New photos will be up next week, but for now let’s keep revisiting the year that was. People love those year end wrap ups like Spotify Wrapped or whatever. So, how did my year in film look?

Films

  • Number of rolls shot: 35
    • Color rolls: 9
    • B&W rolls: 26
  • Most Popular Films:
    • Ilford HP5: 11
    • T-MAX 100: 3
    • Cinestill 400D: 2

I’m still shooting a ton of HP5, but my plan is to pick a new stock to focus on in 2024. Debating between T-MAX and CatLabs Pro 320.

Darkroom

There’s no good way to sum this up. It’s not like I’ve kept track of hours spent or prints made. But I started the year off only vaguely remembering how to make a print. And I ended the year with a 5-hour darkroom shift during which I used pre-flashing and split-grade printing to try and coax out the print I wanted from a negative.

Cameras & Lenses

I bought the Moskva V early this year and put it to good use.

For the Spotmatic I bought 3 new lenses:

I think the 24mm is great in certain situations, but I’ve found the 35mm and 105mm to be fantastic all-around additions. Still looking for the 85mm offering from Takumar. Maybe next year.

Reading

A lot of classic photo books are out of print and hard to find. But thanks to my job at the University of Minnesota I have easy access to books from around the world. That’s how I got to read Photographic Printing by Gene Nocon, which was my favorite book of the year.

I also really liked Frank Stewart’s Nexus, a book covering a current exhibition of his work.

For online reading, I started with Film Photography Blogs You Should Follow and put a bunch of them in my RSS reader. 35mmc is the site I turned to the most, even writing a few articles for them.

Watching

I spent a lot of time watching instructional videos on YouTube, mostly about darkroom techniques:

No matter what weird thing you want to do in the darkroom there’s bound to be several videos on YouTube showing you how to do it. And they’ll all be hosted by cranky old white men. And it’s likely that the videos will not agree with one another.

Next Year

That was 2023. What about 2024? This year was mostly about establishing a workflow and working on some basics. I still have a lot of work to do in that space, so I don’t have any plans on diving in to cyanotypes or large format or anything too different.

I’d like to focus on working with one or two new stocks. And maybe try a new developer in addition to my trusty Rodinal.

I think my current cameras serve me well. Maybe I’ll pick up a new lens or two. But I’m pretty happy with what I have.

I’d like to spend a lot of time in the darkroom. Making prints on Ilford’s Portfolo 4×6 results in perfect postcards for me to send to friends and family. And there are a ton of techniques I’d like to practice for making larger ‘fine prints’ to decorate my house.


Thanks for reading! A new post about pushing HP5 to 1600 should be up next week. And then a darkroom-focused post the week after that. You can always keep up to date by adding the site to a RSS reader or follow me over on Mastadon at https://mastodon.art/@ianwhitney.


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