Cannes in black and white

Welcome

Everything is nice in black and white, there was not other choice for pictures a few decades back anyway, nor for motion pictures. And black clothes have a sliming effect (oh I m being carried away, my goth side is speaking now).

Vintage Vedette projector, Cannes is home of the film festival right?

That said the seaside is not necessarily associated with black and white photography, the sand and blue skies are far away from the gloom and doom of big cities.

This is part of the second roll of the year, still going through the 30 meters roll of Ilford HP5. It is a bit boring but I used the M6 classic again and all these pictures were taken with the 35mm Summicron Asph v2.

Topolino

The Fiat 500 is associated to the Dolce Vita, a movie that was host in … Technicolor black and white.

The Blue chairs

In winter on the famous Croisette boulevard, not many stars nor sunbathers, but you can see the light is quite good.

A walk along the dock

On the seaside you can also so some street type shots.

Smells fishy

Finally the sea, on this scene backlit by the setting sun (on the left), the old city of Cannes in the far right, hills of Tanneron behind and the Esterel range on the left.

Finally two random shots, trying to see what can be done a bit closer.

Cannes in black and white

On the French Riviera

After leaving Paris, I travelled to my hometown of Cannes, famous for its festival, the beaches and its beautiful weather.

It did not disappoint its son. The weather was perfect, mostly bright blue skies all the time and a far warmer climate that Paris (or London).

Cannes also boasts two main harbours, filled with oversized yachts but also with fishermen’s boats as in the two pictures above showing some traditional fishing boats called “pointus”.

The end of the bay on the east side is called la Pointe Croisette and hosts the casino named “Palm Beach”, whose name is sometime used to designate the area. The casino is under renovation, and for those with a culture in French cinema, the crane you see is located where the famous swimming pool of “Melodie en Sous Sol” was located.

Cannes is not just for stars : locals still play the “petanque”

And not all drive Rolls Royces.

A tiny Autobianchi can be found on the harbour (in excellent condition)

And a 1950’s Peugeot 203 can be found driving around (slightly less good condition).

There was a lot of activity along the beach this year. Some relax, some have to work, thats life.

The sunsets on these winter days were often breath-taking.

All shots with Leica M262 and 35mm Summicron Asph v2 or Elmar 50mmF3.5 ltm, what else do you need?

On the French Riviera

PARIS – LA BOURSE DU COMMERCE – NOVEMBER 2021

One of the new things I wanted to visit in Paris was the recently opened (Summer 2021) Bourse du Commerce. Very briefly : this building which was originally a place to trade grain, has been leased by French billionaire Francois Pinault to host the art collection of its group (well a part only as he also owns similar exceptional place in Venice, you can check back my post about the Venice Biennale of 2017 and also some of the 2011 Biennale).

Beside its exceptional architecture and location in the hear of Paris, the bourse du commerce as it is today, also boasts two major attractions to my eye. A work by Tadao Ando, under the form of the concrete cylinder at the heart of the main exhibition hall. I have made a few posts about Tadao Ando in the past, you can for instance read about the church of light in Osaka here.

But also in this same hall is a masterpiece by swiss artist Urs Fisher, that I already saw in Venice in 2011.

On the outside the concrete cylinder, forms a galley where work of arts by
Bertrand Lavier

The double spiralled staircase

The glass ceiling

All shots were done with the Leica M262 and I think the Elmar 50mm F3.5 (otherwise that’s the Summicron 35mm Asph vII, but Lightroom tells me its 50mm). One of the constraints I feel when shooting in big cities it to limit the kit I am carrying : I feel like it is a bit silly (lack of style, overly touristic, …) to carry too much gear in such occasion so I often carry a single body and a single lens for the day.

PARIS – LA BOURSE DU COMMERCE – NOVEMBER 2021

May throwback

When life is slow and shooting slower, or when life is too fast to shoot, isn’t there an opportunity to look back at the albums ( ie Lightroom folders) for recent or not so recent pictures?

The Sultan Mosque in Kampong Glam

I don’t’ know how you sort your pictures, for me the digital shots end up being sorted in monthly folders (unless there is a very special event and I group them into that folder). I also end up putting the scans of each film roll in a separate subfolder under each monthly one.

Working 24/7

I originally load these images in my working hard drive, but then move them to an externals one always attached to my PC plus a couple of backups. Its not fool proof but it means all my pictures are both at arms reach and reasonably safe. I do not have an off site backup though.

Sentosa Concrete Jungle

That also ensures I can “focus” on the images that are recent (or not so ) and that I have not shared.

Sentosa by night

Well lets say that when shooting gets slow and I need something to share I know where to look at. SO today these are some shots done around Singapore in May 2021, nearly 6 month ago.

Tibetan Buddhist temple in beaty lane

Another time another place says the song. Walking around a few places I liked carrying around the Leica M262 and I think the 35mmSummicron Asph v2.

Bugis

It is getting colder in London and there is some satisfaction looking at pictures from a warmer place.

Waiting for you

Don’t worry I am not turning all sad and nostalgic, I have ordered some Ilford Fixer and some Vitamin C for the next round of Caffenol and even invested in a Thermometer so I can work properly. I have to Washing Soda at the moment but that will come soon.

May throwback

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).

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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.

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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).

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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?

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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

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The building replacing Golden Shoe

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

Keep safe.

 

SOFT LOCK-DOWN WEEK 5

Kodak Ultramax 400 – Oh no I did it again (Took the M4 and VC 21 on the road again)

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SMU

We are entering the rainy season in Singapore now, and film rolls are not easy to finish. So the roll of Kodak Ultramax 400 I loaded in the Leica M4 took a little time to finish. Particularly with a F4 lens and less light, not all opportunities are good,

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At the crossroad

I very rarely shot the Ultramax before, it is a quite cheap film you can still buy in supermarkets in France. My friend Felix, gave me a roll last time I met him, and he get a quantity of them for the same reason.

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Peninsula shopping center

The Leica M4 has no meter so I used my new Sekonic handheld light meter. All in it is doing quite a good job.

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Coleman street

The Ultramax end up being quite a different beast compare to the Portra 400. The grain is more accentuated, the colors get a bit more pink / green hue, the film I got from the lab was a bit more curly, but I am not sure it affected the scanning (with Epson v800).

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Tiong Bahru

The 21mm gave good results again, thanks to the viewfinder again I think. The vertical shots of cross roads gave what I called “dynamic” in my last post; I think they would benefit in being shot a bit lower, like wait level…

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The party is over

… but OK hand metering, range-finding (or pre-focusing or hyper focusing) and view finding are already a lot of actions for a single shot.

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Bincho

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A choir

With the 21mm the subject is often too far as above, unless you come really close to unsuspected subject …

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Fun for everybody

… for everybody’s fun.

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Carlsberg for free

Or willing models as above.

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The Instax team

Or you meet the Fuji Instax team (I did not enter the discussion about Fuji vs Kodak with them).

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Fancy fair

I also had the opportunity to take a few shots at night in a fancy fair and I must say the result is quite pleasant. A bit Saturated, but it looks the film reacted well to artificial light.

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Fancy fair

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Indonesian model

Interesting story here, aspirant photographer and aspiring make up artists from Indonesia using their friend as a model.

 

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SMU : Looping the loop

A  few weeks after the first shot back  at the SMU (Singapore Management University).

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The culprit! 

In case you directly jumped here: all shots on Kodak Ultramax 400 (not expired), with Voigtlander 21mm F4, VC viewfinder 21-25mm on Leica M4.

Kodak Ultramax 400 – Oh no I did it again (Took the M4 and VC 21 on the road again)

You can’t hurry love but you can try (More about the VC Color Skopar 21mm F4)

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One George Street in Singapore CDB

This is a follow up of my first write up YOU CAN’T HURRY LOVE (ABOUT THE VC COLOR SKOPAR 21MM F4) For those who don’t feel like digging back in the archives (pitty, there are a couple of nice shots there and probably my best piece of text in a while), this is about picking the Voigtlander Cosina Color Skopar 21mmF4 back from the dry box and putting it back to work.

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Ice cream parlor near Singapore river

Very quickly, the 21mm had two terrible defects for me: the color fringing in digital and the difficulty to frame in general. I decided in June to invest into a proper viewfinder to try to overcome the second issue : I picked a 21-25 VC metal finder.

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Walk down the bridge

The viewfinder did a really good job, it very bright and accurate, well built and on top of it it is super sexy (I have to post pictures of the Leica IIIc with it).

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Keong Saik road corner with Teck Lim road

All pictures here are from a single roll of Kodak Portra 400 shot with Leica M4 and VC Color Skopar 21mm F4 with the now famous 21-25 VC metal finder. Even vertical framing is accurate now.

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“MY CHINATOWN HOME” by  Yip Yew Chong 30 SMITH STREET

Horizontal framing works as well. As I am a slow shooter these were probably taken over a few week ends in different areas of central Singapore.

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The guitar hero

To shoot portraits the 21mm requires you to get very close to your subject, and still you will get some distracting details in your frame. Also you may get funky perspectives even if you frame correctly your subject (thanks to the perfect new viewfinder)

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Tan Boon Liat Building – a commercial / industrial building

When yout wan to put a lot in the frame as the Tan Boon Liat Building, actually it goes in. Colors with the Portra are quite rich, and vignetting is limited.

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The Monkey God temple in Tiong Bahru

Or when you are close to buildings and want to put them in the frame as above, this is a great ultra wide angle.

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Don’t go away

I did not do many “street” shots on this roll, but the 21 gives an amazing dynamics to the shots like above.

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Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple in Little India

I was very convinced by these first 2 or 3 rolls, and this has slightly changed my photographic practice recently. I use the M262 and M6 with the summicrons for holidays or events, the M4 and IIIc with older lenses for fun( or street, or burning film name it as you want) and recently the 21 is glued to them.

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Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple in Little India

So expect more posts like this one, but as you know that I found love with the VC21 again, so i will have to find out new titles.

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The Singapura Club – Little India

 

 

You can’t hurry love but you can try (More about the VC Color Skopar 21mm F4)

Yes another roll of Cinestill 800T (35mm)

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.

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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.

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The roll was shot with a Leica M6 camera and one my Summicron lenses, 35, 28 or 50mm.

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Based on my former experiences I rated the film at 640 ISO on the M6 ISO dial and off we go lets shoot happily.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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But shots taken in the shade allows a wider aperture and to play with out of focus.

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The next few shots are taken in restaurant in Takamatsu the main city in Kagawa prefecture.

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The south most part of our trip was Hiroshima where we visited the peace memorial.

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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:

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Yes another roll of Cinestill 800T (35mm)

CHANDIGARH – THE CAPITOL COMPLEX

 

The Open Hand Monument

So here we are on the last day of our trip, on the road to visit the Capitol Complex; the heart of Chandigarh, designed (partially) by Le Corbusier in the late 1950’s. An ode to modernist architecture that we have been longing to visit for years.

Palace of Assembly

Well not quite; aside from the bad planning (in my own opinion) of our travel agent, visiting Chandigarh is a bit more complicated than we thought. So apart from the 3 sites cited in my last post, there is nothing organised to visit the habitations buildings and finally you have to go through a guided tour to visit the Capitol Complex.

The Shadow Tower

This is not quite all : the two main buildings on the Capitol, the High court and the Assembly are in use (why should they not be after all?). So you cannot enter the High Court and you are lucky (we were) to enter the Assembly ( but no photos inside).

Punjab and Haryana High Court or palace of Justice

Add bye the time the guide assembled the small crowd of tourists we started our visit by mid morning, time was starting to be short and the light was quite bad for taking pictures.

As you can see above the high court is in use with layers in their work outfits.

Palace of assembly

In the opposite site of the plaza from the Hight court, the Palace of Assembly has a better lighting. It is overseeing a large pond and offers a spectacular view.


The holes in the front walls give nice perspectives and see through views.

Patterns on the assembly walls, reminding that man is the scale of the construction.

Getting out of the Assembly House the inevitable Ambassador car, now a civil servant official car, which used to be common taxis.

Mister Mohan

Our visit was accompanied by Mister Mohan, from the tourist Police who turned out to be a friendly person.

A few more things:

  • For the habitations buildings there are no restrictions to go and visit them, ask inhabitants,… we met some passionate french people who were spending a full week there. But Chandigarh is a big city so you better plan for what you want to see.
  • You can “pass by” on a road at the back of the Open Hand monument, in  a certain distance, without getting into a tour and then be able to take picture at better moments (I did not)
  • The tour of the Capitol Complex is a bit rushed through, you are not welcome to wander around or take too long with your photography nonsense,
  • You do not see on the pictures, the parking lots, the vans, the 20 Spanish tourists of our tour, the barriers,…
  • How did I manage to take so poor pictures of a site I longed to visit for decades? It shows (if needed) that some skills need working on.
  • Camera geekerry : color shots Leica M262, black and while Leica M6, Summicron 28 and Summicron 50
CHANDIGARH – THE CAPITOL COMPLEX

Kali Mata Mandir – Pathiala

Quite a different athmosphere from GURDWARA DUKH NIWARAN SAHIB when crossing the city we came upon the “Kali Mata Mandir” the “Black mother temple”.

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This beautiful temple is said to be very popular and we preferred to visit it in daytime, before the crowd.

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Devotees are already coming to offer they prayers and ask for the blessings of the black mother. With a bit of discussion with the priest I was allowed to take a couple of pictures of the Divine Mother Kali and the priests (The statue was brought back from Bengal in the 1900’s)

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The Kali shrine opens towards the outside of the compound; through it you enter a courtyard surrounding the temple below.

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At the back of Kali shrine is another shrine of what I believe being the goddess Jyoti; the Hindu goddess of light and the “Vel”. She is the daughter of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and is closely associated with her brother Lord Murugan .

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People of the temple are collecting offerings for various causes. I gave some rupees I had left for one of them, although I am not sure what it is for.L1000275

I had none for the next ones which were a bit unhappy about the fact.

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The part if the temple below contains an older Shiva temple that opens once a year only, an old local gentleman told us he visited it only once in his life.L1000285

Finally we found  a group playing music and singing in the temple hall; I cannot tell if they were playing for the gods or rehearsing for later ceremony, but they seemed to be very please of our short attendance.

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You can visit http://maakalidevimandirpatiala.com/ for more information

 

Outside the temple a rickshaw rider waits for customers

All shots Leica M262 with Summicron 50 or 28; Rickshaw rider is Leica M6, Cron 28mm and Kodak TMY400

Kali Mata Mandir – Pathiala