35mm · Film photography · Photography

Shooting a roll of Polypan F

A few months ago, a friend on the photography forum I’m a member of offered some rolls of bulk-loaded Polypan F to other members. Apart from generosity, he was interested to see what sort of results a variety of other people would be able to achieve with the film. Several people volunteered to take part and a box full of film was circulated (each person taking a roll and then posting the remainder to the next person, and so on).

I received the box back at the start of November, but didn’t shoot my roll untill the end of December. The main reason for the delay is the nature of the film. Polypan F is a motion picture copy film. It has very little anti-halation and so can make bright light sources bloom and glow in the right conditions. As November in the UK is not known for it’s bright conditions, I decided to wait for a sunny day. The 30th of December wasn’t the first sunny day to come around, but as I work full time, it was the first one where I was off work and could get out and shoot the film.

There was a loose theme attached to the film – the subject matter should be related to the letter “P”. Based on this, I decided to shoot my roll in a plantation of pine trees in the Peak District national park.

Polypan F has a native speed of 50asa so, even given the bright conditions, I would probably need to shoot accordingly. As a result I took along my tripod and a shutter-release cable. Alas though, even these measures were not to be sufficient.

Shooting in relatively well lit areas of the woodland didn’t pose much of a problem, especially with the 50mm lens, but the 75-150mm was another matter. I was using mid-range apertures to try and maximise my depth of field while shooting at focal lengths over 100mm. When in shaded conditions, this was dropping my shutter speed right down to little over 1sec in many instances. While the camera was firmly held on the tripod, and I was using the cable-release, I still ended up with a lot of shots displaying noticeable camera shake. I believe that the long lens, coupled with the slow shutter speed, was subject to vibrations from the cameras mirror when I took the shots. This was a shame as I lost a number of photos that I think were otherwise pretty nice, Still, I’ll take it on the chin and chalk it up to experience. I’ve never used the OM-1’s mirror lock-up before, but am now fully conversant with how it operates!

Here are some of the better shots from the day.

1 – This is the southerly path I took when entering the plantation (Lady Canning’s Plantation, to the south-west of Sheffield at Ringinglow). The plantation is commercially operated but has public access, including a number of mountain bike trails that were in heavy use on the day of my visit. The light blooming is quite apparent in this shot, particularly where the sun is peeking through the trees.

FILM - Through Lady Canning's Plantation

2 – I ventured off the main footpath to take the next two photos. This was perhaps a mistake as the ground was very uneven (from the wheels of heavy plantation machinery that must have worked there some time in the past) and with a notable quantity of prickly, clothes-snagging, skin-scratching brambles to fight through. Even though I was only 20 or 30 metres from the path, I did wonder if anyone would ever notice me where I to collapse or something. Me and my cheerful thoughts, eh?

FILM - Battles with brambles

FILM - Glade

3 – This wide avenue bisects the plantation and is the route of an underground pipeline, hence the lack of tree cover.

FILM - Pipeline passage

4 – The southern boundary of the plantation opens onto Burbage Moor.

FILM - Southern boundary

5 – A couple of hundred metres or so from the southern edge of the plantation stand the Ox Stones, a gritstone tor. Also nearby is a triangulation (trig) point.

FILM - Ox Stones

FILM - Trig point

6 – And finally, here’s a detail shot of one of the Ox Stones.

FILM - Strata

It was interesting to use the Polypan F. I’m not sure it’s a film I’ll rush to use again, but I wouldn’t say no if some more came my way. I wish I’d not had the issues with camera shake though as I might have had more images to share.

All photographs taken with my Olympus OM-1, F.Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 / Zuiko 75-150mm f/4 lenses & Polypan F.

Taken on 30 December 2019

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