Film Photography

Eastman Double-X 5222 in Rodinal

The conventional wisdom on the Internet is that Rodinal isn’t the best developer for Eastman Double-X 5222. But I’ve now used this combination and it’s fine.

Vee dub grille

When I loaded this roll into my Nikon N90s, Indiana’s governor had not yet shut everything down to slow the spread of the coronavirus. We were just starting to talk about isolation and social distancing. Many companies, including mine, were asking people who could work from home to do so. I can, so I did. I decided to take a midafternoon walk around the area just to stretch my legs. I live right by a strip mall so I walked over there. The Lowe’s parking lot was packed.

Old Chevy truck in front of Lowe's

I didn’t encounter a soul outside while I walked, however. A few storage barns were on display at Lowe’s; here’s the window of one of them. My past experience with Double-X 5222 has been of high contrast images. But those were in full sun. I’m sure the overcast day helped manage the contrast. But could the Rodinal also have helped show more grays in the film? I really like the tones in the shutters and flower box.

Window

The Thai restaurant was still open. The Mexican restaurant next door had a sign in the window saying they’d be doing carryout orders only, and asking everyone to stay safe and healthy. They were ahead of the curve.

Sidewalk chalkboard

This being a modern subdivision, retention ponds are everywhere. They provide opportunities to photograph reflections.

Lowe's

I shot this film at EI 250 and diluted my Rodinal to my usual 1+50. I normally shoot this film at EI 200, but the Massive Dev Chart had a 1+50 recipe for EI 250 and not EI 200. The Rodinal resulted in reasonable grain and okay smoothness in the details in most shots. The photo below is an exception — when you look at it at full scan resolution, the vinyl siding looks all mottled. But at blog size it’s fine.

Vinyl village reflection

Walking back toward home, I saw that one of my neighbors had his beater Jeep parked out front. It’s black with white fenders, and sports aluminum wheels. I wondered how the Double-X would render that, so I shot it. The wheels turned out to be more of a dull gray than their real-life low-sheen silver.

Jeep wheel

This whole subdivision used to be someone’s farm. I remember driving out this way 20 or more years ago and finding acre after acre of cornfields. The farmhouse survives, a lonely little petunia in this onion patch. (Can you tell I’m not much of a fan of these vinyl-village subdivisions? We will move from here one day and I hope never to live in one again.)

Steps to the old house

I came inside for the last few shots on the roll. Again I photographed the Belleek ring holder that’s on our kitchen windowsill. That’s my wedding ring.

Belleek ring holder

Finally, here’s the window in our back door with a stained-glass ornament my wife’s mother made. The outer petals of this flower are bright orange. I always think it’s interesting to know when a black-and-white photo is of a colorful subject, and what colors are in the subject.

The stained glass thing is orange and white in real life

It’s interesting to see how Rodinal handled the Eastman Double-X 5222. It worked, and for my normal blog purposes it was fine. But it wasn’t spectacular. I’ve used Old School Photo Lab to develop most of my black-and-white film and they use Clayton F76 developer, which is an analog to Kodak D76. These developers are known for finer grain and better shadow detail. The scans I got back from Old School please me somewhat more than these in terms of sharpness, detail, and tonality.

I shot this film because I’m shooting up my old film, and I had a roll of it left from a purchase several years ago. If I come upon some again and I wasn’t shooting something that mattered, I’d use Rodinal again to develop it. But ultimately, I want to find some films that pair excellently with Rodinal and make those my go-to black-and-white films.

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City County Building

City-County Building
Nikon N90s, 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G AF Nikkor
Ilford FP4 Plus
2019

In 1970, Indianapolis merged with Marion County to create a combined city-county government. But the City-County building, which was built to house government offices, was completed in 1962. It’s as if they knew the merger was inevitable.

The City-County Building has that standard 1960s skyscraper look. It was the first building in Indianapolis to be taller than the Soldiers and Sailors Monument at the heart of Downtown. Now, any number of buildings are taller than the Monument.

The good people at Analogue Wonderland sent me this roll of Ilford FP4 Plus in exchange for this mention. Get your FP4 Plus from them here.

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Film Photography

single frame: City-County Building

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North toward the Monument

North toward the circle
Nikon N90s, 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G AF Nikkor
Ilford FP4 Plus
2019

On Tuesday I showed you a photo I made from the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, at the heart of Downtown Indianapolis. Today I’m showing you a view of that monument that I made from a block to the south, along Washington Street, which is also the historic National and Michigan Roads.

Tuesday’s photo showed you the Emmis building, completed in 1998; it’s out of the photograph right around the corner from the building on the left, the Guaranty Building, where you’ll find a swank martini-and-cigar bar in the basement.

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument, at 284 feet 6 inches tall, was completed in 1901. It is built of oolitic limestone quarried in Owen County, Indiana. It is a tribute to fallen soldiers in the American Civil War, the American Revolutionary War, and conflicts related to the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, and the Spanish-American War.

Believe it or not, before it was built the governor’s residence stood here! Also, believe it or not for many years U.S. Highway 31 went around this circle. I’ve seen photographs on the circle that show US 31 shields. My mother has a memory as a girl in the 1950s driving around the circle as US 31 on he family’s way to dropping off her older brother to study at Indiana University, an hour to the south in Bloomington.

The good people at Analogue Wonderland sent me this roll of Ilford FP4 Plus in exchange for this mention. Get your FP4 Plus from them here.

Film Photography

single frame: North toward the circle

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On the circle

On the circle
Nikon N90s, 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G AF Nikkor
Ilford FP4 Plus
2019

When I last worked Downtown in Indianapolis — and yes, we write it with a capital D here — the building in the middle of this photograph didn’t exist. It was a vacant lot. Whatever had stood there before had been razed. For all I know the building(s) there were razed for what was to come: the headquarters of Emmis Communications, which owns radio and TV stations in many major markets including New York and Los Angeles, as well as here in Indianapolis. That was in 1996; the building was complete in 1998.

But I’d moved on from that job by then and was working in a suburban office park on the Northwestside. Again, yes, that’s how we write “northwest side” here. Anyway, I worked various jobs in the north suburbs for more than 20 years before landing Downtown again this year. In the 90s, Downtown was just beginning to resurge after a long period of decline and neglect. Today it’s hard for me to believe how vibrant and vital and interesting it is. I love working Downtown and I hope I never have another job in the suburbs.

But Monument Circle is much the same as it always was, with the exception of the completed Emmis building.

The good people at Analogue Wonderland sent me this roll of Ilford FP4 Plus in exchange for this mention. Get your FP4 Plus from them here.

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Film Photography

single frame: On the circle

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Film Photography

Ilford FP4 Plus in the Nikon N90s

Tavern at the Point

After I got outstanding results from Ilford’s classic FP4 Plus black-and-white film (photos here), earlier this year in my Olympus XA, I wanted to try it again.

aw_logo

The kind people at Analogue Wonderland sent me another roll to try, in exchange for this mention. They sell more than 200 films from around the world! That includes all of the classic films from Ilford and Kodak plus all the fun new films from small and boutique brands. And they ship just about everywhere. Get your Ilford FP4 Plus from them here.

Up Illinois St.

I hadn’t used my Nikon N90s in a while so I got it out and mounted the basic but fun 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G AF Nikkor lens. Nikon included this lens with most of its consumer SLRs in the early 2000s. I got mine when it came with a used Nikon N65 I bought. Except for some barrel distortion on the wide end, easily corrected in Photoshop, it’s a good performer.

Monument in the sky

That lens weighs just seven ounces, which is great, because the N90s is a large, heavy semi-pro body. Read my review of it here. This “gelded” lens lacks an aperture ring, limiting the camera to Program mode for exposure.

Wheeler Mission

I left this kit in a drawer at work over several weeks and took it out for a photo walk whenever I could get away at lunch. As you can see in the photos above, FP4 Plus does a great job rendering clouds in the sky. But as I shot this roll, summer faded into autumn. In Indiana, that often means more cloudy than sunny days. The FP4 Plus delivered a great range of tones in all weather.

Brutal

One of my pet peeves with some slower-speed black-and-white films is a tendency to blow highlights. FP4 Plus has never done that to me. It returns good detail for me even in strongly reflected sunlight.

The Artsgarden

Old School Photo Lab developed and scanned this roll and did their usual excellent work. But as I’ve been teaching myself to develop my own black-and-white film, I’m wondering how this film will look in Rodinal, my developer of choice. I’m eager to try it.

Chairs

Ilford FP4 Plus is a fantastic medium-speed (ISO 125) black-and-white film. If you’ve never tried it, do, right away. You can get yours from Analogue Wonderland, in 35mm and 120, here.

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Lime scooters

Lime scooters
Nikon N90s, 50mm f/1.8 AF Nikkor
Ilford HP5 Plus
2019

I’ve ridden Lime scooters a lot since the first of August when I strained a tendon in my hip. I had been taking the stairs up to my office every morning, twelve flights, as a form of exercise. I suspect that because of an old knee injury my form was bad, leading to the tendon strain.

At first, I could barely put weight on my right leg. For about eight weeks I minimized walking and stairs, which allowed for some healing but not enough. My doctor sent me to a physical therapist, who has given me some great exercises that are moving the healing needle a lot faster. I’m able to walk around Downtown as I want to now, and even take some stairs, with only light residual pain.

But the Lime scooters were zippy fun while I was riding them. The only trouble is that to go six blocks costs north of two bucks. That adds up fast.

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Film Photography

single frame: Lime scooters

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