens begs for low-light photography!

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