There is no Planet B

This is not a piece of sci-fi write up, just a few shots from a protest about Climate Change on Trafalgar Square in London in early November.

It seems to become a recurring pattern in my posts (check here ), but this is a reality : some people wants to let the others know that climate is changing and its time we do something about it.

I don’t necessarily do enough myself (oh that business trip to Asia makes me guilty) , but maybe sharing pictures is a small action I can do?

It cannot be less productive than wearing an extinction rebellion tie 🙂 . Ok ok and what about the impact of film processing? Frankly I don’t know. This was shot with my Leica M4 from 1967, with an even older lens, so probably it has less impact that a digital sensor made in the recent years. Tough question, a bit like electric car battery impact vs thermic engine oil consumption.

This guy’s accordion is probably not younger than the M4, he kindly started playing when I asked to take his portrait, but even in 2022 the M4 is still not capturing sound. I used the KEKS EM-01 Light meter , it is nice and light and quite accurate, but I still have problems reading the measure.

This is another roll of my 100ft HP5 roll that I still have not finished, it is not so old, so I don’t think age has deteriorated it that much but I am not really enthralled by the grain. Well another 4 rolls to go. It seems it never finishes, but all in all it should be about 18 rolls overall. I think I’ll buy something else next. Maybe some Ultrafine 400, but it seems the Extreme is sold out. They now have a different product, Finesse, I have to dig a little before engaging me for another 18 rolls, but also that is just 60USD for 100ft roll.

Rebels at rest

By the way this is roll 23 of this year, all in all better than last year (in term of number of rolls anyway) but far from my 55 rolls from a few years back.

Oh I have decide to go back to Caffenol, so watch this space for badly processed pictures in the coming weeks.

I hope you enjoyed the pics, and remember : “There is no planet B”

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There is no Planet B

The happy people party in the park

A few time last summer we bumped into this lot of happy skaters, who were engaged in what can be described as a party.

Good atmosphere, disco music and smiles all around, all lead by the above MC.

Hurry up Alice or you ll be late to the party.

The sun was going down and available light was no much, but good enough for the Summicron 50 and the roll of HP5 loaded in the M6.

A bit of line dancing.

I m just passing by, please ignore me.

The happy people party in the park

Hare Krishna Celebration in Trafalgar Square

A strange sadhu

Here are a few shots of a Hare Krishna celebration in October in Trafalgar square in London. Is stumbled over the party by complete chance.

Hare Hare its all in the flare

I was armed for the occasion ( well not for the occasion then as it was by chance) with the Leica M6 classic and the Summicron 50mmV5.

Hare Hare its all in the flare

For once I had a Kodak TMAX 100ISO film loaded, not the usual Ilford HP5 coming from my endless bulk roll.

Cling cling
And the band kept on playing

Very friendly atmosphere, an opportunity to remember and share our love of India and its culture.

Some may still be lost…

Hare Krishna Celebration in Trafalgar Square

Paris in Summer

“Paris est une fĂŞte” as goes the say (Paris is a party) ; I am not 100% sure about it but Paris in summer surely put me in a great mood, and I enjoy shooting in the streets that I am rediscovering after so many years.

— Asian tourist checking a Korean restaurant —

This is summer 2022, probably my 5th or 6th trip in a year, carrying the M6 (The old one) and the Summicron 50v5 and a roll of Kodak TMA100, my favourite film very appropriate (I think) to the summer time. This is my 16th film of the year, so I am now far from my past One-roll-a-week diet, but ok this is not a competition.

— Lets go surfing —

— Watching the world goes bye —

— two trios —

— A classic style paint shop —

— Saint-AndrĂ© des Arts —

— Passage Choiseul —

— The Conran shoppers —

— an odd workshop in the centre of town —

Paris in Summer

The Queen is dead (The film edition)

There are a few inconvenient living close to Buckingham palace, one good thing is that its easy to drop buy when something is happening, even an unfortunate event as the passing of queen Elizabeth II.

It was easy to go a couple of times over the fatal week end, shoot a bit of film, with the M6 and the Summicron 50v5.

Oh we are 20th of October 2022 today, so from now on I have to specify that my M6 is an original classic one with alloy body, not the new version with mate paint over brass body, as it seems these things matters to camera makers.

This is part of a roll of Ilford HP5, hand rolled from the 30 meters spool I bought nearly 2 years ago, processed at the usual Analogue Films Lab in Shoreditch.

The two days were quite different, the Friday being is, may I say, more interesting and laid-back, we could even see the King getting out of the palace. The area before the palace was easy to access, and I circled it a few times.

Saturday, the place was packed to the point of not being accessible (no interest if you ve been here the day before), and the crowd was mostly laying flowers in Green Park.

It was a heyday for photographers, even for smartphotographers from Asia.

Talking about the event with my wife we remembered that we witnessed the passing of King Baudouin of Belgium in 1993 while we were living there (sorry I don have any pictures) and the one of Lee Kwan Yew in Singapore in 2015 (you can find some of my pictures here), but don’t go imagining things.

The Philippino ladies kindly agreed to have their pix taken
Are you ok?
The Queen is dead (The film edition)

Occupy Westminster

Something different today, a few shots of demonstration dubbed “Occupy Westminster”, by climate activists Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion.

I missed the blocking the bridges part, and just caught the tail of the protest, pity.

You can read the article of Guardian here

All shots Kentmere 400, Leica M6 Classic and a lens or the other 🙂

Occupy Westminster

My Last roll of Polypan 50

Summer holidays are just a memory now and after much procrastination, here is one of the rolls shot in this happy time (12th Roll of the year)

This is a roll of Polypan 50 shot at 100 ISO with the faithful M6 Classic and some Cron or another but most probably the 50mm v5. I have asked the lab to push one stop as this roll was given to me quite a few years back now by a friend in Singapore.

The street scenes are shot in Ai- en-Provence where I spend a couple of days with my family in August. The sun was hitting pretty hard which is quite ok for a low speed film.

You already know I am not too technical, but here we go for the techie moment: The Polypan 50 lacks a anti-halation layer ( I think it means no protection from the light bouncing from the back of the camera); this makes it glow in some areas, making the images a bit old time and dreamy. I also quite like the rather profound blacks, although not as much as in the Rollei retro 80s.

The edges of the fountain are really glowing here you see what I mean.

Aix is quite picturesque, but the next day we went to Chateau Lacoste, a magnificent estate 40 minutes drive from Aix, with Michelin starred chef restaurants, a vineyard, an entrance building made by Tadao Ando and dozens of art works spread in the garden.

Yes the music pavilion was made by FRANK O. GEHRY

Oh no that’s just a barrel.

A beautiful tractor

The olive tree
Yes that’s a Richard Long

More trees
A dirty spaceship
Art work in progress

Really worth visiting, I ll post more shots in the next posts.

Oh I lost track of the Polypan roll, well I think it aged a bit it seems there are marks here and there that are not common to processing issues, so I guess this is a bit of an experimental roll. For such a slow speed film it is a bit grainy, but all in all I really like it.

My Last roll of Polypan 50

2022 Roll 10

Paris rue de Buci

I still keep track of my rolls and sort them by date and year and enrich in Lightroom, the camera, film and lens ( Often an estimate). But when I used to boast of my one roll a week productivity, I must say I have now fell below one roll every second week.

Paris – Azabu

I would like to shoot more but I don’t have time and may lack enthusiasm / drive / inspiration. This roll was shot in June 2022, with the Leica M6 classic, over a week end in Paris and the next one back in London.

Paris, 4th Arrondissement – Communist Party “Art and Society” branch.

This is a roll of Kodak TMAX 100, a film I really love for its high contrast in sunny weather, I bought a couple of rolls from Analogue Labs a few weeks before.

A Jazz band busking in “Le marais”

Most of the shots were taken with the Summicron 35mm Asph v2, really my go to lens. I love it for the perspective, but the 35 makes the pictures a bit too wide for me, my subject is always a bit lost in the frame, as I tend to avoid confrontation when I snap in the street with my wife/family.

Histoires de Paris – HĂ´tel d’Hallwyll

On the other hand I frame my shots with just a couple of different styles, I think I manage to build a consistency in my flickr photo stream. I like my subject centred most of it.

The embrace

We are so much into candid and street photography nowadays that sometimes I find it difficult to shoot non human subjects. They form a big part of urban poetry nonetheless.

Back in London it was Wimbledon and Mayfair offered public screening, with desk lounge chairs and drinks (of course)

Wimbledon
Outside Paul Smith in Marylebone
Finger pointing

Above shot is a bit missed, I thought the shadow would be more obviously funny/interesting, maybe I should reframe, but I rarely do too radical reframing just put upright a bit.

The music shop

Heading to Soho always gives some opportunities, I met an American photog when shooting the above also carrying a M6 and a TLR.

Crossing carefully

Soho I said is always offering some opportunities.

As the light was going down, with 100 ISO the shutter speed had to go below 1/30’s hence the slight blur above.

The Harvest

I carried the camera to the office on Thursday to finish the roll and bring it back to process to Analogue Lab, so I did a few shots between Liverpool street station and Spitalfields market… but not enough to finish the roll. I am pretty good with the rapid loading on the M4 and M6 so I easily hit 38 frames in a film, sometime 39.

I hope you enjoyed the roll.
2022 Roll 10

The Leica III goes out for a spin in London

Captain Tom Moore ( Primrose Hill)

It has been a year since I moved to London but it still feels like I just arrived and there are still so many things I have not done. But this is one I have done now : I took the Leica IIIC for a spin, and we had a great time.

Old 120

The pictures have been taken over a few weeks, mostly in London, but actually I realised I even brought the little fellow to Paris. It all started the week of the “Secret Gardens” walk : a week-end of open gates in private gardens around London. An opportunity of long walks and discoveries.

The first pictures are not really garden like, but I found this beautiful beast parked outside a garden. I had loaded the camera with my last roll of Fuji Across 100 (the old version) expired since a couple of years now. A souvenir from Singapore. For that first day I brought two lens (I think) the VC 21 Color Skopar and the 50 Elmar F3.5.

Nature
Light
The choir in the ultimate garden.

I have a small choice of LTM lenses: the VC 21mmF4, the Elmar, a Summitar 50mmF2 and a Summaron 35mmF3.5. And also a poor 135mmF4 Canon Serenar. But I particularly love the Elmar because of its ease of use and very predictable results. The 21mm, I love because it is sexy, particularly with the VC 21-25mm Viewfinder.

Ride in Piece.

I went to Paris that week end with the little fellow and I think that’s the first time he’s been there. I only brought the Elmar, a week end in Paris is not for fussing around.

Swing in Paris

The above scene is badly centred, I blame the viewfinder for this. I sometime wish I could have a 50mm external finder like the cool Leica SBOOI.

Saint Sulpice

A choir was rehearsing in Saint Sulpice church and I capture the above is a beautiful subdued light, probably wide open 1/15s, slow lens and 100 ISO film can do that.

Chelsea Old Townhall

I was back in London to capture the most beautiful day of the life of the lady above, and indulge in my gothic tendencies in Brompton cemetery

But soon it was time for Wimbledon and tennis balls grew on trees

I finished the roll in Chelsea harbour, back with the 21mm with the two shots below.

The pub around the corner, I love the tones.

Top picture is of a mural on Primrose hill, a portrait of Captain Sir Thomas Moore, more popularly known as Captain Tom, who was a British Army officer and fundraiser who made international headlines in 2020 when he raised money for charity in the run-up to his 100th birthday during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Film was processed in Analogue Films is Shoreditch as usual.

The Leica III goes out for a spin in London

Paris in the spring

Batmaid (Boulevard Beaumarchais)

So this is the second part of my second roll of Cinestill XX I started in Biarritz. I was not super satisfied with the scanning so I plugged the old Epson v800 and rescan the whole film. I did not like the scan for two reasons, first I forgot to ask for high res, and I though the pictures were a bit small. Second I thought it was too grainy and had too much contrast.

City of Romance (Rue Amelot)

I quite liked the result of the Epson, if I recon correctly I scanned in 2400 dpi, saved as B&W JPG using the standard holders. The result is a bit smooth, that you may assimilate to lack of sharpness.

Fun in Paris (Ile de la cité)

I think there is a bit on compromise between sharpness, grain and details. Well anyway I am not very technical, I like these scans better.

Ready maestro (Rue de Buci)

These shot are still part of the same trip so I think the lens is either the Summicron 50mm v5, either the Summicron 35mmF2 Asph v2, attached to the Leica M6 classic

Glorious food (Rue du pas de la mule)

After the second roll, its a bit difficult to make an opinion on the Cinestill XX, as I am not sure how properly my lab process it. As I said before a bit too much grain for my taste (remember my favourite film is the Rollei Retro 80), but maybe there is a ratio between the distance to the subject and the grain that makes it less suitable to my may of shooting (I usually do streets shots between 5 and 10 meters) ? Did anybody consider that?

Public transport ( Rue Saint Antoine)

Enough of the technical bit, Paris in the spring is a beautiful place to be. That’s a first for me in about 15 years so I was under the spell, and I thing that will be the same for the seasons to come.

A l italienne (Boulevard Saint Germain)

Paris is not as eccentric as London, but there is a good mix of old and new, tourists and locals, fake and authentic, making you raising your camera every 5 minutes. Ok I am a slow shooter so that will be once every thirty minutes.

Lost if thoughts (Rue de la petite boucherie)

One last technical thing: I can see on forums the never ending question of bringing films through airports: remember that there are x-ray machines as well when you take the Eurostar. I never cared being worried about X-ray machines damage to film. I think if you are an amateur this is irrelevant. If you are a pro that’s different, but then you can always buy and process locally if its so important.

For the ladies : the firemen of Paris (Bords de Seine, quai François Mitterrand)
Lost ( Quai des Grands augustins)

Thanks for reading.

All shots Leica M6 Classic, Summicron 35 or 50, Cinestill XX shot at 200 ISO, I put an indication of where the pictures were shot so you can plan a tour. This roll is older that the one displayed in My last roll of Ektachrome.

Paris in the spring