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

Geylang Lorong 3 with the Hasselblad 500CM

Hello, here is the first post of the new year. So let me whish you a happy and prosperous new year, happy 2021 everybody, lets hope the situation will improve and I won’t spend the next 52 weeks shooting the same parts of Singapore again and again. And of course the same goes for everybody (Of course a lot more serious things need to be fixed first before our hobbies can be considered).

So these are pictures from roll #51 of the year 2020, another trip with Geylang Lorong 3 with the Hasselblad 500CM loaded with a roll of slightly expired Portra 400. The Roll was shot at 320 ISO, processed and scanned at Whampoa color center and slightly adjusted in Lightroom.

The sky was cloudy that morning, but colors are quite vivid. I forgot to bring a light meter so I used the Keks EM01 light meter that was on the Leica M4 and changed the ISO when switching Camera. It looks that I managed not to f*ck up any shots.

The last shot has a defect as I think thing the back has an issue with the spacing of the frames, so part of this shot went over the end of the film.

The blog got 4000 views n 2020: 2.5 tomes more that last year : thanks to all the readers for stopping by. Also on days to come, I have a nice roll shot with he M4 on the same location, and of course as every year the summary of what I shoot with which camera and some other silly stats.

Geylang Lorong 3 with the Hasselblad 500CM

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

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

CAFFENOL REBIRTH : WEEK 4 : Errare Humanum est

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Happy Birthday SIngapore

Here I am back for the fourth week with my Caffenol. I intended this week to be the last of my first brew. I was encouraged by the last weeks experience and became a bit too bold maybe and alas the issues added to the issues.

2020-21-M6-8-22
Let’s go shopping

First for this last batch I chose to process a roll of Tri-x that I shot over the week end with friends and family. Tri-x is said to be not super Caffenol friendly and my first roll was not a massive success. How to calculate for both the estimates 7.3 minutes leading to over processing and the exhaustion of the Caffenol? I settled to try for a 6.3 minutes (including pouring in and pouring out time). To put odds on my side I also filtered the fixer that seemed to show some flocculation last week.

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Tiong Bahru riders

Alas again the gods of the dark room were not with me today, and after fiddling for a while (in the dark) I managed to load the film incorrectly in the spool of my Patterson tank. And the result is here : half of my roll is not processed. As I write it I think  could have put it back in the Caffenol, but actually I just binned it. Well we learn by our mistakes, so I will have to iron out this process. All in all I may only have loaded 10 to 15 rolls in my life.

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The Scalper

The film shows a bit of reticulation, but I think it may be the tap water used to rince the film, may have been to warm (tap let on hot after the washing up). Also it i snot as clean as my first negs so on top of it maybe the Caffenol need also to be filtered.

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Anyway, I think the point is that my negative looks ok, so 6 minutes 30 seconds in 3 weeks old caffenol is OK for processing Tri-x and also maybe the caffenol can last 4 weeks?

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The umbrella academy

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Mirror ok my mirror

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Refection in Tiong Nahru

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The small Tiong Bahru Durian stall

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That’s what a partially destroyed picture looks like

CAFFENOL REBIRTH : WEEK 4 : Errare Humanum est

CAFFENOL Re-birth.

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7 years after my last failed experiments I am back again toying with Caffenol to process my black and white film. Do not try to figure out why I do not use standard methods, I cannot myself.

This time again I have put all the odds against me, I found a box of 5 year expired Fomapan P fixer in the cupboard, I shot the Caffenol unfriendly Kodak Tri-X on the Leica IIIc with the unreliable Summitar 50 and the new Chinese meter offered by a friend (more on this later).

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The set-up

From my past experiments I have a kitchen scale and a Patterson cuve, and some weights to hold the film when drying. (I just had to buy a 4$ battery for the scale)

Testing the fixer

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I found this idea on the internet to test the fixer by taking a piece of unexposed film, I cut the lead of a new roll found in the box, and drop it in the fixer (not the developer just right into the fixer) and let it sit a few minutes : it should go totally clear if the fixer still work as they should. Mine did so I should be covered from that angle.

I used in the past a recipe for stand development, but today I will try the Caffenol-C-M, recipe, the first on the http://caffenol.blogspot.com website.

2020-19-iiic-03

Testing the developer :

I planned to test the developer with one of the following two test cases, but actually after discussing with my assistant (my son), we decided that anyway we will not be able to resist trying the film whatever the result of the test is. Anyway here are the test cases:

  1. Test 1: once again I cut the leader of a roll and drop one into your developer and let it sit a few minutes then drop in your fixer and let it sit for a few minutes. It should turn all black.(as this part is generally over exposed), advantage is that you can use the lead of the roll you want to process.
  2. Test 2: use a piece of unexposed film, say, a few frames from the beginning of a fresh roll and make sure it’s loaded in the dark. Process as you should, you should see the frame numbers and DX codes along the sprocket holes develop and the unexposed frames should develop to be clear.

 

The process:

The chemicals:

20200714_174658

For one liter the recipe is to mix in order :

54 grams of washing-soda (Harm Brand 8$ for 1 kg)
16 grams of Vitamine C ( crap from Guardian 13$)
40 grams of instant coffee (Netscafe Classic 10$)

Time and temperature

This is the difficult bit, the original recipe gives 15 minutes at 20 °C for 100 ISO film. Digi

tal truth ( https://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.php?doc=timetemp) helps converting this to my 28 deg average temperature for 6’44 @ 28 deg, for 100 ISO. ISO 400 should be shorter, but the same site gives you roughly the same duration. SO i settled for 7 minutes

Here we go

  • Pre-soak 5 minutes (this step is optional, but it is relaxing)
  • Pour the developer
  • Agitation first 30 seconds, then 3 times each minute.
  • Stop:

– Fill and invert the tank 5 times
– refill and invert the tank 10 times
– refill and invert the tank 20 times
– refill and invert the tank 30 times

  • Fix: 5 minutes
  • Rinse

– Fill and invert the tank 5 times
– refill and invert the tank 10 times
– refill and invert the tank 20 times
– refill and invert the tank 30 times with a drop of washing up soap

Results

  • the negatives are dense but images can be seen when back lighted and scanned with the Epson v800

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A few more samples

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Doggie goes for a walk

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Over the counter of the Japanese restaurant

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Hans Im Gluck birch trees

Where it goes wrong

The problem often reported for Caffenol is that the chemicals are not reliable, for instance, my coffee is a mix of Robusta and Arabica, where the active compound is more present in the robusta, so 100% robusta would be better. My Vitamin C contains sugar and flavoring which impact is hard to guess.

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Anything new?

Where to go from here

My film is over developed, so I already have some plans for the next roll : shorter time ( it was suggested to cut by 25%), or try the same recipe for a 100 ISO film, or cut the coffee.

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The ubiquitous Grab Food rider

Money wise

I can do 5 batches with my Vitamin C + coffee, with 2 films per batch. You probably have to factor in 0.5$ a roll for Fixer, 0.4$ for the soda, if you are discounting the water you will be around 3.5 to 4 $, definitely cheap. 5 rolls would cover the 7$ a roll I pay to the lab for processing, so if you like the result its worth trying.

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Kiss

CAFFENOL Re-birth.

The lock down roll

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Banana-ah-ah

This is not actually a full roll of the lock-down, I did not shoot much and probably on the first 20 frames of this roll.

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Cooking for take away only

This is a roll of Kodak Tri-x shot with the Leica M6 classic and the Summicron 35mm Asph vII.

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Deserted hawker center

The first part of the roll was taken on a Saturday around lunch time in the Balestier area. Shops were half closed, hawkers were deserted and the rare shoppers wearing masks.

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The masked shopper

Little traffic rare cyclist allowed not to ear masked while ridding, life seemed to have come to a halt under the scorching sun. We had dreadful weather for a while, but the day I go out at lunchtime with a 400 ISO film, I am forced to shoot at F1/500 and F16.

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The unmasked rider

There is always a nice outcome : I stumbled across the coffee shop below, I first stopped to take a shot (the symmetry of the arrangement caught my eye), then the chord bring the entry puzzled me and finally I bought some coffee. I usually use some arabica in my old Moka machine but they sell only robusta. In the end for a bit more than 5SGD for 250 grams that was a ok deal.

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The old style coffee shop

Of course life is full of encounters, an sometime you meet fellow Leica Shooters

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Another M6 with 50mm cron

I am no sure that Grab food riders made a fortune during the lock-down (my good sense tells me otherwise), but they were ubiquitous during the period and thanks to them we managed to have entertaining food at our table. (Thanks guys and gals).

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The ubiquitous Grab food rider

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Hawker at work

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Tiger’s haunt

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The other unmasked rider

As no many activity goes on to finish the film I walked the places where people were going out to exercise or just take a bit of fresh air while respecting the prescribed social distancing procedures. It is funny how here again  you meet some acquaintances.

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A well known Leica figure caught during his jogging (hard to resist)

The Singapore river was usually packed with joggers and cyclist, we  will surely do great at next Olympics when they eventually happen. The Marina Bay Area, though not empty was really a lot quieter that it used to be.

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Sorry ladies can you get out of my the view

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MBS in black and white

Skaters did had much problems crossing big roads carelessly.

The last few shots where taken after the lock down when we entered what was known as phase 1 and now phase 2. More freedom to roam around, retail shops reopening, still as nothing exceptional is happening, back to my usual vice : random shots of people in the streets, preferably with masks.

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Hope you enjoyed the roll. I manage 38 shots on this roll again, unfortunately the process suffers from reticulation (same as the one I took a couple of month back ), I ll tell about it to the photo shop and maybe i ll try to process the films myself going forward.

 

The lock down roll

When humans were roaming the streets

Well the situation in Singapore is not too much at celebrating and I did not find yet the way to represent the poetry of empty streets. So this posts start with reminding the not so distant past when Humans were roaming the streets.

2020-12-M4-01-2
Why did the bus move?

At that time, a couple of weeks ago, I put one of my last rolls of Polypan F50 in the Leica M4 and hit the road with the Summaron 35mm F3.5 ltm.

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Not really a crowd

I have a nice Leica LTM to M adapter which provides proper focusing, and bring the 35mm framelines on the M4, so I can frame accurately.

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Resting

The roll of Polypan was given to me two years ago, and is probably expired, but shot at ISO 50 it still looks fine.

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Napping in back alleys will soon be a luxury

Shooting ISO 50 with a 3.5 max aperture lens in overcast light is a bit challenging.

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The careful walker

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Chinatown even had Caucasian tourists at that time

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Grab drivers at rest

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Mobile worship has no limit of race or religion

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Shades of grey on the old Polypan are amazing, so are the details.

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I had a couple of disappointing roll recently. First I shot a roll of Kodak Tri-X with the Heineken toy camera that shows reticulation. This was a small boat trip with friends for a birthday celebration, so I am quite annoyed.

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Ramming speed

The camera works superbly, and ISO 400 by the see on a bright day is plenty for the F10 plastic lens.

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Our captain

Even in the shadows as above, but it was screwed up at processing as you can see below.

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Is it a call for self processing in the future?

The next roll, is the evening birthday party of my friend Paul, shot with the Leica M6, and still the Summaron 35mm F3.5 LTM. This was a roll of Ilford Delta 3200 shot at 3200. The M6 meter is always very accurate so I am very surprised that the roll turned out so underexposed.

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The film was not expired. My only guess is that the meter was fooled by the very bright patches at the table, and even more easily that a 35mm gets a wider range), probably for such event its better to meter from close and keep it fixed.

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You can find more articles on this blog about:

I hope you enjoyed the reading and the pictures.

 

 

 

When humans were roaming the streets

THE NIKON F3 : DOES IT FOCUS OR NOT

2020-11-F3-2-6
The Big Buddha is a work in progress

Before moving to the focusing bit, lets start by a few shots from Phuket. My eyesight for short distances is becoming quite bad so I cannot read the markings on the camera, so when I loaded this roll of Kodak Pro image 100 I put the speed selector to 1600 instead of 100. 2020-11-F3-2-4

So the pictures from Phuket are underexposed by 4 stops, but end up being quite exploitable , the colors are still pleasant. Nice job Kodak.

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Inside the shrine

 

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Karon football stadium

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Karon football stadium

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A resort in Karon

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Karon beach scene

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Phuket airport

I realized my mistake at Phuket airport and changes the speed. Above the colorful planes at the airport terminal; I quite like the colors of this film.

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Apples in Chinatown

Back in Singapore, I had my black and white film processed and as the results were OK (See last post), so I decided to finish this roll with the F3. I changed the screen to the Split screen model K as its easier to focus, so it will give a better indication of the accuracy of the camera focusing.

2020-11-F3-2-23
Lost in Chinatown

Of course the shot above is a hip shot where distance has been guesstimated, so it does not prove much.

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Taoist ceremony in Chinatown

The two following shots are related to a Taoist ceremony in the center of town, the afternoon weather was quite bright so the shots were done with a small aperture, balancing potential focusing problems.

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Flags in Chinatown

I think this ceremony is held by one of temples situated in the nearby habitation block. The place were the tent is set, often hosts funeral wakes, and even a medium ceremony after Chinese new year.

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Inside TWG tea shop

In TWG tea shop at raffles hotel, the lens was nearly wide open and the focusing on the letters quite easy, it looks the picture is in focus.

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Yellow throat lizard

The lizard also is is focus, though small.

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Tiong Bahru Monkey God temple

The shot above  was done probably at F4 and quite close, looks reasonably in focus as well, I really love the warn tones or the film.

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Next table

So far so good until the last shot, wide open (F1.4) , the light was a bit dim, I focused on the glass at the front where it seems the actual focus is on the middle of the table (or the Asahi beer logo), so 10 to 15 cm back. So this is not very conclusive then.

  • Nikon F3
  • Nikkor AI-S 50mm F1.4
  • Kodak Pro Image 100ISO
  • Epson v800

 

THE NIKON F3 : DOES IT FOCUS OR NOT

Feb 2020 in Singapore with the Leica III

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).

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Masks and hankies are out to fight the Coronavirus

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.

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Reading your fortune for the year of the rat

This is quite an easy film to scan, the ISO 200 is quite convenient for color street shots on a nice day.

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Roasted Chestnut stall

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.

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The newly renovated Indian temple on Waterloo street

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.

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The shy passer by (cropped)

The colors on the next two shots are outstanding, but light was exceptional too.

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HDB block at Middle Road

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Ezekiel the HUGS master

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The Chinese tourists at Chimes

Of course sometime as above the 21mm gives a bit too much negative space.

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Capitol theater

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.

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Man at work

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.

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Miror Miror

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The ugly Jag in from the Raffles hotel

I also think the Summaron is an excelled lens. 35mm is a lot more manageable than 21, but I also have a 35mm finder,

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Boom

The above is taken inside the National Design Museum, but there was plenty of light.

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The Man Machine

I don t realy know the relationship between the expo and Kraftwerk, but…

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Beaty Street Tibetan temple

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A random arcade game

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A Hot Road is a rare sight in Singapore

Film is scanned at home with Epson v800, I do a bit of colour and exposure correction in Light-room .

Feb 2020 in Singapore with the Leica III