Back to the monkey god temple

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Quality Lion dance that afternoon

Birthdays have the habit of coming back every year, so for the third time I think I find myself at the TIONG BAHRU QI TIAN GONG temple in the area of Singapore called Tiong Bahru for the birthday of the temple. One of my friends reminded me of the event and I was super happy it was at a time where I could attend.

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This is a Taoist temple, a popular faith in Singapore among the Chinese population. I still don’t know much about the Taoist faith and practice, so i won’t try to explain it here. The spirits and gods have  a great place in the faith and they are honored through offerings like Chinese Opera, joss paper bonfires, ..

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The celebration involved lions dances, a dragon dance troop, musicians, as above and below. Singaporeans say that Taoist are noisy. I think I have some old shots of the gentleman below.2019-29-m6-18-40

The person that looks to be the man in charge posing with the lions and some banners.2019-29-m6-18-372019-29-m6-18-35

Meanwhile across the street, the porters of the gods sedan chairs are taking some rest.

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I shot 2 rolls of Tri-x (one above, one below this paragraph), one roll or Provia 400H (in between) and hundreds of digital pictures using the magic combo, Leica M6 for film and the M262 for digital; for lenses I brought the 50 cron, mostly on the M6, the 35cron mostly the M262 then. I also brought along the 90mm Elmarit for a few digital portraits.
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At that moment the gods starts to be carried in 3 sedan chairs to the place where the bonfire will be lit.

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Below some of the carriers of the three sedan chairs.2019-30-m6-20-2

I don’t know if they are really heavy but the guys are relaying each others regularly.

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This write up is about the film shots and should be called “You are all my favorites”. It found very difficult to select between the shots. I have included the shots of the two Tri-x rolls, I will do another small article about the Provia roll which has its own story.2019-30-m6-20-9

We now arrived at the field where the bonfire will be lit, a small crowed is gathered. Led the the Taoist priests.2019-30-m6-20-142019-30-m6-20-15

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One of the gods chair with the idol in the middle.

 

(You can read an oldest post here )

 

 

 

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Back to the monkey god temple

STPI Open day and Takashi Murakami: From Superflat to Bubblewrap

This year the STPI in Singapore had its open day during the Takashi Murakami exhibition “From Superflat to Bubblewrap“, this was the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.

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No need I think to introduce the iconic Japanese artist who uses manga like practice to depict modern Japan. I only had B&W film that day so I did not took many pictures of the art works.

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Open days at the STPI (Former Singapore Tyler Print Institute) are always enjoyable, if you have young children they can discover and experiment various print practices, that also work it seems for  teenagers and young adults alike.

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For guys (or gals) with a camera, it is a nice opportunity to captures willing models engaged in not so common activities.

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The STPI now positions itself as a gallery, aiming to promote the usage of print and paper mediums.

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Artists shown in the gallery often have a collaboration with the print makers.

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The smiling lady at the printing press has been working there for years, she is now an independent architect ; time flies.

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All shots were done with the Leica M6 and Summicron 50mm on Kodak Tri X, at 400 ISO.  genarally shot between F2 and F4 and 1/60s ro 1/12s. The film was processed by Ruby photo (or rather their usual contractor) and scanned at home on Epson v800 with Silverfast.

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I generally convert the images to grey-scale and remove dust spots in Adobe Elements and adjust the contract and brightness in Lightroom.

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The workshop can also be a treasure where odd objects can be found and pictured for eternity.

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One of the DIY items of the week end was an STPI apron.

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You can see picture of the last workshop I went to 4 years ago STPI at that time pictures were shot with Canon EOS 1N and 1.8 Canon lens.

 

STPI Open day and Takashi Murakami: From Superflat to Bubblewrap

Toa Payoh Markets

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Saturday Low Che Ng, the man behind the facebook group “Lets shoot Film SG” organized an outing in Toa Payoh area in central Singapore ; mostly visiting two markets (apparently there are more around there)

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I packed a bit too much gear, but mostly for this post, I shot two rolls of Cinestill 800 with the Hasselblad 500cm and 80mmF2.8. The films were processed in express by one of the labs we still have here : Konota. They were scanned at home on the Epson v800 and Silverfast, using the Portra 400 VC 6×6 profile.

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I never really managed to get perfect exposure with the 800T, but generally I shoot them at 640 and process at box speed, giving it a bit of over exposure. The markets were very nicely lit and indoor and shots were generally done at 1/125 F4.

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The Jackfruit man

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The first market has a first floor hosting a few stalls and giving a nice view of the ground level.

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The reluctant model (I will print and bring her the picture in order to appease her)

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For outdoors shot I did not use any filters. Just a bit of post processing in Lightroom ; it looks like the color rendering is quite OK.

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These two rolls are dating back from the kick-starter project of the Cinetstill 120 format, it appears they survived nicely in the fridge (there are 3 more there).

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The second market (Toa Payoh Lor 7 Market I think)  is a bit smaller in term of food but the hawker center was quite busy and nobody seemed too bothered by six photographer hanging around.

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The amount of detail in the shots is amazing despite of the grain, in the shot above at full size, you can see the cigarette butt glowing.

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A lot of sitting and waiting it seems.

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And playing with phones

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At the back was a small shrine attended by the lady with the green hat.

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And finally a stall selling the king of fruits : Durian.

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As for every activity in Singapore we have a fodd break, tasting an amazing carrot cake at xin ji fried carrot cake (for non Singaporeans you have to google to check what this is, and come around to try it) .

I also did two half rolls of B&W in 35mm so maybe you will hear more about the Toa Payoh markets soon.

Toa Payoh Markets

London on Film

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I spent a week in London recently with my family and brought the usual travel kit (Leica M, M262 and the Summicrons 28mm Asp, 35 Asph v2 and 50mmv5), I brought a nice set of films but in the end I did not shoot much, only a roll of TriX and half a roll of Portra  400. And on digital as we are here I took a mere 300 shots.

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Looking at the TriX shots I am quite pleased; as usually they have been dropped for processing at Ruby photo in Singapore and scanned at home ; but when I was there I was a bit puzzled about what or who to shoot.

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On one hand I am so used to travel in Asia that I am a bit lost in European cities, I am not sure about people reactions to the camera (I like candid shots), but also I think the whole way the big city works need so getting used to. So a bit of frustration. Maybe also my expectations were a bit too high, who knows.

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London as changed a lot since I was last there 14 years ago. The south bank area is so lively now, also packed with tourists and street performers.

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Asian tourists selfy-ing themselves are everywhere, but that’s the same all over the planet. Here at the Borough Market, a place that I never saw before, this is definitely a good area to shoot.

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There are many food stalls there.

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Some attractions on South Bank are using old lorries that are worth a shot imo. I only realized today that the London eye was reflecting on the bonnet of the lorry, I would have framed it better if I have known.

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A morning stroll in SOHO, is also a nice opportunity for people shooting.2019-22-M6-15-22

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Or just window shopping.2019-22-M6-15-27

In the places I never visited before was Ealing Broadway, home of the Ealing Studios who produce(s/d) cinema and television shows.

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Finally another happy discovery was Old Spitalfields Market that I visited the day of the vintage records market.

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A couple more Portra shots below:

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London on Film

MCPHERSON “LEGO”BUILDINGS on slide

This is the second roll shot with the Hasselblad during the outing to Mc Pherson area. The Lego buildings at this point were behind us, so not too many shots of the “Mondrian” colorful pattern here.

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Shots are done with the faithful Hasselblad 500cm, with 80mmF2.8 and I used a more than 2 years expired roll of Rollei CR200 .

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When I collected the slides from the shop I watched them on light box there and they really looked brilliant. Once scanned I must say I am a bit disappointed, maybe not trying hard enough.

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I  think the high contrast of the slides make it difficult to scan.

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Also the weather started to turn a bit more cloudy and the colors less saturated.

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This type of shots may benefit from using a tripos as well.

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2019-18-Hassie-6-9  Being a slow shooter I did not finished the film that day so I carried the Hassie in Lavender area the following week and walked from there to my fav lab t bring the roll

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Tibetan Buddhist  temple in Beaty lane

I love this area, I used to hang around there weekly until two years ago, it goes under a slow gentrification, but still very interesting with its workshops, warehouses, small shops, bars, coffee shops…

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One of the commercial buildings along Lavender road
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On Jalan Besar a shrine in front of a Feng Shui consultant

I don’t like the rendering of the next two shots, but sure they look vintage enough.

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Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple on Waterloo street
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Waterloo street life

All in all a nice set, but not as nice as the Portra roll of McPherson “Lego”buildings . It does not seem the film has suffered from being expired, but it was kept in the fridge most of the time.

MCPHERSON “LEGO”BUILDINGS on slide

McPherson “Lego”buildings

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This is a set of pictures of the colorful public housing blocs situated on Circuit Road in Singapore.

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Circuit road is accessible via Mc Pherson MRT, and is located in the east part of town, 20 minutes ride from Orchard Road.2019-16-Hassie-5-04

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.

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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 ?).

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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.

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The film was processed at the usual lab and scanned at home with the Epson v800.

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I did a bit of post processing in light room but even without it the film turned out quite well. 2019-16-Hassie-5-10

 

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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.

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The hassie keep on having problems shooting 12 complete frames, but this time I got lucky.

 

McPherson “Lego”buildings

A not so good roll of FP4+

I am trying to stay true to my promise to de-clutter the film box in the fridge and shoot some 120 film that sometime is expired for more than two years.

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The colorful Alkaff bridge on Singapore river

So I recently shot a not expired roll of Ilford FP4+ expiring in 2020 over a couple of Sundays walking around Singapore.

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On this second shot, a happy groom on his stag day, it is obvious there are some white dots all over the picture.  After discussion in the Facebook group “Lets Shoot film SG”. It appears this may be a problem caused by the backing paper of the film after being taken in and out of the fridge. Frankly I am a slow shooter so I am guilty of taking from the fridge more than I can chew and putting it back afterwards, but I cannot remember having seen this problem before.

 

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Pearl Bank Apartments

I kind of understand this is more common with Ilford which I rarely shoot, that is not encouraging me to do more (I still have a roll in the fridge, damn )

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Pearl Bank Apartments entrance

Pearl Bank Apartments is an iconic housing block in Singapore cityscape, built in 1976, it what is referred as brutalist style (Although Landmark tower nearby is more pure brutalist), it has now been sold and is empty since the end of April 2019.

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Pearl Bank Apartments the open side

It will be demolished and the plot redeveloped ; this is the traditional buildings life-cycle in Singapore.

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The white dot issue is also quite prominent on this shot

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No 5C
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Singapore Bi centennial statue
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Beware of falling branches – enter at your own risk
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Friendly waiter

The friendly waiter was shot wide open at 1/60th handheld, explaining the slightly off focus.

All done with Hasselblad 500CM and Planar 80mmF2.8

ILFORD FP4+ as I said, developed by the usual lab

Scanned at home with Epson v800

 

 

A not so good roll of FP4+