Sunday photoblogging: monochrome tulips

by Chris Bertram on March 6, 2016

I’ve not done any film photography for a while now, but I bought myself a couple of rolls of HP5 last week as a prompt. This is another prompt: Rolleiflex T, HP5+

Monochrome Tulips



Metatone 03.06.16 at 3:35 pm

I’m curious – hope you don’t mind.
Do you do your own developing?
Is this a scan from the negative?


Kai Arzheimer 03.06.16 at 4:52 pm

Simply beautiful. I haven’t done any film photography in years, haven’t touched a negative in decades, but I do remember the old HP5 (before the +, I think) and the moment the image begins to appear on the paper. A thing of beauty.


William Timberman 03.06.16 at 4:56 pm

A little Edward Weston in this, I think. Brought back a lot of memories of an early fascination with f64, and particularly with Weston. At the height of it, a friend and I made a pilgrimage to Point Lobos equipped with a Hasselblad, a Nikkormat, and a cooler full of Verichrome and Kodachrome 25. Got a lot of really good stuff out of it, but nothing even remotely as magical as Weston’s.

When the weekend was over, and we were loading up his old VW microbus for the trip back home to Santa Barbara, my friend announced that he’d read somewhere that Weston had donated a collection of his 8 x 10 contact prints to the Carmel Public Library. Do you think they’d let us see them? I wondered. Let’s go find out, he said.

And so, an hour later, an impossibly cheerful librarian led us to some sort of utility room, and put a stack of three-ring binders down on an index table for us. God knows how many prints, all made by Weston himself, each in a plastic sleeve. No pictures, careful not to touch them if you remove them from the sleeves said the lady, followed by Call me when you’re done. Then she left us alone with them.

I suppose everybody can recall a few peak experiences. For me, this was certainly one I’ll remember.


Chris Bertram 03.06.16 at 6:47 pm

@metatone, yes, almost certainly D-76 developer at 1+1 dilution for 13 mins at 20 degrees C, then scanned from the negative on an Epson V500. But I’m really out of practice now, so every possibility that I’d mess up trying to load the film onto the spiral or something.


Alan White 03.06.16 at 11:55 pm

Terrific. What exactly is the background?


Metatone 03.07.16 at 10:11 am

@Chris Bertram.

I’m out of practice too. Keep thinking about going back to it…


I.G.I. 03.07.16 at 6:23 pm

I would have used a colour filter to bring out interesting contrasts within the tulip bouquet. Without a filter, and with the indistinct shadowless lighting, the tulips’ leaves, stems and flowers are too close in tonality and form a rather indistinct chaotic mass.


Chris Bertram 03.07.16 at 11:20 pm

As it happens @IGI I bought some Rollei filters the other day. (I didn’t own any when I took this picture.) Which would you have used?


jwthomas 03.07.16 at 11:49 pm

Film photography deserves to survive. B&W photography deserves to survive. If you’re as rusty as I am Ilford has opened a lab in the US and can do the processing for us.


I.G.I. 03.08.16 at 1:07 pm

@ Chris Bertram. The brand of filters doesn’t matter much as long as they are quality glass; Heliopan, B+W, and Hoya will all give excellent result. The basic set filters for B&W are Yellow, Green, Blue, Red and Orange, with Y and R often available in different strengths. More exotic/rare and costly are the graduated R, G, and B (I think)

Each filter affect the complimentary colour pair – for instance a beach scene with Yellow filter will lighten the yellow, yellow-greens and yellow-orange tones to almost white, while darkening the violets, blue-violets and red-violets. The filter alters contrasts relationships from subtle to dramatic and cannot be easily reproduced in post-production.

Were the tulips shot with a Green filter the leaves and stems would have appeared lighter in tone, while the flowers, if red or orange, would have appeared darker and with enhanced micro-contrast. With yellow or orange flowers a Blue filter would have had similar “contrasty” effect while minimally affecting the greens of the leaves.

Bearing in mind the colour wheel and how each filter acts upon complimentary colour range just get a roll and do a test for yourself, a scene with a suitable filter and without.


Chris Bertram 03.08.16 at 1:58 pm

@IGI a Rolleiflex T has a very non-standard bayonet fitting on its fixed lens, so brand does matter in this case.


I.G.I. 03.08.16 at 4:00 pm

@ Chris Bertram I am not familiar with the issue, but there must be several adapters on fleabay so screw on filters can be used on the Rolleiflex bayonet.


Chris G 03.09.16 at 11:45 am

Back in the day (about a decade ago) I shot 4×5. HP5+ was my go-to film. (I liked FP4+ too but I need to capture movement and it was too slow.) I used D-76 at 1+2. I don’t remember development times offhand but 10-12 minutes seems right and temp was 20 C. It produced finer grain than 1+1.

My darkroom has been idle since our first child was born but I experimented some with DD-X before going on b&w hiatus. I liked it but hadn’t yet made the switch from D-76. I used the zone system and was still working out my HP5/DDX development times. I liked HP5/DDX enough that I plan to give it a shot when I eventually get back to the darkroom.

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