Happy new year dear friend reader! Let’s hope for everybody that 2021 will be different from 2020.
I am cheating a little bit as this is not strictly speaking the last roll of 2020, I have a roll of Portra 160 in the Leica IIIc, that I will finish soon and that technically I will call the roll 51 of 2020 ( I’ll come back to this on the next post).
So number 50 is a roll of Fuji Across 100 version one, expired sometime last year, shot in the Leica M4 with the Summaron 35mm F3.5 ltm.
Once again I have processed the roll in Caffenol CM, scaling the recipe for 500 CL, with a certain success.
As my regular readers have already found out, I was back to Geylang Lorong 3, with some friends. A place that will soon disappear, so no chance to see it again in 2021 rolls.
I put my favorite pictures at the top of this post, this is my third attempt at the back alley and I am quite happy with this one. And the guitar really rocks.
On most of the shots the Caffenol reveals great details and contrast. I am very happy with this roll. There was also very small dust cleaning required after scanning.
The tiny Summaron is super sharp and easy to use. I have used the old Chinese made adapter (not my genuine Leica one) and it seems the focus is spot on even for closer shots.
Is this the place where even CC TV Cameras get stolen?
Good think to tag along with friends is that they can make subjects.
This makes me think about one of these movies where spies or thieves exchange a big suitcase of cash. I did not dare to peak in that one, maybe I should have?
Below a couple of unrelated pictures of the same roll, different styles with the same set-up
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.
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).
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.