This review is about an adventure in Camogli, a medieval village in Liguria, Italy in the company of my trusty Praktica camera and a roll of Ilford FP4+. Even in a cloudy and rainy summer afternoon, the film made its best thanks to its excellent contrast and its excellent exposure latitude. See the results after the jump!
If you look at all my albums in black and white, you’ll discover that I am a lover of two films in particular: Ilford FP4+ (especially for summer days) and Ilford HP5+ (in the winter days, street photography or sports events.)
On a beautiful morning in the middle of August, I went on the east coast of the Ligurian Riviera to take some photos around Santa Margherita, Rapallo and Camogli and to bathe under the sun on a free beach.
There was a wonderful sun and for this reason I chose to load a low sensitivity film in my camera. I chose an Ilford FP4+ roll. However, shortly after noon, the sky began to veil and it began to rain in the late afternoon!
Because of the low light, I took these pictures using 1/125s shutter speed with a variable aperture between f8 and f4.
I knew that I could trust this film because it doesn’t shoot flat. It allows you to get a pleasant contrast even in low light conditions.
All in all I’m glad that I have not loaded a 400 ISO film roll because the reduced sensitivity of the FP4+ has forced me to work with a wider aperture. This helped to slightly blur the background, greatly putting focus on the boats in the foreground.
As a developer for this film, I prefer two choices: the classic R09 One Shot (a new name for the Rodinal) or the fine grain R09 Spezial (the former Rodinal Special). In this case I chose the second one because I didn’t want add grain to the landscape of this beautiful town.
With the R09 Spezial I developed the film in 3 minutes and 30 seconds with a continuous agitation in the first minute and then 2 or 3 inversions every 30 seconds. The dilution is 1:15, so I used 450cc of water for every 30cc of developer.
As you can see, the negative preserves the full tonal range (there are detailed white and black zones). To avoid underexposure with this film, I always switch the ISO camera selector to ISO 100 (the nominal sensitivity is 125.) After all, an overexposure by 1/3 stop guarantees a certain margin of safety in this regard.
I close this article with a little note on the village of Camogli, situated few kilometers east from Genoa. Every year in the month of May, this town hosts the Festival of the Fish, which is fried in the huge pans that you can see in the last picture!
Have fun with this film!