Hankering to shoot in black and white

Several cameras I bought last fall and winter have piled up here. I’ve been busy shooting with them, including a Kodak Monitor, a Kodak Retina IIa, and a Minolta SR-T-101. Writeups are on the way! An Olympus Stylus Epic Zoom 8o, a Polaroid One Step 600, and a Polaroid Pronto are waiting their turns.

Pentax ME

But one recent afternoon when I unexpectedly had some free time, I found myself hankering to try the 55 mm f/1.8 lens that came with my Pentax KM on my easier-to-handle Pentax ME. I’ve also been itching to shoot black and white lately. I credit the influence of Mike Connealy, a fellow collector whose black-and-white work I really enjoy. You can see his cameras and his photos here. So I bought some Kodak T-Max 400, dropped it into my ME, attached the aforementioned lens, and had some fun. My other cameras can wait.

The Pentax ME was just as much a pleasure in my hands this time as last. But my shots tended to come out a little overexposed. I was able to rescue many of the shots, including this one, in Photoshop Elements.


I planted some daylilies last year and their ongoing blooms really make me happy.


My dog Gracie was still fluffy after a bath the day before. I love how her fur has silvery tones, especially across her face. In color, she’s orange.

Shiny dog

I visited Broad Ripple, a frequent destination when I have film in a camera. This faux graffiti advertises a restaurant in the building onto which it is painted.


This old railroad bridge is becoming a frequent subject.

Monon bridge 1

Finally, my youngest son made this pencil cup for me when he was in preschool, which was nine years ago now. His older brother made the flower pen when he was in Kindergarten. I took this on my desk at work using the good light streaming through the window.

Pencil cup

This was fun. I think I’ll shoot black and white more often.

I added these and several other shots from this roll to my Pentax ME gallery.

The last time I shot black and white film, I got this photo. It remains one of my favorites.


20 responses to “Hankering to shoot in black and white”

  1. Dani Avatar

    As always, I enjoy the pictures you post. These are no exception. I particularly like pencil cup picture because it brought me an “awww” moment.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Thanks Dani — it’s all about the “aww” moment.

  2. Ted Kappes Avatar
    Ted Kappes

    I have been doing a lot of b&w in the past year largely because it is a cheap way of checking out how well some of the cameras I have been buying work. I haven’t been taking the time to be as creative with it as I would like. I think I share your hankering to do some real black & white work.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Do you process your own film? For me, since I send all my film out for processing, color is the cheaper way to go — I can get Fujicolor 200 for less than two bucks a roll. B/W film seems to start at $4.50/roll.

      1. Ted Kappes Avatar
        Ted Kappes

        I do process my b&w. I also buy bulk film which makes it cheaper. With the cost of the film and chemicals it is probably less than $1.50 a roll.

        1. Jim Avatar

          I processed a roll of film once as a teenager and didn’t enjoy it much, but the potential cost savings doing it myself makes it sound more attractive now.

  3. Nicole Gelinas Avatar
    Nicole Gelinas

    I love the photo of your dog and as you described the silvery tones in her fur. Really great photos!!

    1. Jim Avatar

      Thanks Nicole! Gracie’s a frequent subject.

  4. kodakkerouacs Avatar

    Ahhh I love black and white! You can’t beat it. The shadows, the highlights, everything about black and white makes the photograph seem serious and true. There is no comparison.

    1. Jim Avatar

      I’ve shot mostly color in my lifetime but am really coming to appreciate b/w.

  5. filmcamera999 Avatar

    hi, jim! i reckon we’ve both got things in common…a penchant for shooting b&w…a house full of cameras….and an irate partner (well, thats true for me anyways!).
    have you ever tried kodak tri x at all? ive been using that, and some t-max for years…tri x beats any other film hands down!

    1. Jim Avatar

      I shed the irate partner years ago! :-)

      I have never shot with Tri-X. I’ve used Plus-X and Verichrome Pan, which ought to give something away about how long I’ve been walking this planet. I’ll have to try it sometime!

      1. filmcamera999 Avatar

        ha! verichrome pan, eh? yep, i know it well!
        i’ll add ilford hp5 to that list, too….these are the ones i use and ive never been let down…better the devil u know, i suppose!
        talking about developing, if u get the time, have a read of my recent post about using a certain household item for developing! u probably know it anyway!
        as for the irate partner…we’ve been together for too long now….she knows me and i know her..oh, yeah, we fight sometimes…but then within mins we make up again! altho she’s been threatening to leave me wallowing knee-deep in my cameras etc…but it aint happened yet…!

        1. Jim Avatar

          Maybe I need to just buy a whole bunch of different b/w films and try them all. It would be a fun project!

  6. Mike Avatar

    Nice work. The Pentax lenses are the gold standard for me.
    You got very nice results from the TMAX 400. I need to give it a try in 35mm. I used to shoot mostly Kodak B&W 400 because of its good tonal qualities and fine grain, and it was convenient to get it processed at the local drugstore. The price on the B&W400 has gotten out of hand, tho.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Thanks Mike! I saw B&W 400 at the CVS nearest me the other day, and I found out they still process film. Maybe I need to try both out!

  7. ryoko861 Avatar

    Isn’t it funny? Back in the 50’s black and white was all you could shoot. Then color film came out in the early 60’s I believe and WOW! Everyone couldn’t wait to snap in color! These days it’s back to black and white. What is it about black and white photo shooting that is so cool?

    1. Jim Avatar

      There’s an art to b/w. It’s remarkable.

  8. jeff Avatar

    I just inherited an ME. Lovely camera. Though I love my Nikon 5100, I’m going back to shooting film for non-family pics. Tired of all the dinkin’ around one must do in photoshop…

    I was going to shoot b/w through an orange filter. If I add a stop by increase the exposure to 2, do you think that will be ok? thx

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Depends on how dark your filter is. 1 stop for a lighter filter, 2 for a darker. That’s what I’d do.

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