CAFFENOL REBIRTH : WEEK 4 : Errare Humanum est

2020-21-M6-8-15
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.

2020-21-M6-8-31
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.

2020-21-M6-8-27
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.

2020-21-M6-8-17

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?

2020-21-M6-8-16
The umbrella academy
2020-21-M6-8-21
Mirror ok my mirror

2020-21-M6-8-24

2020-21-M6-8-32
Refection in Tiong Nahru

2020-21-M6-8-33

2020-21-M6-8-35
The small Tiong Bahru Durian stall
2020-21-M6-8-29
That’s what a partially destroyed picture looks like
CAFFENOL REBIRTH : WEEK 4 : Errare Humanum est

Caffenol Rebirth : perseverare humanum est

2020-19-M4-3-01
We roll models

So what happened since last post and the “Caffenol rebirth” ; well nothing much happened in town nor to myself, so I shot half a roll of Fuji Across, mostly Saturday

2020-19-M4-3-03
Lonely dinner

Last Sunday I pour my Caffenol in a bottle of green glass (Perrier) and kept in just in case.

2020-19-M4-3-05
Gelato

So tonight I was restless and I decide to give Caffenol another try.

2020-19-M4-3-06
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
2020-19-M4-3-07
Time for a nap
2020-19-M4-3-08
or catching up with th enews
2020-19-M4-3-10
Chinatown is her catwalk

As I did not finish my roll, I opened the Leica M4 in the dark, fiddle a bit with the film and managed to cut a 1 cm lead for the rest of the roll and unload the 22 first shots from the camera. I then loaded it in the Paterson tank and proceed as last week.

2020-19-M4-3-11

2020-19-M4-3-13
The lovely newly weds from China
2020-19-M4-3-14
That way

Massive Development chart give me again 6’44 @ 28 deg, for 100 ISO Accross, the Tri-x was overcooked last week, but that was 400ISO, so I though that I should give it a try, but actually I emptied the tank at 6’14.

2020-19-M4-3-16
Time for a trim
2020-19-M4-3-17
Double ciggie break

The film is still dense, but can be seen through in normal light. Probably some of this is due to the coffee coloration (I can see if is brownish), so for the next 12 shost I will cut the time down by maybe another 30 or 45 seconds.

2020-19-M4-3-18
Social distancing
2020-19-M4-3-19
Orchard back-light

I kept the Caffenol again, I read you can keep for 6 or 8 weeks. Without being so extreme, if I can use one batch for my monthly shooting this changes the economics of it totally, at 2$ a roll this is a no brainer. Plus it is amazing to have all the products ready and go through the motion in about 45 minutes.

2020-19-M4-3-21
My new fav model

Ok so now I’ve been through this roll what is the conclusion. It looks quite good for what it is, no reticulation, reasonable grain, the contrast is quite good.

2020-19-M4-3-22
Walking in the sunshine

This was also measured using my new Keks EM01 ligh meter.

2020-19-M4-3-02
A COVID hero back from work
Caffenol Rebirth : perseverare humanum est

CAFFENOL Re-birth.

2020-19-iiic-24

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).

2020-19-iiic-20

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

20200711_124226

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

20200713_16202720200713_162100

A few more samples

2020-19-iiic-05
Doggie goes for a walk
2020-19-iiic-28
Over the counter of the Japanese restaurant
2020-19-iiic-14
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.

2020-19-iiic-32
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.

2020-19-iiic-11
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.

2020-19-iiic-23
Kiss
CAFFENOL Re-birth.

The lock down roll

2020-16-M6-7-02
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.

2020-16-M6-7-03
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.

2020-16-M6-7-04
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.

2020-16-M6-7-07
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.

2020-16-M6-7-08
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.

2020-16-M6-7-10
The old style coffee shop

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

2020-16-M6-7-13
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).

2020-16-M6-7-15
The ubiquitous Grab food rider
2020-16-M6-7-17
Hawker at work
2020-16-M6-7-18
Tiger’s haunt
2020-16-M6-7-36
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.

2020-16-M6-7-23
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.

2020-16-M6-7-26
Sorry ladies can you get out of my the view
2020-16-M6-7-27
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.

2020-16-M6-7-332020-16-M6-7-322020-16-M6-7-22

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

The last pre lock down roll is back

I collected yesterday my first roll in a long time. It was probably finished the first week of the lock-down in Singapore which was on 5th of April.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This is an expired roll of Fuji Across shot with the Leica M6 and probably a mix of Summaron 35 and Summicron 28.

The roll is so so , maybe the roll is too expired maybe sitting on my drawer for 3 month was not a good idea, maybe I just mucked up the metering. Well there is a couple of fun shots. I put them as a slide show just to try.

 

The last pre lock down roll is back

SOFT LOCK-DOWN WEEK 8

Oh geez another week gone. But this week is different, because this is the last before we start exiting the lock-down and enter phase 1 of the rest of our lives.

L1009911
Do not sit. (or can I sit between the crosses?)

This week I also resume shooting film, not really knowing when I will be able to process the roll. I took 20 odd shots with the Leica M6 (400 TX) around Balestier area, where not much action was going on.

L1009913

Look how much the grass has grown in from of the Victoria theater… (I have corrected the perspective of this shot in Lightroom).L1009915

and the nice light going through Anderson bridge.

L1009920

Some stalls at the Interim Food market (moved from Golden Shoe) still have goods delivered.

L1009924

Matching shirts for these people delivering good in downtown area.

L1009945

Slim silhouette wearing what seems to be the new outfit for ladies going out shopping in the new normal.

L1009951

L1009944
Pure lust

All shots with Leica M262 and Summicron 28mmF2 Asph v1 : two old friends that I actually bought together, 4 years ago in June 2016. Time flies.

SOFT LOCK-DOWN WEEK 8

SOFT LOCK-DOWN WEEK 7

L1009875

It is hard to believe this “new normal” has already been in place for 7 weeks. A quick heads-up for the near future : a phased “unlock” will start from first of June, the only sure thing is that schools will reopen on on a rotational basis. So it looks I will be able to write a few more of these posts.

L1009882

I did not take the camera out of my bag this week, or did not even took a bag. Finally today, I decide to put the M262 + 28mm Cron around my neck on my walk to Chinatown to collect my dinner.

L1009884

Excellent light when crossing from People’s part to Chinatown

L1009886

The old Samsui woman seems lonely without any tourists around. I hesitated taking pictures of the stalls of Chinatown, all curtains pulled down, but the light was not great.

L1009889

On the area in front of Chinatown Complex a few old folks were hanging around in relative self distance.

L1009892

 

L1009891

In front of the Buddha tooth relic temple, the incense burner was covered with a cloth, an unusual sight,

L1009898

Finally I think I managed to capture the new life of the F&B outlets adapting to the crisis by offering take away and delivery, Above in front a a Korean BBQ, delivery men waiting on social distanced chairs.

And below patrons waiting outside the popular  Kok Sen local eatery in Keon Siak Road.

L1009909

L1009899

Or a Japanese restaurant spelling out loud.

L1009894

It seems that the female figures will be masked for a while on the pictures

L1009907L1009904

So long…

 

All shots Leica M262+28mm Summicron Asph V1

SOFT LOCK-DOWN WEEK 7

SOFT LOCK-DOWN WEEK 6

Time of the week again!I think I just took the camera with me three times this week, and I did not made a single shot today.

L1009831
Deserted Clark Quay

The weather is still indecisive but we have some nice moments, and some late afternoons with beautiful lights. I started the week with the old Summitar 50 that is on the M262 for a couple of weeks now.

L1009833
Strange lights on this office building (or is it a hotel?)

Despite its back focusing issues, it performs quite well.

L1009836
Hair Dressers are re-opening

… enough to capture the event of the week : the re-opening of hair dressers.

L1009852
Clark quay still empty

Saturday, I decided for a change and picked from the magic box the 28mm Cron Asph v1. You can think how nice the old lenses are, and you can challenge me to tell objective differences between the two shots of Clark Quay, but the newer Leica lenses rock, they are the one who justify owning a digital M body. I always recommend to everybody who wants to go the digital M way to get at least one newer lens.

L1009855

 

I have set the M body in auto aperture mode, but as much as it generally work, I always end up shooting at a too low speed. You will tell me this mode should be used with auto ISO, but yeah OK, it really needs some practice to be put to good work.

L1009856
A human

Yes I managed to shoot a human, that was a while since last one.

L1009860
An eateries at Chinatown MRT

I think it is always easy to take random pictures and rather difficult to shoot something that means something to you and on which you want to express something. I wanted to shown the blocked Chess game area where a lot of old folks gather usually.

L1009862

The area is now locked as you can see. I hope you get the feeling

L1009865

Finally a shot of Potato Head, in a very quiet Keong Siak Road as night was falling down,

L1009867
A very quiet potato head

Good night, keep safe.

SOFT LOCK-DOWN WEEK 6

SOFT LOCK-DOWN WEEK 5

5 weeks ! No much shooting this week. I still go out once a day to keep my sanity, but the repetition kills the creativity (if there was ever any).

L1009806

The cocks and hens are also wandering in our park (fort Canning), but it seems as if they also feel that something is amiss and retreat in the trees (I learned a few years back in Eater Island that chickens like to fly and rest on trees, I am a city boy, I would have never guessed,…)L1009810

Marina Bay Sands viewed from the grounds or our condo displays its love for the country, but the 1 North Bridge Road building hides the middle pillar of MBS and the letter … guess.

L1009816

We had a nice walk along the river Saturday when the light was going down and the sky and river were beautiful (if it was not for the crowd of joggers and cyclists on the walking path).

L1009818

My wife noticed that the Fullerton hotel was for once only displaying the national flag, is it national pride or just the lack of foreign customers?

L1009820

The last two shots in the CDB show how nice the light was on the office buildings and how a lens build around World War II can perform nowadays (even if back focusing).L1009823

L1009827
The building replacing Golden Shoe

All shots with Leitz Summitar 50mm F2.0 on Leica M262.

Keep safe.

 

SOFT LOCK-DOWN WEEK 5

SOFT LOCK-DOWN WEEK 2

Yeah, we made it through another week. I my case work from home means being super busy, so I just have the time to go out shopping for food everyday and take a bit of fresh air and exercise a bit, generally I walk 3 to 6 km. Only today, Sunday, did I found the courage and energy to go fur a quick ride.

L1009689
unattended bar

So this week I did not had much time for photography, Friday I did not even stepped out of the house. Saturday we had a long walk (for food) and I brought the camera along, under the disapproving eyes of the family.

L1009690
No sitting

Clark Quay was our first stop and a funny (funny as in strange, no as in Ha Ha) sight, no bars, no boose, no tourists, no waitresses : just joggers and cyclists.

L1009694
The picture that does not work

Some pics do not work : I found the juxtaposition of Ice Cream and temperature check funny (funny ha ha) , but that is unreadable.

L1009695
We continued to the Fullerton
L1009697
The memorial to Joseph Konrad

Who remembers that the author of “Into Darkness” was once  a sailor heading to Singapore?

L1009700

On Raffles place the sound of advertisements is still playing full blast for no crowd, except maybe this uncle.

L1009702

The Providore is open as most food businesses trying to take their chance with take away food.

L1009705L1009709

L1009711
The Arcade passer by
L1009712
The Quadrant, once hosted the Bank of China (Or a Bank of China of some kind)
L1009715
Maxwell good market

Through Telok Ayer and Club Street we head to Maxell and then to Kon Siak road.

L1009720
We said no sitting

Above the picture that works.

L1009726
No fear of avian flue

Finally a real street shot from Orchard road today!

All pictures taken with the Leica M262 and the Summaron 35mmF3.5 LTM.

 

SOFT LOCK-DOWN WEEK 2