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.

‘Kosmonauts hit Wapping’ Photo Walk

Back in August I attended a photo walk in London organised by the London Camera Project and Kosmo Foto.

The plan for the day was to meet at CitizenM Tower of London Hotel where we would walk around the Tower of London area, then through Wapping, onto the Tower Bridge and Southwark.

What was also exciting about this photowalk was that everyone attending would receive a 35mm roll of Kosmo Foto film. There were also prizes and rewards arranged throughout the walk.

On this particular occasion, I didn’t have anybody to look after my dog, but I desperately wanted to attend this photo walk and thankfully the organisers were happy for me to bring her along.

My dog Daisy and I travelled up to London via the train from Brighton and I’m grateful that I have a pet who is very good at travelling and we have been to London together before on the train so I knew it wouldn’t be a problem. I’m also able to take her on the Underground which is great.

This is Daisy getting settled on the train on our journey up to london (photo taken on my iPhone):

When we arrived at the CitizenM Hotel a little earlier than the official meeting time, it was quite obvious to see who was there for the photo walk because they had camera’s with them. Since I had Daisy with me, I was unable to enter the Hotel, where a lot of people were waiting. However, this was an advantage too because I was able to chat and guide the people who were there for the walk who wasn’t sure where the group was.

Here is a lovely photo of Daisy taken outside the CitizenM Hotel by @lomo_keiko using her Lomo LCA Camera and Lomography 100 film:

© @lomo_keiko

Daisy is with me most of the time so I’ve developed a skill in taking photos whilst also holding her lead. This meant that she really wasn’t a problem on the walk.

Thankfully, she proved quite popular with the other photographers attending the walk and I think a few photos were taken by them of her.

I decided for this particular photo walk to take my Olympus Pen FT camera with me. Whilst I was tempted to take my Hasselblad 500 C/M, I knew the Olympus would be the most manageable camera to take photos whilst handling a dog at the same time.

Although we were handed a roll of the Kosmo Foto film, I still had a Cinestill B&W film in this camera from some other event where I took photos and didn’t manage to use up the whole of the film (since it’s 72 frames!) so thought it would be best to use it up on this walk. I also knew I wanted to take black and white photos.

Here are some of the photos from the walk:

Here is a photo of Daisy and I taken by @lomo_keiko using my Olympus Pen FT:

This photo was also taken by @lomo_keiko using her Lomo LCA camera and Kosmo Foto film:

© @lomo_keiko

As you may be able to tell, Daisy was quite keen to jump into that river and have a swim!

Lastly, here is a photo of Daisy taken by @ermess_ using his Leica M6 and Kosmo Foto film:

© @ermess_

Whilst on the photo walk, we stopped at a couple of pubs along the way and the final one we ended up at was a really nice bar called Hawkes Cidery & Taproom, where further film photography prizes were handed out. They also serve some lovely Pizza’s which I really enjoyed after all that walking!

Needless to say, I had a lot of fun on this photo walk and it was really nice to meet some new people, as well as catch up with some friends I’d made from previous photo walks.

Whilst I wouldn’t normally take Daisy with me on a photo walk, on this particular occasion, because everyone was very accepting of her, it was really nice to have her out with me and I know she loves to visit new places.

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.

The Washi S Black and White ISO 50 film with my Hasselblad 500 C/M Camera

I was pleased to see that Cool Film Club are now doing a monthly 120mm Film Subscription so I signed up to it to enable me to try out films that perhaps I’d never tried before.

I got my first box of 2 x 120mm films the other week from them and in the box was the Washi S 120mm 50 ISO black and white film.

I had been intrigued by this film in the past because it is an emulsion designed for sound recording and it appeared in the sample photos to have a high contrast which I quite like.

However, when I looked at purchasing this film in the past, it always appears to be sold out so I was really happy to get a roll of this in my subscription box.

I decided to try out the film in my local cemetery as I thought the film style would be suited to this style of photography.

Since it’s ISO 50, I went and shot the roll on a bright sunny day and used the sun shade attachment on my Hasselblad.

I wasn’t sure how the negatives would turn out since I felt this film is quite unusual.

I noticed that the film is packed in a recycled roll of 120mm film and this particular film had been repacked in what was originally a Tri-X 400 film roll. This actually turned out to be an issue when taking it to my local lab for processing because although I packed it in the plastic Washi Case which, clearly states 50 ISO, they processed it as the Tri-X 400 film so I’m not sure if this affected the way the negatives turned out.

I can completely understand how this confusion would have been caused and in some ways it was frustrating that a) I didn’t make it extremely clear to them that it wasn’t a Kodak Tri-X 400 film and that b) the Washi is packed in a recycled film package and they don’t have their own brand one which clearly states it’s an ISO 50 film. This makes me wonder if anybody else has encountered similar problems if relying on somebody else to process their film for them.

Thankfully the photos still appeared on all 12 negatives!

I scanned the negatives myself using my Epson V600 scanner and here are some of the photos I took:

The photos are quite high in contrast as I expected they would be. Where I’ve taken the photos in shaded areas they have come out quite dark. I’m unsure at this stage whether this is the traits of the film, the way I exposed the photos (i.e. not stopping up or down and shooting exactly as my light meter stated) or if the fact the film was processed by my lab as a Kodak Tri-X 400. Unfortunately I don’t know enough about the film developing process to know if that would actually make much difference?

I also couldn’t help but have a play with my new (to me) multi-prism filter:

I quite liked the results of the prism effect, especially the last photo. I just knew the statue may be quite an interesting one to try out with the prism filter and the contrast of the film has given it quite a cool, heavenly effect in my opinion.

I’m quite keen to see if any of these negatives will develop into nice prints in the darkroom or whether the high contrast will mean I will struggle.

My first attempt at retouching a silver gelatin print

I recently learnt that a majority of people who produce their own silver gelatin prints in the darkroom have to re-touch their photos.

Unfortunately, no matter how much care I take in keeping my darkroom environment as dust free as possible, it seems to be inevitable that dust marks still show on my prints.

The main issues I’m having with dust in my prints are largely down to using a Condenser enlarger (the Durst DA900) which show up any spec of dust so will need spot retouching afterwards.

There is also another type of enlarger called a diffuser enlarger and these types of enlarger give a slightly softer image than a condenser enlarger but they also don’t show up the dust the way a condenser enlarger does.

Since I belong to a community darkroom with only one enlarger, I don’t have the choice of being able to use the diffuser type of enlarger. However, I do like the enlarger I currently use due to the sharpness of the images it produces.

After researching online about how to avoid such marks, I realised that I would need to look at retouching them myself after the final stage of printing and drying.

I found some paints by Fotospeed which are made specifically for this purpose in black and white photos.

I also learnt that a sable hair brush would be best for applying the paint to the photos and I decided to use a 000 sable hair brush which I purchased from my local art store as I figured a finer brush would be more subtle for spotting/retouching my prints.

I unfortunately couldn’t find much information about the best way of applying the paint to my photos, although I did find one video on youtube but it wasn’t using the particular brand of paint I’m using.

I recently printed this Windmill photo which I took in Rye, East Sussex using my Hasselblad 500 C/M camera and Fomapan 200 black and white film.

As you can see, the sky is very grey in this photo and there are quite a few marks due to dust in the print. I therefore thought this would be a good print to test out the retouching technique.

The photo is printed on Ilford Resin Coated Multigrade IV Pearl paper and I printed a couple of copies to help me practice.

I learnt from the youtube video I watched that it’s best to put out the paints onto a white ceramic plate then slowly mix/blend until the shades match the part of the photo I’m trying to re-touch and apply the paint.

This actually was quite difficult to do on my first attempt and I’m not overly impressed with the results:

You’ll see that I’ve been quite heavy handed in areas and the paint is darker than I would have liked.

I’ve realised that whilst I started the process slowly, I began to get a little impatient and when I wasn’t seeing much progress in adding the paint, I started to make it darker too quickly which I think was my big mistake.

I also think I picked quite a difficult photo for my first attempt since there were quite a lot of marks on it to re-touch.

I still need to do some more research into the best way of retouching my final prints and I definitely need to practice a lot more to hopefully reach a skill level where I’m happy with the standard of the print re-touch.

Practicing the ‘Burning In’ Technique in the Darkroom

In one of my latest Darkroom sessions I decided I wanted to enlarge a photo I’d taken of some logs which were outside a house I was staying at during a recent visit to Rye.

I had taken this photo using my Hasselblad 500 C/M camera and some Fomapan Creative 200 ISO black and white film.

I used Ilford IV Multigrade Resin Coated Pearl paper to make my prints. In the first print I made I used a 2 1/2 Contrast Filter and exposed the print for 5 seconds:

I was quite happy with the detail in the top half of the photo but I felt the detail was lacking somewhat in the lower part of the photo on the logs.

It was a bright, sunny day when I took the photo and I didn’t have a lens shade at that point to use on my camera. The lower logs were more exposed to the sunlight.

I therefore decided that this would be a good photo to try out the ‘burning in’ technique. I exposed my next print again with the same contrast filter and exposure time. However, this time I hovered some paper over the top part of the image and exposed the lower part of the photo to a further 5 seconds and this was the result:

I was pleased to see that the lower part of the photo was starting to show more detail in the logs. However, I felt the contrast filter I was using was lighting the lower logs a bit too much.

In the next print I decided to remove the contrast filter completely but I still ‘burned in’ the photo the same way as I had done for the second print and here is the result:

I liked the fact that you can see more detail in the lower logs but by not using a contrast filter, it made the photo darker overall. I also still had the problem of the little log that looks almost white in all of the photos. Although there was minimal detail on the actual negative of this log.

Perhaps I could perfect this photo even further but I wasn’t sure what would be next best to try. I don’t think I wanted to try any other contrast filters and all I could think is that I try ‘burning in’ some smaller areas a bit more.

Taking photos of my nephews with the Hasselblad 500 C/M Camera

I note the majority of my photos tend to be of still objects outdoors and I’ve recently been trying to push myself outside of my comfort zone and try other types of photography.

From a previous blog post, you’ll see I attempted to take some indoor photos of my cats which wasn’t very successful.

Next I thought I’d attempt to take some photos of my nephews using some black and white film.

So with my Hasselblad in tow, I headed to a local park with my sister and nephews.

I decided on a park setting as I thought this would be enjoyable for them and ideally, I wanted to capture some photos of them having fun.

I wasn’t sure how successful this photo session would be since my nephews are used to having photos of them taken digitally which is a very quick process.

Obviously, my film format Hasselblad camera was going to take longer.

I recently acquired a Hasselblad Lens Shade for my 80mm lens on the advice I had received from a professional photographer who used this exact model camera back in the 1970s/80s. It’s a lens shade made for the Planar C and F lenses (which mine is) and is provided with a bayonet mount. There is an alignment dot which helps facilitate attachment to the lens.

The reason I decided to use a lens shade was because it was a very bright, sunny day so I thought it would help reduce sun glare and reflections. It also helps protect exposed lens surfaces.

To my surprise, my nephews were really good at staying still and posing for the photos. They were absolutely fascinated by the camera and quite enjoyed the experience.

Here are some photos I took using the Ilford Delta 400 black and white film:

After I had used up the roll of film, my nephews wanted more photos taken of them which was really lovely. Thankfully I’d also packed some Kodak 400TX film so used this too. Here are some of the photos I took:

Overall I was really pleased with how the photos turned out as I didn’t know what to expect. I think it helped that they really enjoyed me taking photos of them and it was a fun environment to photograph in.

Mishaps in the Darkroom Part 1

A couple of weeks ago during one of my darkroom sessions, I decided to do an enlargement of a black and white fishing boat photo I had recently taken at Brighton Marina.

I currently use the Ilford Multigrade IV RC De Luxe photographic paper in an 8x10in size since I think this is a great photo paper for beginners and also I can use the Ilford contrast filters on it.

I used a masking frame easel whilst doing the enlargement and in my first print I came across some darkness at the bottom left hand corner of the white border:

I did another print and still had the same problem as in the above photo. I’m always very careful in packing the photographic paper away before putting the white light back on and I thought to myself that it must be a masking frame issue since I had never used this particular masking frame before.

I therefore taped the corner of the masking frame down from where this problem was occurring and was still getting the same black mark.

After several prints and much frustration wondering why the masking frame was not working correctly, I then made this print which ended up being a slightly different black mark to the other prints:

I then began to question whether it was a photographic paper issue after all and not the masking frame as I had initially thought.

Before making these enlargements, I had printed a contact sheet of some beach shots I had taken using my Hasselblad 500 C/M camera as I had recently got the developed film back from my local lab.

I decided to look closely at the the contact sheet and immediately saw the same issue in the corner:

At this point, I knew that it was definitely a paper issue and although I thought I had been careful with not exposing my photographic paper to white light, at some point, I must have not bagged this particular corner of the paper up properly so the whole batch of what was left must have got exposed.

Thankfully all was not lost as I was able to trim down the border to still have a nice print since it wasn’t on the main photo. I was also glad that I found out what the problem was as that was frustrating me the most.

All was not lost with the remaining photographic paper left either as I was able to cut the remainder of it up and use it for test strips.

I’m really hoping I’ll never make this mistake again and I now triple check I’ve wrapped up that photo paper properly before turning on the white light!

Rollei Fantastic 5!

Recently on Instagram, I came across a camera shop called @macodirect who are based in Germany.

They announced they had put together a pack of different types of Rollei black and white films which came complete with a Japan Camera Hunter film case.

I really love the Rollei films, ever since I started using them in 35mm photography.

The great news is that these packs are available in both 35mm and 120mm options.

The pack contains the following five Rollei black and white films:

  • 1 x Rollei RPX 25
  • 1 x Rollei RPX 100
  • 1 x Rollei RPX 400
  • 1 x Rollei Superpan 200
  • 1 x Rollei Retro 400S

I also really liked the orange colour of the case they had chosen to pack the films in.

I have used the Rollei RPX 400 and Rollei Retro 400S in the past with great results, but I had never used the other three before so thought this would be a great way to try them out.

I’d also been considering buying a plastic case of this type for 120mm film. This is because I normally have a couple of rolls I need to put in for developing at a time and wanted something sturdy to store the used film in when travelling to my local lab for processing.

The 120mm pack retails at €34.50 (around £30.00) and the 35mm pack retails at €32.60 (around £28.00).

Since I’m based in the UK, I knew that the postage wouldn’t be cheap and I wasn’t wrong as that cost an additional £10.

However, even with the postage cost of £10, I worked out that I would still be making a saving of approximately £8 than if I had bought all the films and the case separately in the UK. I therefore decided to purchase one of the 120mm packs.

It arrived quite quickly and I’m really looking forward to using all the films in my Hasselblad 500 C/M camera.

If you’re interested in purchasing a pack or happen to live in Germany so will be lucky enough to pay less postage, their website is: