During our recent trip to Urbiztondo, La Union, I brought along 1 film roll and my 1st black and white – an Ilford HP5 Plus 400. Initially, I thought of shooting the party late night and take portraits of my friends under low light conditions. Since I didn’t plan on using my camera during the day, I (foolishly) pushed my only film during that trip to ISO 800 early in the day… around 8:00 a.m. and Boy did I regret doing that in some ways.
Why? Well, while we were eating breakfast by the beach we saw these surfers riding the huge waves of Elyu so close to the shore (thanks to a storm). It was simply amazing to watch these guys do their thing and I had the itch to take photographs of them.
Then I remembered that I pushed the Ilford HP5 Plus 400 to ISO 800. Although there was a thick overcast of clouds due to the storm, I knew it was still too bright for ISO 800. I quickly grabbed my phone and opened the lightmeter app to get a read on the settings. The Canon FX barely had the shutter speed to cope up with the light conditions as it maxed out at 1/1000s, which meant I had to use the Sunny 16 rule or at times go a bit over to f/22.
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With that settings, I felt comfortable enough that I’ll be able to get good or at least under exposed photographs, which I think would be better than getting things over exposed. So I sat on the sand, as close as I can get to the sea without getting spray on the lens, and started shooting. Within 15 to 20 minutes of waiting for that decisive moment, I was able to burn through probably 85% of the roll.
I had to remind myself to stop and save some shots for the night. This was the part where I regretted not buying another roll even if it was a last minute change of plans. Good thing that I did save some shots as I was able to see some cool things to take pictures of.
From this trip and shooting black and white, I knew I needed to shoot more to learn how to properly expose each shot. I’d say black and white films are unforgiving compared to colored, where you can still salvage an over/under exposed shot (within a few stops at least). Also, I’ll make sure to bring more rolls next time we head out anywhere.
I’ve learned a lot from this trip but still recognize that there’s a lot more to try and learn do, which makes this journey with film photography exciting.
All photographs are shot with a Canon FX paired with a Canon 28mm f/3.5 FD and a JCPenney 80-200mm f/3.9.