2020 a year in film

The weather has been very bad in Singapore recently so I did not shoot anything since the first of Jan. Good opportunity for my usual reflective post on 2020. The COVID has of course reduced the photo opportunities this year, no travels since February, less local events. Anyway, I still managed to spend some time on my hobby : burn some film.

Camera #1 : Chau Long Market Hanoi one year ago

Below is a breakdown of my 52 roll in film types:

Row LabelsCount of Film No
Fuji Across8
Ilford HP5 Plus6
Rollei Retro 80s6
Kodak TRI X5
Ilford Delta 4004
Cinestill 800T3
Shanghai GP32
Ultrafine Xtreme 4002
Kodak TMY 4002
Polypan 502
Ilford hp52
Kodak Portra 4002
Kodak Ultramax1
Kodak Colorplus1
Ilford Delta 32001
Kodak Pro Image1
Kentmere 400 pan1
Fuji Neopan 4001
Ilford Pan F1
Rollei Superpan 2001
Film brandRolls
Ilford14
Kodak12
Fuji9
Rollei7
Cinestill3
Shanghai2
Ultrafine2
Polypan2
Kentmere1
Grand Total52

I mostly shot black and white again. Mostly because I converted to Caffenol in the middle of the year, and have now processed around 20 rolls using this method. I lost 4 rolls more of less in the process, but I have a good standard procedure now. I also bought a roll of HP5+. Both steps make me shot black and white film for a lot cheaper.

Camera #2 LeicaIIIc Arab Street Singapore

Ilford in getting to the top of the list this year, surpassing the usual Kodak. I think Kodak is very close only because of the color films. In term of black and white, Fuji is this year in front of Kodak. I bought some expired Acros 100 which gives super good results in Caffenol.

Below is the breakdown of cameras I used:

CamerasRolls
Leica M618
Leica IIIc10
Hasselblad 500CM7
Leica M46
Agfa Isolette III4
Nikon F34
Nikon F1
Heineken1
Minolta Himatic 7s1

No surprise the 3 Leica bodies and the Hasselblad are still trusting the top of the list. The M6 is really a picture making machine, actually I just had the joints redone and the crank fixed.

Camera #3 Hasselbad 500CM

I did not buy any new cameras this year still I made some nice additions to my kit. I bought a new Sekonic 308-X meter as the old one died, a friend offered me a Keks EM01 light meter, which fits on the cold shoe o fthe M4 or IIIc, a very nice add on.

Camera #4: Leica M4

I tried to fix the rangefinder of the Isolette III and managed to shot a few rolls with it, making it climb to the fifth rank.

Camera #5: Agfa Isolette III

Actually I bought a second body for parts which has a few issues, so I may play to fix it or send it for service.

Curiously I digged the Nikon F3 from the Nikon box (I have a Leica box, a Nikon box and a various box). I gad very pleasant results mostly with the 50mm F1.4AIS.

Camera #6: Nikon F3

Lugging a SLR around is not longer a pleasure and this guy is so beaten up that I am a bit ashamed to carry it in the streets, but amazing results this year.

Camera #6 : Nikon F Photomnic

I only shot one roll with the Nikon F, with the 50mmF1.4 Non AI, on Polypan 50. My two photomnic meters are no longer metering or I can t be bothered to buy new batteries to use them. Using the Sekonic is just as good.

Finally two rolls with the Minolta 7S, great performer, still flimsy and the underwater Heineken Camera whose housing is leaving his last days.

Also the nice discovery of the year is the Whampoa Color photo lab which does a great job for processing and scanning color films.

The first shot of the last roll of the week (Kodak Portra 160 slightly expired shot with Leica IIIc and Elmar 50F3.5)

2020 a year in film

Around Singapore in November 2020

A very quick post of shots done earlier this month on an expired roll of Kodak Portra 400 with the Leica M6 and the Summicron 35mm Asph v2.

The roll was processed and scanned at Whampoa Photo. I find the scanning job they do of equal quality (or better) than what I do myself, so no point wasting time. The first set above was done around Marina Bay, over a couple of different week ends, one being just before Halloween.

Second section comprise photos of Little India around Deepavali celebration and the first shot was in Chinatown during a meet up with fellow film photographers.

Third section contains some shot shots fort Siloso in Sentosa, and a couple of random shots from a walk around Newton.

Finally a shot of fellow film photographer from Japan who has been around in Singapore for quite a few years and always carry his two pristine Nikons F2. He will go home soon for good, so farewell.

This was roll number 42 of the year, and the 11th with the M6, I hop eyou enjoyed the ride.

Around Singapore in November 2020

Ultrafine Xtreme 400 in Caffenol Delta

Passer by with phone (Roll 43)

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.

The ubiquitous delivery man (Roll 43)

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.

Teo Hin Tyres (Roll 43)

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+.

Hang them high (Roll 43)

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.

Wrap me some of those, uncle (Roll 43)

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.

Deepavali shopping (Roll 43)

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.

Framed (Roll 44)

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.

Catwoman (Roll 44)

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.

A fish stall at Whampoa market (Roll 44)

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.

Saving the planet one tree at a time Whampoa (Roll 44)

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.

The newspapers stand – Whampoa market (Roll 44)

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.

Family visit to the temple (Roll 44)

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.

Chinatown Kueh Stoll (Roll 44)

Aperol Spritz (Roll 44)

My Delta recipe is as follows:

Caffenol C-MDelta
Water0.75
Washing Soda18
vitamin-C15
coffee32

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).

I hope you enjoyed the reading.

Ultrafine Xtreme 400 in Caffenol Delta

Money matters or the Caffenol break even

This is the roll number 40 of 2020, and the one for which I break even on my Caffenol investment. At 7$ per roll at the local lab, I am now breaking even on my dark bag, Vitamin C, Soda ash, Fixer and first batch of coffee.

October is a big period for Taoist faith, known as Nine Emperor Gods. I could not see any big ceremony, but its a good time to visit temples I never see before.

Ok I break even but I have finished my Nescafe so I have to get another pack, I will check the cheaper local brand for roughly 8$. Also I screwed up a few rolls (at least 4) so do I have to factor this is my cost as well?

Accordion

The picture above taken indoors has very nice tones I think. I am now using the Delta recipe and this roll was processed with a new batch, and turned out very fine. Not much dust to clone.

Finally 4 shots done during a stay-cation on the island of Sentosa. The island of fun seems a bit carceral at the moment with the beach being all locked down and some buildings in advances dereliction status.

All shots taken with Leica M6 and Summicron 35mm Asph V2. This is a 24 shots roll of a bulk Ilford HP5 that I handroll myself (I am really money conscious these day)

Money matters or the Caffenol break even

I am a full time barista

Here is a new post with a roll dating from a few weeks already. During a very long walk (12.5 km) where I carried both the Leica M4 and the Agfa Isolette. I posted already about the Agfa roll here https://waex99photo.wordpress.com/2020/09/27/when-the-coffee-is-good/

National Aerated Water Co Pte Ltd

The National Aerated Water Co Pte Ltd was the actual goal of my walk. I went there with public transport and walk my way back home via Marina Bay. The old factory is going to be part of a new development, but almost two years after my last visit this is still a work in progress.

Geylang Bahru industrial estate

This is the first time I pass by the Geylang Bahru industrial estate. It looks like a promising area, with small workshops, like here a Rattan Basket factory.

The indian master saloon.

Heading down into town towards Boon Keng MRT, is a very lively areas

I am nearly a full time barista because this is another roll processed in Caffenol. As the Agfa one it turned out very fine with the new Vitamin C. This is a roll of Ilford Delta 400 by the way.

She had a spring in her steps

The roll was shot with the Elmar 50 mm F3.5 on the Leica M4.

I took a close up on this little paper flag used for prayers or offerings and I am very pleased on the sharpness and overall rendering.

Opposite Jalan Besar stadium are a few workshops creating tarpaulins. I made many shots over the years but this is one off the best.

Vietnam the world tour mural

Opposite Jalan Besar food center the mural is still there, read more about this amazing work there http://vietnamtheworldtour.com/

Moving Ladder

Following are a few portraits in Haji Lane / Arab Street area.

Finally in front of the Marina Bay Sands Apple shop, with fellow film shooter Anthony and his Mamiya Press.

The shop below, shot with the 21mmF4 Voigtlangder.

I hope you enjoyed the trip.

I am a full time barista

The Hakka Cemetery

I wanted to visit this place for a very long time : a cemetery enclosed in a housing block is the west of Singapore city center.

Hakka, are a Chinese population originating from the eastern part of Hunan, you can read more on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hakka_people. They form about 8% of the Chinese population of Singapore.

The cemetery is home to about 3000 graves, below which urns of ashes are buried. Unlucky for me the place was closed when I reached there after a 40 minutes bus ride. I could still make a few shots, but there seems to be some very interesting views to catch so I will try to go back at a better time.

The Ying Fo Fui Kun cemetery as it is known, is part of a heritage trail that looks promising, I will dig into that in the near future. You can find further reading here https://lionraw.com/2014/03/18/the-hakka-cemetery/

Today’s pictures where taken on Ilford Pan F 50ISO film with the Hasselblad 500cm and 80mm F2.8. They were processed soon after in Caffenol using the batch I prepared last week, then scanned with the Epson v800. I had 3 shots left when leaving the cemetery, so I head back in town. I made a first stop at Tiong Bahru at QiTian Gong temple. It s the 100’s birthday of the temple this year and it has been renovated, but due to the Covid there are no celebrations this year. You can find pictures of past ceremonies there :

https://waex99photo.wordpress.com/2016/09/17/tiong-bahru-qi-tian-gong-temple/

or

https://waex99photo.wordpress.com/2016/09/17/tiong-bahru-qi-tian-gong-temple/

After this I head to the old railway station which is under work (no idea what is suppose to happen to it in the future) and finally to the small Hock Teck See Temple, a small Taoist temple surrounded by construction sites.

I hope you enjoyed the reading …

The Hakka Cemetery

A rainy sunday morning

Patience

I am not sure if we are officially in the rainy season but we are definitely heading for it. After a very wet bike ride Saturday morning, I joined some fellow photographers last Sunday. What started as a very cloudy morning ended being very wet as well.

China square

I went armed with the Leica IIIc now paired with the Elmar 50mmF3.5, and as it was rainy I loaded a roll of Shanghai GP3 400. This is supposed to be a new film, I could not find much information on the web.

Sam at the Kopitiam

We spend quite a while at the Kopitiam close to Circular road waiting for the rain to stop

The wild bunch

Finally we set out as the rain stopped and walked around the area.

If you read so far and wonder what happened to the pictures, I will inform you that I am currently in a Caffenol frenzy and my process is currently not working so well after some initial success.

Slowly the city wakes up

My last roll was a disaster (you can read here ), this one is quite close, I have made steps to improve my process thought:

  • I have invested in a changing bag
  • I bought some proper fixer (the images on this post are relatively clean)
  • I learned to bleach my spirals to help loading the film ( it is a breeze now)
  • I realized that my recipe was for 1 liter but my bottle was 0.75 so I reduced the doses of chemicals
  • and I ordered some pure vitamin C to have a more predictable result (but I don’t have it yet)

So the result is crap, but I scan still make a post with it : yeah! Ok there is no information anywhere on this film, left alone about Caffenol processing. I processed 5’50” at 28 degrees. As it’s over cooked I reduce by one minute this morning for my film of this week and … its not developed at all. I am a bit clueless.

Many take away from Lucky Cafe some years ago

As usual there is no lesson, lets do better next time. Maybe go back to 100 ISO films. Or start cooling the developer.

After the party
Good bye (Cruel world)
A rainy sunday morning

When its so bad it s almost good

Today’s roll of film has been perfectly ruined, the experience showing that I am not yet the master of Caffenol.

Busy

This was a roll of Fuji Across 100, shot with the Leica M6 and a mix of Summicron 50mm and then my “new” Elmar 50.

I processed the roll with my second batch of Caffenol which is now 4 weeks old, and my dodgy Fomapan fix expired for 5 years and used for the 9th roll. A recipie for disaster you call it. The only new variable on the batch of Caffenol was the addition of table salt to act as restrainer for higher ISO films, could this cause the problems seen here? It did not seem to improve the processing of the Ilford Delta 400, so I wont try it again.

I decided not to clean the negs in photoshop, but just to enjoy the artistic look after the usual adjustement. I have a mixed feeling, because the processing looks to be working quite well, the quality of the greys and finesse of the grain below is just great to my taste.

Marina Barrage

Finally the Elmar is working just fine, focusing and all seems good as you can check below. This is a great addition for my LTM kit, lets check the next roll.

Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple

Dont worry I have taken good resoltutions: I binned both the Caffnol and the Fixer and will shop for some new fixer this week. I also ordered some pure ascorbic acid to replace my lemon flavoured vitamine pills.

A mundane shot to show of the Elmar quality

On this note I whish you a good week, happy shooting and maybe next week a good roll for a change?

When its so bad it s almost good

The Social Kitchen at Orchard YMCA

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.

The Social Kitchen at Orchard YMCA

Walking around with color film

A quick post about last two weeks walking around with the Leica M6 loaded with a roll of Kodak ProImage 100 and paired with a Summicron 50mm V.

This is a bit awkward in the middle of my Caffenol frenzy, but it helps changing perspective. Also I brought the film to Whampoa Photo, and the scanning is very nice. I usually scan myself, but that time I decide to give it a try and the result is surprisingly good.

Walking around with color film