“Paris est une fête” as goes the say (Paris is a party) ; I am not 100% sure about it but Paris in summer surely put me in a great mood, and I enjoy shooting in the streets that I am rediscovering after so many years.
— Asian tourist checking a Korean restaurant —
This is summer 2022, probably my 5th or 6th trip in a year, carrying the M6 (The old one) and the Summicron 50v5 and a roll of Kodak TMA100, my favourite film very appropriate (I think) to the summer time. This is my 16th film of the year, so I am now far from my past One-roll-a-week diet, but ok this is not a competition.
I still keep track of my rolls and sort them by date and year and enrich in Lightroom, the camera, film and lens ( Often an estimate). But when I used to boast of my one roll a week productivity, I must say I have now fell below one roll every second week.
I would like to shoot more but I don’t have time and may lack enthusiasm / drive / inspiration. This roll was shot in June 2022, with the Leica M6 classic, over a week end in Paris and the next one back in London.
This is a roll of Kodak TMAX 100, a film I really love for its high contrast in sunny weather, I bought a couple of rolls from Analogue Labs a few weeks before.
Most of the shots were taken with the Summicron 35mm Asph v2, really my go to lens. I love it for the perspective, but the 35 makes the pictures a bit too wide for me, my subject is always a bit lost in the frame, as I tend to avoid confrontation when I snap in the street with my wife/family.
On the other hand I frame my shots with just a couple of different styles, I think I manage to build a consistency in my flickr photo stream. I like my subject centred most of it.
We are so much into candid and street photography nowadays that sometimes I find it difficult to shoot non human subjects. They form a big part of urban poetry nonetheless.
Back in London it was Wimbledon and Mayfair offered public screening, with desk lounge chairs and drinks (of course)
Above shot is a bit missed, I thought the shadow would be more obviously funny/interesting, maybe I should reframe, but I rarely do too radical reframing just put upright a bit.
Heading to Soho always gives some opportunities, I met an American photog when shooting the above also carrying a M6 and a TLR.
Soho I said is always offering some opportunities.
As the light was going down, with 100 ISO the shutter speed had to go below 1/30’s hence the slight blur above.
So when I brought my last roll of Portra to the lab the uncle coaxed me into buying some Ektar 100, not wanting to look mean I bought not a roll but a box of 5 rolls. I must say this is a decent deal as it comes with five coupons of one dollar to be rebated of their processing. If I remember correctly this is 52 dollars for the 5 rolls and they do processing + super decent scanning at 11 dollars (Singapore Dollars).
I shot Ektar before, but mostly in 35mm, I must say it pays credit to the claim that it is the finest grain film. So I loaded the good old Hassie 500 CM with my first roll and hit the road to give it a try.
12 shots on a 120 roll is not much, but walking through overshot areas on a Sunday afternoon, it can be quite a challenge to finish a full roll.
We walked from home to Tiong Bahru, then headed to Chinatown. The Straight Clan is where the Majestic hotel used to be. I spent 5 weeks in this hotel in 2006 and have some interesting shots from the construction site period, when it was converted. Maybe I’ll share this some time.
We moved to the Buddha tooth relic temple where I notice the Buddhist flags which where not there last week ( you can check the post) and I though it was a nice opportunity for color sampling and smooth grain demonstration.
In Chinatown every year temporary stands selling goods for the occasion the Chinese New Year appear and disappear in a mater of a few weeks. Generally they close late on the eve of the New Year day. This year everybody was masked, there were less stands as the people coming from other countries could not enter Singapore. If you want to ne picky, the focus is on the cage bars, not the seller.
Exiting Chinatown, I took this shot of the Ox silk paper statue. This is not the best angle as it is quite busy with the traffic lights posts and cars. The best angle is diametrically opposite I think. But you can see here how nice and bright the colors are.
Nice mural on Substation, an art center on Armenian Street, close to the Peranakan museum. Substation used to host gigs and has a broad program, with what seems to be a focus on the street / youth culture.
The last shot in order to finish the roll : a mundane view of the Rendez-Vous Hotel at the bottom of Orchard Road. Totally uninteresting but very nice blues.
I am pushing my luck by trying the my brew from two weeks ago again this Sunday.
First things first, shooting a bit of film. The weather is not improving and I did not had a chance to shoot much this past week. So this morning I loaded the old Agfa Isolette with a roll of Rollei 80s (my favourite film) and hit the road in direction of Arab street with a detour by Little India to finish the roll of Acros I processed last week.
The Agfa uncouple rangefinder is no longer working so distance are guestimated. I also use the EM-01 KEKS light meter.
For processing I used the two week sold Caffenol stored in a green bottle in the shade at ambient temperature (more or less 28 C). I think it turned out quite well (5 minutes processing at 28 degrees, 30 second inversions then 3 inversions every minute). The negatives are of average thickness, maybe I could have added 30 seconds. The caffenol is now old and this is the 3rd film processed with this batch.
I made a fatal mistake by wiping the film with my kitchen towel, lot of dust I had to clone in Photoshop. I will have to find how to do this properly. The fixer is starting o have some deposit. Maybe it wont last after the next couple of films.
Plans for next roll is to start a new batch of caffenol to see if the process is repeatable.
So what happened since last post and the “Caffenol rebirth” ; well nothing much happened in town nor to myself, so I shot half a roll of Fuji Across, mostly Saturday
Last Sunday I pour my Caffenol in a bottle of green glass (Perrier) and kept in just in case.
So tonight I was restless and I decide to give Caffenol another try.
As I did not finish my roll, I opened the Leica M4 in the dark, fiddle a bit with the film and managed to cut a 1 cm lead for the rest of the roll and unload the 22 first shots from the camera. I then loaded it in the Paterson tank and proceed as last week.
Massive Development chart give me again 6’44 @ 28 deg, for 100 ISO Accross, the Tri-x was overcooked last week, but that was 400ISO, so I though that I should give it a try, but actually I emptied the tank at 6’14.
The film is still dense, but can be seen through in normal light. Probably some of this is due to the coffee coloration (I can see if is brownish), so for the next 12 shost I will cut the time down by maybe another 30 or 45 seconds.
I kept the Caffenol again, I read you can keep for 6 or 8 weeks. Without being so extreme, if I can use one batch for my monthly shooting this changes the economics of it totally, at 2$ a roll this is a no brainer. Plus it is amazing to have all the products ready and go through the motion in about 45 minutes.
Ok so now I’ve been through this roll what is the conclusion. It looks quite good for what it is, no reticulation, reasonable grain, the contrast is quite good.
This was also measured using my new Keks EM01 ligh meter.
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.
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.
This is a set of pictures of the colorful public housing blocs situated on Circuit Road in Singapore.
Circuit road is accessible via Mc Pherson MRT, and is located in the east part of town, 20 minutes ride from Orchard Road.
This estate dates back from the early 1970’s and has recently received a face-lift, becoming the Lego or Mondrian estate. Apparently the “upgrade” as we say here was not only cosmetical as the area used to be a bit shabby from what I gathered.
The outing was organized by Low Che Eng from the “Lets Shoot Film SG” Facebook group. We were nearly a dozen freaks walking around the estate, with cameras ranging from various Leicas and medium formats to a view camera (Chamonix ?).
I carried around the Hasselblad 500CM and 80mmF2.8 loaded with a slightly expired roll of Portra 160vc (nearly two years I think) shot at 200iso and the Leica IIIc with the Voigtländer 21mmF4 loaded with a roll of Rollei retro 80s.
The film was processed at the usual lab and scanned at home with the Epson v800.
I did a bit of post processing in light room but even without it the film turned out quite well.
Finally meet a resident, this gentleman used to a be a guitarist at the raffles hotel back in the days where hotels had musicians and is now keeping fit in his old age. This is the last shot of the roll hence the slight issue on the top of the frame.
The hassie keep on having problems shooting 12 complete frames, but this time I got lucky.
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.