Caffenol rebirth : week 3

I am pushing my luck by trying the my brew from two weeks ago again this Sunday.

First things first, shooting a bit of film. The weather is not improving and I did not had a chance to shoot much this past week. So this morning I loaded the old Agfa Isolette with a roll of Rollei 80s (my favourite film) and hit the road in direction of Arab street with a detour by Little India to finish the roll of Acros I processed last week.

The Agfa uncouple rangefinder is no longer working so distance are guestimated. I also use the EM-01 KEKS light meter.

For processing I used the two week sold Caffenol stored in a green bottle in the shade at ambient temperature (more or  less 28 C). I think it turned out quite well (5 minutes processing at 28 degrees, 30 second inversions then 3 inversions every minute). The negatives are of average thickness, maybe I could have added 30 seconds. The caffenol is now old and this is the 3rd film processed with this batch.

I made a fatal mistake by wiping the film with my kitchen towel, lot of dust I had to clone in Photoshop. I will have to find how to do this properly. The fixer is starting o have some deposit. Maybe it wont last after the next couple of films.

Plans for next roll is to start a new batch of caffenol to see if the process is repeatable.

Caffenol rebirth : week 3

Caffenol Rebirth : perseverare humanum est

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We roll models

So what happened since last post and the “Caffenol rebirth” ; well nothing much happened in town nor to myself, so I shot half a roll of Fuji Across, mostly Saturday

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Lonely dinner

Last Sunday I pour my Caffenol in a bottle of green glass (Perrier) and kept in just in case.

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Gelato

So tonight I was restless and I decide to give Caffenol another try.

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Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
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Time for a nap
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or catching up with th enews
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Chinatown is her catwalk

As I did not finish my roll, I opened the Leica M4 in the dark, fiddle a bit with the film and managed to cut a 1 cm lead for the rest of the roll and unload the 22 first shots from the camera. I then loaded it in the Paterson tank and proceed as last week.

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The lovely newly weds from China
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That way

Massive Development chart give me again 6’44 @ 28 deg, for 100 ISO Accross, the Tri-x was overcooked last week, but that was 400ISO, so I though that I should give it a try, but actually I emptied the tank at 6’14.

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Time for a trim
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Double ciggie break

The film is still dense, but can be seen through in normal light. Probably some of this is due to the coffee coloration (I can see if is brownish), so for the next 12 shost I will cut the time down by maybe another 30 or 45 seconds.

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Social distancing
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Orchard back-light

I kept the Caffenol again, I read you can keep for 6 or 8 weeks. Without being so extreme, if I can use one batch for my monthly shooting this changes the economics of it totally, at 2$ a roll this is a no brainer. Plus it is amazing to have all the products ready and go through the motion in about 45 minutes.

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My new fav model

Ok so now I’ve been through this roll what is the conclusion. It looks quite good for what it is, no reticulation, reasonable grain, the contrast is quite good.

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Walking in the sunshine

This was also measured using my new Keks EM01 ligh meter.

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A COVID hero back from work
Caffenol Rebirth : perseverare humanum est

CAFFENOL Re-birth.

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7 years after my last failed experiments I am back again toying with Caffenol to process my black and white film. Do not try to figure out why I do not use standard methods, I cannot myself.

This time again I have put all the odds against me, I found a box of 5 year expired Fomapan P fixer in the cupboard, I shot the Caffenol unfriendly Kodak Tri-X on the Leica IIIc with the unreliable Summitar 50 and the new Chinese meter offered by a friend (more on this later).

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The set-up

From my past experiments I have a kitchen scale and a Patterson cuve, and some weights to hold the film when drying. (I just had to buy a 4$ battery for the scale)

Testing the fixer

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I found this idea on the internet to test the fixer by taking a piece of unexposed film, I cut the lead of a new roll found in the box, and drop it in the fixer (not the developer just right into the fixer) and let it sit a few minutes : it should go totally clear if the fixer still work as they should. Mine did so I should be covered from that angle.

I used in the past a recipe for stand development, but today I will try the Caffenol-C-M, recipe, the first on the http://caffenol.blogspot.com website.

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Testing the developer :

I planned to test the developer with one of the following two test cases, but actually after discussing with my assistant (my son), we decided that anyway we will not be able to resist trying the film whatever the result of the test is. Anyway here are the test cases:

  1. Test 1: once again I cut the leader of a roll and drop one into your developer and let it sit a few minutes then drop in your fixer and let it sit for a few minutes. It should turn all black.(as this part is generally over exposed), advantage is that you can use the lead of the roll you want to process.
  2. Test 2: use a piece of unexposed film, say, a few frames from the beginning of a fresh roll and make sure it’s loaded in the dark. Process as you should, you should see the frame numbers and DX codes along the sprocket holes develop and the unexposed frames should develop to be clear.

 

The process:

The chemicals:

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For one liter the recipe is to mix in order :

54 grams of washing-soda (Harm Brand 8$ for 1 kg)
16 grams of Vitamine C ( crap from Guardian 13$)
40 grams of instant coffee (Netscafe Classic 10$)

Time and temperature

This is the difficult bit, the original recipe gives 15 minutes at 20 °C for 100 ISO film. Digi

tal truth ( https://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.php?doc=timetemp) helps converting this to my 28 deg average temperature for 6’44 @ 28 deg, for 100 ISO. ISO 400 should be shorter, but the same site gives you roughly the same duration. SO i settled for 7 minutes

Here we go

  • Pre-soak 5 minutes (this step is optional, but it is relaxing)
  • Pour the developer
  • Agitation first 30 seconds, then 3 times each minute.
  • Stop:

– Fill and invert the tank 5 times
– refill and invert the tank 10 times
– refill and invert the tank 20 times
– refill and invert the tank 30 times

  • Fix: 5 minutes
  • Rinse

– Fill and invert the tank 5 times
– refill and invert the tank 10 times
– refill and invert the tank 20 times
– refill and invert the tank 30 times with a drop of washing up soap

Results

  • the negatives are dense but images can be seen when back lighted and scanned with the Epson v800

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A few more samples

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Doggie goes for a walk
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Over the counter of the Japanese restaurant
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Hans Im Gluck birch trees

Where it goes wrong

The problem often reported for Caffenol is that the chemicals are not reliable, for instance, my coffee is a mix of Robusta and Arabica, where the active compound is more present in the robusta, so 100% robusta would be better. My Vitamin C contains sugar and flavoring which impact is hard to guess.

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Anything new?

Where to go from here

My film is over developed, so I already have some plans for the next roll : shorter time ( it was suggested to cut by 25%), or try the same recipe for a 100 ISO film, or cut the coffee.

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The ubiquitous Grab Food rider

Money wise

I can do 5 batches with my Vitamin C + coffee, with 2 films per batch. You probably have to factor in 0.5$ a roll for Fixer, 0.4$ for the soda, if you are discounting the water you will be around 3.5 to 4 $, definitely cheap. 5 rolls would cover the 7$ a roll I pay to the lab for processing, so if you like the result its worth trying.

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Kiss
CAFFENOL Re-birth.

The lock down roll

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Banana-ah-ah

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.

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Cooking for take away only

This is a roll of Kodak Tri-x shot with the Leica M6 classic and the Summicron 35mm Asph vII.

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Deserted hawker center

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.

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The masked shopper

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.

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The unmasked rider

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.

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The old style coffee shop

Of course life is full of encounters, an sometime you meet fellow Leica Shooters

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Another M6 with 50mm cron

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).

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The ubiquitous Grab food rider
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Hawker at work
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Tiger’s haunt
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The other unmasked rider

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.

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A well known Leica figure caught during his jogging (hard to resist)

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.

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Sorry ladies can you get out of my the view
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MBS in black and white

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.

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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.

 

The lock down roll

The last pre lock down roll is back

I collected yesterday my first roll in a long time. It was probably finished the first week of the lock-down in Singapore which was on 5th of April.

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This is an expired roll of Fuji Across shot with the Leica M6 and probably a mix of Summaron 35 and Summicron 28.

The roll is so so , maybe the roll is too expired maybe sitting on my drawer for 3 month was not a good idea, maybe I just mucked up the metering. Well there is a couple of fun shots. I put them as a slide show just to try.

 

The last pre lock down roll is back

Touring Singapore Chinatown with the 500CM

During the last outings of the Leica User Group Singapore (LUGS) of 2019, I had the good idea to carry the Hasselblad 500CM loaded with my favorite film: the Rollei Retro 80s

I love the range of grays and the profound black that this film can produce. This is not all art but a nice walk with friends at a time when this was possible. I put the full roll, no censorship and some edition in Lightroom. Film was was processed at the usual lab (Ruby Photo) and scanned at home of Epson v800.

 

Touring Singapore Chinatown with the 500CM

Around Arab Street with the Hasselblad

… and some friends from the HUGS (Hasselblad User Group Singapore), just before we could not hug anymore. A very small mid week post, 10 shot of a Rollei Superpan 200.

This is taken with a Hasselblad 500 CM with the Planar 80mm F2.8 CF, processed at my usual lab and scanned at home with the Epson v800, and edited in Lightroom. I don’t particularly like the Superpan, but I must admit it was OK on this occasion.

Around Arab Street with the Hasselblad

When humans were roaming the streets

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.

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Why did the bus move?

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.

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Not really a crowd

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.

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Resting

The roll of Polypan was given to me two years ago, and is probably expired, but shot at ISO 50 it still looks fine.

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Napping in back alleys will soon be a luxury

Shooting ISO 50 with a 3.5 max aperture lens in overcast light is a bit challenging.

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The careful walker
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Chinatown even had Caucasian tourists at that time

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Grab drivers at rest
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Mobile worship has no limit of race or religion

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Shades of grey on the old Polypan are amazing, so are the details.

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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.

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Ramming speed

The camera works superbly, and ISO 400 by the see on a bright day is plenty for the F10 plastic lens.

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Our captain

Even in the shadows as above, but it was screwed up at processing as you can see below.

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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.

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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.

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When humans were roaming the streets

The Nikon F3 gets out the closet

It seems to be a tradition to write about the F3 magically getting out for a spin (You can read the 2012 post ANOTHER OLD FELLOW BACK FROM THE MAGIC CUPBOAD – NIKON F3 ) the last picture I put on Flickr with this old fellow dates back from 2015 so it had time to gather dust inside the magic box. When I took it out the mirror foam was all gone but I have some spare foam, maybe a bit thick, so I replaced it in a 5 minutes. The 5 years old batteries were dead (not stored inside the camera), but I found some for 4$ at the convenience store of my condo. I fiddled a bit to find the correct direction for the batteries and of we go! The meter is metering and shutter is shutting. Attach the 50mm F1.4 AI-S, load a roll of H5 and lets roll.

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I will start with my favorite images, above two tourists wondering the streets of Chinatown, a rare hip-shot, I have not used a SLR for years i am not sure about using it for street shots.

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A friendly man in Karon (Phuket Thailand) building a new extension to the local temple (Wat Karon), he is molding cement Buddhist wheels to decorate the wall outside the building.

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Russian lady with a tambourine humming to Buddha while fiddling with her instrument I say : she a Shaman.

Okay so appart from these 3 shots that I really like, the rest of the roll is pretty good as you can see there after  (I spared you those of my family by the pool)

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First stop was in Singapore Chinatown, a few days before flying to Phuket, one of the reasons why I stopped using the F3 was because I keep on thinking it is not focusing properly. Indeed the distance on the lens always looks off compared to the actual distance. But the shots of this roll seems to prove otherwise.

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I used the original B screen (micro-prism) which is more difficult to focus than the split screen (model K  on top of my head).2020-11-F3-1-8

I have loaded a second roll now and will try to split screen on the second half of it just t try to assert where the issue is.

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Also I used the A mode for aperture, so the speed adjust automatically to the aperture you select. I never use it on the Leica, as I always found the speed to be too low and result in camera shake, but again it proved to work nicely here.

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Then we flew to Thailand for the week-end, which was the reason to resurrect the F3 ; I did not want to bring the M6 or the M262 to the beach. Oh but I did in Australia last year. Well OK, that’s just how it is.

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A rickshaw in front of our hotel, close focusing seems to work, I am not sure I actually focused on the horn, but that sounds (ha ha) realistic.

And off to the beach .

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Back light as the sunset if approaching the metering works great.

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Street / beach scene, another nice action by the F3 meter.

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Speeding in speedos.

 

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Back to USSR

On the next day we walk from our hotel to Katong center town, very bright light. All shots were done at F11 with 1/1000th. The shutter of the F3 is limited to 1/2000th so I could not use wider apertures with a 400 ISO film.

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Asoline ?

And we reach Wat Karon the local temple.

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Inside the temple we just missed the lunch of the monks , normally no later than 11am. Pity.2020-11-F3-1-262020-11-F3-1-32

From the seaside at Karon we took a taxi to visit Phuket Big Buddha,  a seated Maravija Buddha.

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It is big indeed, like 40 meters high.

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Here as well the light was very powerful, so maximum shutter speed and min apperture.

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Family praying the Big Buddha
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Another quite big statue at he back of the main one

I  spent 30 minutes at the shot yesterday discussing with other photogs of the potential focusing issue of my body. This roll seems to prove me wrong, but on the other hand most shots were done at very small apertures, so the focusing may not matter much.

A quick comparison with the M6 ? The F3 is slightly bigger, but just a sexy, the weight is probably very close, actually the M6 is 200 grams heavier. Both cameras have an integrated meter, but with slightly different methods, teh F3 is 80% center weighted the M6 is roughly spot metering, I actually quite like the exposure of the shots above.

The Nikon F3 gets out the closet

Thaipusam 2020 on film

Another long post, but I don’t fill like splitting this story up, hey that’s my third post about Thaipusam this year.

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The first Kavadi bearer

On arriving at Farrer park MRT, we met our first Kavadi bearer.

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Pots bearers

And then more devotees waiting for the traffic light.

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The little devotees

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And the older ones

Then when moving inside the temple the devotees are assembling the Kavadis

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or prepare their offerings

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While others use their phones to snap their friends.

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Looking proud
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Family and friends accompany the devotees.

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The drummer
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A member of a Chinese groups of devotees (and a friend of a friend)
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This one goes into a trance.

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Pictures above are taken Ilford HP5 shot at box speed, I used not to be a big fan of this film, but actually I am very satisfied with these results. The pictures after are done with the Kodak TMY 400, not exactly my usual Tri-X, but i generally quite like it.

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Actually I don’t see any difference, so I may shoot more of the cheaper HP5 going forward.

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Still osculating but looking more steady.

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Holly smoke

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One of the priests of the temple

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Preparation is everything

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All shots with Leica M6 Classic and most of them with the Summicron 35mm F2 AsphvII (the last version), processed at the usual lab (well dropped at Ruby and they get the usual guy do the work) and scanned at home with the Epson v800.

Thaipusam 2020 on film