‘Filters for film’ was to be the short title for this blog post and vlog but the gods of the Internet are gluttons for keywords! So hence it’s ‘Olympus OM1 and Ilford FP4+ | Color Filters in Black and White Photography’
With that over let’s press on, into the real intro.
I wished to try out some colour filters for B&W Photography to improve contrast – mainly in landscape scenes.
Surprisingly I managed to pick up a few of them here in Graz where I live. Actually six German Haida filters for 30 euros straight out of the bargain bucket in the front of the shop. Not bad considering the price was reduced from forty euros a piece. I guess not many folks are photographing with these filters anymore.
The filters I had chosen were orange, red and yellow and the same again in graduated format. What I hoping to achieve from this collections of plastic resin filters is an improvement or at least a tweak in my B&W film photography. I’ll go into a detail below and in the video too with some examples images.
Choose Film Wisely
Not realising at first that different films response to coloured filters quite differently. It’s important to research your B&W film before use filters with them.
I had start with Ilford PAN 100 which I discovered later on was not really a great choice use. I had also bugged up that film but that’s another story altogether.
So the next day after the video shoot I shot the scene again but with Ilford FP4+. For two reasons, one it’s much more responsive to red/orange or yellow filter. The second reason was the ‘FP4Party’ month is coming around again next week. I thought it to be a chance to participate or at least prepare for it.
Here are the dates again. Go buy your FP4 film and be ready, life comes at you fast so let’s shoot slow
March 2-8: shoot week
March 9-15: dev week
March 16-22: post week
March 23-29: lamentation week
— FP4+ Party (@FP4Party) January 19, 2020
I set off to the city along with my friend Abhi to shoot some film. He was behind the camera videoing the B-Roll and me snapping away. The camera in question is the old faithful Olympus OM1 with some Ilford FP4+. (You can check out my other video on the OM1 later.)
In the video we made together, I take to the streets of Graz, Austria to photograph with coloured graduated filters and the Olympus OM1 loaded with Ilford FP4+
Coloured Filters and Contrast
The coloured filters control contrast, they work on the opposite colour to the filter colour in the colour wheel.
Red filter blocks blue and green colour such as sky, making the clouds to pop.
The yellow and orange does pretty much the same to a lesser degree. While a yellow filter can be use in portrait photography to smooths out skin tones.
While a green filter will emphasis blemish in the skin.
Coloured Filters & Exposure Compensation
I would advise not to rely on the built in metering in your camera. It maybe be under a stop or two. It’s best to test your camera.
Take a red filter for example: in manual mode, meter a flat scene and note down the exposure, then without changing your exposure settings, mount the filter on your lens and note the exposure.
If the difference does not equate to 3 stops (2 stops for orange, 1.5 stops for deep yellow, 1 stop for yellow), then you need to add the appropriate amount of exposure compensation.
Graduated Filters & Exposure Compensation
For grads or graduated filters you tend not to care about exposure compensation. Because you are trying to darken the contrast in a certain area of your scene. However it still may well throw your meter well off. So keep an eye on the exposure settings. Best to shot manual anyway!
Near failed development process!
I got to admit the development process, I kind of messed up you can see in the results. Let me explain, my mind was thinking about the new Fujifilm XT-4 with the Bleach By Pass film simulation. While thinking about this I was wondering if I could do not this when developing color next time around – like just skip the bleach part of the process. So as this was going through my mind as my Spinmatic device was rotating every 10 second the spindle in the development tank.
The timer beeped and was ready for the next step. I poured out the spent DDX developer and opened the tank to rinse out the chemicals. I had forgotten to do the fixer stage!
Oh crap I thought, closed the tank up and proceeded to do a 4 min fix and hope for the best.
So I guess that why there are some funny film sprocket marks and other patches on the final images. You live and learn!
Now what do I think ? I’m very happy little camper with the results of the Ilford FP4plus. It’s pleasing to me considering the amount of mess up I want through to achieve these images.