5 frames with...

5 Frames with a Nikon FM2n and Ilford HP5+ 400 – By Cristian Geelen

February 16, 2019

Finally. After more than two weeks of nothing but dark and grey skies in the Netherlands this weekend presented me with some light. That also meant a temperature below 0 degrees Celsius but I take it as it is. A couple of weeks earlier I was still taking photographs in the south of Vietnam with some very pleasant temperatures. But when I returned there was nothing but cold, and almost no light to work with. And since I love to shoot film that is quite a big bummer.

So as soon as the opportunity was there I had to take it!

Out into the cold I went. Big winter coat. My trusty Nikon FM2n and a couple of rolls of Ilford HP5+ 400 shot at EI1600 and then pushed two stops.

I like to push my film. It still looks amazing and the advantage of high shutter speeds with good light and workable shutter speeds with low light gives me everything I need.

Also… All those dark and grey days never gave me a real chance to try out my new 35mm F2 Nikkor AI lens. Well of course not brand new… But new in my possession. Unfortunately they don’t make lenses like that anymore.

Out I went into the city center of my home town. Harlem. The real one, next to Amsterdam. Not the neighborhood in New York.

Aperture on f/8. Zone focus ready. And just being there.

Finally seeing some sun and doing what I love.

Thanks for reading my little contribution!
And if your are interested you can find me in the following locations:

Website: https://cristiangeelen.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cristiangeelen/

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  • Reply
    Daniel Castelli
    February 16, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    You’re working wit a nice kit. The camera/lens combination is well balanced for all day shooting. The body is built like a tank and the lens is one of Nikon’s best.
    Thanks for sharing pics of daily life in your town. They once again prove that people are people no matter where you go. This is now more important to share in an era that seems to be filled with stories about our divisions.
    One question. You mentioned you were in Viet Nam. Did you shoot film? What was your experience passing through security checkpoints with film? I carry film when we travel overseas. I always suffer extreme angst when we are being processed through security. I’ve been lucky that no film has been ruined.

    • Reply
      February 16, 2019 at 1:19 pm

      Hey Daniel!

      Thank you for your kind words!

      My experience with film going through customs is actually quite good. Especially in Asia. I expected some difficulty in China but also there the agents were actually quite pleased to see an old camera again. And they were very happy to grant my request for a hand check.

      Asking them very nicely with a big smile really helps too. 🙂

  • Reply
    graham line
    February 16, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    When my SLR work equipment transitioned to digital, I kept a smooth-as-silk FM and an FE2, along with my most-used manual focus lenses. Using them remains very enjoyable, particularly what’s now called the “user interface.” Focus/aperture/shutter speed. How’s that for a simplified menu?

    • Reply
      February 16, 2019 at 3:20 pm

      Haha indeed Graham! And you have kept some beauties!

  • Reply
    Lori Brooks
    February 16, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    I really like the first two shots. They’re absent of modern things, and thus have a certain timelessness to them I feel

  • Reply
    February 16, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    Hi! Nice kit you have there! And of course nice capture.. I really like the 2nd pic.

    I’m using the same set-up when I travel mostly, right up to the hp5+. Though I’m thinking of selling away my 35mm f2 ai as I’ve acquired the older ai converted nkj nikkor-o 35mm and love it more. Hp5+ really do indeed start to shine when pushed. I can’t remember the last time I shot it at box speed.

    I’ve checked out your portfolio and Instagram account and love the images you showcased. Nicely done!

    • Reply
      February 16, 2019 at 4:12 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind words! And indeed you are right about about the HP5+. 🙂

  • Reply
    Garth Buckles
    February 16, 2019 at 6:04 pm

    I’m a fan of the old Nikons and have an FM I bought in the late 70’s new. (I guess that makes me an old shooter!) Still a pleasure to use.
    I am impressed with your photos and especially like the second one. I’m also impressed with the look of the HP5 pushed two stops. I expected to see more grain but they look quite nice. Is that your normal EI when you use HP5?
    Thanks for the post. I enjoyed it. Wishing you sunny skies.

    • Reply
      February 16, 2019 at 7:25 pm

      I also like the second photo best.
      I guess the result of push processing depends on the developer used. For example R09 isn’t the best one for such task. Maybe Christian can shed some light on this?

      • Reply
        February 16, 2019 at 9:51 pm


        Indeed the developer used helps a lot. These are developed with Ilford DDX in a 1+4 dilution. Ilford HC works good too. And is more cost effective.

        I used to use rodinal. But is gives a harsh look.

        Some film and developers are just made for each other. Ilford + Ilford. Tri-X + HC110 and so one. 🙂

        Hope it helps! 😊

    • Reply
      February 16, 2019 at 9:46 pm

      Ah thank you so much! 😊

      And indeed, that is my normal EI. The advantage is that you can use “normal” shutterspeeds (at least 250) and a lower aperture like f8. And that even with grey weather. And with good weather you can easily up the shutter speeds and get even lower aperture. That in turn gets more into focus and freeze more moving parts. HP5+ perfectly lends itself for pushing without many disadvantages. 🙂

  • Reply
    February 16, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    Haarlem is a wonderful town! I love the Teylers Museum. Would be a fun place to shoot a roll @ 1600 with only natural light.

    • Reply
      February 16, 2019 at 9:52 pm

      Ah thank you! It’s indeed a good place live. The museum is indeed very good. 🙂

  • Reply
    Dan Castelli
    February 16, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    Thanks for sharing some of your insight. I’m appalled by the behavior of some of my fellow Americans when my wife & I travel out of the country. When any of us travel, we need to remember that we are guests in the country we are visiting.
    I understand that security personnel are doing a stressful, thankless job. A smile, patience, and an acknowledgement that they are human goes a long way. I’ve got to work the film angle next time 🙂.

    • Reply
      February 16, 2019 at 9:55 pm

      Indeed you are right. A smile and acknowledgement goes indeed a long way. 🙂

      Safe travels in the future and hopefully with a lot of film. 🙂

  • Reply
    benno karkabe
    February 17, 2019 at 8:39 am

    now some indoor shooting with good light, IN the Teylers Museum, Christian. Geweldig, al dat hout, koper en details. Nice combo, love the old Nikon’s, I have 2 Nikkormat El’s 🙂

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