Pushing Film: what is it?

Pushing process of film involves shooting and developing film at a different ISO (light sensitivity) then what the film is rated for. It is a technique that has been used for a very long time. It can be used for black and white films, and also color film. 

Why push film?

The most common reason film is pushed is to get more sensitivity in low light situations. However, in my case, I decided to use this effect creatively, as pushed film is more gritty, contrasty and grainy. I was hoping that in some of the mid-day harsh shadow light / shadow conditions, the contrast would pop even more.

My push process

The films I used below are 400 ISO films. However, I decided to “push” them to 1600 (effectively making them 2x more light sensitive). This means I was exposing (rating) the film at (@) 1600 ISO and then also developed the film longer in the lab (according to the massive dev chart). Since film cameras do not have ISO dials like modern digital cameras, this is a way to use your film in a more flexible way. However, each roll has to have their specific ISO value.

Examples

We just got back from a 3800 mile road trip to Arizona (from Minnesota). I did shoot many rolls of black and white and color film. Here I am sharing some black and white 135 (35mm) film examples. I used two film stocks: Ilford Delta Pro 400, and Ultrafine Xtreme 400. I rated both films at 1600 ISO and pushed them during development by two stops.

I was actually quite happy with the results. Yes, there is definitely more grain in particular in the skies with both film stocks, but I like the overall look.

 

Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

First of roll Bryce Canyon Ilford Delta 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm Ilford DDX

Zion National Park Ultrafine Xtreme 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm HC-110

Zion National Park Ultrafine Xtreme 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm HC-110

Zion National Park Ultrafine Xtreme 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm HC-110

Zion National Park Ultrafine Xtreme 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm HC-110

Zion National Park Ultrafine Xtreme 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm HC-110

Zion National Park Ultrafine Xtreme 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm HC-110

Zion National Park Ultrafine Xtreme 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm HC-110

Zion National Park Ultrafine Xtreme 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm HC-110

Zion National Park Ultrafine Xtreme 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm HC-110

Zion National Park Ultrafine Xtreme 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm HC-110

Zion National Park Ultrafine Xtreme 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm HC-110

Zion National Park Ultrafine Xtreme 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm HC-110

Zion National Park Ultrafine Xtreme 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm HC-110

Zion National Park Ultrafine Xtreme 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm HC-110

Zion National Park Ultrafine Xtreme 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm HC-110

Zion National Park Ultrafine Xtreme 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm HC-110

Tired Dogs Zion National Park Ultrafine Xtreme 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm HC-110

Tired Dogs Outside of Zion National Park Ultrafine Xtreme 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm HC-110

Horseshoe Bend, AZ Ultrafine Xtreme 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm HC-110

Zion National Park Ultrafine Xtreme 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm HC-110

Zion National Park Ultrafine Xtreme 400 @ 1600 Nikon FE 28mm HC-110

Daniel Sigg
Daniel Sigg

Daniel is a Minneapolis Saint Paul based photographer.

His latest work can be viewed on Instagram and his website.

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