Tag Archives: #Ilford HP5

Central Vermont Alco RS-11

Forty-two years ago I regularly listened to the radio program Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy adapted from the books by Douglas Adams and presented by BBC.

My father had bought a Grundig portable radio that received shortwave among other frequencies. In the wee-hours, this allowed me to tune in this exotic program from across the pond.

One of the themes of Hitchhikers was the number 42, which was the answer to the ultimate question of the Life, the universe, and everything.

During this same time, I took a photography class at the Wilbraham & Monson Academy taught by Mark Bistline. Among other things, Mark introduced me to Ilford HP5 black & white film. Until that time, I’d largely only used Kodak films.

My father drove me to the Central Vermont Railway yard in Palmer, Massachusetts. I exposed my roll of HP5 with my Leica 3A rangefinder, making a series of images of CV’s Alco RS-11 number #3614 that was idling there.

I also made a recording of the locomotive. I don’t know what became of the recording, but the HP5 negatives still remain in my collection 42 years later.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Window on Killarney

September 30, 2016, on the advice of Ken Fox, I traveled to Killarney for an unusual convergence.

Rail Tours Ireland’s Emerald Isle Explorer and the Belmond Grand Hibernian—Ireland’s only two high-end tour trains were both scheduled to arrive at Irish Rail’s Killarney on the same afternoon.

I made my photos and then returned to Dublin on-board Irish Rail’s regularly scheduled train that was worked with one of the common Hyundai-ROTEM Intercity Rail Cars (ICRs).

I made this view on board the ICR using my Canon EOS 3 with 40mm pancake lens loaded with Ilford HP5 processed.

I processed the film in Kodak HC110 mixed 1-64 with water at 68f for 4 mins. Later I toned the processed negatives in a Selenium solution mixed 1-9 for 9 minutes. This last step boosted the highlight detail to give a silvery glisten.

Negatives scanned with an Epson Perfection V600 flatbed scanner.

Tracking the Light posts Daily!

Misty October View on Crawford Notch

Last October (2020), I traveled on a rainy day to Crawford Notch on the head-end of Conway Scenic’s Mountaineer.

To make the most of the moody autumn conditions, I exposed a roll of Ilford HP5 35mm black & white film.

Last weekend I processed this using my split development method in order to maximize detail in highlights and shadows, while providing for rich tonality.

The specifics are as follows: presoak in a dilute bath of HC110 (1-200) for 5 minutes 30 seconds at 69F with minimal agitation, then main development in Ilford ID-11 1-1 for 6 minutes and 30 seconds agitating using three gentle inversions every 60 seconds. Followed by stop (30 seconds); first fix (2 minutes 30 seconds) and second fix (2 minutes 30 seconds); first rinse (3 minutes); Permawash (3 minutes); second rinse (10 minutes in continuous running water), then final rinse of distilled water with a drop of Photo flo. Dry and scan.

Other than scaling for internet, I made no alterations to tonality or exposure in postprocessing.

Tracking the Light posts Daily!

470 Club Special in FIVE Black & White Photos.

On October 17, 2020, Conway Scenic Railroad operated the annual 470 Club Special. This ran from North Conway to Mountain Junction, then made a side trip down the Redstone Branch to Pudding Pond, before proceeding west over Crawford Notch to Fabyan, New Hampshire.

I helped organize the photo stops.

In addition to the digital color photographs previously displayed on Tracking the Light (and in the pages of Trains Magazine), I exposed a roll of Ilford HP5 black & white film using a vintage Nikkormat FTN.

Yesterday (Sunday, December 6, 2020), I processed the film using my custom-tailored split development technique that I’ve previously detailed on Tracking the Light). This is intended to give the film broad tonality when scanning for internet presentation.

After processing, I scanned the negatives using an Epson V600 flatbed scanner driven by Epson software. These scans were scaled using Adobe Lightroom without any adjustment to contrast, exposure, or sharpness.

GP7 573 carried white flags.
Redstone branch.
Sawyers looking west.
Fabyan, NH.
Fabyan, NH.
Fabyan, NH.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Caboose in the Weeds—Newport, Vermont.

Once common, the caboose is now a curiosity on most freight railroads.

A few weeks ago, I used my Nikon F3 with 105mm Nikkor telephoto to make this photograph on Ilford HP5 film of a forlorn caboose at the Canadian Pacific/Vermont Rail System yard in Newport, Vermont.

The combination of the functional antique railroad equipment and monochrome media gives this image a timeless quality.

I recall photographing similar cabooses on this line back in the 1980s.

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!