Historically, when it comes to my black & white work I have only shot Ilford’s famous HP5+. And normally I’m not a portrait photographer either. I find it to be an over saturated and rather boring genre, thank you for that Instagram. My normal subject matter is just day to day documentation of the streets I walk and the things I see. But a few weeks ago I thought I would break both traditions and shot some images of my friend Andrew on Ilford Delta 400.
The following images were shot in my Canon AT1 on Ilford Delta 400 at box speed. Our town recently went through a devastating once-in-500-year flooding event which has unfortunately resulted in a bunch of abandoned properties, sheds and warehouses. Bad for the town, great for some film photography! We also went to the loading dock of one of the shopping centres in town.
I have also been experimenting with home developing. I have a bottle of Ilford’s Ilfosol 3 (the first developer I bought) that I develop as 1+9 at all sorts of time lengths. I also have a bottle of Rodinal R09 that I’ve only done 2 rolls in. When it came to developing the first 2 rolls of Delta I shot I was feeling lazy. I also had to clean the house, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to dabble in semi-stand developing! As such, these were developed in Rodinal 1+100 semi-stand (1 hour development with an agitation at the 30 minute mark):
A perfect test scenario would have seen me develop a roll in Rodinal the traditional way and then a roll semi-stand to compare the differences – but I didn’t have that luxury at the time (my stop bath is about to run out) and frankly didn’t think of it at the time.
But, I was pleasantly surprised with the results! The grain is present but not overbearing, the images came out much sharper than any images I’ve developed traditionally on HP5, and the contrast is very pleasant.
I haven’t tried enough scenarios yet to determine whether it was the Delta or the semi-stand that I liked but I’m now finishing my second roll of Delta underexposed a stop to push a stop, which is how I always shoot my HP5, so maybe I’ll post an update in a few weeks…
Please reach out if you have an opinion on Delta v HP5
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