When I started photography 12 years ago, I asked a photographer friend what b&w I should use to have good shots… he answered “HP5”. What was the meaning of this “code”??? That’s how I discovered this great classic b&w film by Ilford who never left me since until to this very day.
If I had to describe the main quality of the HP5, it surely its adaptability to every situation and its great flexibility in use at 400 ASA but also great when used at 800 ASA, or even at 1600!! This HP5 can be your everyday film, from the sunny morning to the dark evening, through rainy cloudy days or beautiful summertime at the sea. It’s amazing how this film can absorb so different light conditions with amazing results.
At 400, you’ll got a sharp b&w, with many different subtle levels of grey bringing you from the black to the white. When light conditions are good, it’s almost normal, but you see the power of this film when used by very dark, rainy, cloudy conditions: I took some shots in Firenze (see gallery) when the weather was uncooperative and I was a bit disappointed to not have any light or sun in this beautiful city.
But when I saw the shots I made with HP5, I saw how many different “colours” this b&w achieved to transform in its own language….
A little tip: if you want to do some night shots, take the HP5 (and some long exposure camera of course…) and set it on 800 or 1600 asa (and develop it just as that of course): you’ll get the most grainy textured b&w shots you could see but still with a perfect equilibrium of the whole shot, that means a perfect deep texture you almost
think you can touch the shot with your eyes closed… The only time I was in Vienna a few years ago, I had a little walk through the cold winter night and tried this out, see the gallery for the result!
The HP5 isn’t afraid of anything, use it at his maximum possibilities, stretch its sensibility and it will not disappoint you! :))