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

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

Singapore Photo Walk – Jan 2015 – Pulau Ubin (1 on 2)

All the rituals are starting again with the new year and the “Singapore Photo Walks” organized by Bernard Goh are part of them.
My son loves them because of the lunch that follows in local eateries; they are quite informal and Bernard makes his best to bring us to interesting places of Singapore; we go some new places and we also revisit some. This is not very technical outing, but discussing gear and techniques is always part of the outing. I realized I am no more the only film shooter ; some ladies came last summer with some Canon or Olympus SLR and last month Mano turned up with a Leica M4-P.
So January was time to go back to Pulau Ubin; Ubin is  small island at the north east of Singapore, 10 minutes from the cost, in the middle of the straight between Singapore and Malaysia. This is my 3rd or 4th time there but the first with the group. Taking the boat is already an adventure, they are some oldish style motor boats that take a dozen people for the ride from Changi Village.
The walk was actually a ride, as Ubin is known as a cycling place among Singaporeans, there is not traffic apart from a couple of local cars and taxis; the island is flat. This is the first time I cycle there, I normally prefer to walk.
Cycling implied that the gear is kept to a minimum. My son took his Nikon p7100, I took the folding Agfa loaded with TMAX100 and the Leica M4 with some Rollei Slide film.
The discovery of the day was the Wei Tuo Fa Gong Temple ;it really made us feel like being on holidays in one of the surrounding countries.
 
The kitchen inside a village (Kampong) house on the island of Pulau Ubin. The man leaving there is selling drinks to tourists cycling by; I think he cooks just for himself.
Singapore is so small we also managed to bump into some friends I have not seen for a while; we dropped out of the group for lunch back at Changi Village and had some Ipoh hor fun (noodles with chicken) at the hawker center.
The  rangefinder of the Agfa is not fixed nor is the winding knob, but the guessometer works just fine thank you.
Second part to follow with the slides soon as they take a good two weeks to process and this week most business were closed for Chinese new year.
Singapore Photo Walk – Jan 2015 – Pulau Ubin (1 on 2)

The Agfa Isolette III in India

Nearly one month since the last post, unbelievable. And I have since shot some new film (and some more classic ones), been to India and back, I am so far behind on by processing and posting that it is difficult to know where to start. So maybe let’s start by the end: I have collected this week the two rolls I shot in India over the last holidays.

I brought with me the Agfa Isolette III that came back from repair in September; the camera is small and shoot 120 film. I just did two films in 10 days (actually only 20 shots); India is so overwhelming it is difficult to take the eye from the DSLR.

A quick word on the trip, but I will do a full summary later: we traveled from Calcuta to Benares (Varanasi) via Patna, Nalanda and Bodhgaya. These are amazing places, really worth the visit.

Nice encounter on the Ghats of Benares last week, two young film photographers from New Delhi, shooting with Olympus film cameras.


Buddhist monk outside the Mahabodhi Temple – Bodhgaya – India
The monk may be from Sri Lanka or Thailand from the color of his robes.
This holy place of Buddhism is full of monks and pilgrims meditating and a few tourists like us. Ask with a smile and they are all photo friendly.


Guy repairing his boat on the ghats of the Ganges in Varanasi.

Holy cow; there are really plenty of them in Varanasi, beware where you step.


Evening prayer to the Ganges river


Sahu at work; they are plenty in Varanasi as well, but less than I expected, they seems to be far more in Pashupatinath in Nepal.

Black and white pictures with Kodak Tri-x 400ISO, shots at 360 with a yellow filter.

Color pictures with Kodak Portra NC 400ISO, shots at 360 unfortunately still with a yellow filter, but the scanner corrected the colours nearly automatically.

All scanned with Epson V500, corrected in Lightroom.

The Agfa Isolette III in India