A wet day in chinatown

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A small write up today, and I will avoid the temptation to make another complete roll review (although in fairness I was tempted).

The flea market that use to seat in Sungei Road east of the city center has been closed for building a MRT (the local term for underground). What used to be coined as the “thieves market” has slowly moved to Chinatown in the heard of the city.

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I am not sure what the authorities think of it, but here is another attraction in one of the tourist hubs of the Lion-city. These guys sell mostly old junk, and it’s rare you will find anything you might want to bargain for … actually as odd as it seems I bought for 2$ a record of Industrial Music, and one of the sellers (not sure how to call them) actually has a few interesting cameras.

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You will find old watches and Buddhist artifacts and amulets, and for the rest … you’ll see for yourself.

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Sure this will come a popular spot for street photography.

The 4 shots above were taken in a rainy afternoon,  with Ultrafine Xtreme 400 iso with the Leica IIIc and the Summaron 35mmF3.5, probably 1/60 second and f3.5.

As I am here I also add as a bonus three earlier shots done on the same film with the Leica M4 and teh modern Summicron 50mm v5.

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I hope you enjoyed the visit

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A wet day in chinatown

Amritsar street photography

Tea merchant

India is a feast for the street photographer, photo friendly people, a lot of color, everything is so different, so many things happening all the time. The tea merchant with his yellow scarf is one of the first pictures I took. Through the window of the car stuck in the traffic jam.

One of the many horse carts around

Soon we had to step out and walk to the golden temple as the traffic was so bad on Sunday. I stumbled on one of the many horse carts with the driver standing up gauging the traffic.

You can read the visit of the temple here.

Rickshaw driver

After the temple visit looking for our car, I came across this friendly rickshaw driver.

In the afternoon we went to Wagah border ceremony; here also the crowd after the ceremony on the way out offers many photo opportunities.

Ice cream

The crowd after the ceremony is eager to partake in ice cream, pop corns

The last pop corn parlor before the border

It gets dark quickly, and there is nearly one km of little stalls stretched along the car parks.

A fruit stall
Some more spicy stuff
“Let’s ride”: the burger stall

There is not enough time to stop at every stall to take some shots of vendors and their patrons. In this early evening, the lights, the fumes and the colors of the stalls make a beautiful composition every meter.

All shots with the Leica M262, Summicron 50mmF2.

Amritsar street photography

Mullik Ghat Flower Market – Calcutta

Situated at the southeast end of Howrah Bridge, between the Ganges and the railway, the flower market is a fascinatingly colorful attraction.

This is a wholesale market, not one where you are supposed to buy flowers as a tourist.

The morning we were there the place was reasonably busy, it gets a bit cramped in the covered area, but not to the point of being unbearable (although I can imagine this can be the case from time to time).

 

There are plenty of nice spots inside or outside where you can stay without being too much on the way and take pictures. This is a business place, but I think people are ok to have their photo taken, maybe do not shoot at money exchanges.

 

On the way from the avenue to the market itself, you can see the makeshift shacks where many workers live in, but also some small workshops (workshacks maybe?) where people are mending cyclecarts, or making wooden boxes to transport the flowers.


This is the kingdom of marigold.

Mullik Ghat Flower Market – Calcutta

Calcutta – The potters colony

The first stop of our fourth trip to India was Calcutta, or Kolkata as it is called now.

At first I was very excited to go to India at the period of Diwali the festival of lights, but it turned out that is is more a private event celebrated at home than something you can experience in the street. True, the cities were all lighted-up and people were busy shopping for lights and decorations for their homes. Actually, that week was just after the Durga puja which is a popular celebration in West Bengal, but also the week of Kali Puja which is another big celebration in the area. And particularly in Calcutta.

If we were first struck on the night of our arrival by the number of people sleeping in the street, we were also very surprised to see number of bamboo structures being erected across the city. This, were we told, was for the construction of temporary temples for the upcoming Kali puja.

The next day one of the highlights of our tour was the “potters colony” or Kumartuli. I did not do much research before and was afraid to be inflicted one of the pseudo artisanal attractions you see from time to time. It turned out that the potters colony is the place where these craftsmen are building statues of deities (or idols as our guide reffer to them) for the various celebrations of the hindu year. That week all the colony was busy making statues of Kali for the upcoming festival.


The highly decorated statues present Kali, with a necklace of severed demons heads that she defeated but also stepping on her husband Shiva, she generally has her tongue sticking out. The explanation we were given can also be found on wikipedia:

Once Kali had destroyed all the demons in battle, she began a terrific dance out of the sheer joy of victory. All the worlds began to tremble and sway under the impact of her dance. So, at the request of all the Gods, Shiva himself asked her to desist from this behavior. However, she was too intoxicated to listen. Hence, Shiva lay like a corpse among the slain demons in order to absorb the shock of the dance into himself. When Kali eventually stepped upon Shiva, she realized she was trampling and hurting her husband and bit her tongue in shame.

It is difficult to imagine that so many statues will found someone to buy them; but they actually do. Strolling through the colony you can see statues of various shapes, colors and sizes; but all describing the same scene. You will see idols at various stages of their completion, from gross straw shapes, to fully finished ones. Most of the statues will have their head covered if they are not finished. Artists are painting the fine details of eyes or decorations, some even using spray paint for shades.

All pictures with Nikon D700 + Nikkor 17-35F2.8D, I use a polarizing filter mostly all the on this lens.

Calcutta – The potters colony

14 Juillet 2013 – Cannes – France

So actually on the french national day I was going to the market and I came across a guy in traditional dress holding a drum so just followed and realized he was going to the local celebration of the national day. I took a few shots with the Dacora Digna, my beloved holiday camera, and with the LeicaIII that I brought with me for the summer holidays back home.

French National Day
French National Day

The Leica shots are done with the Summitar 50mmF2 on a Rollei RPX 100 Film and I managed to ruin the shots by trying to process the film at home using the Caffenol method. The film was not well developed and very difficult to scan, hence the grain. I’ll come back on the Caffenol story later.

 

I like the shot I called “The photographers”, the Asian tourist with her phone on the foreground and the official photog in the background.

14 Juillet 2013 – Cannes – France

The haze affair

Let's make the harbor disappear
Let’s make the harbor disappear

Under the conjugated effect of dry season and south west winds the annual forest fires in Sumatra have caused a major issue in Singapore this year. The pollution index rose to never seen before levels, some school sent kids back home and companies held meetings to see how to face the situation. Wearing face masks is recommended, but they came very difficult to find out and the highly efficient N95 3M masks were unobtainable at all the outlets I visited. Many pharmacists carry notices that “All face masked are out of stock, please check at a later date”. I met people who considered flying abroad for the safety of their children. Unexpectedly a crisis situation is happening under my very eyes. So what to do ? Wear a mask take a camera and shoot. The haze may not be very camera friendly by I hope I can convey a bit of what happened in these shots.  Saturday situation was slowly going back to normal, but at this time, the pollution index remains in the zone named “Unhealthy” by the authorities (back from “Hazardous” that’s quite a relief).

 

All shots are done with the Nikon D700 and the old 35-70 F.3.5AI Pro” zoom, that I bought second hand back in 1992 with my F3. There are a couple of hip shots, I must say I quite enjoyed “going back to digital” after shooting one roll of film a week since the beginning of the year.

 

The haze affair

Thaipusam 2013 – The Nikon shots

This is a follow up of Thaipusam 2013 post.

All pictures below taken with Nikon D700, Nikkor 85mmF1.8D and 17-35mmF2.8. The place in Serangoon road does not have a very good light; it’s very dark prior to 9am; after this there is too much light coming from the side of the area as it had no walls (Appart when you are within the temple)

On Thaipusam afternoon I brough the Nikon F3 + 50F1.4 AIS loaded with a roll of Ilford 400 PAN. The results were not that great. We went to Tank Road were people finish the pilgrimage, chill out and dissemble the kavadis.
My favourite picture is probably the following , where the guy in the middle have someone remove the spike that goes through both his cheeks.

On the last shot below the Chinese pilgrims I met the morning have finished and pose for a group shot.

To my question “How do you feel?” their answer was “Happier”.

Thaipusam 2013 – The Nikon shots