Okay so I have been shooting colour films for 5 months and I think I am ready to proceed to black & white film. People say black & white is not easy because our eyes see the world in colour. In colour photo, we can distinguish red-shirt subject from green background when they overlap. In black & white, these 2 colours become 2 shades of dark grey and blend together. Overall your image is flat. A way to solve this issue is to use filter.
For me, I wish my black & white shot can bring out a certain emotion, like the imminent-dark-side kind of feeling.
I went to Ruby Photo to ask about developing film at home because I know they sell full set of equipment and chemicals for self-developing. That’s when the boss introduced me this Ilford Pan 400. She said this is a beginner black & white film. I really don’t know what it means by ‘beginner film’, perhaps because it is cheaper? It costs SGD6.50 and the more common Kodak TriX is about SGD10.50 from Camera Workshop SG.
Since it is my first black & white, I decided that I shall put self-developing on hold because I wanted to eliminate biased factor. If my images turn out lousy, it is due to my photo-taking and not developing.
Below are some of my images from Ilford Pan 400 pushed to 1600:
If you notice, I am not good at distinguishing dark from lighter shade, yet. The man in the top picture is almost camouflaged into the background because both subjects are in dark shades. For the picture below, I wanted the old man (if you can even see) to be a subject in contrast to the young modern man in the poster. But overall, only the silver hand rails stood out.
As I pushed the film 2 stops higher, from 400 to 1600, there’s an increase in the grain intensity. But I find that the grains are not consistent from picture to picture. Some, the images look very smooth. Others (like the one above), is very grainy as seen in the face of the model. I am not sure why. Is it because of the settings?
Why push film?
Another thing I have been asking myself: Why push films? I know one definite answer is so that you can speed up your shutter speed and use smaller aperture (higher f), especially for street photography. But does pushing film really increase the contrast? What if I have shot this Ilford Pan 400 in ISO 400, will the photos look even more flat? Maybe this Ilford Pan 400 is not good with pushing? Or maybe this Ilford Pan 400 is not a contrasty film? I will need to do some comparison to find out.
Lastly, nope, I am not satisfied with my first black & white work. I will keep trying till I get the desired feeling. If you have any tips, please share it with me! Thanks! 🙂