Tri-X is a classic B&W film stock yet its not one that I have used extensively. My go to for some time now has been TMax 400 and before that I used Ilford stocks relatively frequently which are a little cheaper here in the UK. The history of Tri-X goes all the way back to 1940 and was a staple of photojournalists meaning many of the iconic images post world war II were captured on this emulsion. Well, not quite this one though, as 400TX was a major revamp notably cutting the silver content significantly. Leafing through my copy of a Life magazine photo book its easy to see how the grain and textures captured on this film can empower the photographer to capture that fleeting moment on a medium that still conveys strong emotion today.
This was my last roll of a brick I picked up last time I visited the US and it seemed fitting to load it into the iconic Nikon F of mine, which looks even better with the plain prism finder I had ordered in from Japan. Whilst I rotated through a few lenses my new 45mm f2.8 GN lens looks especially stylish on the front; its low profile could almost have one mistake it for a lens cap. In fact I'm almost certain the top image was capture with this lens coupled with a Nikon orange filter on the front. This is my favourite tree and one I photograph every time I visit my parents at the farm I grew up on in Shropshire. This was an angle I tried before but the crops nor the light had ever really combined to make a remarkable image. But this frame I really like. Gradient in tone on the textured soil of recently planted maize seems to be opposite to the clouds, the orange filter bringing out the stormy mood of the day and the grain exacerbating this. To me the scene evokes a feeling of foreboding.
Another classic is the Nikon 105mm f2.5, a lens that regretfully I have not used as much as I would have liked, and famously captured the Afghan Girl by Steve McCurry. I took the opportunity to capture this shot of my grandfather with this lens and I must say I am very pleased by the combination of this lens and the film stock. To think of the change my grandfather has seen in the world is remarkable, particularly as a farmer in this part of the world.
Overall I am very fond of these images. The contrast, grain and textures rendered are very nice and 400TX seems to give the images more grit than TMax 400. Its possible that I'll favour 400TX for my 35mm cameras and keep the TMax 400 for the medium format landscape work I enjoy. Below is a shot of a yard with the 45mm, a macro test shot with the 55mm f3.5 Ai plus a hoya green filter and another with the 45mm of one of a pub scene in Dartmouth Park in London.