My first roll of LomoChrome Metropolis 120 film using my Hasselblad 500 C/M Camera

I had been really excited to use this film since receiving the 5 x 120 rolls from the Lomography Kickstarter campaign that I had backed.

On New Year’s day, I went on a photography walk with my friend Keiko along Brighton beach. Here are a couple of photos I took of her using the Metropolis film:

These were the first two photos I had taken and also scanned and I was quite impressed with the tones of the photos. It really did give that darker edge that I was hoping for from this film.

There were some people on Brighton beach new years day swimming etc and I took a couple of shots of the fun they were having:

Once again I really liked the tone of image this film produces. I had wanted it to look like a cold winter’s day on the beach and this film certainly achieved that look.

I was desperate to get a shot of the West Pier in Brighton as I thought that would look quite effective on this film and here is the result:

Although my Hasselblad only has 12 shots, I didn’t manage to use up the whole of the film on New Year’s Day.

Over the following week, I went to my local cemetery (where anybody who has followed my blog for a while, knows this is my favourite go to place when testing out new film/camera’s) and took the remainder of the photos there:

You’ll see from the cemetery photos that they were taken on a sunny day. However, the film has managed to retain the cool tones it is known for.

All of the photos were shot at ISO 400 and also developed at this ISO too.

Overall, I was very impressed with this film. It had the tones that I quite like and I can imagine this would look great when taking architectural shots or for street photography.

I’m really looking forward to trying out some more of this film in my Hasselblad and since I’ve really liked the photos it produces, I’m also going to purchase some 35mm format of this film to see how it works in my 35mm camera’s.

Shooting a mystery roll of film with my Hasselblad 500 C/M camera

A couple of weeks ago I was sorting out one of my travel bags and I came across a roll of 120 film in one of the pockets that I would have taken with me on my holiday in June but must have missed this pocket when unpacking everything back on my return.

It was in a white plastic packet with no writing on it. I decided I wanted to use it up asap because I couldn’t remember what it was so I wouldn’t be able to add it to my film inventory for a particular plan of use.

It was a nice sunny morning the other Sunday and my dog, Daisy, needed a walk so I decided to take my Hasselblad with me over to the beach and use up this film.

I was hoping when I opened up the plastic packet that there may have been a label but all it said on the paper inside was a strange graphic of 100.

I decided to take this as being the ISO and took photos using that ISO for my exposure.

I also wasn’t sure if it was black and white or colour. When I took it to my local lab for processing, I decided to get it processed in black and white.

I figured if I was wrong and it was ruined, they were beach photos which I regularly take so it wouldn’t be much of a problem.

Thankfully it was a black and white film and the photos for the most part, came out fine.

It stated 100 pan on the processed negatives so I think it must have been a Rollei film I had taken with me on my trip to Turkey in June but never used.

Here are some photos of the beach:

Here are some photos I took of Daisy on the beach:

I can’t make up my mind whether I like this photo or not? I think I would have preferred it if I had put Daisy in focus and the people in the background had been out of focus:

This photo of Daisy has a sea mist feel about it as it seems slightly over exposed:

I had great fun that morning using my Hasselblad on the beach and I’m really pleased that I had guessed the film type for developing correctly.

Film Inventory

So the past few weeks for me have been a complete write off with regards to taking photos outdoors.

I had a couple of photo walks planned over the two weekends prior to the one just gone, to different places outside of Brighton, but in the end I had to cancel both due to the terrible rain we’ve been having.

On one of the days that I cancelled, I decided to have a productive morning of doing an inventory of my film instead.

I had began to notice quite a stash building up in my fridge of a mixture of 110, 35mm, 120 and various instant film.

It’s all piled on top of each other which makes it hard to see. By doing an inventory, I felt it would help me when planning future photography projects, since I can just check my list rather than raid through the film in my fridge, making it all untidy again!

The aim of this inventory list is that I actually start using the film I have rather than just keep buying more.

There seems to be so many new films coming out lately, that I get really excited and have to buy them there and then but right now, I do not want to continue adding to my fridge stash (unless it’s something I see when out and about and not something I can easily buy online).

A good example of this was on Sunday when I visited the Photographer’s Gallery in London. They have an amazing selection of film for sale and the couple I purchased, I knew I wouldn’t easily be able to buy online so decided to add them to my current film stash.

I recently stopped my 120 subscription to Cool Film Club as I was finding that it was quite expensive and I wasn’t using the films instantly, since I didn’t have a photo project in mind for them.

Whilst some people may be proud of their film stashes, I actually hate to see my film just sitting there in the fridge doing nothing.

I also have a tendancy with some of the films that I think are ‘quite special’ to keep on saving them for that ‘special photo project’ which quite frankly doesn’t always happen so it continues to sit there.

My aim is to now try and use up as much of my current stash as possible before I purchase anymore (no more photo shops with unusual film visits for me for a while!).

In some ways I know I will struggle with this, since I want to use everyday black and white film (i.e. Ilford) if I’m taking photos locally where I regularly visit.

This is why I’m trying to currently plan more places to visit outside of Brighton that appeal to me for taking photos which will give me the opportunity to actually use the ‘special films’.

However, once I do finally start to get through my film stash, I’ll be able to then treat myself to more film.

I think it’s the colour film I will struggle to use more as I really do like shooting in black and white and I also like the fact that I then have the option to make these photos into prints in the darkroom, if I’m happy with them rather just scan or digitally print like I currently have to do with colour film.

To be honest, I thought I had used up quite a lot of my film stash during my trips to Turkey and Le Havre back in June but it’s surprising what a fridge can hide since doing an inventory!

Does anybody else do an inventory of their film? If so, have they found it helpful in trying to reduce their current stash?

I would love to hear what you all think about doing an inventory of your film and if like me, you have stashes of film too or whether you tend to just buy film as and when you know you are going to use it.

My first attempts at processing film using the Ars-Imago Lab-Box

For anybody who has been following my blog for a while, you may have read about my ‘light leak’ issues I had when I first attempted processing film in a changing bag because the sleeves of the changing bag were too big for my slender arms and ended up letting light in and therefore ruining some of the film I was developing.

Now, I know I’ve had the alternate option of loading the film tanks in the darkroom, since I now have access to one. However, due to current work commitments and the fact the local community darkroom takes me approx 1-2 hours to travel to (since I don’t drive and have to rely on public transport or walk), the very precious time I am currently able to spend in the darkroom, I want to focus solely on making prints, rather than developing film.

I recently saw in the film community that people were getting excited about their Ars-Imago Lab-Boxes arriving in the post that they had backed on Kickstarter in 2017.

I didn’t get back into film photography until last year, so completely missed out on the opportunity of purchasing one via the Kickstarter campaign which seemed much cheaper than what they now retail at.

I really wanted to start doing my own film processing but ideally from home where I can do it around work in the evenings so this lab-box really appealed to me as I wouldn’t have the need for a darkroom or changing bag.

It also looked like a simpler way of loading the film than using a normal developing tank.

I was put off though by the retail price of the lab-box which is around £179.00 plus accessories such as the crank handle cost extra.

Back in August, I was chatting to one of my photography friends about it and they said they had backed the original campaign on Kickstarter and just received theirs in the post. Although, realistically, they didn’t think they currently have time to process their own film.

As luck would have it, my friend agreed to sell his one to me (for a lot less than the current retail price!) and his one came with both 35 and 120 modules plus the crank handle accessory and also a film retriever.

He hadn’t even opened the original postage packaging to look at it so it was all completely brand new and sealed up!

I decided I was going to use the Cinestill DF 96 Monobath since it has both the Developer and Fix in one and I figured it would be the easiest thing for me to try first until I got used to processing film:

Initially, I was going to try developing the 35mm film, as that looked the easiest.

What I didn’t bank on, was not being able to retrieve the film leader out of the canister after shooting. I had initially attempted to only wind the film back in the camera until I felt the slack on the winder but twice in my Olympus Pen FT, I failed to feel when it went slack and it wound all the way back in.

I ended up breaking two film retriever’s trying to get the film out of both canisters and all the other methods (double sided sticky tape etc) didn’t seem to work because I must have worked the film into the canisters tightly which made it impossible to retrieve them without breaking the canisters (so off to the local lab they went for developing)……not a great start so far!

In the meantime, I had taken some black and white photos on my Hasselblad 500 C/M camera so I decided to use the 120 module first instead.

Once I had read the instructions, I found this very simple to do. However, I was a little disappointed on reading to discover that I cannot process 120 films with PET Base which include the following:

JCH 400, Rollei Infrared, Rollei 80s, Rollei Superpan 200, Rollei 400s, Fomapan 100, Fomapan 200, Fomapan 400, Arista Film.

I found this a little frustrating as I quite like using the JCH4 400, Rollei 400s and Fomapan 120 films so I’ll either have to go back to the old way of processing film in the dark with a normal developing tank or get my local lab to process these films.

I decided to use the Crank Handle accessory instead of the standard turning dial (which in my kit is black but there are orange and green options) as I thought this would help with the agitating process.

I used the Ilford FP4 (125) 120 roll film and the temperature of the monobath was 21 degrees so the instructions told me agitate for 6 minutes.

I then rinsed the film inside the tank as per the lab-box instructions then washed the film in a jug with some wetting agent.

I had a slight issue with the Crank Handle mid agitation which I’m not sure if I locked properly into the tank and it promptly came off! Thankfully the film didn’t seem to be affected by this as I was concerned about a light leak.

I took the photos in my local cemetery as I knew I wouldn’t be too annoyed if I messed up and didn’t develop them properly and here are some of the photos I took:

I was really happy with the outcome of my first photos using this box. The main thing was that I actually managed to develop some photos I could scan!

I was determined to test out the 35mm module so I loaded my Pentax K1000 with some Kosmofoto 100 film and I took most of the photos at my local cemetery (again, just in case they didn’t develop very well so I wouldn’t be too disappointed).

This time I managed to wind the film back to the point where I left the leader out! (as it’s really easy to tell in my Pentax K1000 when I’ve wound the film back to this point).

Loading the 35mm film into the lab-box was very easy and it wound into the box so quickly I genuinely thought the film had jammed midway through loading and that I wouldn’t get to develop the full film. I couldn’t pull the film back out so just had to go with it and see what happened at the end. Thankfully, it had actually loaded the whole film and hadn’t jammed as I had initially feared.

I again, agitated the film for 6 minutes as my monobath was 21 degrees. I rinsed as per the instructions and used a wetting agent and here are some of the results:

Once again, I was pleased that there were photos and that I was able to scan them! I was also really happy with the tone and contrast of these photos for a beginners attempt.

I had some drying issues with both sets of negatives. I decided to dry them in my bathroom since I feel my bathroom is the least dusty/fluffiest place to hang them (plus my three extremely fluffy cats don’t tend to go in there).

Even though I had used a wetting agent and wiped down the negatives before hanging to dry, they still managed to attract a lot of dust and fluff whilst they were wet and sticky before they fully dried!

I therefore had to use a film cleaner on them to try and get them as clean as possible before I could scan them.

I could see some water marks on them too, so I’m considering whether to use bottled water next time I rinse them as the tap water where I live is extremely hard and causes a lot of limescale issues on my taps, kettle etc and see if that makes a difference.

Since I’m new to film processing, I know I’ve a lot to learn about using various chemicals and the drying process etc.

With regards to the lab-box, would I recommend it? I would say if you currently process your film using a darkroom/changing bag and the tanks with no problems, then I would continue that way and save your money.

This product is certainly a more costly way of developing your film because of how much it retails at.

However, if you’re wanting to try out processing film and are feeling overwhelmed about doing it in the dark, or using the normal processing tanks, then I’d definitely recommend this box.

It has certainly given me the confidence I needed to process film again after my previous disastrous attempts last year.

I also love the fact I can process them in daylight in the comfort of my home without the need of using a changing bag or darkroom.

I also think once you get to grips with the lab-box, it is a less fiddly way of developing your film than loading it into a normal developing tank but this is only my personal opinion.

Lastly, will I be using the lab-box on a regular basis? then the answer is yes! Just the buzz alone of seeing my film come out of the tank with photos was a massive high for me and felt like a real sense of achievement! I definitely don’t get the same buzz when picking the film up from my local lab.

Since I’ve only developed two rolls of film so far, I’m looking forward to experimenting with different chemical types and also doing colour film too.

I would love to know if anybody else has got one of these and has tried it? It would be great to read your opinions of what you thought of it.

Also, if anyone who already processes their own film has any advice they would like to share with me going forward, I’m always grateful for any help since I’m a complete beginner and have much to learn!

Using the Red Filter with my Hasselblad 500 C/M

I had been keen to try out the Hasselblad Red Filter that I purchased for my Camera as I wanted to make more contrast in some of my black and white photography.

My first attempt at using the Red Filter the other month was a complete disaster. I had looked at the filter guideline, which I understood as altering the exposure on the light meter by 2.5 stops.

The results ended up with some very under exposed shots that were pointless scanning.

I spoke about my results to the London Camera Museum (where I originally purchased my Hasselblad from) and they said to just expose as normal and ignore the 2.5 stop alteration.

I therefore exposed as per the light meter reading without any adjustments, using the Rollei RPX 100 film and I decided to take some photos of the fishing boats at Brighton Marina and here are the results:

These photos came out just as I’d hoped so I’m really happy. They have the contrast and gritty feel that I was hoping to capture of the fishing area at Brighton Marina.

On the same day, I also took photos of some white fluffy clouds in the sky using the red filter:

Here is a photo I took of the clouds with the cliffs underneath:

I particularly like this photo I took of Roedean School on the Cliffs with the clouds:

I used the 80mm lens for all the photos and will definitely be using the Red Filter again when I want some dramatic contrast in my black and white photography.

Trying out the LomoChrome Purple 120 Film in my Hasselblad 500 C/M

I was quite excited to recently receive my order of the 120 LomoChrome Purple film that I had pre-ordered late last year when Lomography announced they were re-doing the film.

I knew the film had previously worked well in Hove Cemetery when I had used the 35mm version so that’s where I wanted to try out this film. I decided to try it when it was a bright sunny day and I used my Lens Shade to hopefully avoid sun glare.

I wanted quite a vivid purple so shot the film at 400 ISO and here are some of the results:

I also tried out my prism filter to add to the fun of this film:

I already knew from previously trying out this film that the reds remain red and I found a couple of areas in the cemetery which had red flowers/berries:

The above two photos were taken towards the end of the roll of film and I noticed some areas of sun glare even though I had the lens shade on.

In the end I figured there may have been a slight fault with the actual film as the last photo below showed the backing paper marks on the film:

I bought these films as a batch of five so I’m really hoping the others don’t have similar problems like this.

I know next time I need to try this film out on a different subject matter since in the past year, I’ve taken so many purple shots on different camera’s at this cemetery.

I was also not as impressed as I thought I would be at using the Hasselblad with this film. I thought the photos were going to be extremely crisp and detailed.

I won’t deny that there is some slight crisp detail from using this camera but not as crisp as I get in my black and white films and I can only put this down to the fact it’s varied shades of purple perhaps softens the photos.

These photos were taken handheld so I do think it would be interesting to try this film out next using a tripod and seeing if that makes much difference.