Soft lock-down day minus 3

For my foreign readers, in these hard times, up to the 3rd of April,  not a lot have changed in Singaporean’s lives. Obvious places of mingling, like bars and discos, had been closed a few weeks back and we were encouraged to work from home when possible and apply social distancing, controls were put at the border and a quarantine system was put in place.
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Quarantined Buddha
Things changed Friday when the prime minister announced a “soft lock down”, basically we are going to be on lock-down like a big part of the human kind. Nearly all public places will be closed, but for the soft part, we will still be allowed to walk out.
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Panic buy

So Friday saw a moderate panic buy (including massive queues at Victoria Secret, LuluLemon  and Louis Vuitton, more reassuring of the human race people were also queuing in the Japanese library Kinokuniya.

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Our Community Center, during free mask distribution

Restaurants will close next Tuesday night, so after what looked like a dreadful Friday night, a lot of places where pretty full, Saturday and Sunday, of course respecting  mandatory social distancing. We also visited some friend’s restaurant Saturday, as we fell the need to support the businesses and share a bit of love and friendship in these hard time.

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Wat Ananda Metyarama Thai Buddhist temple

I did not really dig in the details of the soft lock down, but just in case I started the Sunday by a 37 Km ride with my son. And in the afternoon we had a long walk to our Community Center and back to collect our free reusable masks (Thanks guys). These shots were done along the way with the Leica M262 and the Summaron 35mmF3.5 LTM.

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Wat Ananda Metyarama Thai Buddhist

First stop, a few clicks down the Community center, was the Wat Ananda Metyarama a Thai Buddhist temple, a very nice Thai temple (surprise !), an at the back are more buildings. Including one for nuns or monks.

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The mice
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Birds and gods

I don’t know what this building is. A king of shrine, with drying laundry, birds in cages and gods effigies.

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Polis

I want to shoot this little police hut for a while (Polis is Police in Malay), geographically  it looks like it was commanding the entrance of the Malaysian enclave that was containing the railway station and the railway tracks up to Malaysia. But I am not 100% sure.

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ST MATTHEW’S CHURCH – NEIL ROAD

St Matthew’s Church is now all wrapped up, you can check my post about it here. I cannot really give any information about the new development there.

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Social distancing
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Shake Shack Mural
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Social distancing v2

Or dance steps.

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Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple

As part of earlier measures places of worship are now closed, but devotees congregate (in small numbers) in front of temples.

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The odd guy

That’s it for today! Keep safe, follow the rules, and read many posts ever after.

Soft lock-down day minus 3

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

Polypan 50 ISO with Leica IIIc and a slow lens

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Crossing strangers

This is my third post about the Polypan 50 and thanks to my friend Felix who is always eager to feed me some more this is probably the 10th roll I have shot.

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The subtle art of panning and the scratched negative

This roll is a bit old and traveled in and out of the fridge a few time, also Felix warned me about the first two frames to generally better be avoided. Finally the film is quite thin and this may result in a bit of struggle when loading the film on the reel.  so one or two early

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Film shooters unite

So this particular roll I decided to shoot with the Leica IIIc and the Color Skopar 21mm. I am still trying hard to love this lens and the camera looks super good with the VC finder I bought last summer.

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At the skate park

At this point I have small problem because  I am not really able to guesstimate the light and I have relied on my Sekonic 308, that i bought new in 2010 with my first Leica. The little fellow is now more dead than alive, draining batteries like hell and giving random measures. So after the first half of the film I decided to go the the shop and get a new light-meter. To cut it short I bough the same one, lets hope it last as long.

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Do not disturb

So this is a recipe for disaster, a slow film, an old camera, and a slow lens. Luckily last Saturday the weather was nice when I hit Chinatown and came across Felix of course.

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Crossing

I am not a big theoretician, but what i like with the 21mm is the dynamic it gives to (rather mundane) pictures where people are moving like above or below.

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More crossing, but to slow to catch the lady’s face

Chinatown is also the opportunity to catch again and again the old folks playing Chinese checkers or chess. Some slow action going on, so speed can be lessen, perfect for my set-up.

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Another obvious thing with the 21 : you need to be close to your subject. How close is close?  Probably all the pictures in this post are done between 2 and 4 meters ; the one below more like 1 meter.

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Even better, people are rest

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And finally a bit more panning for that young lady.

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You can see my old posts about polypan50 here:

A first roll of Polypan F50

35mm Film in hassy back

Polypan 50 ISO with Leica IIIc and a slow lens

A roll of Kodak Ektar shot with the Leica IIIc

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01. The first shot, in a Hindu temple in little India

Hello, today a little pointless exercise consisting in reviewing the shots of an entire roll. You will see below keepers in a larger size that the dismissed shots.

I loaded the roll during the LUGS (Leica User Group Singapore) outing in Little India last month inside Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. This is always a good place for shooting.

Lesson from the first frame: always skip the first 1 or 2 frames, otherwise in the unlikely event you like the shot, it may be half burned.

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02. Sri Veeramakaliamman temple in little India

 

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03. Hindu temple in little India

It is quite rare that I shoot color films with the IIIc, actually I mostly shot Black and white film anyway, I feel very restricted by color film, I generally prefer to shoot digital for color.

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04. Coconut stall Little India
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05. Coconut stall Little India

So far no shot is great, maybe number 5 is ok, street activity, a bit of the documentary style, probably ok technically. I like the color of the Ektar for “street” photos.

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06. Mural

There are many mural in little India now, this one is in a back alley, it is not so great , or maybe too much. The shot is quite bad, not sure its even in focus.

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07. Working Class Hero

Probably an Indian actor, the first good shot, nice color. Taken bottom up with the 35mm, the vertical line are of course not straight, but that’s the name of the game.

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08. Working class hera take two.

Not as good.

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09. Cardboard Man

Ok you get that it it about the plight of people making a leaving from urban scraps. Not such an uncommon sight in Singapore. Informative, but not necessarily a great pic.

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10.Elephant Park

I would find that picture quite uninteresting, but technically ok; color-wise it is another chance for the Ektar to rock.

Leaving Chinatown and moving toward city center, two visions of hotel 81 in Jalan Besar.

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11. Hotel 81 in Jalan Besar
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12. Hotel 81 in Jalan Besar

Second shot is better exposed an less traffic in the middle. Roughly ok, The Art Deco building is attractive, but not overwhelming.

In the street with a camera in hand it is tempting to catch passers by, in particular if they are charming.

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12. Female passer-by 1

Too far, would you even have noticed her?

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13. Female passer-by 2

Motion blur, Out of focus, bad framing.

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14. Female passer-by 3

So what?

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15. Colorful

Maybe yes, maybe not, that was just a try.

The same afternoon I walked into Chinatown

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16. Ceno2 new mural

Quite a bad pic, maybe OOF ? Shame. I thinks it’s also not Ceno2’s best mural.

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17. South Bridge Road commercial building
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18. South Bridge Road commercial building

The two commercial buildings are quite ok, I would be happy to show the second one, the colors and details are good to my taste, and the composition not so bad.

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19. Strangers with brolly

 

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20. Strangers with brolly

Second version is probably an ok street shot, movement, color and overall an umbrella.

 

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21. Buddha tooth relic temple

Buddha tooth relic temple, one random shot

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22. The mosque on new bridge road

I tough the light was great and worth capturing

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23. Mural in “Amoy Alley”

I quite like this one, unusual.

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24. Satay club

Another random shot, not great angle, too far, not showing much.

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25. MBS reflection

Ok ok we can try.

Next great spot is the Merlion Park, it is always endless fun shooting people taking selfies there.

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26. The lady in cheamseong

It would have work with better light, the subject here is a bit lost in the background.

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27. Posing

This one is really random.

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28. Uncle shooting a relative (or friend)

Something was going on, but it was not the right moment yet.

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29. The same uncle in action

I think that one is ok, just average but ok. Nice light, funny pause and all.

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30. hijacking the shot

Nothing easier to ask somebody who pause if you can also take a shot. Too contrasty but probably OK.

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31. The three good fairies

These three Muslim ladies remind me of the good fairies in Walt Disney’s Cinderella. They were very happy to oblige. I like he colorful bags, maybe a second closer shot without the bags would have been a nice complement.

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32. Beach Road

The new building on Beach Road in the evening light. Nice tourist shot.

 

Finally the next 5 shots were taken during the next LUGS outing in Tiong Bahru, on my birthday.

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33. a fish stall

Ok I think I took enough fish stalls so far not to call this one a keeper.

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34. Another fish stall

I would keep this one, framing is nicer, action is clear. technically I think it’s ok, may need to be overexposed a little bit.

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35. Fruit Stall

Obviously random

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36. Fruit Stall (again)

The lens was attracted by the lady in the center, but one week later it does not look like it is enough.

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37. Tiong Bahru street scene

 

So where am I a the end of the exercise? I managed to shot 36 and half frames on this roll, all exposed properly and focused reasonably well (two are debatable), the only thing you can take from this is that my IIIC works reasonably well and, probably, produces a comparable result to a modern camera. One picture out of three,  I will probably share on one of the Facebook groups I partake in. Real keepers (going on Flickr), will be  “Working Class Hero“, “Strangers with brolly“, “the three good fairies“, maybe the “Other fish stall“.

At this point in time he Leica IIIc is my favorite 35mm film camera : it is small and sexy and over the time it get slightly improved : by the addition of the a 35mm Summaron (f3.5), then by the one of a 35mm finder. I always dismissed the 35 finders as being not useful, but in the end this accessory  proved very good for composition. Over the years I had the curtain changed, there is still a a small defect when shooting at fast speeds, the right side exposure is a bit under exposed, but it looks like using it more often, at least one roll a  month, it seems to be less obvious.

Hope you enjoyed the reading and viewing, to later

 

A roll of Kodak Ektar shot with the Leica IIIc

Japan Camera Hunter – JCH 400 FILM

During my trip to Melbourne where I discover the FilmNeverDie  shop, I bought a couple of rolls of their SHIROKURO but also one roll of JCH StreetPan 400 film (why only one?)! I am always looking forward to try new or uncommon films, this is part of the magic of chemistry of film photography, to make me expected something new and exciting that does not depend on my technical skills (if I have any) to happen on the roll.

You can find the announcement of the film and read more about it there.

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This does not look to be  a re-branded film as the negs have the mention JCH.

This is not a technical review, I am by noway an expert, I understand that pan chromatic does not mean much other than a reproduction similar to human eye. Not sure what this means for black and white. This film is supposed to have a higher sensibility to red and a low grain.

I loaded the roll in the newly repaired Leica IIIc, and the following shots are done during Chinese new year in Singapore using a Summitar 50mmf2 lens. The Summitar is a bit back focusing so this is probably not a proper set-up to judge the quality of the film, but I have a soft spot for the IIIc.

Exposure is measured with a handheld Sekonic 308s lighmeter.

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Peanut stall

This picture is shot under a red tent and gives for interesting palette of grey, probably due to the sensitivity to red.

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There’s a cow behind the bins

For those who wonder, this was processed by the usual lab used by Ruby photo, no idea what chemical they use.

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Cookie stall
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Fellow film shooter, using a Canon 7s and Summar 50mm (but I saw he has more tricks in his bag)

The grain is actually quite controlled, and the sharpness, if you keep in mind this is shot with a vintage soft lens, is quite good. I am not a big fan of high grain film like the TriX (although I use it a lot), and always preferred the soft TMAX100 or Fuji Acros

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Kueh shop

Actually the contrast is quite smooth, unlike the Rollei Retro 400s I used recently, so for higher contrast scenes it gives  nice gradation of grey.

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The ladies selling newspaper on Keong Saik Road
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Happy fellows
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Night shot in Chinatown, a Bakua shop
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Preparing for Chinese new year

Even this night shot with back-light could be salvaged and give a nice rendering.

All in all this is quite a satisfying experience, if I manage to get more rolls they’l deserve to be shot with a better camera like the M6 or the “never-fail” EOS 1N.

JCH has sold all his stock, so only retailers will have some rolls now, until more are produced. I don’t think anybody has some in Singapore but you can find a list of suppliers on the JCH web-site.

 

 

Japan Camera Hunter – JCH 400 FILM

Going Digital with the Olympus E-PL2

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Jazz up this old lens – Leitz Summitar 50mm F2 wide open

I was a bit restless last week-end, still scanning the backlog of films I needed some less intensive activity. Plus my son has a field trip in Indonesia and we were thinking he would be better off wit a cheap camera, just in case he lost it, drop it or got robbed.

So I scratched my head and after a while (and a bit of google-ing) went down to the shop and bought a Olympus E-PL2 and 12-24mm lens plus an adapter for Leica lenses.

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Lunch time – Leitz Summitar 50mm F2 wide open

For 140 USD my son have a very good camera although “obsolete” said the shopkeeper. And I can attach my Leica lenses including the russian and japanese ltms to a digital sensor. I can let you see some results.

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Gong xi fa cai – Industar 22 50mm F3.5 wide open

 

Like everything this takes time to get used to and I am no expert in micro four-third cameras, but it looks this can be a fun toy. A few things to take into account:

  • the E-PL2 has a crop factor of 2, so the 50mm becomes a 100mm and the Serenar 135 becomes a 270mmF4 lens !
  • even with the adaptor depth there is not much room for recessed lenses, so the Jupiter 8 with its big inner element cannot be used (damn I really wanted to use this one)
  • on the good side you cannot hurt the sensor with the collapsible lens.
  • mmm the camera uses the back screen for focusing which is very difficult for me; and EVFs are a bit expensive just for fun, so I don;t know how much usage I’ll do with thus.

Gong Xi Fa Cai everybody, happy year of the monkey.

Going Digital with the Olympus E-PL2

Around Chinatown for Chinese new year – Singapore

So the last week-end before the start of the year of the goat I went with the family in Chinatown. I brought the Leica IIIc and a couple of lenses actually 3.

Most of the shots below are done with the infamous back focusing Jupiter 8, 50mm f2.

Quite fun anyway.

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Chinatown is very busy around this time. People shop for food, decoration, or just stroll around.waex99-01029

These two guys selling chestnuts are here all year roundwaex99-01031

But other stalls are just temporary,

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Just selling nutswaex99-01019

or fruits in the side of the streetwaex99-01021

Some of the sellers are coming from China just for the event, or so have I been told.waex99-01022
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Sausages and cured meat stall.

This was the first time I use Kentmere 100 ISO film; reasonably cheap, I understand it is manufactured by Ilford now. As I rarely use Ilford product (except fro Pan 50 and Pan 400) I cannot really tel how it compares to FP4 for instance. Nothing to rave about, I’ll probably finish my stock and go back to Tmax or Rollei RPX 100.

Around Chinatown for Chinese new year – Singapore