That’s public now , I am a quitter, after 14 years I am leaving Singapore. I am moving to new horizons but that’s a story for later. The recent tightened measures are not facilitating farewells and the mood is not to party.
Last Sunday, I wen out but my shooting buddy Ez, founder of the Hasselblad User Group Singapore (HUGS), for a last photo walk. We met in Joo Chiat and then walked to Kalang MRT along Geylang road. Quite a walk under the hot sun.
Camera of choice was the Hassie, loaded first with a roll of Ektar (Still to be processed) and here with my fav film : the Rollei Retro 80s, processed in Caffenol.
Its been a very satisfying morning, walking with my friend along the charming Joo Chait road, then turning into what used to be the last red district of Singapore (Still a bit seedy in 2021).
Geylang has a very rich architecture, remains of better days.
A rare close up shot, never really satisfactory to my taste.
I could not have dreamt of a more satisfying last roll and Ez promised I can keep posting on the HUGS groups even when overseas, so all is good; it just a goodbye.
Sunday at Marina South and Marina Barrage with the Hasselblad 500 CM and a roll of Rollei 80s. I processed the roll in two or three weeks after shooting it. There is couple of problems (like the dost on the bonnet of the Beetle) but I think this is due to teh film being old and the having taken in and out of the fridge a few times
A bit more defects are visible in the shadow area. lets blame the age of the film. Also at the bottom the part of of the picture missing is due to the film starting too early, probably some adjustment to make to the back of the hassie.
Passing my favorite photo shop the other day (Ruby Ye in Excelsior Plaza basement), I noticed a stack of an unknown (to me) boxes of film. I was told it is Kosmo Foto Mono. I heard of the brand before but never tried it. So I could not resist, parted from 14 SGD and walked home.
Next day was an unformal outing of the HUGS (Hasselblad User Group Singapore) and I brought both the Hassie (see last post) and the Leica M6 loaded with the said Kosmo Foto Mono and mounted with the 50mm Summilux v2 (My first ever Leica Lens). We met in Chinatown, to capture the Chinese New Year atmosphere.
That day was also the outing of the Urban Sketchers group, which gave us (me) plenty of pictures opportunity, I like shooting random strangers, but strangers in action is even better.
The Mono is a 100 ISO film, the weather that morning was quite ok for outdoor shots with normal speed and aperture. Except the below, inside the Chinatown complete, probably full open and 1/60 sec.
When I reached home after lunch the tricky question came : how do I process this film? Querying the Caffenol Facebook group I learned that this is some rebranded Kentmere 100, so I looked up processing time. But when I removed the label to take a nice scan of it for my collection I noticed the canister actually says Fomo.
Who to believe? Anyway checking the Massive Development Chart I noticed both the Kentmere 100 and the Foma 100 have the same development time for the same Caffenol formula. My vitamin C stock is a bit depleted but I still could find enough to process one roll with the following formula:
500 ml water. 27g Washing Soda, 8 g Vitamin C , 20g Netscafe classic
My room temperature here in Singapore is 28 Deg, so I scaled the time and processed for 6 minutes, with agitation the first 20 seconds then 3 inversions every minute. Using Ilford method to rinse, Ilford rapid fixer and dishwashing soap in the last rinse batch.
The negative is a bit over but the scams are looking good. There is a certain softness to them which is quite pleasant. 14$ is a bit expensive for a standard 100 ISO film, but I quite like the results so I may give it another try (oh yes maybe I have to finish by 100ft roll of Ilford Delta first, I probably have the equivalent of 12 rolls left in there)
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.