Last week end (2nd to 5th of June) was the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, a celebration giving some picture opportunities.
Friday, all started by the air parade shot from my window with the crappy Canon Serenar 135F4 mounted on the Leica M262. The lens was already mounted on the camera, I was just playing around last week.
The city was generally dressed up in national colours and royal memorabilia’s. Here the newspaper kiosk on Sloane Square, shot with the Summaron 35mmF2.8, the M version with goggles. I really went al vintage lenses this week,
Friday a steel band was playing on Kings Road, a couple of ladies made their best to warm up the atmosphere.
But they were not alone.
Even the Chelsea Pensioners were out.
Some people were rushing to parties in the hood.
The party went on until Sunday.
People rushed to the Mall on Sunday morning to see the parade.
and actually walking against the flow, we reached Hyde Park Corner and met the parade, with no crowd at all.
Sunday I changed the lens for the Summaron 35mmF3.5 ltm, a better choice as it is easier to focus without the goggles.
After watching so many horses, we moved to the Belgravia street party on Elizabeth street (the well named).
And all finished with a bit of music (and beer)
If you are not bored by now, I will have some film shots from Saturday to post as well.
All shots with Leica M262, with in order the Canon Serenar 135mmF4 ltm, the Summaron 35mmF2.8 M, the Summaron 35mmF3.5 ltm
A bit more than a month back I bought two rolls of Cinestill XX in the Aperture UK shop in London. I have read about this film, but its the first time I saw some available for purchase, so I picked two rolls to see what it is like, keeping in mind that I will have a road trip in France a few weeks down the line.
I loaded the first roll soon after and started shooting in London over a couple of very sunny week-ends we had in late April.
The XX box claim to be a variable speed motion picture, but on a conservative move, I set the M6 speed dial to 200, and put a 50mm lens in front of it, most likely the Summicron v5 or the Summilux v2 with a yellow filer.
It is very difficult to tell which one I used from the pictures.
So a good first part of the roll was shot in London, the weather was nice and my brain clicked in shooting mode.
When holidays started, I spent a day in Paris, with not much shooting action, then drove to the Loire valley, where frankly I felt more compelled to use the digital M and 28 mm cron.
But here are three shots of the park of the Chenonceau castle.
At this point we drove to Bordeaux witch I never visited before and seems to be a good place for street photography, just enough people, and specific places.
Worth visiting for modern architecture buffs : the cité frugès built by Le Corbusier, one house is a museum and can be visited upon appointment.
The film was processed by my usual lab here in London : Analogue Films in Shoreditch, it seems they were not very familiar with the film at first. They managed to do their usual good job as processing and scanning.
The last part we moved to Biarritz in the Basque Country, capital of surfing in France.
I always found very odd to shoot sea side in black and white, but hey why not, my parents did this ages ago.
I found the XX a bit too grainy for my taste, maybe blame the processing, who knows? Lets see how the second roll turns out.
Oh yes, the cost. The film was 11£ a roll ( almost 13 Euros, 14 USD, 19 SGD), mmm I think I still have some HP5+ in my 100ft roll. And Analogue Films charge about 8£ for process and scan.
Oh my Oh my. We are in March already and here is my last B&W roll of 2021, where was I? Well not shooting for sure, as I just brought my first roll of 2022 to the lab. Well time flies, photography is one of the losers in the adjustment to my new life.
Anyway, last roll of 2021, shot in December in France, first 4 shots in Paris, next 5 in Cannes, the others in Antibes.
This is a single roll of Ilford HP5+, still hand rolled from the 30 meters roll I bought last year in Singapore. Pictures were taken with the M6 classic with the Elmar 50F3.5 or the Summicron 35 Asph v2. Oh by the way that’s not my last roll of 2021, no no no sir, I quickly shot a roll of expired Portra 400 at the end of December, but I am not sure there are enough shots to share on that one, or maybe yes I ll do next week.
These two auspicious oranges offered during CNY period, here at the entrance of a restaurant in Clarke Quay. As often I make associations in my mind which are quite irrelevant, why think of Serguey Prokovief Opera The Love for Three Oranges where actually I just have two? Maybe the essence of photography : showing what’s not there.
I started this roll in Chinatown a while back, and as we were during CNY period, people came around the Buddha Tooth Relic temple to take selfies.
CNY is also about food, and the Bak Kwa (sliced barbequed port meat) shops are busy. There are queues outside some of the most famous who generally have sold all their goods by lunch time on week ends.
I was very happy / lucky a couple of weeks later when coming back to Chinatown I saw this group of youngsters dressing up in traditional Chinese costumes, for a fun photo shoot.
This is a roll of Rollei retro 80s, shot with the Leica M6 and the Summaron 35mmF3.5 ltm lens.
The film was processed in Caffenol CM recipe at 28 degrees for 5minutes. Some shots are great, but the ones with big dark areas like above are showing some marks in the dark parts. Fingers marks? Fogging ? Effect of the expired film? I don’t really know. The effect is even more noticeable below:
It is not super easy to shoot indoor with 100 ISO setting and a 3.5 lens. I quite like the result, regardless of the marks.
A big thank you to Louis Vuitton for this fashionistas playground giving opportunities for a few candid shots. Once again it was 7pm the light of the day was fading so the shots are taken at 1/60 or 1/40 and F3.5
A few random shots to finish
A pile of bar stools, the blacks and the contrast are really specific to the Rollei 80s, so I am happy this can be rendered in Caffenol.
Some sculpture in a back alley, I think it’s the entrance of a club or a bar.
A bit if tragedy to finish this is the place where 5 party goes met their fate when driving into coffee in the late night hours a couple of weeks back. You can still see the burned façade of the building. A few days (maybe 1 or two weeks) after the incidents, offerings were placed for the deceased.
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.
Well the situation in Singapore is not too much at celebrating and I did not find yet the way to represent the poetry of empty streets. So this posts start with reminding the not so distant past when Humans were roaming the streets.
At that time, a couple of weeks ago, I put one of my last rolls of Polypan F50 in the Leica M4 and hit the road with the Summaron 35mm F3.5 ltm.
I have a nice Leica LTM to M adapter which provides proper focusing, and bring the 35mm framelines on the M4, so I can frame accurately.
The roll of Polypan was given to me two years ago, and is probably expired, but shot at ISO 50 it still looks fine.
Shooting ISO 50 with a 3.5 max aperture lens in overcast light is a bit challenging.
Shades of grey on the old Polypan are amazing, so are the details.
I had a couple of disappointing roll recently. First I shot a roll of Kodak Tri-X with the Heineken toy camera that shows reticulation. This was a small boat trip with friends for a birthday celebration, so I am quite annoyed.
The camera works superbly, and ISO 400 by the see on a bright day is plenty for the F10 plastic lens.
Even in the shadows as above, but it was screwed up at processing as you can see below.
Is it a call for self processing in the future?
The next roll, is the evening birthday party of my friend Paul, shot with the Leica M6, and still the Summaron 35mm F3.5 LTM. This was a roll of Ilford Delta 3200 shot at 3200. The M6 meter is always very accurate so I am very surprised that the roll turned out so underexposed.
The film was not expired. My only guess is that the meter was fooled by the very bright patches at the table, and even more easily that a 35mm gets a wider range), probably for such event its better to meter from close and keep it fixed.
So off to Vietnam for Xmas 2019, for a bit of chilling time over Christmas. In the bag, the usual kit, M262, M6, 28,35 and 50 crons and of course a couple of Tri-x rolls.
Hanoi is a great place to shoot. People are friendly and generally not photo adverse. There are so many pictures to take, that if you cannot take one, just walk to the next.
As usual, the M6 is most often mounted with the 50 cron, that ensures a reasonable distance for candid shots.
Street side food vendors and their patrons are still a great subject.
I was last in Hanoi 10 years ago and the traffic has not changed, crossing the roads still feels like an adventure and motorcycles are omnipresent.
We arrived late on Christmas eve, so our first outing was a walk to Saint Joseph Cathedral on Christmas day. The mass was already going on when we reached and people were standing outside of the church.
After the service an orchestra was playing outside.
A good opportunity for selfies.
We walked down to the Metropole hotel, where the two Citroen below are standing guard. I stayed there 10 years ago, and at that time they could be sent to fetch you from the airport in style.
We then walk north in direction of Long Bien bridge, going through the old quarter.
Among many, I met these local photographers and we took shots of each others.
Finally we made it to Long Ben bridge.
Where I met the two young film photographers below.
Hey this was a long post. Be reassured the next roll is not as good.
This is my third post about the Polypan 50 and thanks to my friend Felix who is always eager to feed me some more this is probably the 10th roll I have shot.
This roll is a bit old and traveled in and out of the fridge a few time, also Felix warned me about the first two frames to generally better be avoided. Finally the film is quite thin and this may result in a bit of struggle when loading the film on the reel. so one or two early
So this particular roll I decided to shoot with the Leica IIIc and the Color Skopar 21mm. I am still trying hard to love this lens and the camera looks super good with the VC finder I bought last summer.
At this point I have small problem because I am not really able to guesstimate the light and I have relied on my Sekonic 308, that i bought new in 2010 with my first Leica. The little fellow is now more dead than alive, draining batteries like hell and giving random measures. So after the first half of the film I decided to go the the shop and get a new light-meter. To cut it short I bough the same one, lets hope it last as long.
So this is a recipe for disaster, a slow film, an old camera, and a slow lens. Luckily last Saturday the weather was nice when I hit Chinatown and came across Felix of course.
I am not a big theoretician, but what i like with the 21mm is the dynamic it gives to (rather mundane) pictures where people are moving like above or below.
Chinatown is also the opportunity to catch again and again the old folks playing Chinese checkers or chess. Some slow action going on, so speed can be lessen, perfect for my set-up.
Another obvious thing with the 21 : you need to be close to your subject. How close is close? Probably all the pictures in this post are done between 2 and 4 meters ; the one below more like 1 meter.
And finally a bit more panning for that young lady.
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)
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.
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.
The first market has a first floor hosting a few stalls and giving a nice view of the ground level.
The reluctant model (I will print and bring her the picture in order to appease her)
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.
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).
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.
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.
A lot of sitting and waiting it seems.
And playing with phones
At the back was a small shrine attended by the lady with the green hat.
And finally a stall selling the king of fruits : Durian.
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.