I know that you normally would not expect to find the words “Ilford Delta 3200” and “bright summer day” in the same sentence. But let me tell you the story of how I ended up shooting this film stock normally used for poor lighting conditions on one of the brightest days of the English summer.
The date was the August bank holiday of 2022. The place… the Isle of Wight. I travelled down South with some of my friends to spend the long weekend. Being the passionate street photographer that I am I took two of my cameras with me. My Fujifilm XT2 mirrorless digital camera and, the star of this article, my trusty Pentax MX.
We were driving along the coastline and we decided to stop in a really nice location to have lunch. I left my main bag with all of my extra film stock in the car and just took the Pentax and my small camera bag with me. The place was fantastic, and I started taking candid photos of people enjoying the beach and also of my friends. Before I noticed, my reel was finished, and I needed to swap it for a new one. Probably you can imagine what happened next. The only film stock that I had in my bag was my first-ever roll of Ilford Delta 3200.
My plan was of course to save this roll for indoor photos or some night street photography, but it was the only option I had back then. Slightly reluctant to use my only option, I loaded the roll into my camera, and then I started shooting again. I have read in many blogs that even though this film is commercialised as a 3200 ISO film, it is actually a 1200 ISO film. Hence, I set up my light meter at that value and continued shooting. I had to use crazy small apertures, between 16 and 22 at shutter speeds of 500 and 1000. Before I noticed, I happily finished my roll and I found myself going back home the next day wanting to see the results.
Once I was back home, I developed the film in my darkroom using Ilfosol3 and scanned the negatives as I normally do it using my digital camera. The results were absolutely fantastic, I was so happy. The first thing I loved was the distinctive grain in the photos, big and beautiful. The mid tones also look unique, and the contrast is perfect for my taste. Another thing that I really liked was that the small details and features in the photos are not as sharp as compared to 400 ISO film, which is the film stock that I normally use, due to the bigger grain size of the Ilford Delta 3200.
Overall, I would really recommend shooting this film stock on bright sunny days too, you will obtain a unique and distinctive look, specially if you are a big fan of grain as I am. This little unplanned experiment just shows once again all the possible artistic results that we can obtain every time we decide to shoot with our analogue machines instead of our modern digital wonders. I hope you enjoy the 5 frames that I have selected from this roll.
By the way, if you ever get the chance to visit the Isle of Weight during summer, DO IT!!! You will not regret it. It is an absolutely beautiful place and I guarantee that you will take some pretty cool pictures there.
I have recently published my first street photography photobook (zine). You can check it out here and get yourself a copy if you would like to add it to your collection as a source of inspiration.
Check my Instagram here
Until next time, yours sincerely
Armando Caballero – Street Photography
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