Naoshima is an island town in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea, it has been a long time project to go there, as it hosts several arts museum built by Tadao Ando as well as a famous hotel made by the same architect.
This year we finally made the trip to Osaka and on the way to Hiroshima we stopped at Naoshima. Getting there seems difficult at first, but in the end it is quite easy, you take the train either to Takamatsu or to Tamano and ferry to the island.
The Benese house hotel is full 6 months in advance so we had no chance to stay there. We then decided to sleep in Takamatsu and take a ferry for a day trip in Naoshima. Takamatsu is a secondary town, with a big hotel “JR Clement” (a bit expensive for what you get) and a few restaurants where you can manage in english. It also hosts the garden-museum of Isam Nogushi which is well worth the visit.
A day is Naoshima is probably enough, the Chichu museum hosts some art pieces made to measure and the Benese house museum has an awesome collection of modern and contemporary art. The Lee Ufan museum is also worth the visit, although less well know if you are not into minimalist art. We took a bus to the Chichu Museum with is the furthest palace from the ferry and walked our way back from there.
The subtle architecture of Tadao Ando is beautiful and invite to meditation. All the buildings are no photo, so you will see here no photos of the them. And I must say I did not miss being surrounded by people taking selfies, not that the place is packed though.
The rest of the island contains minor exhibitions in some traditional houses and some outdoors installations.
We spent a nicely filled 10 hours there and probably enjoyed most of it. Time to take the ferry back to Takamatsu
Pictures shot with Leica M262 and Summicron 28/35 or 50.
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.
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)
The sea side always offer a special quality of light, that works particularly well in black and white.
Also it is an endless opportunity of activities, landscapes and man made constructions.
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.
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.
A friendly and muscular worker along the Chao Phraya river near the Grand Palace
Finally below are two shots of worshipers inside the Grand Palace i think.
What took me so long to write the next post? Frankly no idea. I probably said that I have a few other projects, like running a half marathon in June and also keeping an eye on the counter of the bike so I beat my mileage of last year. Plus a couple of family, friends and (yes) work related things adding up.
Nonetheless I keep shooting, so here are the digital shots of the week end before Chinese new year. These are shots with the now familiar Leica M262 and the not so faithful Summilux 50mmv2.
The Summilux is back focusing a bit but I think I manage to compensate for it now.
Traditional CNY outing is in Chinatown, where you can find a lot of stall selling food.
And a lot of people hanging around, shopping or not.
Amazing enough this year is the year of the Pig again, meaning I arrived in Singapore 12 years ago and completed the cycle of the Chinese zodiac.
The 50mm is a bit tight sometimes as below; I must say I am a recent convert to the 35 focal length.
Below one of the many murals in town inspired by local life as it was a few decades back.
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.
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.
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.
The parade involved a group of people walking the whole city center area around the temple. Carrying alms as above.
Dancing as the sound of a band, plating from the top of a lorry.
There i some support for the guy carrying alms or umbrellas, the pink bucket is for quench his thirst.
The birthday boy and the older lady below are paraded on cycle rickshaws.
More dancing …
The auntie had a lot of energy and good sense of rhythm.
I am not sure if they are strictly singers or also MC’s my command of Thai is very poor.
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
So here we go, back from Ruby here are some shots of the last roll of the year shot exclusively on the last day of the year. This was an initiative of Low Che Ng from the FB group Lets Shoot film SG.
I loaded a roll of Kodak Colorplus 200 in the Leica IIIc and Summaron 35mm F3.5. This has been my walkabout set for 2018 so it was justice that I used it for the last day of the year.
I am not posting all of the 38 shots of the roll; shooting a full roll on a single day on my own was a bit challenging, but good fun.( I did four shots of the view from my flat to finish the roll). So given the constraints here is my (wide) selection, not art mind you.
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, KodakEktachrome 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.
Below is a breakdown of my film rolls:
Rollei Retro 80s
Kodak Tmax 400
Rollei CR 200
Fuji Reala 800
Kodak Gold 200
Rollei Superpan 200
Kodak Portra 400
Kodak Ektar 100
Kodak Tmax 100
Kodak Portra 160
Kodak TMZ 3200
Agfa APX 400
And by Brand
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.
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.
Camera N.5 : Agfa Isolette with Bergger Panchro 400
Now let’s look at the gear.
Agfa Isolette III
Kodak Autographic Jr
Minolta Himatic 7s
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.
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.
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.
If you are curious you can check the past reviews : 2015, 2016, 2017.
I shot the last of my Cinestill 800T 35mm rolls during the last holidays in Japan. This is the last roll from the batch I ordered from UK a few years back when it was first released. I must say that I am quite satisfied with this one.
The roll was kept a couple of years in the fridge but had also traveled by plane in many occasions, because it is not so easy to make up your mind to shoot a 18$ roll of film rates at 800 Iso and specified for Tungsten light.
The roll was shot with a Leica M6 camera and one my Summicron lenses, 35, 28 or 50mm.
Based on my former experiences I rated the film at 640 ISO on the M6 ISO dial and off we go lets shoot happily.
The first few shots are taken at night in the popular area of Dotombori in Osaka. Neon lights, restaurants and people, that works great for the 800T.
When shooting at night the M6 meter, which does center averaged measure, will have a tendency to overexpose : your subject is bright surrounded by a lot of darkness, so the reading will tend to overexpose. I generally underexposed by a step of diaphragm or the next speed to get the balance right.
On the next day we were off to Nara to visit its park and temples and the 800T was still not finished. The following shots were done without filter.
The above shot has tints that reminds of Portra 400, so it is not that bad. I tried to shot as open as possible which explains the softness. The M6 speed is limited to 1/1000 second so shooting in daylight with a 640 ISO film does not always give you a lot of latitude in term of aperture.
But shots taken in the shade allows a wider aperture and to play with out of focus.
The next few shots are taken in restaurant in Takamatsu the main city in Kagawa prefecture.
The south most part of our trip was Hiroshima where we visited the peace memorial.
At this point I played it old school and rewind the film which was about 28 shots and store it aside. I loaded a roll of Rollei CR200 slide film and when back in Osaka, I loaded the Cinetsill back again, put the cap, turn the aperture rint to on F22, set the speed to 1/1000 and fires 29 shots to find more or less the point where I was last and use my last 8 frames below: