Shanghai GP3 film again – at Beamish Museum

Following on from my last post, I’ve now shot my second roll of Shanghai GP3 film in 220 format. The camera was, again, a Yashicamat 124G – the only camera I have that takes 220 film – and the location was Beamish Museum, the “Living Museum of the North”.

As with the first roll, I was happy with the image quality, but there was a film handling issue. When I got to the end of the roll, the film jammed and I wasn’t able to wind the end of the film on to the takeup spool. I took the film home, went into the darkroom, cut the film out and put it straight onto the developing reel. The film was developed in HC110 Dilution H.

It seemed that when the film got to the point that the backing paper at the end of the reel was reached, the camera wasn’t able to get it past the backing plate. The sticker at the film end – which at least existed this time – was caught on the backing plate.

I had two other issues that weren’t the fault of the film. The light was really a bit dull for handholding ISO100 film (and tripods are no longer allowed at the museum) so I had to use wider apertures than I would have liked. Combined with the fact that my spectacles broke and I had to focus without the aid of spectacles, a few frames weren’t focussed as well as I would like.

Having a film loaded which was too slow for the conditions was really a product of my being led by wanting to try out some new film that I had, rather than choosing the most appropriate film for the conditions. Likewise, using a new film can lead to taking more shots than I really need of a location that I’ve photographed many times before – because I’m being motivated by wanting to see the results of using the new film rather than actually wanting to see that image.

I think I need to get back to using my old favourite films such as FP4+, HP5+, and TMax 100, in combination with a single developer choice – Kodak HC110 – to ensure I’m concentrating on making images rather than testing products.

7 comments

  1. Steve O’Nions’ latest video on YouTube talks about the pitfalls of trying too many film and developer combinations (while still recognising the reasons why we do it). I’ve stuck with Ilfotec DD-X since I started developing my own black and white – albeit that being less tha two years ago – and HP5+ is my film of choice most of the time. That said, I do have quite a lot of other B&W emulsions in my store, plus some Adonal, and I’m toying with the idea of trying out 510 Pyrocat too.

    It’s quite rare that I come home with a partially finished roll of film. I’m usually too eager to see the results of the frames I’ve already made to leave it sat waiting with frames left to shoot. 🙂

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    • Yes I saw Steve’s video. He provided food for thought but didn’t come up with a solution …. I tend to think that changing the technical elements (camera, film, developer) is a displacement activity which puts off thinking about what we really want to photograph and why. Not that I know the answer to those questions, of course.

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  2. That’s a nice set, Kevin… as usual! I’d agree with you generally on staying focused on a few films and developers generally, unless of course you’re exploring a new process for a specific purpose.

    On the tripod front, I can’t use a tripod in the Coventry Transport Museum, but they did let me use my monopod. next time I brought along the SRB mini-tripod foot that screws into the bottom, and got my favourite shot of the fastest land vehicle in the world that way! A little precarious, and I would want to try a LONG exposure, but with my hands hovering nearby in case of accident, it worked well!

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  3. Interesting thoughts Kevin. It’s easy to focus on (pardon the pun) gear and film and forget the goal of making great images.
    With that said, there are some lovely detailed shots here, beautiful contrast. Were these shot with your Yashica mat?

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  4. This used to be a cheap film hence my having a freezer full of it rather than pricier Ilford. Earlier batches were a bit dodgy but this was improved on. I really think the tones you’ve got from it remind me a bit of Acros. Definitely a film to go back to in different circumstances.

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