Downtown South Bend at night on Ilford HP5 Plus pushed to 1600

The Palace / The Morris

I was in my hometown of South Bend, Indiana, overnight not long ago. I rented a room in a historic house near downtown, so I spent my evening having dinner and drinks in the center of the city. I brought my Nikon F3 along, with a 50mm f/1.8 Nikon Series E lens mounted. I set it to ISO 1600 and shot Ilford HP5 Plus as I walked around my former city after dark.

The good folks at Analogue Wonderland in the UK are now this blog’s Official Supplier of Ilford’s two traditionally grained black-and-white films, HP5 Plus and FP4 Plus. They send me these wonderful films in exchange for this mention when I use them and write about them. You can get your Ilford films from them, of course, but they offer film from at least a couple dozen other brands, both in color and in black and white.

I spent a good deal of time photographing the majestic Morris Performing Arts Center, which 101 years ago opened as the Palace Theater.

The Palace / The Morris

This is probably my favorite building in South Bend. You hardly expect a city this small to have a venue this grand.

The Palace / The Morris

This restaurant of contemporary southern cuisine is in the Palace’s corner storefront. I took my dinner here at the bar, where I also had a delicious pecan old fashioned cocktail.

Fatbird at The Palace / The Morris

I love it that HP5 Plus is so versatile that I can push it to 1600 at night. When I head out with a camera but don’t know exactly the conditions under which I’ll make photographs, HP5 Plus is a great film choice because I can make it work under most conditions.

The Palace / The Morris

I developed this film in HC-110, Dilution B. I like HC-110 for developing pushed film. Its normal developing times in Dilution B are short, meaning that extending the developing times to accommodate for the push still leads to a reasonably short developing time. Moreover, HC-110 takes pushing in stride.

The Palace / The Morris

Barnaby’s is a South Bend pizza institution. The downtown location opened in 1969 and I swear to you, everything in there is just as it was then, right down to placing your order by marking it on a card with golf pencils. Barnaby’s was originally a franchise chain with stores in Illinois, Indiana, and Florida (that I know of), but somewhere along the way the chain faltered and the remaining locations went independent. I know of three in the Chicago area, this one, and one in neighboring Mishawaka. Not all of them have kept to the original pizza recipe as the South Bend Barnaby’s has. I ordered a small pizza as a late-night second dinner, and kept half of it until the morning and ate it for breakfast.


This photo of an ATM shows the detail HP5 Plus is capable of even when pushed this far. TCU stands for Teachers Credit Union. For decades, you had to work in education to get an account here. My mom worked in the South Bend schools, so the whole family banked here. I still have accounts here, including my mortgage! TCU recently rebranded as Everwise Credit Union (yuck), but here and there evidence of its former name remains.


Do not enter? Enter here? Make up my mind already!

Make up your mind already!

This statue is of Dr. Martin Luther King., Jr., and Father Theodore Hesburgh, longtime president of the University of Notre Dame. Hesburgh was a noted champion of civil rights and appeared with King at civil rights rallies.


More photos turned out well on this roll than didn’t. Those that didn’t generally suffered from shake — even at EI 1600, shooting handheld I sometimes couldn’t hold the camera steady enough at the low shutter speeds I was getting. I didn’t bother processing most of those, but despite the shake in this photo I liked it well enough to keep it.

Doubletree Hotel

Thanks again to Analogue Wonderland for sending me this film so I could have some fun and share it with you.

Get more of my photography in your inbox or reader! Click here to subscribe.


19 responses to “Downtown South Bend at night on Ilford HP5 Plus pushed to 1600”

  1. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    I’m amazed that you were able to walk around downtown at night entirely unmolested! You couldn’t do that where I live now! In my teens and twenties, I was always a night walker, and was just thinking about my next possible move, and how a low crime rate and little street crime is going to be a major component.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      There are people on the street there at night with nothing to do, but except for someone once asking me for money, I was left alone.

  2. marcusterrypeddle Avatar

    Leftover fast food for breakfast in a hotel is one of life’s pleasures.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It really was a pleasure.

  3. sonny rosenberg Avatar

    Beautiful shots!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Gracias mi amigo!

  4. DELORIS D Avatar

    I live in Mishawaka and thoroughly enjoyed your pictures of downtown South Bend at night and commentary. Barnaby’s is one of my favorite pizza places and I totally agree with you about the name Everwise (double yuck).

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      What was TCU thinking?!!?

      1. Louis Sousa Avatar
        Louis Sousa

        Great stuff. I haven’t shot much film at night, will give it a try in Providence with one eye behind my head. There are some rugged characters there at night.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          It’s lovely to push HP5. But you can choose to do it in a safe environment!

  5. Julian Avatar

    Great shots, from a pushed HP5. Indeed, the HC110 is a very comfortable developer to work with, and one of the reasons is because the short times, as you rightly pointed out.

    Congrats !

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Yes! The short times is, to me, an advantage.

      Sometimes when I use Rodinal on slower films I get dev times of 10 or more minutes. It gets tedious!

  6. brandib1977 Avatar

    Lovely photos, Jim. All of them!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you! I’m very pleased with how these turned out.

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        You should be! They’re terrific!!

  7. -N- Avatar

    I have used HP5 pushed to 1600, both day and night. I think it makes some of the best high contrast images I have seen, and I really do like them. These images are proof that some film is just a classic no matter what! Great shots. Now I want to get out and stalk the streets at night . . . ;-)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I just love HP5’s versatility. It’s becoming my go-to ISO 400 film.

  8. Joe from the Resurrected Camera Avatar

    I hear HP5 is great if it’s pushed in XTOL developer. But then I’ve never tried so what do I know?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’d like to try it but not if I have to buy 5 liters of the stuff!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: