In Development: Adventures in Film, Volumes 31, 32, and 33

We have a special edition of In Development this week! I need to get caught up on this series, and the next three rolls of film were themeatically connected, so I decided to combine them into a single post. These rolls of film were shot during my 30 Days with the Leica MP project. As is standard with that “30 Days with…” series, I shot with the same setup for the whole month: Leica MP with Zeiss Biogon 35mm f/2.8 and loaded with Ilford HP5+ pushed two stops to 1600.

This was the perfect setup for a dark, dreary Omaha winter. I mentioned in my last post that the roll of Fuji Provia took me forever to finish because it was so difficult to find the right lighting conditions for the film to thrive at that time of year. No such issues with HP5+ pushed to 1600, though! Shooting with black and white film, especially when it’s pushed a couple stops, seems to flip around the criteria for perfect shooting conditions. Usually early morning and late afternoon are when the light’s the best for photography. That still works with pushed black and white film, but I find the harsh shadows and high contrast of direct mid-day light and nighttime city shots even more pleasing. I even get really good results when shooting indoors, which is something that’s pretty rare with color film.

I’d actually go so far as to say that my desert island film setup would probably start with my Leica MP and Ilford HP5+ pushed two stops. It’s so versatile and produces the character that I’m drawn to in film photography.

Enough about the film, though. Let’s talk about these images and the process of shooting only film for 30 days. I’ve talked a lot in my last few posts about the struggles with shooting “snapshots” on film and finding the right balance between respecting the images but also not taking it too seriously. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I think this “30 Days” project might accidentally force me into the perfect balance.

It’s still film, and it’s a project where I know I have to post 30 share-worthy images, so I’m definitely working to make the best images possible. But at the same time, I know I’m supposed to be shooting a bunch on film because that’s the whole point of the project, so that relieves some of the pressure that causes hesitation in other contexts. It’s a happy middle ground, and in this case I came away with some of my very favorite images of my time in Omaha.

There are a lot of images on this page, and I toyed with the idea of filtering some out or at least putting my favorites up top, but ultimately I decided against it. If you’re just looking for the greatest hits from this month of shooting, you can check out the 30 Days with the Leica MP series…but who knows, maybe your favorite shot will be one I originally left out! 🙂

All photos were taken with my Leica MP and Zeiss 35mm Biogon f/2.8 on Ilford HP5+ shot at ISO 1600 and pushed two stops in development. They were developed and scanned by The FIND Lab, and I adjusted contrast, the tonal curve, and clarity to most of the images in Lightroom.

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