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Travel

Warsaw in black and white

Welcome to my first blog post on analog photography! Today, I want to share my experience with film photography on a recent trip to Warsaw, Poland. As an adult, I was gifted a 1991 Nikon FM2n, which had never been used before, and I chose to use black and white film rolls from Kodak and Ilford to personally develop the film and learn more about the second important phase of analog photography: the development of the film.

I hope you enjoy reading about my experience!

Every year, my wife and I like to take a family vacation to a European city to celebrate my birthday. This year, we chose Warsaw, Poland, and were joined by my father-in-law Marco and his wife Laura. We spent three cold but beautiful days exploring the city, which left me in awe. The contrast between the austere and imposing Soviet-era buildings and the towering modern skyscrapers made for a dynamic and fascinating cityscape, perfect for analog photography.

In my opinion, Warsaw definitely deserves a spot on the podium of the most beautiful European cities, and I hope to continue exploring other cities with my analog camera. Join me on my journey by following my blog for more analog photography adventures!

Table of contents

Kodak TMax 400

For my first film roll, I loaded a Kodak TMax 400 and shot at the nominal speed of 400 ISO. My goal was to understand the behavior and intrinsic characteristics of the film, such as the depth of blacks, brightness of whites, and general contrast, without applying any over or underexposure. I love high-contrast black and white images, where whites are white, blacks are deep, and grays are perfectly in the middle.

The sunny and clear days in Warsaw helped me achieve the perfect contrast in my photos, especially the ones taken around the Royal Castle of Warsaw. The Kodak TMax 400 performed exceptionally well in shadowed areas, maintaining all the details even in fully-shadowed areas.

However, the film's limitations showed when I took a photo of my son sleeping in my wife's arms. The low light in the room combined with the film's low sensitivity resulted in some slight movement, but the photo still turned out well.

My favorite shot from this film roll is the first one. The deserted avenue during a Sunday morning race looked like the setting of a movie, and the perspective lines perfectly guided the gaze to the center.

Ilford Pan F Plus

Secondly, I want to share my experience shooting with the Ilford Pan F Plus film roll. This film has a low sensitivity to light with a rating of 50 ISO, making it less suitable for low-light situations. However, it has an extremely high resolution due to its fine grain, resulting in very sharp and detailed images. Another important characteristic of this film is its high contrast, which is essential in my personal search for the perfect film.

My favorite shot from this film roll was taken at the Rondo DaszyƄskiego metro station, which leads to the Proximo II commercial building (photo 2) and the Warsaw Uprising Museum. The people in the square were taking a cigarette break, and the late afternoon sun created a contrasty scene.

Although the Ilford Pan F Plus is primarily designed for fine art and still life photography, I found it performed well in this street photography session. However, its low sensitivity to light can be challenging during the sunset, which is one of the best times to take photographs. To compensate, I used the maximum aperture of my Nikkor 35-70 f/2.8 lens.

Overall, I'm enjoying exploring the world of analog photography and experimenting with different film rolls.
Stay tuned for more analog photography adventures and tips!

The photos featured in this article were developed in my personal darkroom using Ilford Ilfotec DDX chemicals and digitized using an Epson Perfection V600 scanner.