I love pushing HP5 Plus to 1600!

When I went to San Diego in June, I brought my Olympus OM-2n and the 40mm f/2 Zuiko Auto-S lens, with Ilford HP5 Plus inside. When I started the roll I was inside at an event, so I set the OM-2n to 1600 knowing the HP5 Plus could take it.

San Diego Air and Space Museum

The event was at the Air and Space Museum, so I made images of the exhibits. I intended to make candid images of people, but all night people grouped up to talk and all I could see was their backs.

San Diego Air and Space Museum

I was confused to see the Spirit of St. Louis here, because I saw it several years ago hanging from the ceiling in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, in Washington DC. Is it on loan here? Is this a copy?

San Diego Air and Space Museum

I’m pretty sure this is meant to represent one of the Wright Brothers in early flight.

San Diego Air and Space Museum

I love to photograph old airplanes. There’s always something evocative about them. The HP5 Plus performed very well on these subjects in this mixed museum lighting.

Singing at the Lamplighter

After the Air and Space Museum we all went to a karaoke bar. Here’s one of my co-workers on stage. I made only a couple of images here because I wasn’t sure the HP5 Plus could handle the nearly nonexistent light in here. But as you can see, it did a terrific job.

Playing Pandemic

I shot the rest of the roll around the house with the 50mm f/1.8 F.Zuiko lens. The weekend after my birthday my sons came to visit, and with Margaret’s youngest son we all played the game Pandemic.

Playing Pandemic

This is a cooperative game in which you try to save the world from an advancing, deadly pandemic. Either you save the world or you don’t — and we didn’t this time around.

Playing Pandemic

One of my sons brought me a very nice bottle of bourbon for my birthday, and so I broke out the Glencairn glasses and we all had a wee pour.

HP5 Plus pushed to 1600 is gorgeous. You might remember the times I’ve taken Kodak T-Max P3200 to Chicago for some night photography. I think HP5 Plus at 1600 looks leagues better than P3200 at 3200. I plan to take HP5 Plus on my next trip to Chicago and see how it handles the night.

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26 responses to “I love pushing HP5 Plus to 1600!”

  1. Olli Thomson Avatar

    These look great. If any of my film cameras ever turn up I must give this a try. The Spirit of St. Louis could be the original since the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum is currently undergoing a major rebuild and most of the exhibits have been moved out.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I didn’t know that about the Smithsonian A&S museum. That’s quite a long move of that plane if it is indeed now in San Diego.

  2. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    These look great, and Ilfords support of film photography is one of the reasons I’m teaching myself the ins-and-outs of HP-5 Plus and weaning myself off of Tri-X.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Fortunately, HP5+ is a beautiful film and worth the time to learn.

    2. Rick Scheibner (@rickscheibner) Avatar

      I made that same move a few years ago! The cost and curl of Tri-x in 35mm are what drove me to switch. I haven’t looked back.

  3. Peter Lohmar Avatar
    Peter Lohmar

    The Spirit you saw is probably a replica/static model. The original, as far as I know, is still in DC.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      A commenter above said that the DC museum is being renovated and many of the exhibits are moved out. So I guess it’s not impossible that this is the genuine Spirit. But what a long move if it is!

  4. tbm3fan Avatar

    That is Spirit 3 you saw there at the Air and Space Museum.

    On the 40th anniversary of Lindbergh’s flight, a new reproduction named Spirit 2 was built by a movie stunt pilot, Frank Tallman. It first flew on April 24, 1967, and appeared at the 1967 Paris Air Show where it made several flights over Paris. In 1972, Spirit 2 was bought for $50,000 by the San Diego Air & Space Museum (formerly San Diego Aerospace Museum) and placed on public display until it was destroyed by arson in 1978. The museum built a replacement named Spirit 3 which first flew on April 28, 1979; it made seven flights before being placed on display. In August 2003, the Spirit 3 was removed from display and was flown as a 75th Anniversary tribute to Lindbergh. The aircraft is now on display in the museum’s rotunda

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks for filling in the blanks! I suppose I could have looked this up – a friend of mine sent me a link to the Wikipedia page for this plane that explained all.

  5. sonny rosenberg Avatar

    Wow! Those are beautiful. I think I need to give HP5 another chance.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s such a versatile film!

  6. Rick Scheibner (@rickscheibner) Avatar

    I ~just~ hung up two rolls of HP5+ taken at ISO 1600 to dry before I saw your post here. I agree; those tones are gorgeous when pushed two stops. I also saw the Spirit of St. Louis several years ago in the Smithsonian. According to Wikipedia, it’s still there. And everything is true on the internet, right? This is likely a replica of some kind, but it would be fun to hear the story about it.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      A commenter above tells the story of the replicas, of which this Spirit is one!

  7. M.B. Henry Avatar

    oooooh fantastic! Gotta love those airplanes!!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar


  8. B Schmidt Avatar
    B Schmidt

    What developer, temperature, and time do you use to push it to 1600?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      HC-110 Dilution B, 11 min at 20 C.

  9. Steve Rosenblum Avatar
    Steve Rosenblum

    I find pushed HP5+ developed in Xtol is a phenomenal combination, easily to 3200 and even up to 6400!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Ah, the venerable Xtol. So wish it were available in small quantities!

  10. Steve Rosenblum Avatar
    Steve Rosenblum

    The way I have solved this problem for me is that I mix up a batch of Xtol and store it in these bags. They are designed to preserve wood finishes and are impermeable to air/gases (unlike the older accordion bottles). I keep the bags in a closed cabinet. When I develop film I pour the amount of developer I need out of the bag, squeeze the air out, and close the cap. Using this method my Xtol lasts over a year at which point I replace it. 5 liters of Xtol develops 40 rolls of 35mm film at 1:1, so it easily gets used up within a year. However, even if it didn’t at $10-12/bag of powder it is still very economical. I keep all of my developers in these bags and it really extends their use. Much easier than using marbles, inert gas, etc. to get rid of air. https://www.stoplossbags.com/

    1. Steve Rosenblum Avatar
      Steve Rosenblum

      They are also available on Amazon.

    2. Jim Grey Avatar

      Holy frijoles, those bags look amazing!

      I tried D-76 here last year and bought milk bottles and glass marbles. It was such a pain that I didn’t buy more D-76. But this system might just do it for me!

      1. Steve Rosenblum Avatar
        Steve Rosenblum

        Great! If you order them also order the collapsible rubber funnel they sell. It makes it much easier to fill the bag without spilling.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          I ordered four bags and the funnel a half hour ago! :-)

          1. Steve Rosenblum Avatar
            Steve Rosenblum

            Cool. Let me know how they work out for you.

            1. Jim Grey Avatar

              I bought four bags and the funnel, and put the rest of my HC-110 into one of the bags. It was nothing to squeeze the air out before sealing. I know HC-110 lasts a long time on its own — but in the year or so I’ve had this bottle chunks had started to form and settle to the bottom. The bag may well extend the life of even this hardy developer!

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