Technical

Film

I normally use Ilford Delta films, exposed at speeds from ISO 50 to 6400. I've used these films for so long I have a very good idea what to expect from them.

Using Delta 3200 film at ISO 6400 I am able to shoot in low light, using only available light. This gives certain photographs a different 'feel' from those lit by flash.

Camera

I have one camera, and three lenses — specifically a Hasselblad 500C/M with 80mm/f2.8, 50mm/f4 and 150mm/f4 lenses. I was lucky enough to be able to just afford the camera and 80mm lens (second-hand) by using some money I inherited from my Grandad.

I chose this camera due to its simplicity and ease of use. The relatively fast maximum aperture of f2.8 allows me to shoot hand-held almost all of the time. Furthermore, using the larger 6cm square negatives yields better quality than 35mm cameras. This is of benefit to me primarily when using faster films in low-light.

It has proven reasonably reliable, except for the mirror deciding it didn't want to spring up into the 'out of the way' position, a week before my sister's wedding. The repair took 4 weeks, and cost an arm and a leg. I can forgive it such transgressions though, as it is well over 40 years old. Hopefully it shouldn't need too many more repairs in the future!

As this camera has no light meter I use a separate hand-held 1° spot meter (a Sekonic L-508). This means I get all the fun and anguish of figuring out exposures for myself, rather than some tiny chip doing it in a 1,000th of a second. Saying that, the chip's undoubtebly a more reliable proposition — almost all of the time...

Some of the earlier photographs on this site were taken with a Canon EOS 1000 F/N 35mm SLR, with Canon EF 35-105mm f4.5-5.6, 75-300mm f4-5.6 and 50mm f1.8 lenses. All photographs since December 2000 were taken with the Hasselblad.

Developing

For the Delta 100 and 400 films I use ID-11 developer. For Delta 3200, and when pushing the other films I use Microphen.

I make up 1 litre at a time and use it to process 10 films, increasing development times by 10% per film, to compensate for the developer becoming increasingly exhausted.

Films I've taken typically languish in a big box until they threaten not to fit any more, when I concede that it's time to get around to processing them. Usually I've forgotten in the interim exactly what is on them, and I'm both surprised when they come out well, and not overly disappointed when they don't, as my anticipation of them all being 'peachy' has had ample time to subside.

Darkroom

I print all of my own photographs using a Durst Modular 70 enlarger with a variable contrast head — another second-hand acqusition. With this I use an El-Nikkor lens.

By far the most useful piece of darkroom equipment in my possession is RH Designs' StopClock LE f-stop enlarger timer. I have found that this makes creating accurate test strips much much easier, and allows much finer control over print exposure than previous methods I'd been using.

Paper

I use Ilford Multigrade IV resin coated paper. (RC paper requires only 3 or 4 minutes of washing after printing, as opposed to the 30-60 minutes of fibre based papers.) There is a paper finish in this range, called 'Satin' with which I have had especially nice results. It is mid-way between glossy and matte.

Image size compare to paper size I currently use a wide range of sizes, from postcard, right up to 16in by 20in. I rarely print 'people pictures' anything over about 8in by 10in (an actual image size of around 7.5in square), as they become a little intimidating. Not many people seem to want a poster-sized pictures of themselves for their walls.

I usually save the larger paper sizes for landscapes I especially like. Ironically this means that there are several landscapes that I have good prints of which aren't online; they don't fit in my scanner!

As my camera takes square pictures (and the paper is rectangular) there's a rather pronounced margin at the bottom most of my prints. I happen to like the effect, while some people I give prints to snip it off. One of those personal preference things. Sometimes if the bottom or top of the picture is a little on the bland side I print them rectangular, missing out the uninteresting bits.