TMP Blog

Landscape photography with a difference!


Polemic spleen venting blood boiling verbose banal diatribe from an Aspergic point-of-view! Or not, as the case may be!

I went for a Trip…

Sometimes when I feel stir crazy and I just need to get out of the house I pick up my camera and take an hour’s walk by the Severn Bridge. I find that brief respite, the indulgence of solitude rather salubrious and cathartic. I credit it to the sea breeze. There is something quite refreshing about it. On my short sojourn, I took with me my custom Olympus Trip 35 which my wife and best friend bought for me for our anniversary last year. I wanted to finish the roll of Ilford HP5 Plus, give the camera a work-out and, if circumstances permitted, shoot some Ilford Pan F+.

I quickly finished the roll of HP5 Plus. I only had seven or so frames to shoot anyway, so that was an easy job. In went the Pan F Plus. Now I have only ever used Pan F Plus once before and that was in 6x6 medium format. Shameful I know! I wanted to shoot a test film before using it in anger in the Leica. I had no idea what to expect. I had read several accounts on how difficult exposing and developing Pan F Plus was in comparison to FP4 Plus and HP5 Plus, including such comments on websites that sell the stuff. I need not have worried as the results were amazing. I don’t mean the photographs per se, I mean the quality of the film, the fine grain, the dynamic range and that wonderful Ilford tone. I developed both films the same way, dilute Kodak HC-110 for 21 mins and agitating for the first 30 seconds and then two inversions every seven minutes.

Now to the Trip!

I really enjoyed using it and will again. Obviously the build quality is nowhere near that of the Leica. The Trip feels flimsy and light, the frame spacing and the back door are a little “off”. The zone focussing is easy to use, but you are not quite sure whether you have focussed on your subject. The metering is superb as also is the quality of the lens. It’s a camera you can really enjoy using in carefree shooting. An ideal street shooter for sure. It is also light and discreet, with a shutter more quiet than my M2. My wife procured the camera from… 

My Trip was fully refurbished and came with a lovely green leatherette. I would absolutely  recommend Trip Man.

The below photographs are test shots, mainly from the Pan F Plus roll. Pan F Plus is an amazing film and I love it. I don’t know why I haven’t used it before, I guess it was the slow speed that put me off. As a result I ordered ten more rolls. I have also included two screen shots with side-by-side comparisons of HP5 Plus and Pan F Plus shown at 50% (1:2) zoom in Lightroom. I exposed the HP5 Plus at EI200 which lowered it’s grain and put it in the realm of FP4 Plus. The Pan F Plus was exposed at EI50. When you overexpose and contract development or use a weak compensating developer you gain more shadow detail and lower grain at the expense of film speed. So the comparison is not absolute but an indicator. If I had exposed the HP5 Plus at EI400 then the grain would have been noticeably more. HP5 Plus at EI200 is just a little bit more grainy, and I do mean it has only slightly discernibly more grain than FP4 Plus at EI125.




HP5+ under rather contrasty bright conditions. An f/16 exposure if using Sunny 16.

Quiet Waters. Flotsam. Close to the edge. Into the Sun.

No idea what the purpose of this is/was!

Fast flowing. The Mini-Bridge.

Screen Shot 1

It should be obvious which one is Pan F Plus!

What is real?

I keep on reading, here and there, now and again, of what is real imaging. I hear this mainly from the digital brigade in justification for their distorted and faux interpretation of reality.

About one million years ago a large number of hydrogen atoms fused in a G-Type main sequence yellow dwarf star of no particular importance. Each pair of hydrogen atoms that fused created one gamma ray, one Neutrino and one Photon. Our particular group of photons took one million years to mitigate the turbulent nuclear atmosphere and intense gravity field before being ejected across the vast reaches of space. Eight and a half minutes later they found themselves hurtling through the blue nitrogen rich atmosphere of the third planet. Within a fraction of an instant the photons had been deflected from an opaque object, were then collimated by five slightly convex slices of thin silicate before being unceremoniously smashed against a slither roll of acetate covered with an even thiner photon sensitive emulsion of silver halide. The impact of the Photons with the halides changed some of them. This strip of acetate was then repeatedly washed in various liquids until an inverse image was fix thereupon.

We call this Photography.

How more real can you make it?

It is in fact, a combination of Physics and Chemistry.

It is a miracle!

The latter stages: The Darkroom.

The digital brigade then bleat on about the old film guys faking it in the darkroom. Sure they did! But if you think there is ANY commonality between the darkroom and the lightroom beyond terminology then you really need a sober reality check and perhaps a swift kick in the derriere.

Faking it in the darkroom involves immeasurable skill procured over years of hard practice and the results are usually unrepeatable. Insomuch that a second copy is not exactly the same as the first. If you make a mistake there is no “history” - you have to start again. Editing negatives is even harder and impossible in the small format especially with multi-layered chromogenic films.

In the darkroom, you try removing that seagull that inconveniently flew into the scene as you pressed the shutter. In Fauxtoshop done in about one second. In the darkroom… ?

By all means have a go. Perhaps you’ll develop a sense of humility, appreciation and a realisation on how very easy you have it. The old darkroom fakers were seriously skilled people. The fact that the world is simply awash with crap images of untold magnitude is testament to how digital has made it so, so very easy.

No matter their skill the darkroom worker is confined and still limited by physics and chemistry. How more real do you want?

Incidentally, It is quite funny that of all the wet printing I have done it is colour printing that I have enjoyed the most, despite being a monochromist. I am really crap at wet B&W printing but pretty happy with the colour prints. Figure that one!

In the faux fantasy world of digital the only limits when manipulating pixels is your imagination or lack thereof.

The negative, the positive and the wet print is an image of reality distorted and created by the inescapable limits imposed by the confines of the real world. Physics and Chemistry! It is true photography, drawing with light. Whereas digital capture is pixelography, drawing with pixels. A faux world with no limits, no borders, where the boundary between photography, manipulation, art and digital imaging is as blurred and as soft as your plastic lenses.

It seems that for many the real world just isn’t good enough any more!

… and if you have reached this far can I conclude with some pictures from a stroll last week, the Castle Dell, Chepstow and a few from nearby Devauden and Trelleck. Leica M2, 5cm Summicron, Ilford FP4+ in Rodinal, Sunny 16. Semi-stand development.

Old ruined farm house, near Devauden, Chepstow.

Shadow on Door, Trelleck.

Farm, Trelleck.

Post, near Trelleck, Chepstow.

Leaves on wire, near Trelleck, Chepstow.

A glimpse. Chepstow Castle from the A48.

In blur, Chepstow Castle.

The Dell, Chepstow.

Seat. On the way to Tutshill, Chepstow.

Ivy covered. Kirk in Chepstow.