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.
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.
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.
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+.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My Delta recipe is as follows:
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).
As per my recent post Saturday was Thaipusam ; Thaipusam is a Hindu ceremony to honor the lord Ram. In Singapore devotee carry burdens and pierce their flesh and walk a 4 km procession to thank the god or ask for a wish to be granted. Most devotees do it every year.I was loosely leading a small group of buddy photographers this year as Thaipusam is a great photography opportunity. Participants are very open, there are colors, action and emotions.
The procession has started at 7pm last night, and when we get at Farrer park MRT devotees are already walking along Sernagoon road, pulling or carrying their burden.
The most interesting part for me is getting inside the temple and assisting to the preparations.
The devotee above will carry a Kavadi.
The preparation starts with offerings as above.
Kavadi carriers often have chains or pots attached to their flesh , or spears as below.
Other devotees like the group below are carrying posts of milk along the pilgrimage road,
This guys is fainting of having trance.
This is the second year I see the man below.
After the Kavadi is set-up the cheeks and tong are pierced.
You can see fire, smoke and photographers (my friend Matte above)
Each devotee is accompanied by friends and family, giving a warm atmosphere of community, support, friendship.
On the way out many of the Kavadi bearers will dance before leaving the temple. This is a very impressive feat, I tried to capture this using a slow shutter speed.
The group below is one of the two groups of Chinese devotees I met over the years.
I was able to show them a picture of 2013.
Below is the other Chinese Kavadi bearer.
Thaipusam is a great opportunity to take pictures of members of the public as below.
Finally I got to Tank road temple for a few last picture. This is a great place to see the devotees getting rid of their Kavadi and piercings.
And for a final picture this man finally arrived looking grateful to his big friend (very big) who is taking care of him.
All these shots with Leica M262 and either Summilux 50mm v2, Summicron 35mm Asph v2, Elmarit 90mm F2.8 Oh I also had the M6 body and shot 2 rolls ; be ready for another post next week.
The city is one of the most sacred places in Sikhism, it is a big hour drive from Chandigarh.
The main Gurudwara is situated on a hill, you walk up from the parking.
It is quite beautiful and offers a great view on the surrounding area.
This place receives a lot of pilgrims as it is the place where the last two Sikh Gurus lived, so it is quite interesting to see the infrastructure. Below a hall were pilgrims can rest.
And below a young Sikh guarding the guesthouse for pilgrims (we unfortunately could not visit one).
The communal kitchen of this Gurudwara is also hudge. They have big pots.
In the kitchen he lady below started singing while making chapatis.
Finally a good shot of the chapati making machine:
Next we walked to a nearby temple with a sacred well a hundred stairs below ground.
From the outside there is a beautiful view on the Virasat-e-Khalsa, the museum of Punjab and Sikhism.
This museum is very well done, interesting and didactic, although it may sound a bit propagandist or proselyte , it gives a lot of information on the history of Punjab and Sikhism. I think it is a must do, to help memorize or clarify the things we learned through our trip.
So here we are on the last day of our trip, on the road to visit the Capitol Complex; the heart of Chandigarh, designed (partially) by Le Corbusier in the late 1950’s. An ode to modernist architecture that we have been longing to visit for years.
Well not quite; aside from the bad planning (in my own opinion) of our travel agent, visiting Chandigarh is a bit more complicated than we thought. So apart from the 3 sites cited in my last post, there is nothing organised to visit the habitations buildings and finally you have to go through a guided tour to visit the Capitol Complex.
This is not quite all : the two main buildings on the Capitol, the High court and the Assembly are in use (why should they not be after all?). So you cannot enter the High Court and you are lucky (we were) to enter the Assembly ( but no photos inside).
Add bye the time the guide assembled the small crowd of tourists we started our visit by mid morning, time was starting to be short and the light was quite bad for taking pictures.
As you can see above the high court is in use with layers in their work outfits.
In the opposite site of the plaza from the Hight court, the Palace of Assembly has a better lighting. It is overseeing a large pond and offers a spectacular view.
The holes in the front walls give nice perspectives and see through views.
Patterns on the assembly walls, reminding that man is the scale of the construction.
Getting out of the Assembly House the inevitable Ambassador car, now a civil servant official car, which used to be common taxis.
Our visit was accompanied by Mister Mohan, from the tourist Police who turned out to be a friendly person.
A few more things:
For the habitations buildings there are no restrictions to go and visit them, ask inhabitants,… we met some passionate french people who were spending a full week there. But Chandigarh is a big city so you better plan for what you want to see.
You can “pass by” on a road at the back of the Open Hand monument, in a certain distance, without getting into a tour and then be able to take picture at better moments (I did not)
The tour of the Capitol Complex is a bit rushed through, you are not welcome to wander around or take too long with your photography nonsense,
You do not see on the pictures, the parking lots, the vans, the 20 Spanish tourists of our tour, the barriers,…
How did I manage to take so poor pictures of a site I longed to visit for decades? It shows (if needed) that some skills need working on.
Camera geekerry : color shots Leica M262, black and while Leica M6, Summicron 28 and Summicron 50
Patiala looks to be a very interesting place, but we had little time to hang around. We try to visit the two palaces but both were under renovation and although we were allowed to the grounds in both (many thanks to our guide), I was denied using my camera. The first palace was a residence for the maharajah and his many spouses; the buildings we could see are set around a very large pond. It is located in a residential area on the town outskirts.
The second palace, Qila Mubarak, is located in the heart if the city, it is normally hosting a museum which was closed at the time of our visit (Oct 2017) and the building also under renovation. This is an incredibly big compound to be located in a city center. There is a fort behind the main buildings and more buildings behind the fort. No pictures available unfortunately.
We then start our drive to Chandigarh through the busy city streets and then on the very good roads off Punjab. Chandigarh is only 70 km away, but with a few stops, we got there in about 4 hours.
The main stop was in Sirhind-Fategarh, the Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib there is famous as it is the place where younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh, who were bricked-up alive in 1704 by Wazir Khan and a place to commemorate the memory of the brave Sikhs who were killed while fighting with Mughal forces.
Outside the Gurdwara itself is a shop for religious artifacts where I finally decided to satisfy my long lasting envy to buy a Kara (a Sikh bangle). After a long debate we decided to by one each (ok my wife wanted two) and to our great surprise the shop keeper refused us to pay for them and offered them as presents. Another sign of the great Sikh hospitality and friendliness.
Next to the main Gurdwara is another one, where we met the guy in charge (below). Very happy to talk about his religion; probably on of the first guys we could exchange in English.
Not far from this site is a Mosque, which is supposed to be linked to friendly Muslim people at the time of the war with the mughals. The complex is very nice and spacious. Not all places are allowed for women to visit and photography is a bit more limited than in the Gurdwaras.
The basement of the main building above contains the tombs of some saints where people come to make offerings.
Back on the road again, our guide stopped us by one of the many places where a few men where boiling some sugar cane to make some solid sugar.
We tasted the sweets and pack-up after a little while and finally made it to Chandigarh.
Quite a different athmosphere from GURDWARA DUKH NIWARAN SAHIB when crossing the city we came upon the “Kali Mata Mandir” the “Black mother temple”.
This beautiful temple is said to be very popular and we preferred to visit it in daytime, before the crowd.
Devotees are already coming to offer they prayers and ask for the blessings of the black mother. With a bit of discussion with the priest I was allowed to take a couple of pictures of the Divine Mother Kali and the priests (The statue was brought back from Bengal in the 1900’s)
The Kali shrine opens towards the outside of the compound; through it you enter a courtyard surrounding the temple below.
At the back of Kali shrine is another shrine of what I believe being the goddess Jyoti; the Hindu goddess of light and the “Vel”. She is the daughter of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and is closely associated with her brother Lord Murugan .
People of the temple are collecting offerings for various causes. I gave some rupees I had left for one of them, although I am not sure what it is for.
I had none for the next ones which were a bit unhappy about the fact.
The part if the temple below contains an older Shiva temple that opens once a year only, an old local gentleman told us he visited it only once in his life.
Finally we found a group playing music and singing in the temple hall; I cannot tell if they were playing for the gods or rehearsing for later ceremony, but they seemed to be very please of our short attendance.
The Gurdwara dukh Niwaran Sahib is situated in the north part of the city of Patiala in Punjab, 80 km from Chandigarh.
It is the place where Guru Tegh Bahadur came to rid the by then village of a serious and mysterious sickness which had been their bane for a long time. The place where Guru Tegh Bahadur had sat under a banyan tree by the side of a pond came to be known as Dukh Nivaran (meaning eradicator of suffering). Devotees have faith in the healing qualities of water in the sarovar (pond) attached to the shrine.
We were very lucky when arriving there late afternoon, as the Gurdwara was preparing for a celebration the next day. Plenty of people where gathering already some very colorful as the young Sikh above. Or the older gentlemen in the following pictures.
The gentlemen on the right was here with his family and used to live in what is now Pakistan before India’s partition in 1948.
I always enjoy seeing people working; here partaking in the cleaning and preparation of the next day ceremony.
We skipped visiting the kitchen this time.
All shots above Leica M262+Summicron 28/50
Below are some film shots, Leica M6, the other summicron, and Kodak TMY 400
The Phul or Phool cinema is a theater in Patiala in Punjab.
It is an impressive Art Deco building erected in a rather large compound in a rather busy traffic junction in the city.
I first spot it from the car when we passed by, and as we were having some samosas on the other side of the road I could not resist to cross the junction for a closer look.
India the (other) land of cinema! Our guide discussed with a man that looks to be the guardian or operator or both of the cinema and he happily showed us around. The art deco fixtures are beautiful. Not only could we see the entrance, but also the upstairs foyer and the projection room.
The old projectors are now at rest replaced by a digital device. We could even peep into the room where Judwaa 2 was showing.
The highlight of the visit was when our host (below) showed us to the top of the building.
Thank you very much sir for the visit.
All shots in very poor light with Leica M262 and Summicron 50mm. I did not wand to loose time changing lens, but the the view of the roof top with the moon and the projectors view would have benefit from a wider lens. For the poor light, I have to consider if a faster would help. Maybe a 35Lux sometime?
I am just printing the portrait above and posting it to the cinema today.
Gurdwara Ber Sahib is situated in the Sultanpur lodhi town of Kapurthala Distt.
It is situated on the bank of the rivulet Kali Bein, half a kilometre to the west of the old town; Guru Nanak performed his morning ablutions in the Bein and then sat under a Ber (Zizyphus jujuba) tree to meditate.
Guru Ji meditated at this tree daily for 14 years, nine months and 13 days. While Bathing here one day in Bein River Guru Sahib disappeared and was missing and returned after three days. Upon returning enlightned Guru began his life long mission of preaching Sikhism. (http://www.sikhiwiki.org)
I was most impressed by the pond, the contrast of its green color and the white stones around under the harsh midday sun. The black fish adding to the scenery, but I am afraid I did not manage to capture it properly.
As in every Gurdwara, we had to visit the langar hall, which was quite empty at that time. But being one of the most sacred place for Sikh it is quite big and can host quite a crowd.
The man poured us some massala tea with the device below; which is quite a clever invention to serve the usual crowd.
As an eminent foreign guest after having our tea we were hushed into the kitchen, where a group of volunteers were making chapatis.
A beautiful light was pouring from the windows.
We had to decline the invitation to make chapatis ourselves.
Back in the Langar hall.
Around the pool a enclosed bathing areas for women only.
The living quarters.
Outside the Gurwara, volunteers shining the shoes you have left before entering the temple.