Guru Ka Langar – The Community Kitchen at Amritsar Golden temple

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In the Golden Temple community kitchen an average 75,000 devotees or tourists take langar daily; but the number becomes almost double on special occasions.
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On average 100 Quintal Wheat Flour, 25 Quintal Cereals, 10 Quintal Rice, 5000 Ltr Milk, 10 Quintal Sugar, 5 Quintal Pure Ghee is used a day. Nearly 100 LPG Gas Cylinders are used to prepare the meals. 100’s of employees and devotees render their services to the kitchen.
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Everyone is welcome to share the Langar; no one is turned away. Each week a family or several families volunteer to provide and prepare the Langar.
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All the preparation, the cooking and the washing-up is done by volunteers and or by voluntary helpers (Sewadars).
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The community kitchen in the temple shows the Sikh ideal of charity : A Sikh is under a religious obligation to contribute one-tenth of his earnings for the welfare of the community.
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He must also contribute the service of his hands whenever he can, service rendered in a langar being the most meritorious.L1009590
It has ensured the participation of women and children in a task of service for mankind. Women play an important role in the preparation of meals, and the children help in serving food.
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The Community Kitchens gives a great demonstration of equality between sexes and social backgrounds.
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I’ll watch over the washing up

All shots with Leica M262 + Summicron 28 or 50. I used a higher ISO for those, the light being a bit random. People in the kitchen are very photo friendly; as long as you are not in anybody’s way you can take your time. But be careful you may be dragged into making some chapatis.

 

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Guru Ka Langar – The Community Kitchen at Amritsar Golden temple

THE GOLDEN TEMPLE – AMRITSAR

The Golden Temple in Amritsar, known as Sri Harmandir Sahib,  is the holly place for the Sikh faith.

L1009510 The entrance is a short walking distance from the street, but on the Sunday we visited the traffic was so bad we had to envoy a nice stroll through the streets of the city. A bit esplanade sits in from of the temple (above) where many pilgrims sleep at night. The entrance is North gate called also the clock tower.

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After having left your shoes at the counter, covered your head and washed you hands and feet you can step trough the gate and access the path around the Sarovar (the holly pool of immortal nectar) and have a view at the golden temple, the sanctum-sanctorum.

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Benevolent and photo friendly guards are posted around the pool.

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Sunday may not be the best bet to visit as you see above we were not alone.

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In various stations devotees envoy a ritual bath, note that there are special enclosed sections for women. Sikh are so open minded that we were told nobody would be offended if a non Sikh  would have a dip.

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An important part of the Sikh temples is the kitchen offering food to every visitor, school kids above were waiting to get their meal.

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Inside the Akal Takhat

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A Sikh man reading the Holly book in a small chapel around the pool.

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Volunteers working at the cleaning of the holly pool.

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Sikh apprentice meditating, yes you can become a Sikh (Elmarit 90F2.8). There can be many reasons, like getting married to a Sikh for instance.

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Good bye.

Leica M262, Summicron 28 and 50 and Elmarit 90

THE GOLDEN TEMPLE – AMRITSAR

Evening Ceremony at the Golden Temple

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Sri Harmandir Sahib

Every night a ceremony is held in the Golden Temple in Amritsar (also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib), the holiest Sikh temple.

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It is called “sukhasan“, it consists in bringing back the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikh, from the Sanctum (golden pavilion) to its resting place (Akal Takht).

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Priest and devotees line the way between the two places and watch the palanquin being brought from the resting place to the pavilion and the Guru Granth Sahib return.

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It starts at 9h45 and last 30 minutes; the place is really packed and it is very difficult to have a clear view of what is going on.

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Communal Kitchen outside the temple

On the way back a blue Hindu temple (“Saturday temple”) can be found, this small place sees many devotees, Sikh and Hindu alike.

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One of the temple priests (Left) and our guide.

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Man selling offerings for Krishna

The area around the Golden Temple is very lively at night, with a lot of food stalls and people walking around.

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(All shots Leica M262 and Summicron 28 or 50)

I will make a summary pape about our travel in Punjab; more information on Sikhism can be found on http://www.sikhiwiki.org/

 

Evening Ceremony at the Golden Temple

35mm Film in hassy back

My backyard

Forget about everything serious and let’s be silly. If you spend too much time on the internet you probably already came across something similar : people shooting 35 mm film with their Hasselblad. Even worse you find people trying to find out how to do it…

I will cut the chase short : I think there is absolutely no reasons to do it except the two following:

  • you want to scan the sprockets
  • you want to use film that is not available in 120 format

Apart from the general quirkiness of setting this up, please consider the following issues:

  • the automatic back of your Hassie is set to 12 frames, so there is just so much you can get of your 35mm roll, I would say that 24 shots rolls are ok, but you will loose a fair bit of film. Unless you roll them from bulk yourself, in which case I think with the technique exposed here you can probably use a 20 shots roll. I also read you can use a A24 back to shoot 20 shots out of a 36 roll.
  • the film moves upward in the hassie which does not make a difference in 120 format as it is square, but your “paronama” will by default be vertical, so to shoot landscape you have to turn your Hasselblad on the side, no so easy to frame after that. It is then recommended to use a 90 degree prism (I don’t own one)
  • finally framing is not easy unless you have a mask, but I did not find any template
Marina Bay Sands without the top

Frankly I generally find panorama useless, as it is very difficult to see them on screen or printed, unless they are printed very large or they highlight very special shapes.

But last week a friend gave me some spacers that he 3D printed and I decided to give them a try. I had at hand a freshly hand rolled canister with 17 shots of Polypan (the end of the bulk) so why not kill two birds with one stone.

Note that on the re-enactment above the white canister is the take-up side, the Fuji is the film I will shoot. This is a very neat set-up. Note that I would normally cut the start of the Fuji film to have better adherence to the take up lead. Also I had no problem (it seems) with keeping the film flat on the pressure plate, but I saw some guys are adding some holders to keep the film flat.

 

Meeting point (This is what you get by default)

To resolve the take up side of the issue I used another 35mm canister that I taped to the start of my roll and used the spacers on both side. I checked a couple of times to make sure the film was on the correct side. Closed the back and cracked until all was ready.

I thereafter happily shots my 12 pictures.

My roll was too short so the last picture was partially exposed to the light when I opened the back. Also I think this caused some spacing issues towards the end of the roll.

Portrait of my son with (sprockets and all)

I will give this another try (in color), but I think it is really just good for fun. I thought about trying with the Agfa Isolette, but the winding not being automatic, guessing how much to wind will be quite challenging.

35mm Film in hassy back

A first roll of Polypan F50

Uncles at play. The best shot of the roll.

Polypan F50 is a mysterious beast : it is a film made to copy cinema movies. It has no anti halation layer: it means the light bounces back from the pressure plate of the camera and on highlights produce a “glow” effect (To reduce the glow you can put apply some black backing paper to the pressure plate).

Nice special “glow” and shades or grey

It comes in bulk of various lengths and can be found on auction sites, it looks it was produced until recently.  It can be pushed to 100 or 200 as some friends do, I may try on the next roll.

The girl in Wanzi.

This roll was shot with the Leica M4 + Summilux 50v2, at 50 ISO, hand metered (Sekonic 308S). I processed mine at my local lab which used Kodak D76, I was told the buy pushed it one stop.

Music Head

The result is quite OK to my taste, the grain is quite smooth in some of the shots, more present on others, like a generic 100 ISO film. There is something special on some shots that can be related to the “Glow”.

Egg Business

This is a 50 ISO film, so not so easy for street shooting, but still I think three out of four shots are OK technically. Using the Summilux gives a bit more leeway to play with compare to slower lens, and on a sunny day I could shoult at 1/125, 1/250

At the crossing

The film is moderately curly, scanning did not show any special difficulties. The highlight seems to be a bit blown, bringing them in line needs darkening the pictures a bit too much to my taste, but I cannot deny the palette of grey is interesting.

Edit with highlights “in line”

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Original version
I though it was more interesting to share about this new experience that following up my last post about the art of curating  films. But I can quickly share the following: on the 25 shots of this roll, 5 where not good technically, 4 are of my family, 13 seriously lack of interest or are dupes. So I am left with the 8 shareable shots shown here
Time off

A bit high ratio, but I am a slow shooter, specially with a film of such slow speed, so maybe I paid more attention. The first and last shots are probably a bit above OK. “Music head” with its quirky composition is probably very close to  be an OK. The “Girl in Wanzi” would have been as well if not for some motion shake I think. “Bump”, “Egg Business” and the “Time Off” are on the very low end of the interesting range.

Some fools sell, some fools buy.

You can check the on the web;

 

Thanks for reading.

A first roll of Polypan F50

Curating my weekly roll of film

 

 

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The uncle Tiong Bahru market

The title is a bit pedantic, but actually it came from something very down to earth. I recently reviewed 30 years on pictures for a small personal project and the experience was both fun and sad. The fun side came from the obvious pleasure of looking at them : the reason why we like photography. The sadness was brought in by the shots I did not take: these long lost friends I have no portraits off, this great week end, that awesome holidays; my first car, but also for the lack of quality of some shots, making them unusable for my project, and just plain depressing : how could have I done that?.

This lead me to reflect (quickly) on the quality of the many shots I take, and my overall photographic journey. A bit further in my thinking came the idea of sharing how I select my shots maybe for a rolls or two.

I just collected today a roll of Ilford Delta 100 from the lab, it was shot with the Leica IIIc and the Summaron 35mmF3.5, over two weeks of relatively no inspiration and crap weather. So maybe this roll is a bit more lame than usual, but let’s see.

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Curating my weekly roll of film

On the road to the Lac D’Allos

One of the exciting bits of our small outing in France southern alps was going to the Lac d’Allos, a place I did not visit in more than 20 years. Allos is a ski resort 2 hours drive from the sea, situated at 1500 meters of altitude with highest slopes around 2500.

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The side of the valley of Verdon opposite the resort is part of the Mercantour natural reserve and its highest pic, Mont Pelat is 3050m.

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One of the popular walks is to go up to Lac d’Allos. This lake situated at 2300m is the largest natural high altitude lake in Europe. It covers 60 hectares and has a depth of 50 m.

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Flickr-1007537From the last parking place, the walk is an easy 45 minutes uphill until the majesty of the lac and surrounding mountains appears.

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When reaching the lake there is a high altitude refuge, providing food and drinks during the day and shelter for the night.

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From the refuge, a lot of path are available, with various distances and difficulties, I walked a few of the in my teens. If you pass by the area and like hiking, this is worth your time.

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The lake and the “Towers” in the background

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You can have another hour of pleasant walk around the lake, admiring the scenery, flowers, drift wood, or marmottes (marmot in english).

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A marmot, the furry local

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Up the refuge is a small chapel.Flickr-1007636

The weather even in early July can be treacherous and we had some rain that day, forcing us to retreat in the refuge. Remember that as easy as this walk is, this start to be the realm of high altitude.

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Inside the refuge you can always hope to make some nice encounters and engage in interesting exchanges. Here Gilles from Lille, was walking the mountains for a week. He likes to play music and use it to exchange with people he meets.

 

All shots Leica M262 + Summicron 28 asph or Summicron 50 or Elmarit 90mm F2.8

 

On the road to the Lac D’Allos