2019: Roll 3

Seoul, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

Already finished with my third roll of the year. That, if you haven’t been following me, is quick fast for me. Normally I shoot two rolls or so a month if I’ve nothing special to shoot.

Seoul, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

Why? Well, not super easy to answer that. I think the main reason is my excitement to be committed to shooting film again. This “commitment” came from a realization I had during my regular yearly photo purge.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

I should start by explaining the idea of the yearly purge. Every year, during the last week of December I sit down and delete all the photos I took during that year aside from 40. I use the number 40 because to me it is basically like a roll of film. I throw out the other negatives (aside from those on either side of one of the forty) and get rid of the backups of digital files.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

I should say this doesn’t really include stuff like iPhone photos or selfies with my wife. That being said, in the forty I choose I have generally become more nostalgic. I am more likely to choose one like the above of my wife playing a board game because of the way the photo makes ME feel.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

Getting back to my commitment to film. When I went through last years photos I felt something different about the film photos. They felt more real. It is hipster dumbness, maybe, but I really loved the idea that the actual film negative was there with me at the moment I took the photo.

Seoul, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.
Seoul, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

I also think that for me personally I have a great sense of discipline when I shoot film. I have a terrible habit of looking at my photos the first cafe I get to or break I have on the subway.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.
Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

I am well aware that this is a mental problem. Something I could easily fix with some discipline. I think I shoot differently when I shoot film. I look for different things and ignore others. I don’t take photos for the sake of taking them.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

Same old shit you’ve read on countless blogs or seen in countless YouTube videos I know. I apologize for that. It is just the truth though. It does really make me feel different.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.
Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

That isn’t even to mention to fact that I have grown to love the developing part. I once hated it. I was too impatient. Now, I really enjoy it. It is the only time I let me cats into my darkroom. They come and play while I drink a glass of wine and listen to an audiobook or podcast.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.
Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

What about the scanning? Well, scanning also has kind of become a bit of a routine for me. I have grown to enjoy it. I am in fact scanning these while I write this and inserting them while I do. By the time 6 finish I am ready to add the next group. It works for me.

Seoul, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

You may be asking why they are bouncing between Seoul and Iksan so much. Basically I bounce between Seoul and Iksan a lot. I don’t take so many photos so you might see a couple days gap in between some of these where the camera was around my neck but I didn’t actually shoot anything.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.
Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

Ah, to answer some questions:

What film do you use? I thought you used Tmax?

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

I also loved Tmax. It was like my first girlfriend in film. I never liked TriX at all. The grain was too much. The contrast was too much. The tones between black and white were too abrupt. Tmax was a lot better for me. The feeling was more nostalgic. More akin to my mind’s eye.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

Now I shoot HP5. There are some simple reasons for this.. but the most important one is price. HP5 costs about 15% less a roll here than Tmax. The second reason I shoot HP5 is somehow I feel like Ilford cares more about us (film photographers). I could be wrong, but I do feel that. HP5 at 3200 still has a nice look for me. It is somewhere between Tmax and Trix. Sometimes the tones can be a bit abrupt, but not so much as Trix. Ugh, I hate Trix.

Seoul, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

What developer do you use? 

This I am more strict about than with film, strangely. Tmax developer is the only developer in my book. I don’t know about others and care not to know, ha.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

Forgot the scan the above first time around. Not sure how that happened.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

It’s a big holiday here in Korea. I think we are exhausted. Good to have a day to do nothing but develop some film and write a blog post. I’m counting down the minutes until 2:00PM when I think it seems late enough to have a beer.

Vlog camera test.

What about this YouTube? 

Coming soon ๐Ÿ˜‰ I already made my first couple of videos and have them on my Instagram. Tomorrow I’m going to the nearby historic city of Jeonju with a videographer and her assistant. Also have my vlogging setup nearly complete. I received the 11-22mm lens from Canon for my M50 right before the holiday and it seems to make things a whole lot easier when filming myself. Smallish tripod also on the way.

Seoul, South Korea.

Anyway, that is about it for this roll. Catch you all on the flip side ๐Ÿ˜‰

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

8 comments

  1. I was wondering if you ever tried the Agfa apx.it looks good on a Flickr search I made and I find it cheaper here than ilford or Kodak. I’ll try it out..

    1. Iโ€™ve tried it a couple of times. At box speed it looks okay but pushed any bit and it falls apart pretty quick. Since I shoot everything at 1600 / 3200 it isnโ€™t really an option for me. Kentimere actually even does better when pushed.

  2. Really liking the new and more regular postings, especially with each film roll as a unifying theme! A quick question: do you use a ND filter when youโ€™re rating HP5 at 3200? Thanks.

    1. A great question, and no I don’t. I haven’t put a battery in my camera in years. I kinda go with how the roll went. I start most out thinking they will be 1600. Sometimes if I end up going to 3200 (in my brain) I’ll develop somewhere in-between. Luckily with monochrome film there is so much latitude in this regard. For this roll anything outside was generally shot at f11, 500/1000. I don’t shoot much on super Sunny days.

  3. Purging out all images but 40? Sounds very challenging to me, even more as I tend to reevaluate my images years later very differently and I wouldn’t like to risk loosing images to an too agressive purge… but I like the concept ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. For me, it stops me from living in the past. It stops me from relying on old photos. I have a similar rule about processing digital photos. For the longest time I’d time myself and if a photo took more than 45 seconds to process I must have fucked it up in the first place so I just delete it. No matter how much I like it. This really helped me to not be careless. Not to mention the fact that I don’t much care for that part of the process. I like to make one preset and just use the same one over and over. If I’ve done a good job taking the photo it should be just fine ๐Ÿ˜‰ Anyway, not saying my style is for everyone but it certainly helps me with my own mindset.

  4. I’d love to see a video about your blogging workflow (with mobile)! Unless of course, you have already made a post about this which i have looked over

  5. Minimalist shooting, maximalist annual editing…
    I’m not sure about the latter. Contact prints teach a lot even long after the roll was shot. If anything, they will show your shooting approach, which is already minimalist indeed… ๐Ÿ™‚
    As you press the shutter so relatively infrequently, your success ratio is unbelievable. I’m not talking technical success, I’m talking ‘memorable image’ success. Josh-Josh images, let’s say. In this roll, I can count nine that are you-you and highly evocative. Out of 36, that’s 25%, hey not bad!
    Which ones? Well, my personal edit runs like 3-4-8-9-11-14-18-19-25….
    Looking forward to roll #4!
    Take care
    Giovanni

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