Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Baker's Dozen #1: Ilford Ortho Plus

I did two things six months ago that I'm just now getting around to: I bought some Ilford Ortho Plus film and announced my Baker's Dozen project for 2020. In both cases I had the intention of addressing much earlier in the year. In February/March I had an illness and surgery to deal with, and then we had this whole Covid-19 thing that has dampened a lot of travel plans. It's May now, so travel plans or no, I need to do some shooting. 

The light here was hazy sunlight, about f/11 or so.

To be sure, I bought this film knowing it was going to have a different tone palette. I wasn't just going to slap on a red #25 filter and get some big, contrasty clouds against jet black skies. In fact, I wasn't going to be able to use a red filter at all. As I have seen others posting online over the last few months, it certainly has some best-use cases. 

This rock fountain is the centerpiece of our landscaping project.

Not wanting to do traditional landscape shooting with it, I looked around for an alternate subject that might take advantage of its characteristics. Instead of mountains and sky, I wanted to look for some wood, metal and vegetation. Our recent landscaping project included all of that with our wood fence, metal windmill and spring plants. The basalt rock slab with a continuous flow of water flowing over it was just icing on the cake. As I am working much from home these days, it's been a pleasant place to park next to with my Chromebook and coffee on these really nice mornings. 

Some nice tones can be had on vegetation with this film.

Now, about the film. It's nice enough, and I can certainly see myself using it on architecture or other human-made artifacts. At ISO 80, though, it's probably too slow to be an effective street film, especially when hand holding. On the other hand, I do like the water motion I was able to get with the slower speeds. I've seen a few photos of waterfalls (sans sky) taken with this film and it's quite a compelling look. These particular photos were all taken with a somewhat filtered, hazy sunlight. Probably f/11 or so. It should be able to handle direct, f/16 sunlight just fine. I have a few rolls of it left, and one in 35mm format, so it will be good to try it in different light settings. After it's gone, though, it will really have to be a special occasion for me to pick it up again. Unless, of course, I can find a subject I like to shoot that really works well with it.

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Baker's Dozen #2: Ilford fp4+