The title of today’s post is a trap. It should be called Caffenol week 6, but it starts to be boring. Saturday I finished a roll of Ilford Delta 400, and processed it as soon as I was back home.
This is my second brew that I kept from last week. I have been careful today to limit the time of processing to 5 minutes at 28 degrees, plus 10 seconds for pouring out.
The negatives are still a bit thick but on the better side I would say. I also filtered my fixer before using it. As a result I have very few crap on the film.
Another innovation this week is that I cut the roll in two before processing to squeegee. Less chance to scratch by carrying dust over with my fingers, less residual water at the bottom of the film. Unfortunately I did not count he frames so I ended up with an odd number of strips.
The result : this is my best Caffenol film of these past 6 weeks. I must say it is the best film altogether and choosing a small number of shots from it was difficult.
But back to the processing, there was very little dust on the film, and I did only minimal spot cloning in light-room after processing. I also added 1 more minute to the fixing time, this is the 7th roll with the fixer (It should do 17), it cannot harm.
This is shot again with the Leica IIIc, but with the Summaron 35mmF3.5, which is quite a sharp lens. I measured the light with the handheld Sekonic L-308-s, and used my 35mm Leica finder. The finder shoe was bent during my last move and I think the shot above really shows it.
The first three shots were taken around Chinatown last week, while the next three where taken around Marina Bay, where I met some friends by complete fluke. Friends are great picture subjects, lets remember this.
Saturday morning I met some fellow shutterbugs in Haji Lane. The two frames above were shot in a kind of artsy enclave where a lot of murals can be found.
The area is far less crowed than usual, but its still a busy place in the morning, with deliveries for local businesses, people having coffee or photographers bringing models to shoot with the colorful area as a backdrop.
We hijacked the model above, thanks, thanks, one shot and we move, my camera is so old, anyway.
We have entered the 7th month of the Chinese new year and offerings are appearing outside maybe businesses.
Processing film at home is a funny activity, actually it is a very modern one, inline with instant self rewarding of Instagram and phone-o-graphy.
So after 4 weeks wit the same brew, I decided it was time for fresh coffee. I followed the same recipe but added some table salt, which is supposed to limit the fogging on the negative, specially for high speed film like the Ilford Delta 400.
I prepared the mix Sunday afternoon to be ready for processing in the evening, but actually I could not wait and loaded the finished roll I had in an improvised dark cupboard.
I realized that my expired fixer is now all grey and contains a lot of flocculation. I try not to poor the deposit in the tank, but did not think of filtering. I fixed for the usual 5 minutes. Then I filtered the fixer back in the bottle.
It looked the film was fixed properly but there is some deposit in places. Next time I will filter before pouring and extend the fixing time just to be safe.
So I used the new mix at 28 degrees for a bit more than 5 minutes. The result is OK, but I would say a bit over done. I cannot tell if the table salt had any effect (I put 10g for a litter of Caffenol).
This time I managed to squeegee the water from the film without leaving dust or hair and let dry in the bathroom. The negatives are thick but scanned ok as you can see. There are some marks due to the residuals of the fixer I think.
So this is a roll of Ilford Delta 400, supposed to be a fine grain film (compared to HP5), a bit cheaper than the usual TriX. The film lacks a bit of contrast in my opinion.
This was shot with the Leica IIIC and Voigtländer 21mm F4. With the 21mm the subject is always so far away.
Unless you come very close
In which case you make friends, or at least you have to engage.
I engaged the social distancing ambassadors, as I think they deserve to be remembered for their service to the community and that hopefully one day they will only be memories and we will look back at this picture to make sure this was not just a dream.
The shots around Marina bay were made by a very bright day and some are done at higher speeds for which I suspect the Leica III to be a bit lazy, hence the mild darker right side (or brighter left).
I included a few more shots back to my usual habit of burning film randomly.
I am still not so good at hip shooting, it seems I constantly aim too high. Luckily I realized I am not the only one.
I am a bit better at pre-focusing and aiming from the eye level. Particularly with my VC 21-25mm finder.
I hope you enjoyed the reading. The next roll is not very far away.
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
Last Sunday I pour my Caffenol in a bottle of green glass (Perrier) and kept in just in case.
So tonight I was restless and I decide to give Caffenol another try.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This was also measured using my new Keks EM01 ligh meter.
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).
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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
Pre-soak 5 minutes (this step is optional, but it is relaxing)
Pour the developer
Agitation first 30 seconds, then 3 times each minute.
– 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
– 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
the negatives are dense but images can be seen when back lighted and scanned with the Epson v800
A few more samples
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.
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.
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.
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).
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,…)
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.
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).
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?
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).
All shots with Leitz Summitar 50mm F2.0 on Leica M262.
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.
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.
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.
Some pics do not work : I found the juxtaposition of Ice Cream and temperature check funny (funny ha ha) , but that is unreadable.
Who remembers that the author of “Into Darkness” was once a sailor heading to Singapore?
On Raffles place the sound of advertisements is still playing full blast for no crowd, except maybe this uncle.
The Providore is open as most food businesses trying to take their chance with take away food.
Through Telok Ayer and Club Street we head to Maxell and then to Kon Siak road.
Above the picture that works.
Finally a real street shot from Orchard road today!
All pictures taken with the Leica M262 and the Summaron 35mmF3.5 LTM.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I don’t know what this building is. A king of shrine, with drying laundry, birds in cages and gods effigies.
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.
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.
Or dance steps.
As part of earlier measures places of worship are now closed, but devotees congregate (in small numbers) in front of temples.
That’s it for today! Keep safe, follow the rules, and read many posts ever after.
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).
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.
This is quite an easy film to scan, the ISO 200 is quite convenient for color street shots on a nice day.
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.
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.
The colors on the next two shots are outstanding, but light was exceptional too.
Of course sometime as above the 21mm gives a bit too much negative space.
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.
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.
I also think the Summaron is an excelled lens. 35mm is a lot more manageable than 21, but I also have a 35mm finder,
The above is taken inside the National Design Museum, but there was plenty of light.
I don t realy know the relationship between the expo and Kraftwerk, but…
Film is scanned at home with Epson v800, I do a bit of colour and exposure correction in Light-room .
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And finally a bit more panning for that young lady.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Not as good.
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.
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.
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.
Too far, would you even have noticed her?
Motion blur, Out of focus, bad framing.
Maybe yes, maybe not, that was just a try.
The same afternoon I walked into Chinatown
Quite a bad pic, maybe OOF ? Shame. I thinks it’s also not Ceno2’s best mural.
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.
Second version is probably an ok street shot, movement, color and overall an umbrella.
Buddha tooth relic temple, one random shot
I tough the light was great and worth capturing
I quite like this one, unusual.
Another random shot, not great angle, too far, not showing much.
Ok ok we can try.
Next great spot is the Merlion Park, it is always endless fun shooting people taking selfies there.
It would have work with better light, the subject here is a bit lost in the background.
This one is really random.
Something was going on, but it was not the right moment yet.
I think that one is ok, just average but ok. Nice light, funny pause and all.
Nothing easier to ask somebody who pause if you can also take a shot. Too contrasty but probably OK.
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.
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.
Ok I think I took enough fish stalls so far not to call this one a keeper.
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.
The lens was attracted by the lady in the center, but one week later it does not look like it is enough.
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