This is the roll number 40 of 2020, and the one for which I break even on my Caffenol investment. At 7$ per roll at the local lab, I am now breaking even on my dark bag, Vitamin C, Soda ash, Fixer and first batch of coffee.
October is a big period for Taoist faith, known as Nine Emperor Gods. I could not see any big ceremony, but its a good time to visit temples I never see before.
Ok I break even but I have finished my Nescafe so I have to get another pack, I will check the cheaper local brand for roughly 8$. Also I screwed up a few rolls (at least 4) so do I have to factor this is my cost as well?
The picture above taken indoors has very nice tones I think. I am now using the Delta recipe and this roll was processed with a new batch, and turned out very fine. Not much dust to clone.
Finally 4 shots done during a stay-cation on the island of Sentosa. The island of fun seems a bit carceral at the moment with the beach being all locked down and some buildings in advances dereliction status.
All shots taken with Leica M6 and Summicron 35mm Asph V2. This is a 24 shots roll of a bulk Ilford HP5 that I handroll myself (I am really money conscious these day)
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.
So everything change and nothing changes. Back on the road this week end for a quick visit to the Bedok South Market
Bedok is on the east side of Singapore, nearly an hour of public transport from my place, in direction of the airport.
The market is somewhat small and contains the many usual sections of other local markets. Unlike some others it is on ground floor level and has just one level so the light is quite ok.
People are reasonably photo friendly, maybe because they are a bit out of the center, or they are just friendly.
Now the technical bits you are all waiting for : so I decided to try the Delta recipe (which actually is not very different from my usual Caffenol CM):
The recommended processing time is 9 to 10 minutes at 20 deg, so with the help of the Massiv Dev Chat converted I processed 4’40” at my 28-29 degrees. (I start the clock, start pouring the developer and poured out the last drop at 4’40”)
The negatives are good I would say, maybe slightly over, but very little dust or crap of any kind, no fogging. I am quite happy.
I also innovated by using bulk film. I bought a roll of HP5+ locally in the hope to save a bit of money and to roll custom size rolls. For this test Delta roll, I used a 12 shoots roll. And rolled two other 24 shots roll for later.
Without entering in too much details, a roll of 30.5 M (100 ft) provides 18 roll of 36 shots, making a gain of nearly 20% if you consider a roll here is 12$. Of course as there is a fixed loss per roll, if you make shorter rolls your benefit can go down, or cost you more per frame actually is you only make 12 shots rolls. Lets see how many frame I can shoot with this roll and make the math’s again at the end.
The cemetery is home to about 3000 graves, below which urns of ashes are buried. Unlucky for me the place was closed when I reached there after a 40 minutes bus ride. I could still make a few shots, but there seems to be some very interesting views to catch so I will try to go back at a better time.
Today’s pictures where taken on Ilford Pan F 50ISO film with the Hasselblad 500cm and 80mm F2.8. They were processed soon after in Caffenol using the batch I prepared last week, then scanned with the Epson v800. I had 3 shots left when leaving the cemetery, so I head back in town. I made a first stop at Tiong Bahru at QiTian Gong temple. It s the 100’s birthday of the temple this year and it has been renovated, but due to the Covid there are no celebrations this year. You can find pictures of past ceremonies there :
After this I head to the old railway station which is under work (no idea what is suppose to happen to it in the future) and finally to the small Hock Teck See Temple, a small Taoist temple surrounded by construction sites.
Yes this is a about Caffenol again: after a few rolls ranging from total failure to barely acceptable, I finally got two rolls who turned out pretty good yesterday. I must say that I finally received the pure vitamin C powder so this brew is more deterministic that the others. I also stick to reducing the ingredients by 1/4th as I use a .75L bottle to store it. I used the times derived from past experiences and the Massiv Dev Charts site. So for this Rollei 80s I used the mix at room temps ( about 28/29 Degrees) and 5’25” from when I started pouring to the time I poured out.
The result is pretty good, contrast is fine, there is little dust on the negatives and scanning goes without problem.
I ll keep doing this a few time before maybe trying to cool the mix a little in order to have more leeway in playing with the dev time.
All shots with Agfa Isolette III on Rollei Retro 80s. Oh it is noticeable on some shots that markings from the film backing paper can be seen, but this roll (I have 2 more) are 2 years expired are spent the last few years in the humid climate of Singapore so it may explain why.
I am not sure if we are officially in the rainy season but we are definitely heading for it. After a very wet bike ride Saturday morning, I joined some fellow photographers last Sunday. What started as a very cloudy morning ended being very wet as well.
I went armed with the Leica IIIc now paired with the Elmar 50mmF3.5, and as it was rainy I loaded a roll of Shanghai GP3 400. This is supposed to be a new film, I could not find much information on the web.
We spend quite a while at the Kopitiam close to Circular road waiting for the rain to stop
Finally we set out as the rain stopped and walked around the area.
If you read so far and wonder what happened to the pictures, I will inform you that I am currently in a Caffenol frenzy and my process is currently not working so well after some initial success.
My last roll was a disaster (you can read here ), this one is quite close, I have made steps to improve my process thought:
I have invested in a changing bag
I bought some proper fixer (the images on this post are relatively clean)
I learned to bleach my spirals to help loading the film ( it is a breeze now)
I realized that my recipe was for 1 liter but my bottle was 0.75 so I reduced the doses of chemicals
and I ordered some pure vitamin C to have a more predictable result (but I don’t have it yet)
So the result is crap, but I scan still make a post with it : yeah! Ok there is no information anywhere on this film, left alone about Caffenol processing. I processed 5’50” at 28 degrees. As it’s over cooked I reduce by one minute this morning for my film of this week and … its not developed at all. I am a bit clueless.
As usual there is no lesson, lets do better next time. Maybe go back to 100 ISO films. Or start cooling the developer.
Today’s roll of film has been perfectly ruined, the experience showing that I am not yet the master of Caffenol.
This was a roll of Fuji Across 100, shot with the Leica M6 and a mix of Summicron 50mm and then my “new” Elmar 50.
I processed the roll with my second batch of Caffenol which is now 4 weeks old, and my dodgy Fomapan fix expired for 5 years and used for the 9th roll. A recipie for disaster you call it. The only new variable on the batch of Caffenol was the addition of table salt to act as restrainer for higher ISO films, could this cause the problems seen here? It did not seem to improve the processing of the Ilford Delta 400, so I wont try it again.
I decided not to clean the negs in photoshop, but just to enjoy the artistic look after the usual adjustement. I have a mixed feeling, because the processing looks to be working quite well, the quality of the greys and finesse of the grain below is just great to my taste.
Finally the Elmar is working just fine, focusing and all seems good as you can check below. This is a great addition for my LTM kit, lets check the next roll.
Dont worry I have taken good resoltutions: I binned both the Caffnol and the Fixer and will shop for some new fixer this week. I also ordered some pure ascorbic acid to replace my lemon flavoured vitamine pills.
On this note I whish you a good week, happy shooting and maybe next week a good roll for a change?
Today I am posting a few shots salvaged from a friendly “reportage” we did with a group of friends last week for The Social Kitchen at Orchard YMCA, in Singapore.
The Social Kitchen, is the Cafe located on 4th floor of the YMCA. It is a social enterprise that provides employment to disadvantaged individuals. The intention was to give them a few pictures to put on their website.
I must say I did not perform very well, and I am bit ashamed of it. I pleased myself in my choice of gear, but the result is not really usable by our friends at Social Kitchen. Luckily some more conscientious photogs were there.
I brought the Leica M6 with Summilux 50 v2 loaded with Ilford Delta 400. Above are the shots processed in Caffenol, my eights roll and the worst so far I must say. Very nice opportunity to shoot in a kitchen, but also quite difficult as the place is small and was packed with 3 staff and 4 photogs.
I also carried the Hasselblad 500CM loaded with Cinestill 500. There are only 3 “good” shots on 12, I don’t use the blad so often these days, so I mixed up mix and max aperture, and the first 6 shots were blank. The Cinestill roll was shot at ISO640 as usual, and all shots were done at 1/60 F2.8.
It’s nice to have fun, delivering good and usable pictures is another matter.
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.