You can’t hurry love but you can try (More about the VC Color Skopar 21mm F4)

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One George Street in Singapore CDB

This is a follow up of my first write up YOU CAN’T HURRY LOVE (ABOUT THE VC COLOR SKOPAR 21MM F4) For those who don’t feel like digging back in the archives (pitty, there are a couple of nice shots there and probably my best piece of text in a while), this is about picking the Voigtlander Cosina Color Skopar 21mmF4 back from the dry box and putting it back to work.

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Ice cream parlor near Singapore river

Very quickly, the 21mm had two terrible defects for me: the color fringing in digital and the difficulty to frame in general. I decided in June to invest into a proper viewfinder to try to overcome the second issue : I picked a 21-25 VC metal finder.

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Walk down the bridge

The viewfinder did a really good job, it very bright and accurate, well built and on top of it it is super sexy (I have to post pictures of the Leica IIIc with it).

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Keong Saik road corner with Teck Lim road

All pictures here are from a single roll of Kodak Portra 400 shot with Leica M4 and VC Color Skopar 21mm F4 with the now famous 21-25 VC metal finder. Even vertical framing is accurate now.

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“MY CHINATOWN HOME” by  Yip Yew Chong 30 SMITH STREET

Horizontal framing works as well. As I am a slow shooter these were probably taken over a few week ends in different areas of central Singapore.

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The guitar hero

To shoot portraits the 21mm requires you to get very close to your subject, and still you will get some distracting details in your frame. Also you may get funky perspectives even if you frame correctly your subject (thanks to the perfect new viewfinder)

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Tan Boon Liat Building – a commercial / industrial building

When yout wan to put a lot in the frame as the Tan Boon Liat Building, actually it goes in. Colors with the Portra are quite rich, and vignetting is limited.

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The Monkey God temple in Tiong Bahru

Or when you are close to buildings and want to put them in the frame as above, this is a great ultra wide angle.

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Don’t go away

I did not do many “street” shots on this roll, but the 21 gives an amazing dynamics to the shots like above.

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Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple in Little India

I was very convinced by these first 2 or 3 rolls, and this has slightly changed my photographic practice recently. I use the M262 and M6 with the summicrons for holidays or events, the M4 and IIIc with older lenses for fun( or street, or burning film name it as you want) and recently the 21 is glued to them.

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Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple in Little India

So expect more posts like this one, but as you know that I found love with the VC21 again, so i will have to find out new titles.

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The Singapura Club – Little India

 

 

You can’t hurry love but you can try (More about the VC Color Skopar 21mm F4)

Australia on slide (Ektachrome Leica M6)

Holidays are (were) here, once again I was very excited at the perspective of having something different to shoot (or just something extra, or just something). Something different this time was Australia, a family trip to the Coral Reef and Ayers Rock

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This is the … err the rusty stuff in the sea

As usual now I picked up the travel kit in my travel bag (3 year old Wotancraft scout) : The Leica M262 and Leica M6, plus a few lenses, 28 / 35 / 50 Summicrons and also the 90mm Elmarit. I know that’s a bit too much, but hey you don’t travel these places every week.

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Green Island jetty

I was quite excited to shot a roll of Kodak Ektachrome. This is my third roll and I quite like it. I an not a great landscape photographer, but I had to give it by best shot.

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Seascape with dead wood

Most of the shots here are done with the 28mm Summicron Asph V1.

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The models

I could jest by saying my recipe to shoot slide is : load the roll, removes the lens cap, aim, shoot. But that’s pretty is actually, the M6 meter is accurate (I changed the batteries before the holidays).

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Chinese tourists at the beach

100 ISO is great for full daylight, still it was very bright, I cannot recall exactly, but a lot of shots where around 1/250 and F11.

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Dive boats at sunset

The next best thing to shooting the the seascape is looking at sunsets. I often mock shooting sunsets, a bit cheesy, yeah yeah, but when its nice, its nice.

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The jetty

And the slide film is doing a good job in this case as well. Mettering was a bit more on the guesstimate side. It was a bit easy for me because I made the guesstimate work with the M240, so I did not lost many shots doing the above and the next one.

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The sunset

Final sunset with drinks at the jetty above before heading back to Cairns the next day, and hanging around a couple days there before reading to Ayers Rock.

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Uluru in the evening light

Ayers rock is a beautiful place, at that time of the year (late October) but very hot (40 degrees Celsius), the colors are gorgeous. We had a very short stay there, so we did what we could.

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Uluru

We walked around the rock at lunchtime and dined under the stars.

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Uluru is surely a superb place, beautiful, magic to a certain extent, maybe not as toutching as other places I have been to, but maybe I did not stay long enough.

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The rock

And finally before you ask, I was in Uluru after the rock was closed from climbing, and would I have been there the week before I would have not climbed it.

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A beautiful gorge along the rock

Finally I shot a single roll during that week. The rest is digital and maybe that would be for another post.

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Sunset over Kata Kuja

Meanwhile, visit Australia and shoot film.

Australia on slide (Ektachrome Leica M6)

Polypan 50 ISO with Leica IIIc and a slow lens

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Crossing strangers

This is my third post about the Polypan 50 and thanks to my friend Felix who is always eager to feed me some more this is probably the 10th roll I have shot.

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The subtle art of panning and the scratched negative

This roll is a bit old and traveled in and out of the fridge a few time, also Felix warned me about the first two frames to generally better be avoided. Finally the film is quite thin and this may result in a bit of struggle when loading the film on the reel.  so one or two early

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Film shooters unite

So this particular roll I decided to shoot with the Leica IIIc and the Color Skopar 21mm. I am still trying hard to love this lens and the camera looks super good with the VC finder I bought last summer.

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At the skate park

At this point I have small problem because  I am not really able to guesstimate the light and I have relied on my Sekonic 308, that i bought new in 2010 with my first Leica. The little fellow is now more dead than alive, draining batteries like hell and giving random measures. So after the first half of the film I decided to go the the shop and get a new light-meter. To cut it short I bough the same one, lets hope it last as long.

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Do not disturb

So this is a recipe for disaster, a slow film, an old camera, and a slow lens. Luckily last Saturday the weather was nice when I hit Chinatown and came across Felix of course.

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Crossing

I am not a big theoretician, but what i like with the 21mm is the dynamic it gives to (rather mundane) pictures where people are moving like above or below.

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More crossing, but to slow to catch the lady’s face

Chinatown is also the opportunity to catch again and again the old folks playing Chinese checkers or chess. Some slow action going on, so speed can be lessen, perfect for my set-up.

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Another obvious thing with the 21 : you need to be close to your subject. How close is close?  Probably all the pictures in this post are done between 2 and 4 meters ; the one below more like 1 meter.

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Even better, people are rest

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And finally a bit more panning for that young lady.

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You can see my old posts about polypan50 here:

A first roll of Polypan F50

35mm Film in hassy back

Polypan 50 ISO with Leica IIIc and a slow lens

FIRE WALKING CEREMONY – Another roll on Kodak TMZ3200

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Devotees waiting outside the temple

You can read more about the Fire Walking Ceremony in my post from 2014 (here). In short it is a Indian festival honoring the Hindu goddess Sri Draupadi, who is the wife of the five Pandava brothers who walked on hot coals to prove her purity.

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Devotees waiting outside the temple

Devotees go through a purification period and on the day of the festival they walk from Little India where they get blessing and protective amulets to the SRI MARIAMMAN TEMPLE in Chinatown where they walk through the coals of the fire pit. After this they go at the back of the temple where they discard they protection and offer to the god the beads necklace they wear since the beginning of the cleansing period.

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Devotee entering the temple

This is the 3rd time I am going to the festival. As I mentioned in my last post, total respect to the devotees. I went in the evening as usual with my friend Matte Lim.

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Devotee entering the temple

This is my second or third roll of this film. The first attempt was so so. This is supposedly a new film, replacing the old TMZ 3200 discontinued in 2012. I think the film works well for scenes with good contrast and some lighted parts ; if your scene is grayish you wont get much on the picture.

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Devotee entering the temple

It was night when I attend the fire-walk festival but both places where I was had some heavy lights on parts of the scene.

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Devotee entering the temple

The M6 is great for focusing in the night, even with my ageing eyes, also the metering is quite ok. 

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The fire pit (Heavy back-light fooled the meter)

Most shots are done with 50mm Cron (v 5), maybe some with the 35mm Cron (Asph v2), as I swapped the lens between teh M6 and M262 at some point.

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Devotee removing his beads necklace
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Offering the beads necklace

Processing was done by the usual lab and scanning at home with the Epson v800 , scanning is easy.

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I like the grain, which is quite limited and pleasant imo (but my wife does not).

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The 3 next pictures are my favorites.

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FIRE WALKING CEREMONY – Another roll on Kodak TMZ3200

BACK TO THE MONKEY GOD TEMPLE – With a roll of slides

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The Sedan chair porter

This is a follow up of my last port about the Monkey God temple birthday  in Tiong Bahru. These pictures were taken with a roll of Provia 400F given to me by KC Eng. It is expired since 2008, but I did not check at the time and shot it at 400 with Leica M6 and Summicron 50.

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The Lion dance

Ths shots were processed at Analog Lab and scanned at home ; they turned out quite okay. Maybe the overcast weather did not allow for a more reach color palette.

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Dragon Dance
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Dragon Dancer
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Dragon Dancer
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The musicians
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The musicians
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The lantern bearers
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The lantern bearers
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The lantern bearers
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The lantern bearers
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The lantern bearers

 

 

 

 

BACK TO THE MONKEY GOD TEMPLE – With a roll of slides

Back to the monkey god temple

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Quality Lion dance that afternoon

Birthdays have the habit of coming back every year, so for the third time I think I find myself at the TIONG BAHRU QI TIAN GONG temple in the area of Singapore called Tiong Bahru for the birthday of the temple. One of my friends reminded me of the event and I was super happy it was at a time where I could attend.

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This is a Taoist temple, a popular faith in Singapore among the Chinese population. I still don’t know much about the Taoist faith and practice, so i won’t try to explain it here. The spirits and gods have  a great place in the faith and they are honored through offerings like Chinese Opera, joss paper bonfires, ..

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The celebration involved lions dances, a dragon dance troop, musicians, as above and below. Singaporeans say that Taoist are noisy. I think I have some old shots of the gentleman below.2019-29-m6-18-40

The person that looks to be the man in charge posing with the lions and some banners.2019-29-m6-18-372019-29-m6-18-35

Meanwhile across the street, the porters of the gods sedan chairs are taking some rest.

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I shot 2 rolls of Tri-x (one above, one below this paragraph), one roll or Provia 400H (in between) and hundreds of digital pictures using the magic combo, Leica M6 for film and the M262 for digital; for lenses I brought the 50 cron, mostly on the M6, the 35cron mostly the M262 then. I also brought along the 90mm Elmarit for a few digital portraits.
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At that moment the gods starts to be carried in 3 sedan chairs to the place where the bonfire will be lit.

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Below some of the carriers of the three sedan chairs.2019-30-m6-20-2

I don’t know if they are really heavy but the guys are relaying each others regularly.

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This write up is about the film shots and should be called “You are all my favorites”. It found very difficult to select between the shots. I have included the shots of the two Tri-x rolls, I will do another small article about the Provia roll which has its own story.2019-30-m6-20-9

We now arrived at the field where the bonfire will be lit, a small crowed is gathered. Led the the Taoist priests.2019-30-m6-20-142019-30-m6-20-15

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One of the gods chair with the idol in the middle.

 

(You can read an oldest post here )

 

 

 

Back to the monkey god temple

STPI Open day and Takashi Murakami: From Superflat to Bubblewrap

This year the STPI in Singapore had its open day during the Takashi Murakami exhibition “From Superflat to Bubblewrap“, this was the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.

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No need I think to introduce the iconic Japanese artist who uses manga like practice to depict modern Japan. I only had B&W film that day so I did not took many pictures of the art works.

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Open days at the STPI (Former Singapore Tyler Print Institute) are always enjoyable, if you have young children they can discover and experiment various print practices, that also work it seems for  teenagers and young adults alike.

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For guys (or gals) with a camera, it is a nice opportunity to captures willing models engaged in not so common activities.

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The STPI now positions itself as a gallery, aiming to promote the usage of print and paper mediums.

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Artists shown in the gallery often have a collaboration with the print makers.

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The smiling lady at the printing press has been working there for years, she is now an independent architect ; time flies.

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All shots were done with the Leica M6 and Summicron 50mm on Kodak Tri X, at 400 ISO.  genarally shot between F2 and F4 and 1/60s ro 1/12s. The film was processed by Ruby photo (or rather their usual contractor) and scanned at home on Epson v800 with Silverfast.

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I generally convert the images to grey-scale and remove dust spots in Adobe Elements and adjust the contract and brightness in Lightroom.

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The workshop can also be a treasure where odd objects can be found and pictured for eternity.

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One of the DIY items of the week end was an STPI apron.

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You can see picture of the last workshop I went to 4 years ago STPI at that time pictures were shot with Canon EOS 1N and 1.8 Canon lens.

 

STPI Open day and Takashi Murakami: From Superflat to Bubblewrap