Another roll of Cinestill 800

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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We also took a tour of the Red Hill close estate, a public housing estate set for redevelopment.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Another roll of Cinestill 800

Leica M – Model 262 – Back to Digital

So this is it 3 years after borrowing a M9, 2 years after renting a M240 and deciding it was not for me and I better buy a M6 (Which I did), I just turned 50 and offered myself a beautiful M262 and a Summicron 28mmF2.

 

On the first day I went out to the Kong Siak road festival and managed to catch the following shots with the Summilux 50mm VII.

 

A more elaborated review will follow shortly, but it was time to share those.

Leica M – Model 262 – Back to Digital

Calcutta – The potters colony

The first stop of our fourth trip to India was Calcutta, or Kolkata as it is called now.

At first I was very excited to go to India at the period of Diwali the festival of lights, but it turned out that is is more a private event celebrated at home than something you can experience in the street. True, the cities were all lighted-up and people were busy shopping for lights and decorations for their homes. Actually, that week was just after the Durga puja which is a popular celebration in West Bengal, but also the week of Kali Puja which is another big celebration in the area. And particularly in Calcutta.

If we were first struck on the night of our arrival by the number of people sleeping in the street, we were also very surprised to see number of bamboo structures being erected across the city. This, were we told, was for the construction of temporary temples for the upcoming Kali puja.

The next day one of the highlights of our tour was the “potters colony” or Kumartuli. I did not do much research before and was afraid to be inflicted one of the pseudo artisanal attractions you see from time to time. It turned out that the potters colony is the place where these craftsmen are building statues of deities (or idols as our guide reffer to them) for the various celebrations of the hindu year. That week all the colony was busy making statues of Kali for the upcoming festival.


The highly decorated statues present Kali, with a necklace of severed demons heads that she defeated but also stepping on her husband Shiva, she generally has her tongue sticking out. The explanation we were given can also be found on wikipedia:

Once Kali had destroyed all the demons in battle, she began a terrific dance out of the sheer joy of victory. All the worlds began to tremble and sway under the impact of her dance. So, at the request of all the Gods, Shiva himself asked her to desist from this behavior. However, she was too intoxicated to listen. Hence, Shiva lay like a corpse among the slain demons in order to absorb the shock of the dance into himself. When Kali eventually stepped upon Shiva, she realized she was trampling and hurting her husband and bit her tongue in shame.

It is difficult to imagine that so many statues will found someone to buy them; but they actually do. Strolling through the colony you can see statues of various shapes, colors and sizes; but all describing the same scene. You will see idols at various stages of their completion, from gross straw shapes, to fully finished ones. Most of the statues will have their head covered if they are not finished. Artists are painting the fine details of eyes or decorations, some even using spray paint for shades.

All pictures with Nikon D700 + Nikkor 17-35F2.8D, I use a polarizing filter mostly all the on this lens.

Calcutta – The potters colony

Fire Walking Ceremony – Sri Mariamman Temple – Singapore

Fire walking is a South Indian festival honoring the Hindu goddess Sri Draupadi, who is the wife of the five Pandava brothers who walked on hot coals to prove her purity.

This is the first time I can go to this ceremony. Total respect for the amount of faith, the sense of community and probably the amount of pain going on there.

The devotees arrive from Little India, a couple of km away in groups, some chanting, some with music, some singing and dancing.

They then arrive a few hundred meters from the Sri Maramiam temple and wait in a staging area.  All of this is very well organized; groups are allowed to pass from one area to the next by the organizers in order to organized the crowed. Some devotees told me they were expecting 5000 people.

I have seem this man many times in Thaipusam in the past years, seeing these people years after years in the viewfinder is one of the attractions I find in photographing these events.

I asked one of the Hindu man in the public how do the devotees group themselves; he told me they are friends and make a kind of team that make each of them stronger and helps them going through the ritual. Like a sport team he told me, doing this on your own would be much more difficult.

I did not really thought I could enter the temple, but as I was close to the entrance, one of the organizer asked me if I wanted get inside. I removed my shoes and they even gave me a plastic bag to carry them and I was moved inside the temple. Actually there is a special track for visitors and a different one for devotees.

The track goes along the fire pit, and although we are asked not to stay there too long I could witness two men doing the ritual.

This one above, was walking very casually (so to speak).

This one was more in running mode, you will notice the flower petals he through in the air before starting.

Walking out of the main temple area, people are waiting and resting and going through other stations, I must admit I am ignorant of what the whole pilgrimage consist of after the fire walking itself.

Outside people are resting.

The ground of the temple is covered in yellow power, probably not saffron more likely curcuma, clearly these feet have been walking through fire.

I saw a few times some ethnic Chinese Hindu in Singapore, here is one who was looking to be quite in pain,

I hope you enjoyed this post.

For my Hindu friends if you find a picture of yourself and you are not happy with that, let me know and I will remove it from this album, if you like them, let me know I’ll be enchanted. I am never sure if my schedule allowed but I would really enjoy meeting one of the groups and following you over an extended period of time to produce a photo-book of some sort.

Needless to say that these picture for my own interest in photography and the pleasure of sharing. They are a not for commercial use.

On a side note: I am a donkey sometime; when I pass at the temple on the afternoon I see this older gentleman of a photographer that I meet every year at Thaipusam. Not only did I not take his portrait but I did not ask for his contact. He carries a Nikon F5, if somebody knows him let me know.

Camera: Nikon D700
Lens: Nikkor 85mm F1.8D, only the first one is done with the 17-35F2.8AFS

Fire Walking Ceremony – Sri Mariamman Temple – Singapore

Carnaval de Nice – Nice – France

Carnaval de Nice
Carnaval de Nice

Last month I went to the “Carnaval de Nice” with the Hassie and the second roll of Rollei Digibase CR200.

Carnaval de Nice
Carnaval de Nice

Nice is just 30 km from my hometown of Cannes, but this is just the second time in my life (about 48 years) that I go there. I have an excuse because I have been away since 1985. I went with my son Noé who also made some nice pics with his Coolpix.

Carnaval de Nice
Carnaval de Nice

Not so easy to catch action with the Hasselblad, I was also not very well positioned so there is a bit of back-light. I still think this film is great; the colors are very realistic and it is quite relaxed regarding exposition.

Carnaval de Nice
Carnaval de Nice
Carnaval de Nice
Carnaval de Nice
Carnaval de Nice
Carnaval de Nice

 

Camera::Hasselblad 500CM, Planar 80mmF2.8
Film::Rollei Digibase CR200

Carnaval de Nice – Nice – France

Almost as good as new – Singapore Kite Festival

A couple of weeks back, we had a lovely weather for the week-end and by complete chance this was the Singapore Kite Festival. NTUC, which is a kind of local “Union”, organized this day out on the Marina Bay, right in front of my office, and their own nice office building.

So a lot of people, kids running around, kites, sun, colors, but also acrobats, jugglers, and much more. A perfect opportunity for a photo walk, and by the number of cameras around I was not the only one to have the idea.

In my current line of thinking that nobody cares if I miss or succeed in an individual shot, let’s try to make things a bit more fun and bring along a manual lens. Namely the very nice, 70-210F3.5 Angenieux zoom lens. This is a very nice piece of kit, made in France and still goes our second hand for a bi of money. I bough it second hand in Belgium back in 93 or 94 for the equivalent of then 500 EURO. It has a constant aperture of 3.5 which is fast enough with the auto-iso option of the D700. Using a manual lens with the D700 is very easy as you can either rely on our eyes or use the internal rangefinder. Using a digital body, if you miss a shot no bid deal, you can try again at no costs.

Just a couple of negative remarks:
– the Angenieux focuses the opposite was to the Nikon lens

– the infinite focusing does not seem to work well

– it looks to me that with manual lenses the D700 has a tendency to underexpose the shots…

  

Above: The waterdrops stilt walkers

Above: I like very much the colors and the “dark side”, pity the woman on the right is not totally in the frame.

 

Above: the wind garden, close, wide open
  

above: one of the pro kite flyers 

 

above: all ages gathering at Marina Bay this day

Above: one of the artists, a mime

 

Above: there was even a band playing

 

Above: A very funny juggler, unfortunately I have no outstanding shot of him.
 

The lens is now mounted on the Nikon F… (to be followed)

Almost as good as new – Singapore Kite Festival

The return of the Hi-Matic (2)

So the Minolta Hi-Matic 7s, is out of the box. I find out a suitable Duracell battery in my magic cupboard and a roll of TMax from the fridge and off we go. As I said elsewhere I am not a mass shouter, I picked up photography in the old days of film when we were taking one shot at a time because well it costs. I don’t care too much about the cost nowadays but still I kept the habit, so unless there is a special event it takes me a few weeks to shoot a full roll of film. This is something I like with the Hasselblad or 120 film cameras in general, 12 shots per film is pretty good for a week end if nothing special happens. Hey also remember that this is not digital so ISO is fixed; there’s just so much time in the day where you can use your camera. Back to the cost, 1 TMax = 8 SGD, processing 6.5 SGD, 4 bus rides to the shop 3 SGD = 17.5 SGD for a roll so 50 cents per shot; 4 shots per EURO.

We are the rrobots

A Robot in a toy store (N’gee Ann City, Orchard Road, Singapore), shot wide open (F1.8) probably 1/30s handheld

Shark Aid 2012

There is always something happening on Orchard Road, that day it was the Shark Aid 2012 campaign to save sharks from Shark Fin soup

Walter by Dwan Ng

This is WALTER: A Big Bunny by artist Dawn Ng, in front of SAM (Singapore Art Museum)

Low Kee Hong and Jeremiah Choy,

Singapore Arts festival 2012 presentation in Kinokuniya bookstore by Low Kee Hong and Jeremiah Choy, interesting and funny.

Shot wide open F1.8 at 1/30s handheld, a bit blurry… duh!

Ok that was funny, but I’m not  sure my practice of photography have made a big leap forward. I think I have to get rid of the leather case whose strap comes in the middle when framing vertically,  also the  shutter-release button is not that soft, you have to press it with some strength before it actually fire, causing some shake; very unlike my Leica M4.

The return of the Hi-Matic (2)