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.
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.
I realized when doing the math at the end of the year that in 2018 I did not shoot much medium format film. I must say that my only working condition camera is the Hasselblad 500 CM which is not so easy to grad around for my casual shots.
One of the consequences is that my film box contains now mostly 120 film, some starting to be expired for more than two years. Not that I think that the are going to be wasted, but it is never a good sign.
So I have now decided to bring the Hassie along for casual shooting. There will probably be less people in the coming rolls as it is not greatly suited for “street” shots, but probably more city views from a local tourist.
Hong Lim park
I think this is my last roll of the Cinestill 50D, part of the Kickstarter package. I quite like this film in the end as per my last post, it s quite punchy, is easy to scan. And slow speed is fine in good weather and daylight. I am not sure I ever shot many films with the Hassie at night or dusk.
One thing the lead of the film is gooey so when you remove the lead you will often end up with some parts of the back that take up the film being sticky, and some goo ending up on the roll as in the first Hong Lim shot.
Happy new year everybody, happy film shooting to all the film photogs. If I looks around me in Singapore it looks like more and more people are shooting film. I see young kids buying film at the shop and carrying around some analog point and shoots, SLRs or rangefinders. I met fellow film shooters in Japan, Laos and Thailand this year and at the big dismay of my family I (nearly) always go and talk to them, and take their picture sometime.
In my own opinion 2018 has been less exciting that 2017 in term of the film industry : Cinestill is now part of the landscape, KodakEktachrome is said to be available but I have not tried it yet, Film Ferania is still nowhere near the shelves. The only new film I tried is the Rollei variochrome positive film, which is quite gimmicky.
Below is a breakdown of my film rolls:
Rollei Retro 80s
Kodak Tmax 400
Rollei CR 200
Fuji Reala 800
Kodak Gold 200
Rollei Superpan 200
Kodak Portra 400
Kodak Ektar 100
Kodak Tmax 100
Kodak Portra 160
Kodak TMZ 3200
Agfa APX 400
And by Brand
The first thing to notice is that I shot a bit less that last year (I did 63 rolls then), I think I also shot less digital, I spend some time in a couple other projects. But still I am holding the one roll per week rate.
I shot 17 rolls of Ultrafine that I hand-rolled myself : this is a first for me. This is a quite good film : I told the lab it is Kentmere 400 and had no problem. I liked the experience of hand rolling shorter rolls, but as I don’t process myself there is a balance to reach between the cost of processing and not having to throw away the last shots of a roll (or shoot meaningless pics with them).
Kodak is a mix bag of black and white and the cheap color films like Colorplus and Gold 200. I tried the new TMZ 3200 once again this year and I think a good performer. I am a Kodak fanboy.
On the disappointment side are the Bergger Panchro and the Rollei Superpan, they lack contrast and have too much grain to my taste (or maybe I lack the skills to make them shine). I cannot make them out of my fridge fast enough, so I will still have some to shoot this year. I finally finished my two years expired Fuji reala 800, both shot with the Leica IIIc, I don’t really like this film (but it was so cheap) and also I have problem measuring for 800 Iso in daylight, so results were not great.
Finally the Rollei Vario ( you can read the full review here ) : it is very gimmicky so one roll is enough. I think if you are a pro and shoot a wedding, you can have a nice couple of pictures with a very different look, but apart from this the tint makes its usage very limited.
Camera N.5 : Agfa Isolette with Bergger Panchro 400
Now let’s look at the gear.
Agfa Isolette III
Kodak Autographic Jr
Minolta Himatic 7s
Once again Leica’s are on top of the ladder, I am still investing in my Leica Kit, so the M system is set to shine for a while. My travel kit now is the M262, the M6 and 3 or 4 lenses in the shoulder bag.
The Leica IIIc paired with the 35mm F3.5 Summaron is my walk around camera, as a consequence the M4 lags a bit behind.
I only shot 7 rolls of medium format, the Hasselblad has a problem now and only takes 11 shots per roll, and stays at home during holidays; the Agfa still cannot focus but I like taking it out a couple of times a year (exactly two times)
I kept on my decluttering habit this year, so I got rid of my broken Olympus Mju1, the EOS 1N, the Kiev and some Nikon Zoom lenses.
Finally my v500 scanner died in the first week on 2018, so I upgraded to an Epson v800. Frankly the difference is not that visible but it is a lot faster and the Silverfast software is quite better than the Epson one, although I must say I still have some work to master it.
If you are curious you can check the past reviews : 2015, 2016, 2017.
Last Sunday Mini Cooper sponsored a “street art” event in Joo Chiat area in East Singapore. I thought it was a good opportunity to go and burn some film.
I did not really read what it was about, but let s say that it brought some art in the streets and back alleys of Joo Chiat.
Windows of pastry shops got all rainbowed.
Best work in my opinion was the above by AikBeng Chia, a local photographer. Streets shots of the area print on T shirts set on the local version of drying lines.
The set-up of back alley sized sports facilities was also quite interesting.
While the lady above is responsible for the discreet weeds growing from the concrete pillars.
Finally the giant hopscotch above seemed to have been quite popular. I ran out of film when I got to the Tea bar. But I shot some 35mm with the M6, so it will be on a next post.
Joo Chiat is extraordinary even without Mini, an easy place to burn film
One roll of Cinestill 50D, shot at 50 ISO with Hasselblad 500Cm and Planar 80mm F2.8. I managed to get only 11 shots my Hassie back has a spacing problem.
The 50D is quite nice, fine grain, can pack a bit of punch even in this overcast weather. I used my old Gossen Bisix 2 meter (bought in 1989) which proved to still work quite well. Scanner is the Epson v800.
I shot the last of my Cinestill 800T 35mm rolls during the last holidays in Japan. This is the last roll from the batch I ordered from UK a few years back when it was first released. I must say that I am quite satisfied with this one.
The roll was kept a couple of years in the fridge but had also traveled by plane in many occasions, because it is not so easy to make up your mind to shoot a 18$ roll of film rates at 800 Iso and specified for Tungsten light.
The roll was shot with a Leica M6 camera and one my Summicron lenses, 35, 28 or 50mm.
Based on my former experiences I rated the film at 640 ISO on the M6 ISO dial and off we go lets shoot happily.
The first few shots are taken at night in the popular area of Dotombori in Osaka. Neon lights, restaurants and people, that works great for the 800T.
When shooting at night the M6 meter, which does center averaged measure, will have a tendency to overexpose : your subject is bright surrounded by a lot of darkness, so the reading will tend to overexpose. I generally underexposed by a step of diaphragm or the next speed to get the balance right.
On the next day we were off to Nara to visit its park and temples and the 800T was still not finished. The following shots were done without filter.
The above shot has tints that reminds of Portra 400, so it is not that bad. I tried to shot as open as possible which explains the softness. The M6 speed is limited to 1/1000 second so shooting in daylight with a 640 ISO film does not always give you a lot of latitude in term of aperture.
But shots taken in the shade allows a wider aperture and to play with out of focus.
The next few shots are taken in restaurant in Takamatsu the main city in Kagawa prefecture.
The south most part of our trip was Hiroshima where we visited the peace memorial.
At this point I played it old school and rewind the film which was about 28 shots and store it aside. I loaded a roll of Rollei CR200 slide film and when back in Osaka, I loaded the Cinetsill back again, put the cap, turn the aperture rint to on F22, set the speed to 1/1000 and fires 29 shots to find more or less the point where I was last and use my last 8 frames below:
A couple years back I participate in the kick starter campaign for the launch o the CineStill 800 medium format film. I ended up (with a slight delay) with a nice T shirt ( (I spare you the picture for the time being) and a few rolls old the said film.
I have already shot a few rolls and I must think of going through the reminder before they expire. The Hassie also did not get much action this year so I loaded a roll when I went to the Leica User Group Singapore outing to the Red Hill market area.
Above is the best shot of the roll. This lady sing sings the market for the greatest pleasure of the people around. The film was rated at 640 ISO, the day was a bit overcast but most shots were done about F11 1/250.
This is the seventh month of the Chinese year and it is the time were the dead visit the world of the livings and displays of religious artifacts as above are common over Singapore, to please them and let them go back in peace.
We also took a tour of the Red Hill close estate, a public housing estate set for redevelopment.
I did not manage to shot the whole 12 frames in the morning, so I went last week in Chinatown to finish the roll on the lantern festival. I shot the remaining frames at F4 1/60s.
The above is quite OK, the below is not. It is seems a bit difficult for me to measure the light for this kind of scene.
Shot with Hasselblad 500CM, Planar 80mmF2.8 lens, and a tripod fr the last two shots.
The film was scanned with Silverfast and Epson v800, with bit of white balance and contrast and exposure adjustment in Lightroom.
The Lion dance troupes from the Zhoujia style go each year to Bright Hill temple for Qingming celebration to honor their founder. The Zhoujia is a special form of Lion Dance, which is very energetic, founded in Singapore, there are very interesting videos on the history of this martial art, coming from the south China King-Fu. Mister Li, in his 80’s is he current master and the son (or grand son) of the founder
The Qingming or Ching Ming festival, also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day in English (sometimes also called Chinese Memorial Day or Ancestors’ Day).
The troupes gather at the bottom of the slope getting up to one of the temple courtyards (for those who do not know Bright Hill temple, it is a massive compound), they run up one by one up the steep slope (and very sunny last week).
The lion dancers perform around the yard at the sound of drums and pray as different shrines before ending before a table laid with offerings. They then move aside and align waiting for the other troupes to parade as well. A total of 6 groups were present this day.
Afterwards there will be some common praying to the ancestor, Kung-Fu demonstration , a full minute of full strength drumming and a final tour.
The Leica User Group Singapore (LUGS) organized an outing last week (7 April 2008) to the Kebun Baru Birdsinging Club.
The Hassie came to the party loaded with a roll of Cinestill 50D. Here is the result. The Kebun Baru Birdsinging Club is place in Amg Mo Kio, central Singapore, where bird lovers have their pets compete. In both singing and look competition.
It is a beutiful places with both shadow areas with low hanging bird cages but also a wide open space with high poles were cages are hoisted by a pulley system.
(The above rectangular shot is due to an issue with the Hassie back frame spacing)
On competition days judges are walking between the birds and give notes.