How I got this picture

Fanal, Madeira

Location Fanal, Madeira by Chris Schmidtke Film Used Ilford HP5+ Format 120 Camera Rolleiflex 3,5E Lens 75mm F3,5 Exposure time 1/125s

Technical info

Film Used: Ilford HP5+  

Format:  120

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

Firstly, tell us the story behind this image. What inspired you to shoot it?

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.

Did you come across any challenges?

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...)

What process did you use?

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.

How did you process 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.