For my foreign readers, in these hard times, up to the 3rd of April, not a lot have changed in Singaporean’s lives. Obvious places of mingling, like bars and discos, had been closed a few weeks back and we were encouraged to work from home when possible and apply social distancing, controls were put at the border and a quarantine system was put in place.
Things changed Friday when the prime minister announced a “soft lock down”, basically we are going to be on lock-down like a big part of the human kind. Nearly all public places will be closed, but for the soft part, we will still be allowed to walk out.
So Friday saw a moderate panic buy (including massive queues at Victoria Secret, LuluLemon and Louis Vuitton, more reassuring of the human race people were also queuing in the Japanese library Kinokuniya.
Restaurants will close next Tuesday night, so after what looked like a dreadful Friday night, a lot of places where pretty full, Saturday and Sunday, of course respecting mandatory social distancing. We also visited some friend’s restaurant Saturday, as we fell the need to support the businesses and share a bit of love and friendship in these hard time.
I did not really dig in the details of the soft lock down, but just in case I started the Sunday by a 37 Km ride with my son. And in the afternoon we had a long walk to our Community Center and back to collect our free reusable masks (Thanks guys). These shots were done along the way with the Leica M262 and the Summaron 35mmF3.5 LTM.
First stop, a few clicks down the Community center, was the Wat Ananda Metyarama a Thai Buddhist temple, a very nice Thai temple (surprise !), an at the back are more buildings. Including one for nuns or monks.
I don’t know what this building is. A king of shrine, with drying laundry, birds in cages and gods effigies.
I want to shoot this little police hut for a while (Polis is Police in Malay), geographically it looks like it was commanding the entrance of the Malaysian enclave that was containing the railway station and the railway tracks up to Malaysia. But I am not 100% sure.
St Matthew’s Church is now all wrapped up, you can check my post about it here. I cannot really give any information about the new development there.
Or dance steps.
As part of earlier measures places of worship are now closed, but devotees congregate (in small numbers) in front of temples.
That’s it for today! Keep safe, follow the rules, and read many posts ever after.
Well the situation in Singapore is not too much at celebrating and I did not find yet the way to represent the poetry of empty streets. So this posts start with reminding the not so distant past when Humans were roaming the streets.
At that time, a couple of weeks ago, I put one of my last rolls of Polypan F50 in the Leica M4 and hit the road with the Summaron 35mm F3.5 ltm.
I have a nice Leica LTM to M adapter which provides proper focusing, and bring the 35mm framelines on the M4, so I can frame accurately.
The roll of Polypan was given to me two years ago, and is probably expired, but shot at ISO 50 it still looks fine.
Shooting ISO 50 with a 3.5 max aperture lens in overcast light is a bit challenging.
Shades of grey on the old Polypan are amazing, so are the details.
I had a couple of disappointing roll recently. First I shot a roll of Kodak Tri-X with the Heineken toy camera that shows reticulation. This was a small boat trip with friends for a birthday celebration, so I am quite annoyed.
The camera works superbly, and ISO 400 by the see on a bright day is plenty for the F10 plastic lens.
Even in the shadows as above, but it was screwed up at processing as you can see below.
Is it a call for self processing in the future?
The next roll, is the evening birthday party of my friend Paul, shot with the Leica M6, and still the Summaron 35mm F3.5 LTM. This was a roll of Ilford Delta 3200 shot at 3200. The M6 meter is always very accurate so I am very surprised that the roll turned out so underexposed.
The film was not expired. My only guess is that the meter was fooled by the very bright patches at the table, and even more easily that a 35mm gets a wider range), probably for such event its better to meter from close and keep it fixed.
Before moving to the focusing bit, lets start by a few shots from Phuket. My eyesight for short distances is becoming quite bad so I cannot read the markings on the camera, so when I loaded this roll of Kodak Pro image 100 I put the speed selector to 1600 instead of 100.
So the pictures from Phuket are underexposed by 4 stops, but end up being quite exploitable , the colors are still pleasant. Nice job Kodak.
I realized my mistake at Phuket airport and changes the speed. Above the colorful planes at the airport terminal; I quite like the colors of this film.
Back in Singapore, I had my black and white film processed and as the results were OK (See last post), so I decided to finish this roll with the F3. I changed the screen to the Split screen model K as its easier to focus, so it will give a better indication of the accuracy of the camera focusing.
Of course the shot above is a hip shot where distance has been guesstimated, so it does not prove much.
The two following shots are related to a Taoist ceremony in the center of town, the afternoon weather was quite bright so the shots were done with a small aperture, balancing potential focusing problems.
I think this ceremony is held by one of temples situated in the nearby habitation block. The place were the tent is set, often hosts funeral wakes, and even a medium ceremony after Chinese new year.
In TWG tea shop at raffles hotel, the lens was nearly wide open and the focusing on the letters quite easy, it looks the picture is in focus.
The lizard also is is focus, though small.
The shot above was done probably at F4 and quite close, looks reasonably in focus as well, I really love the warn tones or the film.
So far so good until the last shot, wide open (F1.4) , the light was a bit dim, I focused on the glass at the front where it seems the actual focus is on the middle of the table (or the Asahi beer logo), so 10 to 15 cm back. So this is not very conclusive then.
It seems to be a tradition to write about the F3 magically getting out for a spin (You can read the 2012 post ANOTHER OLD FELLOW BACK FROM THE MAGIC CUPBOAD – NIKON F3 ) the last picture I put on Flickr with this old fellow dates back from 2015 so it had time to gather dust inside the magic box. When I took it out the mirror foam was all gone but I have some spare foam, maybe a bit thick, so I replaced it in a 5 minutes. The 5 years old batteries were dead (not stored inside the camera), but I found some for 4$ at the convenience store of my condo. I fiddled a bit to find the correct direction for the batteries and of we go! The meter is metering and shutter is shutting. Attach the 50mm F1.4 AI-S, load a roll of H5 and lets roll.
I will start with my favorite images, above two tourists wondering the streets of Chinatown, a rare hip-shot, I have not used a SLR for years i am not sure about using it for street shots.
A friendly man in Karon (Phuket Thailand) building a new extension to the local temple (Wat Karon), he is molding cement Buddhist wheels to decorate the wall outside the building.
Russian lady with a tambourine humming to Buddha while fiddling with her instrument I say : she a Shaman.
Okay so appart from these 3 shots that I really like, the rest of the roll is pretty good as you can see there after (I spared you those of my family by the pool)
First stop was in Singapore Chinatown, a few days before flying to Phuket, one of the reasons why I stopped using the F3 was because I keep on thinking it is not focusing properly. Indeed the distance on the lens always looks off compared to the actual distance. But the shots of this roll seems to prove otherwise.
I used the original B screen (micro-prism) which is more difficult to focus than the split screen (model K on top of my head).
I have loaded a second roll now and will try to split screen on the second half of it just t try to assert where the issue is.
Also I used the A mode for aperture, so the speed adjust automatically to the aperture you select. I never use it on the Leica, as I always found the speed to be too low and result in camera shake, but again it proved to work nicely here.
Then we flew to Thailand for the week-end, which was the reason to resurrect the F3 ; I did not want to bring the M6 or the M262 to the beach. Oh but I did in Australia last year. Well OK, that’s just how it is.
A rickshaw in front of our hotel, close focusing seems to work, I am not sure I actually focused on the horn, but that sounds (ha ha) realistic.
And off to the beach .
Back light as the sunset if approaching the metering works great.
Street / beach scene, another nice action by the F3 meter.
On the next day we walk from our hotel to Katong center town, very bright light. All shots were done at F11 with 1/1000th. The shutter of the F3 is limited to 1/2000th so I could not use wider apertures with a 400 ISO film.
And we reach Wat Karon the local temple.
Inside the temple we just missed the lunch of the monks , normally no later than 11am. Pity.
From the seaside at Karon we took a taxi to visit Phuket Big Buddha, a seated Maravija Buddha.
It is big indeed, like 40 meters high.
Here as well the light was very powerful, so maximum shutter speed and min apperture.
I spent 30 minutes at the shot yesterday discussing with other photogs of the potential focusing issue of my body. This roll seems to prove me wrong, but on the other hand most shots were done at very small apertures, so the focusing may not matter much.
A quick comparison with the M6 ? The F3 is slightly bigger, but just a sexy, the weight is probably very close, actually the M6 is 200 grams heavier. Both cameras have an integrated meter, but with slightly different methods, teh F3 is 80% center weighted the M6 is roughly spot metering, I actually quite like the exposure of the shots above.
Regular readers already know the Leice IIIc is my go to camera when I just walk around without goals. This roll was loaded at the end of a supposed Hasselblad walk with the Hasselblad User Group Singaore (HUGS).
This is a roll of cheap Kodak Color Plus. I shot a few of them so far, and I think it is good enough when you have no special goal.
This is quite an easy film to scan, the ISO 200 is quite convenient for color street shots on a nice day.
Walking from Bugis and Waterloo street area, the weather was beautiful, and I think the colors are very nice, vivid enough but not over saturated.
That day I had the Voigtlander 21mmF4 mounted on the Leica IIIc, and as above and below I think it realy renders movement very nicely.
The colors on the next two shots are outstanding, but light was exceptional too.
Of course sometime as above the 21mm gives a bit too much negative space.
Over this last year I shot a lot of with the 21 VC and I like it a lot. On the negative side I would say that sometimes it gives a very crisp and modern look to the pictures you may or may not like.
From this point the pictures are taken with the vintage Summaron 35F3.5. They are mostly taken in the afternoon where the light if not as good.
I also think the Summaron is an excelled lens. 35mm is a lot more manageable than 21, but I also have a 35mm finder,
The above is taken inside the National Design Museum, but there was plenty of light.
I don t realy know the relationship between the expo and Kraftwerk, but…
Film is scanned at home with Epson v800, I do a bit of colour and exposure correction in Light-room .
Another long post, but I don’t fill like splitting this story up, hey that’s my third post about Thaipusam this year.
On arriving at Farrer park MRT, we met our first Kavadi bearer.
And then more devotees waiting for the traffic light.
The little devotees
Then when moving inside the temple the devotees are assembling the Kavadis
or prepare their offerings
While others use their phones to snap their friends.
Pictures above are taken Ilford HP5 shot at box speed, I used not to be a big fan of this film, but actually I am very satisfied with these results. The pictures after are done with the Kodak TMY 400, not exactly my usual Tri-X, but i generally quite like it.
Actually I don’t see any difference, so I may shoot more of the cheaper HP5 going forward.
Still osculating but looking more steady.
All shots with Leica M6 Classic and most of them with the Summicron 35mm F2 AsphvII (the last version), processed at the usual lab (well dropped at Ruby and they get the usual guy do the work) and scanned at home with the Epson v800.
As per my recent post Saturday was Thaipusam ; Thaipusam is a Hindu ceremony to honor the lord Ram. In Singapore devotee carry burdens and pierce their flesh and walk a 4 km procession to thank the god or ask for a wish to be granted. Most devotees do it every year.I was loosely leading a small group of buddy photographers this year as Thaipusam is a great photography opportunity. Participants are very open, there are colors, action and emotions.
The procession has started at 7pm last night, and when we get at Farrer park MRT devotees are already walking along Sernagoon road, pulling or carrying their burden.
The most interesting part for me is getting inside the temple and assisting to the preparations.
The devotee above will carry a Kavadi.
The preparation starts with offerings as above.
Kavadi carriers often have chains or pots attached to their flesh , or spears as below.
Other devotees like the group below are carrying posts of milk along the pilgrimage road,
This guys is fainting of having trance.
This is the second year I see the man below.
After the Kavadi is set-up the cheeks and tong are pierced.
You can see fire, smoke and photographers (my friend Matte above)
Each devotee is accompanied by friends and family, giving a warm atmosphere of community, support, friendship.
On the way out many of the Kavadi bearers will dance before leaving the temple. This is a very impressive feat, I tried to capture this using a slow shutter speed.
The group below is one of the two groups of Chinese devotees I met over the years.
I was able to show them a picture of 2013.
Below is the other Chinese Kavadi bearer.
Thaipusam is a great opportunity to take pictures of members of the public as below.
Finally I got to Tank road temple for a few last picture. This is a great place to see the devotees getting rid of their Kavadi and piercings.
And for a final picture this man finally arrived looking grateful to his big friend (very big) who is taking care of him.
All these shots with Leica M262 and either Summilux 50mm v2, Summicron 35mm Asph v2, Elmarit 90mm F2.8 Oh I also had the M6 body and shot 2 rolls ; be ready for another post next week.