So off to Vietnam for Xmas 2019, for a bit of chilling time over Christmas. In the bag, the usual kit, M262, M6, 28,35 and 50 crons and of course a couple of Tri-x rolls.
Hanoi is a great place to shoot. People are friendly and generally not photo adverse. There are so many pictures to take, that if you cannot take one, just walk to the next.
As usual, the M6 is most often mounted with the 50 cron, that ensures a reasonable distance for candid shots.
Street side food vendors and their patrons are still a great subject.
I was last in Hanoi 10 years ago and the traffic has not changed, crossing the roads still feels like an adventure and motorcycles are omnipresent.
We arrived late on Christmas eve, so our first outing was a walk to Saint Joseph Cathedral on Christmas day. The mass was already going on when we reached and people were standing outside of the church.
After the service an orchestra was playing outside.
A good opportunity for selfies.
We walked down to the Metropole hotel, where the two Citroen below are standing guard. I stayed there 10 years ago, and at that time they could be sent to fetch you from the airport in style.
We then walk north in direction of Long Bien bridge, going through the old quarter.
Among many, I met these local photographers and we took shots of each others.
Finally we made it to Long Ben bridge.
Where I met the two young film photographers below.
Hey this was a long post. Be reassured the next roll is not as good.
This is one of the last rolls of 2019, finished on the 31st December morning.
It is a Kodak Portra 400, shot with the Sumaron 35mm F3.5 lens on the Leica IIIc.
As usual I shot the roll over two weeks, I was lucky on the first day to stumble upon a ceremony at Hong San See temple around the corner, where deities coming from China to be worshiped here were sent back home by the lion head lorry. A few moments later I went to Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple in Chinatown for a the temple consecration ceremony after its renovation.
December is a wet month in Singapore, umbrellas are out (and colorful).
Pre-Christmas the Orchard road shopping area was busy.
At the “wings” watering hole in Clark quay I finally managed a decent picture of girls in uniform. I just printed it for them, to give away next time I walk by. This was shot wide open at 1/60 or 1/30.
The newly opened Funan mall with its climbing wall is just around the famous Peninsula shopping center with its many cameras shop and my fav lab.
I like the Portra for many reasons, I think it is very good for shots as above with muted colors.
Christmas is also an opportunity to visit churches for office or to watch the Christmas cribs.
Finally on the 31st of Dec, I carried the M4 along, to finish the roll. This was to Chinatown again with a group of photographers. Weather was just great.
I must say I also love the Portra for its saturated colors.
All shots, Leica IIIC, with the Summaron 35mmF3.5 LTM lens and assorted 35mm Viewfinder. Kodak Portra 400
Scanned at home with Epson v800
Dropped for processing at Ruby Photo (not sure who does the actual processing)
Nearly one year ago, in January, I went to Tank road in the middle of the night to shoot a roll of Ilford Delta 3200 at the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple for the Thaipusam ceremony.
Thaipusam is a Tamil Hindu ceremony where devotees walk from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Little India to the temple in Tank road.
It is interesting to shoot the ceremony at both temples ; at Little India where they start the pilgrimage or here where they finish it.
I favor the little India location early in the morning ; it is already very busy, but manageable. But for a couple of years I go to Tank Road in the evening before ; it is general quiet, the action (if I can say so) is more subdued. Pilgrims flow through the temple, receive blessings and walk out.
At the back of the temple is a resting aera and pilgrim receive tea and nibbles.
This year I tried a roll of Ilford Delta 3200 with the Leica M6 and the Summicron 50mm version 5. The result is quite nice, the M6 does a good job once again, the light meter is working very well once again.
I rarely shot the Ilford 3200, but must say the result is quite good. The grain is nice but controlled, the contrast is good. As I said somewhere else I think high ISO film give good results if you scene has a minimum of contrast.
These were shot around 11pm, on the first evening, it is very quite just when the priest open the inner sanctum of the temple. Alternatively, you can come around on the next day and take pictures from pilgrims disassembling their Kavadis.
The inside on the temple of the day itself is over crowed and their is no shortcut, you have to follow the devotees from Penang road, I am not sure how long it will take. Surely a great experience, but you will need a good couple of hours.
Get ready I have 2 or 3 rolls of TRIX that I shoot the next day.
Get ready, this year the Thaipusam procession is expected to start from SSPT on 07/02/2020 from 11.30pm.
We are entering the rainy season in Singapore now, and film rolls are not easy to finish. So the roll of Kodak Ultramax 400 I loaded in the Leica M4 took a little time to finish. Particularly with a F4 lens and less light, not all opportunities are good,
I very rarely shot the Ultramax before, it is a quite cheap film you can still buy in supermarkets in France. My friend Felix, gave me a roll last time I met him, and he get a quantity of them for the same reason.
The Leica M4 has no meter so I used my new Sekonic handheld light meter. All in it is doing quite a good job.
The Ultramax end up being quite a different beast compare to the Portra 400. The grain is more accentuated, the colors get a bit more pink / green hue, the film I got from the lab was a bit more curly, but I am not sure it affected the scanning (with Epson v800).
The 21mm gave good results again, thanks to the viewfinder again I think. The vertical shots of cross roads gave what I called “dynamic” in my last post; I think they would benefit in being shot a bit lower, like wait level…
… but OK hand metering, range-finding (or pre-focusing or hyper focusing) and view finding are already a lot of actions for a single shot.
With the 21mm the subject is often too far as above, unless you come really close to unsuspected subject …
… for everybody’s fun.
Or willing models as above.
Or you meet the Fuji Instax team (I did not enter the discussion about Fuji vs Kodak with them).
I also had the opportunity to take a few shots at night in a fancy fair and I must say the result is quite pleasant. A bit Saturated, but it looks the film reacted well to artificial light.
Interesting story here, aspirant photographer and aspiring make up artists from Indonesia using their friend as a model.
A few weeks after the first shot back at the SMU (Singapore Management University).
In case you directly jumped here: all shots on Kodak Ultramax 400 (not expired), with Voigtlander 21mm F4, VC viewfinder 21-25mm on Leica M4.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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)
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.
Or when you are close to buildings and want to put them in the frame as above, this is a great ultra wide angle.
I did not do many “street” shots on this roll, but the 21 gives an amazing dynamics to the shots like above.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Most of the shots here are done with the 28mm Summicron Asph V1.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We walked around the rock at lunchtime and dined under the stars.
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.
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.
Finally I shot a single roll during that week. The rest is digital and maybe that would be for another post.