My posts since July are like a pinball : London – Paris – Cannes – London – London – London – Paris – Cannes – London. There are worst things in life particularly by the time being.
I have tried many times to shot the water on pebbles and finally above is a picture I like. Probably the only picture with amazing colors.
This a roll of expired Portra 400 shot on the French Riviera during the Christmas season.
I missed Santa but the Christmas trees were growing very close to the sea this year. I used the faithful Leica M6 and either the Summicron 35mm Asph v2 or the Elmar 50 F3.5.
I found the seaside less inspiring that the city, but if you look closely there is always something to capture.
Older gents playing chess with their Covid masks on or not. I generally prefer to shoot Black and White on film, as I think the digital M renders more live like colours and the picture are popping more.
The misaligned sign of the “pétanque” club…
Nice is nice as goes the song, not too far away from Cannes, a big 30 minutes by train, and a bit more city like.
If you read the last two posts, you get that I fell in love with Paris for the second time (or the third maybe, one shall not count when it comes to love).
So this is my last post of the digital shots made with the M262 and the Elmar 50 or the Summicron 35.
You guess by this last sentence that there are indeed some analogue shots of Paris but that will be for another post.
Goldilocks’ car a pre WWII Citroen Rosalie I think
6 or 7 weeks after these pictured le M11 is out and the M262 really feels like an antique. But I still really like it, faithful device, my goto camera.
I did not go camera shopping in Paris. Err, ok I went to the Leica shop on the Faubourg Saint Honoré, to check on the film MP prices in France. This camera is a beauty, but do I really need it? Ah let’s wait a bit longer…
Probably translate literally to “Boss pour us a little one, we are thirsty”. Paris and its bistro’s could fill a life of photography.
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.
This is bit back to the future as I already posted about rolls 12,13, and 15, but rest assured roll 10 will come in due time. I was complaining last week about life in Singapore being less photogenic since the Covid started last year. Man I did not knew what was coming.
For one week now we are in Heightened alert mode, basically we are back in a quite strict mode, mostly : non essential workers are asked to stay home, it is not possible to eat or drink outside (eateries can thankfully to take away), quarantine form most countries are extended to 3 weeks in selected hotels and coming into Singapore is quite difficult (even for residents).
Having enjoyed a lot more freedom than most countries since last July, we feel taken a bit aback by this new deal. So my color roll shot a couple of weeks before this soft lockdown 2.0 seems quite joyful and interesting for the place in time where I write from.
We were discussing our last holidays abroad, which were in March 2020, when we could still fly (in half empty planes though) and I remembered that I brought the Nikon F3 to Thailand and shot only two or three rolls before putting it back in the box. So it was time to pick it up again and give it another go.
I will explain a bit later this month but I am downsizing a few things, so I am shooting what’s left in the fridge rather than go and by fresh film. So I picked up my last roll of Portra 400, which is a bit overkill for just walking around, but ok I an clearing my fridge. The roll was shot over two days around Singapore.
I put the 50mmF1.4 on the F3, because my other lenses are too big for just walking around. I must say I have always been a big proponent of the 50mm, claiming the 28 / 50/ 135 were the trinity of my generation, and only young punks would walk around with a 35 as their normal lens. But I think I have moved my point of view a little bit…
The yellow Burmese girl
I have used many 35mm on the Leica system (film or digital) and I finally came quite used to it (I own 3 😦 ). The versatility of the 35mm, with a field of view larger by more than 30% is quite impressive and I think I really appreciate it on the Leica’s to the point that I find the 50mm narrow. Off course you have to step closer to your subject, but that’s not so much or a problem with a small rangefinder.
Getting closer with a SLR, even a small old fellow as the F3 is a bit less easy. Also (I am happy to be corrected) it seems the offer in term of 35mm (Vintage of course) is a bit lesser that the offer in 50mm, where Nikon has a few outstanding lenses.
So ok I feel now that the 50 is a bit narrow but at the same I don’t think I will invest in a new (even a new old) lens for the Nikon at this point) (And remember I am decluttering).
The roll was processed at Whampoa Colours, scanned by their good services, and shared on the web. Damn I still have not collected my negs. The combo F3 + 50mmF1.4 AIS + Porta did a fairly good job. I shot most of the time in Auto mode, meaning the speed is controlled automatically by the aperture I selected, quite easy with a 400 ISO film (shot at 320).
It seems the focusing of the F3 with the 50 is quite ok, I would need to try with the original 35-70 F3.5 AI Pro see if I have any problems. But that’s a heavy lens, not for casual walks.
A well deserved treat.
A final though for the road, a lot of my pictures from 25-30 years suck, I feel very bad, because souvenirs from this time are scarce, but on the upside It looks like my photography has progressed.
As my Ilford roll only had 22 shots, I loaded my last roll of Tri-X into the Nikon F3 while we were still in Tekka Market. I could not resist running after the guy with the umbrella hat, even I did not really got a really good shot.
316 on the bowl is probably the number of the stall so the staff attending to the hawker center know where to bring it back after picking up and cleaning. I felt really hungry at that time, but it was way too early to get a second breakfast.
It was still raining outside and this guy was playing with his phone inside a wheelbarrow.
At that point we had stepped in the street, and faced the last few drops of rain. I have a hood on my 50 which does a good job at protecting him from small rain (although that’s a metal hood for a 28mm)
Ez was still with me of course. At this point you would have realized that the pictures are not as sharp as usually, for instance compared to the last post. I have several options to explain this.
First option is that the Tri-X is notoriously difficult to process in Caffenol. I have used my usual Delta recipe scaled for 500ml. BUT because I think my films are usually over processed I have decided once again to try to lower the temperature.
I feel that usually the time for processing is 4’40” and that does not give much leeway for control (I may be wrong), so I decided to keep the same time but cool a little bit the mix by using 10% of water from the fridge (probably 3 degrees) and 90% of tap water (29 degrees) to get a mix around 26 to 27 degrees.
Of course I have no thermometer and the reason you have not seen roll 2001#11 yet is because I quite screwed up by making the mix too cold back wen I processed it. But I must say that this time, looking at the film drying it has gone in the correct direction, showing more contrast than my usual processing’s.
So what could have gone wrong ? Err not sure, could the difference of 3 or 4 degrees between the developer and the rinsing water caused an effect similar to reticulation?
.. or shall I just blame the Tri-X and look for another recipe for this film the next time?
I could simply finish my bulk roll of HP5plus and keep things simple what do you think? It’s a pity as I was quite happy with the content of the film ; that will teach me to try experimenting. This is also probably the last roll of the F3 for a little while.
The little fellow made 3 turns ( understand rolls ) and will now go back to the box. Yielding a SLR, even the not so bulky F3 with a 50mm, to the face of people is a bit gross. I’ll go back to the rangefinders for a little while
I realized this Saturday that these old folks are hanging around in that place because the are polls nearby ; you can expect more shots of this place soon.
All these shots were done in Aperture Auto mode with the F3, very convenient. A facility I don’t have on the M6. It looks the shots were properly exposed, I had some difficulties as I thought that holding the shutter button would store the speed. I may get it wrong by 20 years or so. I think after these 3 rolls and the two ones form last year, I can happily conclude that the F3 focuses properly. With the 50mm at least, I did not bother trying other lenses.
Rainy day Saturday, when I left home to meet my fried Ez at Tekka Market, in Little India. The weather was quite bad so I left the Hassie home (Ez is the man behind HUGS the Hasselblad User Group Singapore) and only put the Nikon F3 loaded with a hand rolled roll of HP5+ (and a spare roll of TriX).
I was soaked when getting to the MRT. I have not seen my friend for a while so we spent a certain time in front of a coffee and shot randomly what happened within range.
I set the F3 to ISO 320, to overexpose my film a little bit as recommended for Caffenol for medium speed film. My best lens for the F3 is the 50mmF1.4AIS so the combo enabled to shoot decently in the dimmed lighted market (also given the very gloomy external light).
I came quite a few times in Tekka market but that’s not my favorite : I find it a bit too dark, and alleys are on the narrow side so you often find yourself in the middle of somebody else’s path. I generally feel a bit more at ease in Tiong Bahru or Chinatown Complex, but that Saturday was very nice and friendly.
Once home I quickly processed the film with the Caffenol Delta Recipe, adjusted for 500ml of water. At current temperature ( more or less 30 degrees), processing time is 4’40”. I use the Ilford rinsing method and Ilford fixer after that.
The smile of the butcher
Scanning was a breeze, the film is quite flat and after processing shows very little dust. The roll only had 20 full shoots and 2 half shots at start and end. 22 frames rolls are nice because I can hand them to dry in the shower without having to cut it in two.
Loosing half a frame at the start is a bit obvious but why at the end? I remember now that when loading from a bulk roll the first part of the roll, which will be the last frame is partially exposed, only enabling for half a shot. It is very difficult to know when you last shot will be, maybe I should try to quickly load a new roll and retake the last shot?
I still struggle focusing with the F3, but I think this roll is ok from that point of view. I have included a few more pictures below, I hope you enjoyed the reading
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).
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.
So a few weeks ago, after the last roll shot with the Agfa Isolette, I decided that something must be done with the rangefinder. My easiest solution was to order a second Agfa from Ebay. But actually when he finally reached home, the camera was in very good condition but the rangefinder was stuck and so was the lens focusing ring. So I took step back and decided to leave it alone (for the moment) and try to fix the rangefinder of my original Agfa.
I think I mentioned earlier this is a family camera bough in 1958 in Germany by my dad who was in the French forces there. It was my first medium format camera, I used it for the first time in 1990 (30 years ago already). I looked at this link and proceeded to fix my rangefinder : The Classic Camera Repair Forum: CLA’ing an Isolette III.
I don’t have much to add to the procedure, this precise camera has other issues so I think I will proceed with repairing the other one soon, or maybe send it to repair, depending on the time I have at hand.
Once again I used a roll of Rollei 80s because I have a few hanging around and because I love it. Shot at 100 Iso, this is a slow film for the weather conditions so some shots were taken at 1/50s F4.5.
I processed the roll in my second batch of Caffenol, so this is my Caffenol roll #7. The results are good I think, but there is a lot of dust or particles compared to the roll#6, I am not sure where it comes from and I am bit disappointed as I took care to filter both the Fixer and the Caffenol before using them. I also added 1 minute to the fixing time, just in case.
It also seems there is some unevenness on the processing. I will have to reach out for some advice.
Ah yes so what about the rangefinder ? Well see for yourself, but it looks to me that it may not be spot on but it surely can focus.
This is not actually a full roll of the lock-down, I did not shoot much and probably on the first 20 frames of this roll.
This is a roll of Kodak Tri-x shot with the Leica M6 classic and the Summicron 35mm Asph vII.
The first part of the roll was taken on a Saturday around lunch time in the Balestier area. Shops were half closed, hawkers were deserted and the rare shoppers wearing masks.
Little traffic rare cyclist allowed not to ear masked while ridding, life seemed to have come to a halt under the scorching sun. We had dreadful weather for a while, but the day I go out at lunchtime with a 400 ISO film, I am forced to shoot at F1/500 and F16.
There is always a nice outcome : I stumbled across the coffee shop below, I first stopped to take a shot (the symmetry of the arrangement caught my eye), then the chord bring the entry puzzled me and finally I bought some coffee. I usually use some arabica in my old Moka machine but they sell only robusta. In the end for a bit more than 5SGD for 250 grams that was a ok deal.
Of course life is full of encounters, an sometime you meet fellow Leica Shooters
I am no sure that Grab food riders made a fortune during the lock-down (my good sense tells me otherwise), but they were ubiquitous during the period and thanks to them we managed to have entertaining food at our table. (Thanks guys and gals).
As no many activity goes on to finish the film I walked the places where people were going out to exercise or just take a bit of fresh air while respecting the prescribed social distancing procedures. It is funny how here again you meet some acquaintances.
The Singapore river was usually packed with joggers and cyclist, we will surely do great at next Olympics when they eventually happen. The Marina Bay Area, though not empty was really a lot quieter that it used to be.
Skaters did had much problems crossing big roads carelessly.
The last few shots where taken after the lock down when we entered what was known as phase 1 and now phase 2. More freedom to roam around, retail shops reopening, still as nothing exceptional is happening, back to my usual vice : random shots of people in the streets, preferably with masks.
Hope you enjoyed the roll. I manage 38 shots on this roll again, unfortunately the process suffers from reticulation (same as the one I took a couple of month back ), I ll tell about it to the photo shop and maybe i ll try to process the films myself going forward.