This is a set of pictures of the colorful public housing blocs situated on Circuit Road in Singapore.
Circuit road is accessible via Mc Pherson MRT, and is located in the east part of town, 20 minutes ride from Orchard Road.
This estate dates back from the early 1970’s and has recently received a face-lift, becoming the Lego or Mondrian estate. Apparently the “upgrade” as we say here was not only cosmetical as the area used to be a bit shabby from what I gathered.
The outing was organized by Low Che Eng from the “Lets Shoot Film SG” Facebook group. We were nearly a dozen freaks walking around the estate, with cameras ranging from various Leicas and medium formats to a view camera (Chamonix ?).
I carried around the Hasselblad 500CM and 80mmF2.8 loaded with a slightly expired roll of Portra 160vc (nearly two years I think) shot at 200iso and the Leica IIIc with the Voigtländer 21mmF4 loaded with a roll of Rollei retro 80s.
The film was processed at the usual lab and scanned at home with the Epson v800.
I did a bit of post processing in light room but even without it the film turned out quite well.
Finally meet a resident, this gentleman used to a be a guitarist at the raffles hotel back in the days where hotels had musicians and is now keeping fit in his old age. This is the last shot of the roll hence the slight issue on the top of the frame.
The hassie keep on having problems shooting 12 complete frames, but this time I got lucky.
I am trying to stay true to my promise to de-clutter the film box in the fridge and shoot some 120 film that sometime is expired for more than two years.
So I recently shot a not expired roll of Ilford FP4+ expiring in 2020 over a couple of Sundays walking around Singapore.
On this second shot, a happy groom on his stag day, it is obvious there are some white dots all over the picture. After discussion in the Facebook group “Lets Shoot film SG”. It appears this may be a problem caused by the backing paper of the film after being taken in and out of the fridge. Frankly I am a slow shooter so I am guilty of taking from the fridge more than I can chew and putting it back afterwards, but I cannot remember having seen this problem before.
I kind of understand this is more common with Ilford which I rarely shoot, that is not encouraging me to do more (I still have a roll in the fridge, damn )
Pearl Bank Apartments is an iconic housing block in Singapore cityscape, built in 1976, it what is referred as brutalist style (Although Landmark tower nearby is more pure brutalist), it has now been sold and is empty since the end of April 2019.
It will be demolished and the plot redeveloped ; this is the traditional buildings life-cycle in Singapore.
The white dot issue is also quite prominent on this shot
The friendly waiter was shot wide open at 1/60th handheld, explaining the slightly off focus.
All done with Hasselblad 500CM and Planar 80mmF2.8
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.
I always found the mix of photography and beach repulsive, the salty breeze, the sand that gets everywhere, hands oily with sunscreen, splashes and the odds of falling into the water,… so much things happening that you don;t want a camera, let alone your precious Leica mixed into.
Well I must say I am a bit fantasizing here, as an adult the experience of the beach is not necessarily the one I had when I grew up along the shore of the french riviera. A stroll along the water not involving leaving the camera on a beach towel or in a bag in the sun is now more common that is use to be, and if it is a day I intend to go for dip, I generally take a lesser camera (read MEDIUM FORMAT ON THE BEACH : “LE CABANON DE LA PLAGE” AND MORE)
The sea side always offer a special quality of light, that works particularly well in black and white.
Also it is an endless opportunity of activities, landscapes and man made constructions.
All shots with Leica M6 on Kodak TMAX400 (The shop ran out of TriX), the first three were taken with the Summicron 50 v5, the rest with the Summicron 28mm Asph v1. Shooting at 400 on this very bright morning means the lenses are completely stopped down and the shutter speed at 1/500s or 1/1000s, which may not be idea technically. My favorite film the TMAX100 would surely have been better, but…
As I am here, on the same roll of film were also some street shots taken in Bangkok on the say back from Hua Hin.
A young film photog with his Olympus pen, he also shoots medium format.
Below are four shots of the food hawkers around our hotel near Lumpini park.
A friendly and muscular worker along the Chao Phraya river near the Grand Palace
Finally below are two shots of worshipers inside the Grand Palace i think.
So here we go, back from Ruby here are some shots of the last roll of the year shot exclusively on the last day of the year. This was an initiative of Low Che Ng from the FB group Lets Shoot film SG.
I loaded a roll of Kodak Colorplus 200 in the Leica IIIc and Summaron 35mm F3.5. This has been my walkabout set for 2018 so it was justice that I used it for the last day of the year.
I am not posting all of the 38 shots of the roll; shooting a full roll on a single day on my own was a bit challenging, but good fun.( I did four shots of the view from my flat to finish the roll). So given the constraints here is my (wide) selection, not art mind you.
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.