5 Frames of the Granite Coast on Delta 100 in Rodinal

By Nik Stanbridge

On a trip last year around the coast of France and along the Spanish foothills of the Pyrenees, I wanted to take along some film that had a slightly different character to my usual, old school FP4. Being a convert to Ilford from Kodak it sort of made sense to give Delta 100 a go. In my olden days, it might have been a switch from Plus-X to TMAX 100 but I think my Kodak days are over. Fifteen quid a roll is just not on for me anymore even though Tri-X was my bread and butter in the 1980s (especially at 1600). At the risk of digressing, just why is Kodak film nearly twice the price of, say, Ilford? I’ve seen articles on why we need to support emulsion-producers like Kodak, but can’t remember the reasons why two mainstream manufacturers have such wildly disparate product prices.

Anyway, I took FP4 and Delta 100 on the trip and I was very pleased with how the Delta 100 worked for me in Rodinal, my bog standard developer. I use Rodinal for everything as it’s all I have. Well, it was until I started experimenting with Pyro 510 a few months ago.

Leica M3, Summicron 50 DR, Delta 100 in Rodinal 1:25

A lot of the photos from that trip were, disappointingly, a bit meh. I think my mojo was confused and misshapen and I was taking photographs for the sake of it. Hoping for the best. A bit too keen to take photos without properly looking at what I was seeing. After the fact, contemplating them now, I’m thinking “what was I thinking?” and not enough thinking at the time. I’m sure we’ve all had times/periods like that.

Sometimes though, a set of images emerge that are a perfect marriage of scene, film and developer. The inner vision somehow emerges, takes over, and technically and emotionally, wins out.

Leica M3, Summicron 50 DR, Delta 100 in Rodinal 1:25

These photographs were taken on the pink granite coast in northern Brittany. And despite the name, they are classic, text book monochrome scenes.

One of the things that endears me to them is the fine but sharply defined grain. Grain expertly delivered in venerable and precise style by the ageless Rodinal. Grain that is in perfect harmony with the mood and subject. A sensual mix of form, texture and tonality.

Leica M3, Summicron 50 DR, Delta 100 in Rodinal 1:25

For me, it’s quite uncommon to see this in my photographs. When it happens though, I get inspired and invigorated all over again. I’m sure we all have some of our own images that we could look at all day long. Our own images that we are truly touched by. It’s why we do it – to create those images. When I buy (when I choose to buy) a photobook it’s usually because I get that same feeling about the selection of the images in the book. About the editing process. Especially if it’s a short book. A very tightly edited (and beautifully printed) photobook is an opportunity to lovingly look at, and see, someone else’s most cherished images.

Leica M3, Summicron 50 DR, Delta 100 in Rodinal 1:25

The surprising success of a 50mm lens in a landscape context is also quite a revelation – helped by the long depth of field which I seem to remember dialling in at the time despite the short, misty mid-morning exposure times. Maybe because, apart from the one that is a landscape, the others aren’t.

Leica M3, Summicron 50 DR, Delta 100 in Rodinal 1:25

Feather in the cap for Delta 100 in Rodinal.

More of my work is on Instagram where you’ll see that I’m also a polymer photogravure printer and a lino cutter and printer.

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About The Author

By Nik Stanbridge
I've always been drawn to the ordinary, the decaying and the mundane. For me, it’s always been about capturing what’s right there in front of us that we all walk past without really noticing. I look for what’s hidden in plain sight that's either transient, disappearing or so obvious we’ve all stopped seeing it. Much of my work is about rendering the commonplace abstract - from muddy tyre tracks to architectural details, to utility workers’ paint on the road. I'm sensitive to ordinariness, transience, evolution and decay and attempt to convey it in these calm and strong images that have solidity and an engagement with the world.
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Comments

Huss on 5 Frames of the Granite Coast on Delta 100 in Rodinal

Comment posted: 30/11/2023

Wonderful tones from both 100 and 400 Delta. Should you have it available in your area, you might like a roll or two of Neopan 400. https://www.flickr.com/photos/74312783@N00/1589887379/in/album-72157612070745672/
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GEORGE on 5 Frames of the Granite Coast on Delta 100 in Rodinal

Comment posted: 28/11/2023

Enjoyed reading that Nik. I particularly liked the 4th image with its balance and the amazing smooth erosion of the rock. Almost as though the rocks were molded from glass fibre and the film stock I think helps with that surreal sense. Thanks.
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Art Meripol on 5 Frames of the Granite Coast on Delta 100 in Rodinal

Comment posted: 28/11/2023

really lovely images. I too am a convert to the Delta 100 over my lifelong Kodak usage...at least in B&W. For E-6 I was always a Fuji velvia fan. A wonderful photographer friend who is a master Large Format shooter got me to try the Ilford Delta. I shot a roll of Delta and a roll of Tmax-100 side by side on a shoot and was convinced. thanks for your story.
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Nik Stanbridge replied:

Comment posted: 28/11/2023

Thanks Art. While I’m (quite but not exclusively) a believer in ‘get to be an expert with one film, one developer, one lens etc.’, sometimes you just have to break out of that comfort zone and give something new a try! I’m glad I did and it sounds like you are too!

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Geoff Chaplin on 5 Frames of the Granite Coast on Delta 100 in Rodinal

Comment posted: 28/11/2023

Lovely article and equally lovely images. You express experiences I have and can emotionally relate to. Thanks.
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Nik Stanbridge replied:

Comment posted: 28/11/2023

Thanks Geoff.

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Brad Sprinkle on 5 Frames of the Granite Coast on Delta 100 in Rodinal

Comment posted: 28/11/2023

Hi Nik, I enjoyed your images very much, especially the lead off picture. I also appreciated your comment about extracting photos from places or scenes we take for granted. Years ago, my wife and I participated in local art festivals and we called ourselves Beaten Path Photography. The idea was to capture photos probably never seen in popular places where many had passed before. One perfect example happened at the north rim of the Grand Canyon. A tour bus had dropped of a group of 60 or more and they were all clustered around the rim taking pictures. I had my back to the group to photograph a solo tree with my Rolleiflex and Konica 750 Infrared film. I've had so many positive comments about this photo and it still brings a smile to my face when I think about the thousands of tourist that have peered over the rim and never saw that tree. Your bio brought back that memory once again! BTW, your Leica is beautiful. Cheers, Brad
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Nik Stanbridge replied:

Comment posted: 28/11/2023

Thanks Brad. I spend a lot more thinking time now when I'm out and about looking for that tree. It's super hard in a familiar place. And thanks re. the Leica comment. After two years of ownership I'm getitng the hang of it and was completely thrown off balance recently when I took an SLR out for a spin.

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Gus on 5 Frames of the Granite Coast on Delta 100 in Rodinal

Comment posted: 28/11/2023

Beautiful photos, thanks Nik. Delta 100 is a favorite of mine, and the darkroom I recently joined uses Blazinal "Rodinal recipe" so I'm excited to develop and print. My current experiment is Delta 3200 @ 1000 vs HP5 @ 1600 for our dark winter days.
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Nik Stanbridge replied:

Comment posted: 28/11/2023

Thanks Gus. You're going to love it! Rodinal is also fantastic with HP5. It's a great allrounder.

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