McPherson “Lego”buildings

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This is a set of pictures of the colorful public housing blocs situated on Circuit Road in Singapore.

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Circuit road is accessible via Mc Pherson MRT, and is located in the east part of town, 20 minutes ride from Orchard Road.2019-16-Hassie-5-04

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.

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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 ?).

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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.

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The film was processed at the usual lab and scanned at home with the Epson v800.

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I did a bit of post processing in light room but even without it the film turned out quite well. 2019-16-Hassie-5-10

 

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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.

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The hassie keep on having problems shooting 12 complete frames, but this time I got lucky.

 

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McPherson “Lego”buildings

By the sea in Thailand with the Leica M6

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.

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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)

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The sea side always offer a special quality of light, that works particularly well in black and white.  2018-51-M6-21-05

Also it is an endless opportunity of activities, landscapes and man made constructions.2018-51-M6-21-082018-51-M6-21-092018-51-M6-21-102018-51-M6-21-132018-51-M6-21-14

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.

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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.

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A friendly and muscular worker along the Chao Phraya river near the Grand Palace2018-51-M6-21-32

Finally below are two shots of worshipers inside the Grand Palace i think.

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By the sea in Thailand with the Leica M6

Ceremony in the street in Hua Hin – Thailand

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This a somewhat long post (30 shots) of a ceremony I came across in the streets of Hua Hin in Thailand during Christmas break. Getting of the main temple in the center of the city we came across the person above dancing of a building at the sound of loud reggae type music. 02

This happen to be in the honor of a your man turning 20, the one you can see with a shaved head in some shots after.

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I am not a specialist, I believe this guy is going to become a monk for a certain  time. Kids in Buddhist countries often spend some time in monasteries for their education but in Thailand they cannot spend any time as a monk until they reach 20 and it seems this is quite mandatory in a man’s life.

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The parade involved a group of people walking the whole city center area around the temple. Carrying alms as above.

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Dancing as the sound of a band, plating from the top of a lorry.

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There i some support for the guy carrying alms or umbrellas, the pink bucket is for quench his thirst.

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The birthday boy and the older lady below are paraded on cycle rickshaws.1415

More dancing …

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The auntie had a lot of energy and  good sense of rhythm.

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I am not sure if they are strictly singers or also MC’s my command of Thai is very poor.

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That was a very enjoyable moment, I really love shooting these events, and the lovely Thai people seemed not to matter my presence.

  • Color shots: Leica M262+Summicron 35mmF2
  • Black and White shots: Leica M6+Summicron 50mmF2 + kodak tri-x
Ceremony in the street in Hua Hin – Thailand

2018 – The year I still shot one roll of film a week.

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Camera n.1: Leica M6 with Rollei Vario

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, Kodak Ektachrome 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.

Camera N.2 : Leica IIIC with Kodak TMAX 100

 

Below is a breakdown of my film rolls:

Film Rolls
Ultrafine 400 17
Cinestill 50D 3
Rollei Retro 80s 3
Bergger Pancro400 3
Kodak Tmax 400 2
Rollei CR 200 2
Polypan PF50 2
Cinestill 800 2
Fuji Reala 800 2
Kodak Gold 200 2
Rollei Superpan 200 2
Kodak Colorplus 2
Kodak Portra 400 2
Kodak Ektar 100 1
Rollei Vario 1
Kodak Tmax 100 1
Kentmere 400 1
Ilford hp5 1
Kodak Portra 160 1
Kodak TMZ 3200 1
Agfa APX 400 1
Grand Total 52

And by Brand

Brand Rolls
Ultrafine 17
Kodak 12
Rollei 8
Cinestill 5
Bergger 3
Fuji 2
Polypan 2
Agfa 1
Ilford 1
Kentmere 1
Grand Total 52
A tough one
Camera n.3: Leica M4 with Kentmere 400

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.

An angel on the wall
Camera N.4 : Hasselblad 500CM with Cinestill 50D

 

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.

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Camera N.5 : Agfa Isolette with Bergger Panchro 400

Now let’s look at the gear.

Camera Rolls
Leica M6 21
Leica IIIc 11
Leica M4 10
Hasselblad 500CM 4
Agfa Isolette III 2
EOS 1N 2
Kodak Autographic Jr 1
Minolta Himatic 7s 1
Grand Total 52

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.

Chinese new year 2018
Camera N.6 : Canon EOS 1N Kodak Portra 160

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.

 

Artist at work
Camera N.7 : Minolta Hi matic with Ultrafine Xtreme 400

 

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.

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Camera N. 8 : Kodak Autographic Jr 6×9 with Rollei retro 80s.

 

If you are curious you can check the past reviews : 2015, 2016, 2017.

Happy shooting in 2019 !

2018 – The year I still shot one roll of film a week.

First Roll of Kodak TMAX P3200

I had a couple of events recently and thought about trying the new Kodak TMax 3200. This is supposedly a new film, replacing the old TMZ 3200 discontinued in 2012.

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1. Singapore CDB late afternoon

I loaded the Leica M6 and used my brand new Summicron 35mm Asph v2. The M6 meter is basic but consistent.

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2. Make up session

The result is quite disappointing, chances are that can be some issue with the processing as the lab may not get used to this film yet (but they have been quite reliable so far).

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3. The show

What is so disappointing?  Mainly the high level of grain. I shot a roll of Ilford 3200 last year and it was far lot better. Ok the lighting conditions vary, last year was a concert where the band was quite lighten up on a dark background.

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4. Office decoration

On this roll there are different scenes with various lighting conditions. The first shot isoutdoor, late afternoon light. The next two ones are a show for kids, one make up session lighten through a bright large window, the second a  little girl during the show.

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5. Office decoration

Shots 4 and 5 are taken during the preparation of the Charity day in my office. Light on shot 4 is challenging, as it’s shot  through glass. But 5 is standard office neon light.

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6. Merci Marcel

The last 6 shots were taken during the opening party of Merci Marcel  restaurant in Singapore (thank you guys this was a nice party). The pictures are quite moody, and the 35 mm is a great party lens. Maybe I should have overexposed a bit?

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7. Merci MarcelThe
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8. Merci Marcel
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9. Merci Marcel

 

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10. Just a small one
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11. A refill?

 

 

First Roll of Kodak TMAX P3200

A roll of Kodak Ektar shot with the Leica IIIc

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01. The first shot, in a Hindu temple in little India

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.

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02. Sri Veeramakaliamman temple in little India

 

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03. Hindu temple in little India

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.

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04. Coconut stall Little India
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05. Coconut stall Little India

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.

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06. Mural

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.

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07. Working Class Hero

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.

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08. Working class hera take two.

Not as good.

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09. Cardboard Man

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.

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10.Elephant Park

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.

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11. Hotel 81 in Jalan Besar
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12. 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.

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12. Female passer-by 1

Too far, would you even have noticed her?

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13. Female passer-by 2

Motion blur, Out of focus, bad framing.

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14. Female passer-by 3

So what?

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15. Colorful

Maybe yes, maybe not, that was just a try.

The same afternoon I walked into Chinatown

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16. Ceno2 new mural

Quite a bad pic, maybe OOF ? Shame. I thinks it’s also not Ceno2’s best mural.

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17. South Bridge Road commercial building
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18. South Bridge Road commercial building

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.

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19. Strangers with brolly

 

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20. Strangers with brolly

Second version is probably an ok street shot, movement, color and overall an umbrella.

 

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21. Buddha tooth relic temple

Buddha tooth relic temple, one random shot

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22. The mosque on new bridge road

I tough the light was great and worth capturing

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23. Mural in “Amoy Alley”

I quite like this one, unusual.

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24. Satay club

Another random shot, not great angle, too far, not showing much.

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25. MBS reflection

Ok ok we can try.

Next great spot is the Merlion Park, it is always endless fun shooting people taking selfies there.

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26. The lady in cheamseong

It would have work with better light, the subject here is a bit lost in the background.

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27. Posing

This one is really random.

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28. Uncle shooting a relative (or friend)

Something was going on, but it was not the right moment yet.

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29. The same uncle in action

I think that one is ok, just average but ok. Nice light, funny pause and all.

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30. hijacking the shot

Nothing easier to ask somebody who pause if you can also take a shot. Too contrasty but probably OK.

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31. The three good fairies

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.

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32. Beach Road

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.

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33. a fish stall

Ok I think I took enough fish stalls so far not to call this one a keeper.

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34. Another fish stall

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.

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35. Fruit Stall

Obviously random

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36. Fruit Stall (again)

The lens was attracted by the lady in the center, but one week later it does not look like it is enough.

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37. Tiong Bahru street scene

 

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

 

A roll of Kodak Ektar shot with the Leica IIIc

On the road from Patiala to Chandigarh

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.

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This may have been some sort of Natural Sciences museum
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Under construction
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The “pond” is what separate the girls here to the building in the background.

 

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.

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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.

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Gurudwara Bhora Sahib, the wall where the younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh were bricked-up alive

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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.

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The Gurdwara shop keepers 

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.

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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.

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The basement of the main building above contains the tombs of some saints where people come to make offerings.

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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.

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Pressing the cane to extract the sugar

We tasted the sweets and pack-up after a little while and finally made it to Chandigarh.

All shots Leica M262+Summicron 28 or 50

B&W shots Leica M6+Summicron 50

 

On the road from Patiala to Chandigarh