mono

Fujifilm Neopan Acros 100

Up to this point, my experiences with black and white film had been purely with Ilford stock.  HP5+ and the different Deltas were what I started with, but many people regularly recommended Fuji Acros.  Silverprint UK is usually my go-to site in the UK for film, and once again their price for 120 rolls of Acros was too tempting.  Being a 100 speed film, Acros is generally known for shaprness, fine grain and great detail.  It is also of course best used in bright conditions.  During my visit to Wimpole (see also Kodak Portra 400 and Fujifilm Pro 400H) I tested out a roll of Acros to see what it could do.  Of course, being a test I did take some images in less than ideal conditions (think dark pig sheds) to see if you could still have this film in your camera for a general, versatile walk-about film. acros-124acros-123

Shooting into the sun, the film still retains a great amount of shadow detail, but the sky also still retains texture - it's not blown out as it likely would be in a digital file.  (Note - doing this did lead to some light leak onto the following frame. Not a big deal but definitely noticeable...)

Heading indoors, I had to deal with some pedestrian shutter speeds with my Yashica, which only has a maximum aperture of f/3.5.  Luckily, the design of a TLR means it is relatively straightforward to brace the camera against your body and take a shot with a shutter speed less than 1/15 (the main time to look out for in terms of technique is pressing the shutter).  In some shots I got the exposure a little bit wrong, with one or two images being a little dark - this is recoverable in Lightroom though.

acros-116

With more unusual lighting, the contrast of Acros can be amazing.  For this image I shot into a barn, waiting for the goat to pass by the little door into their outside area.  Even in this extreme dark (metering for the highlights of course) there is still detail on the barn wall - the edges of the planks are clearly visible.  This is pretty incredible, considering how bright the goat is (there is also detail here too, it is not blown out).

acros-125

So, what are my impressions?  As you can probably tell, I'm a big fan of this film.  The latitude, contrast (in the right conditions), great detail, sharpness, pleasing but unobtrusive grain makes this a fantastic film for a wide range of settings.  I wouldn't hesitate to put this film in my camera when on the street or at a location such as Wimpole.  I would perhaps stay away from it in indoor settings (unless brightly lit), but this is as much to do with the slow film speed as it is to do with the aperture that can be achieved by my Yashica.

There wasn't much information out there in terms of development.  I used this method (Ming Thein blog) - Ilford DD-X, 6.5 minutes at 24 degress water temperature, then standard 1 minute of Ilfostop and 6 minutes of Ilford Rapid Fixer.  Seemed to work very well, so I ill be sticking with this in the future.

Go on, get some.  You won't regret it...

 

Le Tour en Cambridge!

daly-tdf-3704.jpg

The Tour de France had its Grand Depart this past week in the UK. The third stage left from Cambridge, my home city and luckily my place of work closed for the day! So I got into town early and pitched up outside the Fitzwilliam Museum. This is the photo story of the day, enjoy! [All images captured with a Nikon D90 and either a Nikon 50 mm f/1.8 or Tokina 11-16 mm f/2.8 lens]

People arrived early in Cambridge to grab the best vantage spots.

A few lucky cyclists were allowed to cycle part of the course a few hours before the race came through.

The caravan is a tour favourite - the cars of the sponsors speed through a couple of hours before the cyclists, chucking out freebies (sort of) towards the spectators.

The French sent over everything with the tour - their own police escort included!

The crowds slowly built up throughout the morning. Every cyclist that came through got a big cheer!

Crowds

Anticipation

And finally...it was time for the tour to come by. So many photomotos accompanied the peloton.

Hours of waiting for around 30 seconds of seeing the tour. But completely worth it - the atmosphere was amazing. The cyclists looked like they were really enjoying seeing all of us by the road to send them on their way.

Team Sky in particular got the biggest cheers of the day, being our home team.

A huge fleet of support cars followed the peloton through. All of them trying to keep close to the cyclists led to a few close calls...

Some vehicles were lagging behind.

And then it was all over. Time for everyone to make their way home.

Rough Seas

Hunstanton-mono-3427 The joy (and sometimes, frustration) of shooting outdoors is competing with the British climate!

The north Norfolk coast is almost infamous for the high winds and sudden downpours, and on Monday I experienced a bit of everything! However, this made for a more interesting backdrop to the North Sea. I felt this image was best suited to a mono conversion, with all the white horses in the sea and the clouds behind. [Nikon D90, 50 mm f/1.8 @ f/16, ISO 200, 1/80th sec]

On this trip, I also played around with my ND filters and got some interesting effects. More to come.

Mono? Colour?

This is a question I often ask myself! Over the new year break, we took a trip to Colwyn Bay (North Wales), and found the derelict pier which is soon to be torn down. Usually with a run-down building, or anything with great textures and shadows, I would go for a mono conversion (done in Lightroom 5). However, the sky was such a great colour that day, it seems a shame to lose that aspect of the shot.

Pier (Mono) Pier (Colour)

Both taken with a Nikon D90, Tokina 11-16 mm f/2.8 @ f/22, 1/15 sec, tripod.

I did end up posting the mono version to Flickr, but I'm interested to see what the general opinion is!