My first roll of Cinestill XX

London, where else?

A bit more than a month back I bought two rolls of Cinestill XX in the Aperture UK shop in London. I have read about this film, but its the first time I saw some available for purchase, so I picked two rolls to see what it is like, keeping in mind that I will have a road trip in France a few weeks down the line.

I loaded the first roll soon after and started shooting in London over a couple of very sunny week-ends we had in late April.

The XX box claim to be a variable speed motion picture, but on a conservative move, I set the M6 speed dial to 200, and put a 50mm lens in front of it, most likely the Summicron v5 or the Summilux v2 with a yellow filer.

Balthazar’s bride

It is very difficult to tell which one I used from the pictures.

Twins
Off the wall

So a good first part of the roll was shot in London, the weather was nice and my brain clicked in shooting mode.

Fashion addicts

When holidays started, I spent a day in Paris, with not much shooting action, then drove to the Loire valley, where frankly I felt more compelled to use the digital M and 28 mm cron.

But here are three shots of the park of the Chenonceau castle.

At this point we drove to Bordeaux witch I never visited before and seems to be a good place for street photography, just enough people, and specific places.

A street in Cite Fujes built by Le Corbusier

Worth visiting for modern architecture buffs : the cité frugès built by Le Corbusier, one house is a museum and can be visited upon appointment.

The market
The blue oyster cult
Street life

The film was processed by my usual lab here in London : Analogue Films in Shoreditch, it seems they were not very familiar with the film at first. They managed to do their usual good job as processing and scanning.

The last part we moved to Biarritz in the Basque Country, capital of surfing in France.

Life is a beach

I always found very odd to shoot sea side in black and white, but hey why not, my parents did this ages ago.

Bay watch
Local artists
The market

I found the XX a bit too grainy for my taste, maybe blame the processing, who knows? Lets see how the second roll turns out.

Oh yes, the cost. The film was 11£ a roll ( almost 13 Euros, 14 USD, 19 SGD), mmm I think I still have some HP5+ in my 100ft roll. And Analogue Films charge about 8£ for process and scan.

Hope you enjoyed the ride.

My first roll of Cinestill XX

Twelve a dozen

And here is the second roll shot with the Hassie in London last month. Kodak Ektar 100 shot at 100, with Hassie 500CM.

Friendly climate activist (Aren’t they all?)

I use a handled Sekonic L-308X, that is overkill for the job, but I had to change my last one after 10 years of service, some soldering broke, and I though about finding it a new home and treating me to a new meter.

Unhappy campers

I am impressed by the 3D pop on this shot. The hassie is a great ice breaker. I really like these first two shots.

Market Magic

A bit of Easter spirit was still hanging around.

Hassie is for making friends

We bumped into Malaysian students around Borough Market, chit chat about Singapore and Malaysia and took a few pics and weefy.

The Cabbies café

I was quite intrigues when I arrive din London to see these street shops selling food for cabbies and probably the general public also. I never tried though.

A colourful block near Victoria station

Battersea station

Film processed and scanned by Analogue Lab in Shoreditch.

Twelve a dozen

Last black and white shots of 2021

Oh my Oh my. We are in March already and here is my last B&W roll of 2021, where was I? Well not shooting for sure, as I just brought my first roll of 2022 to the lab. Well time flies, photography is one of the losers in the adjustment to my new life.

Anyway, last roll of 2021, shot in December in France, first 4 shots in Paris, next 5 in Cannes, the others in Antibes.

This is a single roll of Ilford HP5+, still hand rolled from the 30 meters roll I bought last year in Singapore. Pictures were taken with the M6 classic with the Elmar 50F3.5 or the Summicron 35 Asph v2. Oh by the way that’s not my last roll of 2021, no no no sir, I quickly shot a roll of expired Portra 400 at the end of December, but I am not sure there are enough shots to share on that one, or maybe yes I ll do next week.

Hope you enjoyed watching…

Last black and white shots of 2021

LONDON 2021 ROLL#3

The painter

I am a slow shooter and a slower poster. So here is a roll shot in late October / November 2021 in London and in Paris for the last few shots.

She was there is the sunlight

I am sure the film was from my 30m meters roll of Ilford HP5, and shot with the Leica M6. I cannot se so sure about the lens.

The roll was processed by AnalogueFilms in Shoreditch again. I had to explain a bit that the film was not what was said on the canister, but I think the message passed across. They were also very kind and gave me a handful of empty canisters that I will replenish with more HP5.

Planking

The first three shots were taken during a long walk from Knightsbridge to Borough Market, the one above and the one below were taken another week around Covent Garden. The guy above was having some kind of practical joke with friends.

Select your Chanel (Harrods London)
Martin Margiela window
Back from another later afternoon walk

Then we went to Paris for the last week of November, from now on I used the Elmarit 50 only on the M6.

A vigil for Virgil Abloh in front of Louis Vuitton

We are all kids in front of the Galleries Lafayette Christmas display.

Inside the Galleries Lafayette
Good Bye, two more rolls to process to finish 2021!

Hope you enjoyed the reading.

LONDON 2021 ROLL#3

London 2021 Roll#2

That’s it Roll#2 is finally back from the lab. Thanks to some film fotogs I met in town, I finally find a more affordable lab, although I must say the over all price is still steep, but I am down to 10 £ for processing and scanning down from 16£ for my first roll.

Still a long way to go to beat Singapore prices. On a side note, I have ordered some Vitamin C and a thermometer so I can go back to Caffenol, as soon as I find some Soda wash.

Good job from the last, scanning is quite ok, I chose the high res JPG option for the price. I must say that after 18 month of Cafenol, I really cannot make the difference. More grain, less grain? I am not very technical.

Definitely London offers different scenes that Singapore, I still don’t feel at ease shooting random strangers, but there is enough going on to make useful subjects.

Roll 3 is under way, but as I mentioned somewhere else being grounded 10 days with Covid is not helping my photographic activity.

Size matters

London 2021 Roll#2

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

ROLL 2021#14 Just walkin’ around

A short post with not many words for the roll 14th of the year 2021. This is a roll of Ilford HP5+ hand-rolled from a bulk roll. I thought I counted 30 frames but it looks It did not count well and could just fire 25 shots.

I dug out the Leica M4 from the box and screw the Voigtländer 21mmF4 Color Skopar in front of it, set the 21-24mm finder, put a battery in my Sekonic light meter and hit the road.

The roll was processed at home in Caffenol Delta. I put a 6th of the water from the fridge to cool down the very hot tap water ( 29 to 30 degrees), and used the usual dev time (4.41 minutes) for the delta recipe. It looks it had a positive effect as the negatives were not as dark as usual.

The film dried overnight and was scanned today. After scanning there are a few dusts specs and white spots, but all in all a pretty successful processing.

A pretty mundane set of pictures : after 15 month without leaving Singapore, I start to be a bit bored. No big celebrations are happenings, it s a bit more of the same every week ends.

I shall not complain too much as the weather was pretty good that day, instead of the usual downpour we get on afternoons these days.

Luckily sometime the unexpected steps into the frame

Or you have lunch with friends

And suddenly when you feel you are finally in the mood, the film ends.

I hope you enjoyed the post, stay safe.

ROLL 2021#14 Just walkin’ around

Roll 2021#12 Tekka Market

The man who took me out of bed on that rainy day

Rainy day Saturday, when I left home to meet my fried Ez at Tekka Market, in Little India. The weather was quite bad so I left the Hassie home (Ez is the man behind HUGS the Hasselblad User Group Singapore) and only put the Nikon F3 loaded with a hand rolled roll of HP5+ (and a spare roll of TriX).

C est le pied.

I was soaked when getting to the MRT. I have not seen my friend for a while so we spent a certain time in front of a coffee and shot randomly what happened within range.

Grosse fatigue / tiredness

I set the F3 to ISO 320, to overexpose my film a little bit as recommended for Caffenol for medium speed film. My best lens for the F3 is the 50mmF1.4AIS so the combo enabled to shoot decently in the dimmed lighted market (also given the very gloomy external light).

Curry Puff stall

I came quite a few times in Tekka market but that’s not my favorite : I find it a bit too dark, and alleys are on the narrow side so you often find yourself in the middle of somebody else’s path. I generally feel a bit more at ease in Tiong Bahru or Chinatown Complex, but that Saturday was very nice and friendly.

The art of choosing the crab

Once home I quickly processed the film with the Caffenol Delta Recipe, adjusted for 500ml of water. At current temperature ( more or less 30 degrees), processing time is 4’40”. I use the Ilford rinsing method and Ilford fixer after that.

The smile of the butcher

Scanning was a breeze, the film is quite flat and after processing shows very little dust. The roll only had 20 full shoots and 2 half shots at start and end. 22 frames rolls are nice because I can hand them to dry in the shower without having to cut it in two.

Balance is everything

Loosing half a frame at the start is a bit obvious but why at the end? I remember now that when loading from a bulk roll the first part of the roll, which will be the last frame is partially exposed, only enabling for half a shot. It is very difficult to know when you last shot will be, maybe I should try to quickly load a new roll and retake the last shot?

Self Service

I still struggle focusing with the F3, but I think this roll is ok from that point of view. I have included a few more pictures below, I hope you enjoyed the reading

A really wet day
Roll 2021#12 Tekka Market

Ultrafine Xtreme 400 in Caffenol Delta

Passer by with phone (Roll 43)

Brace yourself for a long post today, with many pics selected form two rolls of Ultrafine Xtreme 400. If you look through this blog, you will find out that in 2018, I shot an entire 30m roll of Ultrafine Xtreme 400. I quite like this film and my usual lab was doing a good job processing it.

The ubiquitous delivery man (Roll 43)

This year is another game as my friend Ray Toei, the serial shooter who introduced me to this film, offered me two of his hand rolled film, with 24 shots each, and this year as you may know is the year of Caffenol.

Teo Hin Tyres (Roll 43)

The are not many resources on the web about processing this film in Caffenol, or maybe I was not able to find hem, so I decided to start with the Delta Recipe which is now my go to recipe for Ilford Delta and HP5+.

Hang them high (Roll 43)

The first film (Roll 43) was processed for 4’40” at 28 Celsius, time from pouring in the mix, to pouring it out (I start pouring out at 4’35” ). The resulting negative is quite thick, meaning over processed. I cut the time down to 4’15” for the second film (Roll 44) and the result is much much better, maybe I can try to cut down few more seconds.

Wrap me some of those, uncle (Roll 43)

I had another problem with the first film : I did somehow manage to not load it properly on the spool, so some areas were not properly processed, giving some vast white areas in the pictures (black on the negs). Ths is very clear on the first shot of this post. That’s a lesson learned : when the spooling does not sound right it is not right.

Deepavali shopping (Roll 43)

To make this a bit more difficult I have shoot these two rolls with my antique Nikon F3 and 50mmF1.4 AIS. I have dug the F3 out of the dry box for my last travel in February where I shot a quite nice roll of HP5, and I though he deserved a second round this year.

Framed (Roll 44)

I bought the F3 in 1992 already pretty battered, and I was never totally satisfied with it. But I long so much for this little fellow that I cannot drop it totally.

Catwoman (Roll 44)

I never have so many out of focus focus pictures with any of the Leica’s. I have changed the micro prism focusing screen for a vertical split screen in 2008 but it did not bring much improvements. I am happy to blame my eyesight of my technique.

A fish stall at Whampoa market (Roll 44)

This said, the pictures that are technically ok have a different quality to them than those taken wit the Leica. Not better (impossible 🙂 ) , just different, and its quite appreciable.

Saving the planet one tree at a time Whampoa (Roll 44)

For those interested, I carried last week both the F3 combo and the Leica M6 with the 35 Cron Asph v2, and the Leica is about 200 grams lighter, the F3 being just short of 1 KG. Still it is not big camera and discounting the fact I miss-focused 6 images at least on these rolls, it is a pleasure to use.

The newspapers stand – Whampoa market (Roll 44)

I went to Whampoa to bring a roll of color film to the lab there, not remembering that Saturday was a public holiday (Deepavali), so being confronted with the closed shop I walked to Whampoa market.

Family visit to the temple (Roll 44)

A few kilometers away, on Serangoon road, Hindu’s were visiting the temple, like this young family with a baby. I walk close the 11 km Saturday.

Chinatown Kueh Stoll (Roll 44)

Aperol Spritz (Roll 44)

My Delta recipe is as follows:

Caffenol C-MDelta
Water0.75
Washing Soda18
vitamin-C15
coffee32

I kept last week Caffenol, but decide not to use it, let’s brew some fresh stuff for the moment. For those interested in stats I shot 44 rolls sofa this tear, and 24 processed in Caffenol (probably 4 can be considered as having been sacrificed on the path to knowledge).

I hope you enjoyed the reading.

Ultrafine Xtreme 400 in Caffenol Delta

Bedok South Market and the Caffenol Delta recipe

Tired of marketing

So everything change and nothing changes. Back on the road this week end for a quick visit to the Bedok South Market

Ciggie break

Bedok is on the east side of Singapore, nearly an hour of public transport from my place, in direction of the airport.

Eggs business

The market is somewhat small and contains the many usual sections of other local markets. Unlike some others it is on ground floor level and has just one level so the light is quite ok.

Vegies stall

People are reasonably photo friendly, maybe because they are a bit out of the center, or they are just friendly.

At the fish stall

Now the technical bits you are all waiting for : so I decided to try the Delta recipe (which actually is not very different from my usual Caffenol CM):

Delta
Water0.75 l
Washing Soda18 g
vitamin-C15 g
coffee32 g

The recommended processing time is 9 to 10 minutes at 20 deg, so with the help of the Massiv Dev Chat converted I processed 4’40” at my 28-29 degrees. (I start the clock, start pouring the developer and poured out the last drop at 4’40”)

The dry fish corner

The negatives are good I would say, maybe slightly over, but very little dust or crap of any kind, no fogging. I am quite happy.

The right price

I also innovated by using bulk film. I bought a roll of HP5+ locally in the hope to save a bit of money and to roll custom size rolls. For this test Delta roll, I used a 12 shoots roll. And rolled two other 24 shots roll for later.

Fishy business

Without entering in too much details, a roll of 30.5 M (100 ft) provides 18 roll of 36 shots, making a gain of nearly 20% if you consider a roll here is 12$. Of course as there is a fixed loss per roll, if you make shorter rolls your benefit can go down, or cost you more per frame actually is you only make 12 shots rolls. Lets see how many frame I can shoot with this roll and make the math’s again at the end.

Jack fruit

Bedok South Market and the Caffenol Delta recipe