Zhoujia Qingming

The Lion dance troupes from the Zhoujia style go each year to Bright Hill temple for Qingming celebration to honor their founder. The Zhoujia is a special form of Lion Dance, which is very energetic, founded in Singapore, there are very interesting videos on the history of this martial art, coming from the south China King-Fu. Mister Li, in his 80’s is he current master and the son (or grand son) of the founder

The Qingming or Ching Ming festival, also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day in English (sometimes also called Chinese Memorial Day or Ancestors’ Day).

The troupes gather at the bottom of the slope getting up to one of the temple courtyards (for those who do not know Bright Hill temple, it is a massive compound), they run up one by one up the steep slope (and very sunny last week).

The lion dancers perform around the yard at the sound of drums and pray as different shrines before ending before a table laid with offerings. They then move aside and align waiting for the other troupes to parade as well. A total of 6 groups were present this day.

 

Afterwards there will be some common praying to the ancestor, Kung-Fu demonstration , a full minute of full strength drumming and a final tour.

Not very easy to shoot action with the Hassie.

Hasselblad 500CM+80mmF2.8
Cinestill 50D

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Zhoujia Qingming

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

THE SECOND ROLL OF BERGGER PANCRO400

Most common activity : posing in from the Mexican style mural

Last week I went out with fellow members of the “Lets shoot film SG” group, in the area of Arab Street in Singapore. The intent was to shoot the crowd : this has became a very popular spot now and there are many opportunities for candid shots.

Second most favorite activity : show your best profile to the camera

I loaded the Agfa Isolette III with my second roll (on 3) or Pancro 400, to see how it fares with a slightly better camera. I must say this was not some precision work, the uncoupled rangefinder is not working so the distances are guestimated and I preset the exposition most of the time. I put the original yellow filter (probably 1/2 stop) in front of the Apotar 80mmF4.5 lens as well as the aluminium hood for good order.

Painting is older than film

The film was processed at the same lab as the first one, I was not told the film need pushing this time, so maybe they worked out how to process it “normally”, go figure!

Small variation : a duo in from of a plain wall

The results : as the first film, this one came fairly flat from the lab and was easy to scan. A bit of tweaking in Lightroom, et voila!

Is it the conjunction of the small aperture used and / or  the yellow filter? The results surely have more contrast that my first roll but still shows pretty smooth tones, and no hard contrasts. Highlights were easily recuperated, underlining the claim to large latitude.

Whats going on there?

Something keep on surprising me ( as I also just scanned my first roll in 35mm format) it is that this film manage to be quite grainy and still preserves an impressive amount of details even in under or over exposed shots (no shown here) or areas.

I will shot the last 120 roll with the Hassie; maybe I’ll try to do some portraits to see if in a more controlled environment something else is revealed.

 

 

THE SECOND ROLL OF BERGGER PANCRO400

First roll of Bergger Pancro400

Bergger-Pancro-400-120_1024x1024

The French company Bergger released earlier this year the Pancro400 film in 120 roll film & 35mm. Without getting too much in the technical details that you can find here, this is a film  with high speed, fine grain and wide exposure latitude (from ISO 100 to 1600). As per Wikipedia, a panchromatic emulsion produces a realistic reproduction of a scene as it appears to the human eye, which is what most modern films are tending to (except the ones labelled as orthochromatic films) so nothing special to expect. Some of my friends think the film will have a tendency to highlight skins and darken greens / blues.

 

Le refuge du Lac D’Allos – Parc de Mercantour

Recently during my last fridge replenishing order, I bought 3 rolls of this film in both 120 and 35mm.

I shot the first roll with the Dacora Digna, a 1950’s German 6×6 camera with a collapsible 80mm lens, a fixed speed of roughly 1/50 seconds and a choice of aperture of f8 or f11. This is not a perfect camera for testing a new film but the Hassie was 10000 KM away.

 

On the way to the Col D’Allos.

The film was processed at my usual lab; when I collected I was told it was pushed; the only explanation I had was that the guy from the lab knows the film need to be pushed. The result is ok-ish anyway, but the negative did not look too contrasty; I expected it to be overexposed a bit by sunny sixteen rule.

View from the Col d’Allos

On a practical note the markings on the back of the film are very faint so it is difficult to read the frame number though the red window when you advance the film.

Alpine shed

The pictures were taken during a walk to the Lac d’Allos one of biggest high altitude (2230m ) lakes in Europe.

Roll number two is at the lab at the moment, street shots from yesterday walk with the more reliable Agfa Isolette III, the last roll I’ll definitely keep for the Hassie.

Bergger Panchro400-120

First roll of Bergger Pancro400

North Thailand trip – Part 1

Mid term school holidays stroked again last month and we pondered where to go this time. We have travelled around the region quite extensively but never did a nice trip in Thailand. Bangkok was the first city we visited in 2007, but we did not enjoy it too much; too overwhelming; we also visited Phuket once, but beach holidays are not too much our style. Oh yes and I also been on my own a few time to BKK and Phuket, but that’s another story.

So we decided to visit the north of Thailand from Bangkok (excluded) to Chiang Mai. Our first stop will be Ayutthaya,  an old Capital near Bangkok. Wher eyou cna see the amazing Buddha image embedded in a tree (above). Or the very active Wat Phanan Choeng (below).

At Wat Phanan Choeng; these two men are folding robes to dress the large reclining Buddha.

So we flew to Bangkok, stayed near the airport and made a (long) day trip to Ayutthaya. Monday we flew to Sukothai; and visited the Historical park.

Tuesday we drove to Chiang Mai with very interesting stops on the way; particularly the Si Satchanalai Historical Par; below. An amazing complex or ruins in the shade of the trees.

All shots with the Hasselblad 500 CM; 80mm F2.8; Kodak TMAX 100

North Thailand trip – Part 1

Medium format on the Beach : “Le cabanon de la plage” and more

Summer holidays in France means for me taking an odd camera out of the cupboard in my parents house. I must say I am always tempted to take the Dacora Digna  which gives me quite some quite consistent results. Its lack of settings, its Lomo / Holga style rendering (yes but a Free vintage Holga mind you) always make it for interesting results.

Le Cabanon de la Plage is an extremely nice good restaurant with an amazing setting on the border of the beach in La Bocca just outside Cannes on the French Riviera.

La plage

I also became partial to using slide film with it. This makes the price per shot quite high indeed but actually I really like what I get in return.

Nice is nice I think “Nice is nice” is part of lyrics of a song, this made us laugh our heads out when we were teenagers.

Finally, a subtle hint of posts to come, picking one one of the “odd” camera was quite challenging this year as I carried from Singapore my beloved Leica M4 and also my new long awaited toy, a pristine M6 Classic black with a Summaron 35mmF2.8.

Medium format on the Beach : “Le cabanon de la plage” and more

The Agfa Isolette III is back

My beloved Agfa Isolette III is back from repair and is (almost) ready to hit the road.

This medium format camera used 120 film (6×6) and has an uncoupled – rangefinder. It means you measure the distance with rangefinder on top of the body and report the measure on the lens. It was build in a series of models in the 50,s and the model III comes with various lens. Mine is a coated, 85mm F4.5 Apotar lens. Spead goes fro bulb to 1/300s.

My dad bought this camera in 1952 in Germany where he was doing his military service at the time. I still have the “never” ready case, the good and the yellow filer and their repective cases.

I used it a fair bit through the 90’s, for random shots, outings with friends, weddings and of course travels. Outside of France, this fellow came to Roma, Madrid, Berlin, brussels and more recently Singapore of course and Burma. (I also brought it to India but did not use it in the end).

A few years back I discovered the lens was stuck and an attempt to fix failed so it lied in the treasure box until I sent it to Jurgen for repair this summer.

I just got the first roll back and it looks the issue if now fixed and the focusing and shutter are all fine.

Still one small problem to fix: the rangefinder does not work anymore… nothing is perfect but you can see above that  the guessometer works fine.

The Agfa is a brilliant camera for travel: quite small, funny enough looking to attract more sympathy that reproach when shooting in the street. looking forward to bring it along.

 

 

The Agfa Isolette III is back