My posts since July are like a pinball : London – Paris – Cannes – London – London – London – Paris – Cannes – London. There are worst things in life particularly by the time being.
I have tried many times to shot the water on pebbles and finally above is a picture I like. Probably the only picture with amazing colors.
This a roll of expired Portra 400 shot on the French Riviera during the Christmas season.
I missed Santa but the Christmas trees were growing very close to the sea this year. I used the faithful Leica M6 and either the Summicron 35mm Asph v2 or the Elmar 50 F3.5.
I found the seaside less inspiring that the city, but if you look closely there is always something to capture.
Older gents playing chess with their Covid masks on or not. I generally prefer to shoot Black and White on film, as I think the digital M renders more live like colours and the picture are popping more.
The misaligned sign of the “pétanque” club…
Nice is nice as goes the song, not too far away from Cannes, a big 30 minutes by train, and a bit more city like.
This is bit back to the future as I already posted about rolls 12,13, and 15, but rest assured roll 10 will come in due time. I was complaining last week about life in Singapore being less photogenic since the Covid started last year. Man I did not knew what was coming.
For one week now we are in Heightened alert mode, basically we are back in a quite strict mode, mostly : non essential workers are asked to stay home, it is not possible to eat or drink outside (eateries can thankfully to take away), quarantine form most countries are extended to 3 weeks in selected hotels and coming into Singapore is quite difficult (even for residents).
Having enjoyed a lot more freedom than most countries since last July, we feel taken a bit aback by this new deal. So my color roll shot a couple of weeks before this soft lockdown 2.0 seems quite joyful and interesting for the place in time where I write from.
We were discussing our last holidays abroad, which were in March 2020, when we could still fly (in half empty planes though) and I remembered that I brought the Nikon F3 to Thailand and shot only two or three rolls before putting it back in the box. So it was time to pick it up again and give it another go.
I will explain a bit later this month but I am downsizing a few things, so I am shooting what’s left in the fridge rather than go and by fresh film. So I picked up my last roll of Portra 400, which is a bit overkill for just walking around, but ok I an clearing my fridge. The roll was shot over two days around Singapore.
I put the 50mmF1.4 on the F3, because my other lenses are too big for just walking around. I must say I have always been a big proponent of the 50mm, claiming the 28 / 50/ 135 were the trinity of my generation, and only young punks would walk around with a 35 as their normal lens. But I think I have moved my point of view a little bit…
The yellow Burmese girl
I have used many 35mm on the Leica system (film or digital) and I finally came quite used to it (I own 3 😦 ). The versatility of the 35mm, with a field of view larger by more than 30% is quite impressive and I think I really appreciate it on the Leica’s to the point that I find the 50mm narrow. Off course you have to step closer to your subject, but that’s not so much or a problem with a small rangefinder.
Getting closer with a SLR, even a small old fellow as the F3 is a bit less easy. Also (I am happy to be corrected) it seems the offer in term of 35mm (Vintage of course) is a bit lesser that the offer in 50mm, where Nikon has a few outstanding lenses.
So ok I feel now that the 50 is a bit narrow but at the same I don’t think I will invest in a new (even a new old) lens for the Nikon at this point) (And remember I am decluttering).
The roll was processed at Whampoa Colours, scanned by their good services, and shared on the web. Damn I still have not collected my negs. The combo F3 + 50mmF1.4 AIS + Porta did a fairly good job. I shot most of the time in Auto mode, meaning the speed is controlled automatically by the aperture I selected, quite easy with a 400 ISO film (shot at 320).
It seems the focusing of the F3 with the 50 is quite ok, I would need to try with the original 35-70 F3.5 AI Pro see if I have any problems. But that’s a heavy lens, not for casual walks.
A well deserved treat.
A final though for the road, a lot of my pictures from 25-30 years suck, I feel very bad, because souvenirs from this time are scarce, but on the upside It looks like my photography has progressed.
Rainy day Saturday, when I left home to meet my fried Ez at Tekka Market, in Little India. The weather was quite bad so I left the Hassie home (Ez is the man behind HUGS the Hasselblad User Group Singapore) and only put the Nikon F3 loaded with a hand rolled roll of HP5+ (and a spare roll of TriX).
I was soaked when getting to the MRT. I have not seen my friend for a while so we spent a certain time in front of a coffee and shot randomly what happened within range.
I set the F3 to ISO 320, to overexpose my film a little bit as recommended for Caffenol for medium speed film. My best lens for the F3 is the 50mmF1.4AIS so the combo enabled to shoot decently in the dimmed lighted market (also given the very gloomy external light).
I came quite a few times in Tekka market but that’s not my favorite : I find it a bit too dark, and alleys are on the narrow side so you often find yourself in the middle of somebody else’s path. I generally feel a bit more at ease in Tiong Bahru or Chinatown Complex, but that Saturday was very nice and friendly.
Once home I quickly processed the film with the Caffenol Delta Recipe, adjusted for 500ml of water. At current temperature ( more or less 30 degrees), processing time is 4’40”. I use the Ilford rinsing method and Ilford fixer after that.
The smile of the butcher
Scanning was a breeze, the film is quite flat and after processing shows very little dust. The roll only had 20 full shoots and 2 half shots at start and end. 22 frames rolls are nice because I can hand them to dry in the shower without having to cut it in two.
Loosing half a frame at the start is a bit obvious but why at the end? I remember now that when loading from a bulk roll the first part of the roll, which will be the last frame is partially exposed, only enabling for half a shot. It is very difficult to know when you last shot will be, maybe I should try to quickly load a new roll and retake the last shot?
I still struggle focusing with the F3, but I think this roll is ok from that point of view. I have included a few more pictures below, I hope you enjoyed the reading
I am just trying to make a catchy title for this roll of Fuji Neopan 400 that expired in May 2014 and that I processed in Caffenol Delta. I very rarely shoot film that is so expired, that roll was entrusted to me by young fellow film photographer Brian Teo a few weeks back.
I shot the roll with the Leica IIIc and mostly the Elmar 50mm F3.5, but a couple of shots were also done with the Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mmF4. I processed the film with my Caffenol Delta recipe adjusted for 500 ml.
The recipe consist of 500 ML of water to use :
16 g of Arm and Hammer washing soda
10 g of pure Vitamin C
20 g of Nescafe Classic
At my average 28 Degree Celsius I process for 4’40”, 20 seconds inversion and then 3 inversions every minute.
I fixed with my first mix of Ilford Rapid Fixer for 11 minutes, this is my 18th film fixed with this batch, I’ll mix some new one next week. I don’t use a stop bath and use Ilford method for rinsing the developer and the fixer.
The result is quite grainy, which I blame on the age of the film. The film was also very clean, not much dust cloning was required. I think this is going to be my last roll processed in Caffenol this year, but I still hope to shoot a bit more before Friday.
The shot really shows my usual subjects when walking around Singapore : mostly passing strangers. I have added a couple more themes this time:
I stumble across a couple of weddings, actually only two shots turned out ok, but I met two other couples these last weeks.
I also made a short trip to Coney Island on the north shore. This popular leisure spot is also a good photo opportunity.
More random stranger below
Finally a bit of news
I hope everybody will have a great end of the year. See you in 2021, until then keep om shooting
I managed to go to that place on Saturday and back on Sunday and I managed to f*ck-up two rolls of film in two separate days.
As I did not really knew the place I rode there Saturday for a scouting tour ahead of a potential further photo outing. I don’t like carrying a camera on the bike, but I still packed the Leica M6 with the Elmar 50mmF3.5 loaded with a half roll of Kentmere 400. I found the place quite easily and a group of urban sketchers where at work on the late morning sun. You can check there Facebook group there : https://www.facebook.com/usksg
As per my last post the area, without lacking of interest, looks more like a slum than a rural village. There is surely a certain esthetic to it, and a small sense of history in the houses hosting places of worship.
So why did the film turn that bad? I was a bit stressed with by the fact that this was the first time I processed the Kentmere 400 in Caffenol and I could not really find any indication of processing time. I decided to try the Delta Recipe with the usual timing but even before starting the processing something was smelling fishy: my Caffenol mix did not have the usual smell, but was smelling as plain coffee. I pursued in pouring the mix … et voila: a very undeveloped film. I am surprised that the scanner (Epson v800) can make images of it at all.
Bis repetita Sunday : I went with the Leica M262 (hence the first post) and the Hassie 500. The weather was very bad, but I made a roll of Ilford HP5+ which I though could have been half decent
I mixed the Delta recipe when I reached home and that one smelled fine. So I definitely mixed something incorrectly Saturday. Alas having a problem loading the film on my plastic spool, I split the spool in the dark bag and decided to pull it out and clean it, but in the movement I also pulled the film out of the bag. By the time I could put it back, the roll as been exposed to light and only 3 shots are exploitable.
The roll was mostly of frontal shots of the houses that I found geometrically interesting, this one shows the light leaks.
Lessons learned: once again if is smells fishy it surely is, less haste, nothing is worth than the pictures you will never see.
Nevermind, I still have faith in Caffenol and home processing.
A very quick post of shots done earlier this month on an expired roll of Kodak Portra 400 with the Leica M6 and the Summicron 35mm Asph v2.
The roll was processed and scanned at Whampoa Photo. I find the scanning job they do of equal quality (or better) than what I do myself, so no point wasting time. The first set above was done around Marina Bay, over a couple of different week ends, one being just before Halloween.
Second section comprise photos of Little India around Deepavali celebration and the first shot was in Chinatown during a meet up with fellow film photographers.
Third section contains some shot shots fort Siloso in Sentosa, and a couple of random shots from a walk around Newton.
Finally a shot of fellow film photographer from Japan who has been around in Singapore for quite a few years and always carry his two pristine Nikons F2. He will go home soon for good, so farewell.
This was roll number 42 of the year, and the 11th with the M6, I hop eyou enjoyed the ride.
Brace yourself for a long post today, with many pics selected form two rolls of Ultrafine Xtreme 400. If you look through this blog, you will find out that in 2018, I shot an entire 30m roll of Ultrafine Xtreme 400. I quite like this film and my usual lab was doing a good job processing it.
This year is another game as my friend Ray Toei, the serial shooter who introduced me to this film, offered me two of his hand rolled film, with 24 shots each, and this year as you may know is the year of Caffenol.
The are not many resources on the web about processing this film in Caffenol, or maybe I was not able to find hem, so I decided to start with the Delta Recipe which is now my go to recipe for Ilford Delta and HP5+.
The first film (Roll 43) was processed for 4’40” at 28 Celsius, time from pouring in the mix, to pouring it out (I start pouring out at 4’35” ). The resulting negative is quite thick, meaning over processed. I cut the time down to 4’15” for the second film (Roll 44) and the result is much much better, maybe I can try to cut down few more seconds.
I had another problem with the first film : I did somehow manage to not load it properly on the spool, so some areas were not properly processed, giving some vast white areas in the pictures (black on the negs). Ths is very clear on the first shot of this post. That’s a lesson learned : when the spooling does not sound right it is not right.
To make this a bit more difficult I have shoot these two rolls with my antique Nikon F3 and 50mmF1.4 AIS. I have dug the F3 out of the dry box for my last travel in February where I shot a quite nice roll of HP5, and I though he deserved a second round this year.
I bought the F3 in 1992 already pretty battered, and I was never totally satisfied with it. But I long so much for this little fellow that I cannot drop it totally.
I never have so many out of focus focus pictures with any of the Leica’s. I have changed the micro prism focusing screen for a vertical split screen in 2008 but it did not bring much improvements. I am happy to blame my eyesight of my technique.
This said, the pictures that are technically ok have a different quality to them than those taken wit the Leica. Not better (impossible 🙂 ) , just different, and its quite appreciable.
For those interested, I carried last week both the F3 combo and the Leica M6 with the 35 Cron Asph v2, and the Leica is about 200 grams lighter, the F3 being just short of 1 KG. Still it is not big camera and discounting the fact I miss-focused 6 images at least on these rolls, it is a pleasure to use.
I went to Whampoa to bring a roll of color film to the lab there, not remembering that Saturday was a public holiday (Deepavali), so being confronted with the closed shop I walked to Whampoa market.
A few kilometers away, on Serangoon road, Hindu’s were visiting the temple, like this young family with a baby. I walk close the 11 km Saturday.
My Delta recipe is as follows:
I kept last week Caffenol, but decide not to use it, let’s brew some fresh stuff for the moment. For those interested in stats I shot 44 rolls sofa this tear, and 24 processed in Caffenol (probably 4 can be considered as having been sacrificed on the path to knowledge).
The National Aerated Water Co Pte Ltd was the actual goal of my walk. I went there with public transport and walk my way back home via Marina Bay. The old factory is going to be part of a new development, but almost two years after my last visit this is still a work in progress.
This is the first time I pass by the Geylang Bahru industrial estate. It looks like a promising area, with small workshops, like here a Rattan Basket factory.
Heading down into town towards Boon Keng MRT, is a very lively areas
I am nearly a full time barista because this is another roll processed in Caffenol. As the Agfa one it turned out very fine with the new Vitamin C. This is a roll of Ilford Delta 400 by the way.
The roll was shot with the Elmar 50 mm F3.5 on the Leica M4.
I took a close up on this little paper flag used for prayers or offerings and I am very pleased on the sharpness and overall rendering.
Opposite Jalan Besar stadium are a few workshops creating tarpaulins. I made many shots over the years but this is one off the best.
The title of today’s post is a trap. It should be called Caffenol week 6, but it starts to be boring. Saturday I finished a roll of Ilford Delta 400, and processed it as soon as I was back home.
This is my second brew that I kept from last week. I have been careful today to limit the time of processing to 5 minutes at 28 degrees, plus 10 seconds for pouring out.
The negatives are still a bit thick but on the better side I would say. I also filtered my fixer before using it. As a result I have very few crap on the film.
Another innovation this week is that I cut the roll in two before processing to squeegee. Less chance to scratch by carrying dust over with my fingers, less residual water at the bottom of the film. Unfortunately I did not count he frames so I ended up with an odd number of strips.
The result : this is my best Caffenol film of these past 6 weeks. I must say it is the best film altogether and choosing a small number of shots from it was difficult.
But back to the processing, there was very little dust on the film, and I did only minimal spot cloning in light-room after processing. I also added 1 more minute to the fixing time, this is the 7th roll with the fixer (It should do 17), it cannot harm.
This is shot again with the Leica IIIc, but with the Summaron 35mmF3.5, which is quite a sharp lens. I measured the light with the handheld Sekonic L-308-s, and used my 35mm Leica finder. The finder shoe was bent during my last move and I think the shot above really shows it.
The first three shots were taken around Chinatown last week, while the next three where taken around Marina Bay, where I met some friends by complete fluke. Friends are great picture subjects, lets remember this.
Saturday morning I met some fellow shutterbugs in Haji Lane. The two frames above were shot in a kind of artsy enclave where a lot of murals can be found.
The area is far less crowed than usual, but its still a busy place in the morning, with deliveries for local businesses, people having coffee or photographers bringing models to shoot with the colorful area as a backdrop.
We hijacked the model above, thanks, thanks, one shot and we move, my camera is so old, anyway.
We have entered the 7th month of the Chinese new year and offerings are appearing outside maybe businesses.
Processing film at home is a funny activity, actually it is a very modern one, inline with instant self rewarding of Instagram and phone-o-graphy.
So after 4 weeks wit the same brew, I decided it was time for fresh coffee. I followed the same recipe but added some table salt, which is supposed to limit the fogging on the negative, specially for high speed film like the Ilford Delta 400.
I prepared the mix Sunday afternoon to be ready for processing in the evening, but actually I could not wait and loaded the finished roll I had in an improvised dark cupboard.
I realized that my expired fixer is now all grey and contains a lot of flocculation. I try not to poor the deposit in the tank, but did not think of filtering. I fixed for the usual 5 minutes. Then I filtered the fixer back in the bottle.
It looked the film was fixed properly but there is some deposit in places. Next time I will filter before pouring and extend the fixing time just to be safe.
So I used the new mix at 28 degrees for a bit more than 5 minutes. The result is OK, but I would say a bit over done. I cannot tell if the table salt had any effect (I put 10g for a litter of Caffenol).
This time I managed to squeegee the water from the film without leaving dust or hair and let dry in the bathroom. The negatives are thick but scanned ok as you can see. There are some marks due to the residuals of the fixer I think.
So this is a roll of Ilford Delta 400, supposed to be a fine grain film (compared to HP5), a bit cheaper than the usual TriX. The film lacks a bit of contrast in my opinion.
This was shot with the Leica IIIC and Voigtländer 21mm F4. With the 21mm the subject is always so far away.
Unless you come very close
In which case you make friends, or at least you have to engage.
I engaged the social distancing ambassadors, as I think they deserve to be remembered for their service to the community and that hopefully one day they will only be memories and we will look back at this picture to make sure this was not just a dream.
The shots around Marina bay were made by a very bright day and some are done at higher speeds for which I suspect the Leica III to be a bit lazy, hence the mild darker right side (or brighter left).
I included a few more shots back to my usual habit of burning film randomly.
I am still not so good at hip shooting, it seems I constantly aim too high. Luckily I realized I am not the only one.
I am a bit better at pre-focusing and aiming from the eye level. Particularly with my VC 21-25mm finder.
I hope you enjoyed the reading. The next roll is not very far away.