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.
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.
We spend quite a while at the Kopitiam close to Circular road waiting for the rain to stop
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.
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.
As usual there is no lesson, lets do better next time. Maybe go back to 100 ISO films. Or start cooling the developer.
The title of today’s post is a trap. It should be called Caffenol week 6, but it starts to be boring. Saturday I finished a roll of Ilford Delta 400, and processed it as soon as I was back home.
This is my second brew that I kept from last week. I have been careful today to limit the time of processing to 5 minutes at 28 degrees, plus 10 seconds for pouring out.
The negatives are still a bit thick but on the better side I would say. I also filtered my fixer before using it. As a result I have very few crap on the film.
Another innovation this week is that I cut the roll in two before processing to squeegee. Less chance to scratch by carrying dust over with my fingers, less residual water at the bottom of the film. Unfortunately I did not count he frames so I ended up with an odd number of strips.
The result : this is my best Caffenol film of these past 6 weeks. I must say it is the best film altogether and choosing a small number of shots from it was difficult.
But back to the processing, there was very little dust on the film, and I did only minimal spot cloning in light-room after processing. I also added 1 more minute to the fixing time, this is the 7th roll with the fixer (It should do 17), it cannot harm.
This is shot again with the Leica IIIc, but with the Summaron 35mmF3.5, which is quite a sharp lens. I measured the light with the handheld Sekonic L-308-s, and used my 35mm Leica finder. The finder shoe was bent during my last move and I think the shot above really shows it.
The first three shots were taken around Chinatown last week, while the next three where taken around Marina Bay, where I met some friends by complete fluke. Friends are great picture subjects, lets remember this.
Saturday morning I met some fellow shutterbugs in Haji Lane. The two frames above were shot in a kind of artsy enclave where a lot of murals can be found.
The area is far less crowed than usual, but its still a busy place in the morning, with deliveries for local businesses, people having coffee or photographers bringing models to shoot with the colorful area as a backdrop.
We hijacked the model above, thanks, thanks, one shot and we move, my camera is so old, anyway.
We have entered the 7th month of the Chinese new year and offerings are appearing outside maybe businesses.
Processing film at home is a funny activity, actually it is a very modern one, inline with instant self rewarding of Instagram and phone-o-graphy.
So after 4 weeks wit the same brew, I decided it was time for fresh coffee. I followed the same recipe but added some table salt, which is supposed to limit the fogging on the negative, specially for high speed film like the Ilford Delta 400.
I prepared the mix Sunday afternoon to be ready for processing in the evening, but actually I could not wait and loaded the finished roll I had in an improvised dark cupboard.
I realized that my expired fixer is now all grey and contains a lot of flocculation. I try not to poor the deposit in the tank, but did not think of filtering. I fixed for the usual 5 minutes. Then I filtered the fixer back in the bottle.
It looked the film was fixed properly but there is some deposit in places. Next time I will filter before pouring and extend the fixing time just to be safe.
So I used the new mix at 28 degrees for a bit more than 5 minutes. The result is OK, but I would say a bit over done. I cannot tell if the table salt had any effect (I put 10g for a litter of Caffenol).
This time I managed to squeegee the water from the film without leaving dust or hair and let dry in the bathroom. The negatives are thick but scanned ok as you can see. There are some marks due to the residuals of the fixer I think.
So this is a roll of Ilford Delta 400, supposed to be a fine grain film (compared to HP5), a bit cheaper than the usual TriX. The film lacks a bit of contrast in my opinion.
This was shot with the Leica IIIC and Voigtländer 21mm F4. With the 21mm the subject is always so far away.
Unless you come very close
In which case you make friends, or at least you have to engage.
I engaged the social distancing ambassadors, as I think they deserve to be remembered for their service to the community and that hopefully one day they will only be memories and we will look back at this picture to make sure this was not just a dream.
The shots around Marina bay were made by a very bright day and some are done at higher speeds for which I suspect the Leica III to be a bit lazy, hence the mild darker right side (or brighter left).
I included a few more shots back to my usual habit of burning film randomly.
I am still not so good at hip shooting, it seems I constantly aim too high. Luckily I realized I am not the only one.
I am a bit better at pre-focusing and aiming from the eye level. Particularly with my VC 21-25mm finder.
I hope you enjoyed the reading. The next roll is not very far away.
Regular readers already know the Leice IIIc is my go to camera when I just walk around without goals. This roll was loaded at the end of a supposed Hasselblad walk with the Hasselblad User Group Singaore (HUGS).
This is a roll of cheap Kodak Color Plus. I shot a few of them so far, and I think it is good enough when you have no special goal.
This is quite an easy film to scan, the ISO 200 is quite convenient for color street shots on a nice day.
Walking from Bugis and Waterloo street area, the weather was beautiful, and I think the colors are very nice, vivid enough but not over saturated.
That day I had the Voigtlander 21mmF4 mounted on the Leica IIIc, and as above and below I think it realy renders movement very nicely.
The colors on the next two shots are outstanding, but light was exceptional too.
Of course sometime as above the 21mm gives a bit too much negative space.
Over this last year I shot a lot of with the 21 VC and I like it a lot. On the negative side I would say that sometimes it gives a very crisp and modern look to the pictures you may or may not like.
From this point the pictures are taken with the vintage Summaron 35F3.5. They are mostly taken in the afternoon where the light if not as good.
I also think the Summaron is an excelled lens. 35mm is a lot more manageable than 21, but I also have a 35mm finder,
The above is taken inside the National Design Museum, but there was plenty of light.
I don t realy know the relationship between the expo and Kraftwerk, but…
Film is scanned at home with Epson v800, I do a bit of colour and exposure correction in Light-room .
This is one of the last rolls of 2019, finished on the 31st December morning.
It is a Kodak Portra 400, shot with the Sumaron 35mm F3.5 lens on the Leica IIIc.
As usual I shot the roll over two weeks, I was lucky on the first day to stumble upon a ceremony at Hong San See temple around the corner, where deities coming from China to be worshiped here were sent back home by the lion head lorry. A few moments later I went to Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple in Chinatown for a the temple consecration ceremony after its renovation.
December is a wet month in Singapore, umbrellas are out (and colorful).
Pre-Christmas the Orchard road shopping area was busy.
At the “wings” watering hole in Clark quay I finally managed a decent picture of girls in uniform. I just printed it for them, to give away next time I walk by. This was shot wide open at 1/60 or 1/30.
The newly opened Funan mall with its climbing wall is just around the famous Peninsula shopping center with its many cameras shop and my fav lab.
I like the Portra for many reasons, I think it is very good for shots as above with muted colors.
Christmas is also an opportunity to visit churches for office or to watch the Christmas cribs.
Finally on the 31st of Dec, I carried the M4 along, to finish the roll. This was to Chinatown again with a group of photographers. Weather was just great.
I must say I also love the Portra for its saturated colors.
All shots, Leica IIIC, with the Summaron 35mmF3.5 LTM lens and assorted 35mm Viewfinder. Kodak Portra 400
Scanned at home with Epson v800
Dropped for processing at Ruby Photo (not sure who does the actual processing)
This is my third post about the Polypan 50 and thanks to my friend Felix who is always eager to feed me some more this is probably the 10th roll I have shot.
This roll is a bit old and traveled in and out of the fridge a few time, also Felix warned me about the first two frames to generally better be avoided. Finally the film is quite thin and this may result in a bit of struggle when loading the film on the reel. so one or two early
So this particular roll I decided to shoot with the Leica IIIc and the Color Skopar 21mm. I am still trying hard to love this lens and the camera looks super good with the VC finder I bought last summer.
At this point I have small problem because I am not really able to guesstimate the light and I have relied on my Sekonic 308, that i bought new in 2010 with my first Leica. The little fellow is now more dead than alive, draining batteries like hell and giving random measures. So after the first half of the film I decided to go the the shop and get a new light-meter. To cut it short I bough the same one, lets hope it last as long.
So this is a recipe for disaster, a slow film, an old camera, and a slow lens. Luckily last Saturday the weather was nice when I hit Chinatown and came across Felix of course.
I am not a big theoretician, but what i like with the 21mm is the dynamic it gives to (rather mundane) pictures where people are moving like above or below.
Chinatown is also the opportunity to catch again and again the old folks playing Chinese checkers or chess. Some slow action going on, so speed can be lessen, perfect for my set-up.
Another obvious thing with the 21 : you need to be close to your subject. How close is close? Probably all the pictures in this post are done between 2 and 4 meters ; the one below more like 1 meter.
And finally a bit more panning for that young lady.
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.
A small write up today, and I will avoid the temptation to make another complete roll review (although in fairness I was tempted).
The flea market that use to seat in Sungei Road east of the city center has been closed for building a MRT (the local term for underground). What used to be coined as the “thieves market” has slowly moved to Chinatown in the heard of the city.
I am not sure what the authorities think of it, but here is another attraction in one of the tourist hubs of the Lion-city. These guys sell mostly old junk, and it’s rare you will find anything you might want to bargain for … actually as odd as it seems I bought for 2$ a record of Industrial Music, and one of the sellers (not sure how to call them) actually has a few interesting cameras.
You will find old watches and Buddhist artifacts and amulets, and for the rest … you’ll see for yourself.
Sure this will come a popular spot for street photography.
The 4 shots above were taken in a rainy afternoon, with Ultrafine Xtreme 400 iso with the Leica IIIc and the Summaron 35mmF3.5, probably 1/60 second and f3.5.
As I am here I also add as a bonus three earlier shots done on the same film with the Leica M4 and teh modern Summicron 50mm v5.
Hello, today a little pointless exercise consisting in reviewing the shots of an entire roll. You will see below keepers in a larger size that the dismissed shots.
I loaded the roll during the LUGS (Leica User Group Singapore) outing in Little India last month inside Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. This is always a good place for shooting.
Lesson from the first frame: always skip the first 1 or 2 frames, otherwise in the unlikely event you like the shot, it may be half burned.
It is quite rare that I shoot color films with the IIIc, actually I mostly shot Black and white film anyway, I feel very restricted by color film, I generally prefer to shoot digital for color.
So far no shot is great, maybe number 5 is ok, street activity, a bit of the documentary style, probably ok technically. I like the color of the Ektar for “street” photos.
There are many mural in little India now, this one is in a back alley, it is not so great , or maybe too much. The shot is quite bad, not sure its even in focus.
Probably an Indian actor, the first good shot, nice color. Taken bottom up with the 35mm, the vertical line are of course not straight, but that’s the name of the game.
Not as good.
Ok you get that it it about the plight of people making a leaving from urban scraps. Not such an uncommon sight in Singapore. Informative, but not necessarily a great pic.
I would find that picture quite uninteresting, but technically ok; color-wise it is another chance for the Ektar to rock.
Leaving Chinatown and moving toward city center, two visions of hotel 81 in Jalan Besar.
Second shot is better exposed an less traffic in the middle. Roughly ok, The Art Deco building is attractive, but not overwhelming.
In the street with a camera in hand it is tempting to catch passers by, in particular if they are charming.
Too far, would you even have noticed her?
Motion blur, Out of focus, bad framing.
Maybe yes, maybe not, that was just a try.
The same afternoon I walked into Chinatown
Quite a bad pic, maybe OOF ? Shame. I thinks it’s also not Ceno2’s best mural.
The two commercial buildings are quite ok, I would be happy to show the second one, the colors and details are good to my taste, and the composition not so bad.
Second version is probably an ok street shot, movement, color and overall an umbrella.
Buddha tooth relic temple, one random shot
I tough the light was great and worth capturing
I quite like this one, unusual.
Another random shot, not great angle, too far, not showing much.
Ok ok we can try.
Next great spot is the Merlion Park, it is always endless fun shooting people taking selfies there.
It would have work with better light, the subject here is a bit lost in the background.
This one is really random.
Something was going on, but it was not the right moment yet.
I think that one is ok, just average but ok. Nice light, funny pause and all.
Nothing easier to ask somebody who pause if you can also take a shot. Too contrasty but probably OK.
These three Muslim ladies remind me of the good fairies in Walt Disney’s Cinderella. They were very happy to oblige. I like he colorful bags, maybe a second closer shot without the bags would have been a nice complement.
The new building on Beach Road in the evening light. Nice tourist shot.
Finally the next 5 shots were taken during the next LUGS outing in Tiong Bahru, on my birthday.
Ok I think I took enough fish stalls so far not to call this one a keeper.
I would keep this one, framing is nicer, action is clear. technically I think it’s ok, may need to be overexposed a little bit.
The lens was attracted by the lady in the center, but one week later it does not look like it is enough.
So where am I a the end of the exercise? I managed to shot 36 and half frames on this roll, all exposed properly and focused reasonably well (two are debatable), the only thing you can take from this is that my IIIC works reasonably well and, probably, produces a comparable result to a modern camera. One picture out of three, I will probably share on one of the Facebook groups I partake in. Real keepers (going on Flickr), will be “Working Class Hero“, “Strangers with brolly“, “the three good fairies“, maybe the “Other fish stall“.
At this point in time he Leica IIIc is my favorite 35mm film camera : it is small and sexy and over the time it get slightly improved : by the addition of the a 35mm Summaron (f3.5), then by the one of a 35mm finder. I always dismissed the 35 finders as being not useful, but in the end this accessory proved very good for composition. Over the years I had the curtain changed, there is still a a small defect when shooting at fast speeds, the right side exposure is a bit under exposed, but it looks like using it more often, at least one roll a month, it seems to be less obvious.
Hope you enjoyed the reading and viewing, to later
During my trip to Melbourne where I discover the FilmNeverDie shop, I bought a couple of rolls of their SHIROKURO but also one roll of JCH StreetPan 400 film (why only one?)! I am always looking forward to try new or uncommon films, this is part of the magic of chemistry of film photography, to make me expected something new and exciting that does not depend on my technical skills (if I have any) to happen on the roll.
You can find the announcement of the film and read more about it there.
This does not look to be a re-branded film as the negs have the mention JCH.
This is not a technical review, I am by noway an expert, I understand that pan chromatic does not mean much other than a reproduction similar to human eye. Not sure what this means for black and white. This film is supposed to have a higher sensibility to red and a low grain.
I loaded the roll in the newly repaired Leica IIIc, and the following shots are done during Chinese new year in Singapore using a Summitar 50mmf2 lens. The Summitar is a bit back focusing so this is probably not a proper set-up to judge the quality of the film, but I have a soft spot for the IIIc.
Exposure is measured with a handheld Sekonic 308s lighmeter.
This picture is shot under a red tent and gives for interesting palette of grey, probably due to the sensitivity to red.
For those who wonder, this was processed by the usual lab used by Ruby photo, no idea what chemical they use.
The grain is actually quite controlled, and the sharpness, if you keep in mind this is shot with a vintage soft lens, is quite good. I am not a big fan of high grain film like the TriX (although I use it a lot), and always preferred the soft TMAX100 or Fuji Acros
Actually the contrast is quite smooth, unlike the Rollei Retro 400s I used recently, so for higher contrast scenes it gives nice gradation of grey.
Even this night shot with back-light could be salvaged and give a nice rendering.
All in all this is quite a satisfying experience, if I manage to get more rolls they’l deserve to be shot with a better camera like the M6 or the “never-fail” EOS 1N.
JCH has sold all his stock, so only retailers will have some rolls now, until more are produced. I don’t think anybody has some in Singapore but you can find a list of suppliers on the JCH web-site.