This series of B&W flowers helped me to discover the beauty of Ilford HP5. Everyone raved about it, but I seemed to be missing the point. However, recently I was ‘forced’ to use HP5 on a recent extended stay in Phoenix, Arizona. Wanted to do some 35 mm photography and didn’t have time to place a film order. The only B&W film I had on hand was HP5. Usually I lean towards the higher contrast T-MAX, but I grabbed the 5 rolls HP5 that I had on hand and headed out.
My earliest inspiration to attempt B&W flowers came from a Mapplethorpe Exhibition. Of course mine were terrible, but I did continued to experiment occasionally. This Spring I’ve returned to experimenting with B&W flowers. My first set was taken at the Mayo Clinic Cactus Garden in Phoenix using HP5 and my Minolta X-700. They had a lovely Cactus Garden that was just starting to bloom in March. It gave me something pleasant to literally focus on while I was getting well.
I continued to work that theme with my home garden in full bloom during May and June. These results were even better, highlighting the best effects of HP5 Grain and even tones.
Scenes From My Garden:
You will notice, however, that many images have been cropped. These images were made with my first XD-11, and it has finally succumbed to a chronic film advance problem. I sent it out for maintenance, hoping for relief. But no, it could not be fixed. Yet in spite of that the lens optics produced wonderful if abbreviated images. This camera will now be retired to the ‘parts’ box.
A Leica Collaboration:
I often call the XD-11 the best camera that no one wanted (in Japan the XD and in Europe the XD7). It was one of two collaborative products with Leica (the other being the rangefinder Minolta CLE). The 1977 XD collaboration produced the first SLR to combine the TTL aperture and shutter priority modes with a fully manual metering option as well. Leica would go on to build the R4-R7 on the XD-chassis. It has a beautiful vertical plane metal shutter, and Minolta MD Rokkor lenses were always under-rated.
Follow this link for a History and Review of the XD-Series.
Camera & Film Details: Minolta MD 50 mm lens, f/1.7 with a yellow filter. The film, Ilford HP5, was exposed at EI 400 with a +2 filter factor. Developed by Old School Labs using F76.