Film Used: Ilford HP5+
Camera: Rolleiflex 3,5E
Lens: 75mm F3,5
Exposure time: 1/125s
Other equipment: none (I could roam around freely and look for compositions)
Location: Fanal, Madeira
Ever since I saw an image of the Laurisilva forest in Fanal on the island of Madeira, I knew that I wanted to explore this place for myself. It is on a plateau in the northern part of the island and there are these lovely old trees and every once in a while, fog rolls in and covers the entire place. Visibility ranges from 10 meters down to 1 at certain points. The idea is to work with layers as some trees are visible in the fog, while others are not. I love their weird shapes and that together with the eerie quality of the fog this is the perfect combination for black and white film.
Measuring the exposures correctly in the fog was actually a bit tricky, but it all worked out in the end and the negatives have all the detail I need. It was quite wet but the Rolleiflex is a tough little camera and we got through it with no problems. (I did have to open it in the car on the way back and let it dry though...)
Once the fog started rolling in, I simply grabbed my Rolleiflex 6x6 camera and started shooting. It was a great experience as the camera is pretty compact and fun to shoot handheld so all you had to do really, was walk around these lovely old trees and look for interesting compositions. I shot one roll of FP4+ and 3 rolls of HP5+ that afternoon (which is a lot for me), but there was just so much to see. With the fog the situation kept changing by the minute and presented new compositions as different trees appeared out of the fog, as others were swallowed by it.
I used Ilford DD-X for the development at normal times and I am quite happy with the negatives.
What about printing?
I have not yet printed any of the negatives, but I have got a box of Ilford Multigrade IV RC and some fibre based paper waiting.
Christopher Schmidtke is a German-based landscape photographer and lover of all things analog. His subjects range from misty woodlands around his hometown to stormy coasts in northern Europe. ‘Why I shoot film? Because whatever you shoot, wherever you go, that little negative captures the light from that very moment and you can touch it, hold it in your hands – it is a real thing. That is nothing short of amazing.’ My go-to cameras are my Rolleiflex 3,5E and my Leica M3. Engineering marvels and great to shoot with.
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