THAIPUSAM 2020

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As per my recent post Saturday was Thaipusam ; Thaipusam is a Hindu ceremony to honor the lord Ram. In Singapore devotee carry burdens and pierce their flesh and walk a 4 km  procession to thank the god or ask for a wish to be granted. Most devotees do it every year.L1009781I was loosely leading a small group of buddy photographers this year as Thaipusam is a great photography opportunity. Participants are very open, there are colors, action and emotions.

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The procession has started at 7pm last night, and when we get at Farrer park MRT devotees are already walking along Sernagoon road, pulling or carrying their burden.L1009816

The most interesting part for me is getting inside the temple and assisting to the preparations. L1009828

The devotee above will carry a Kavadi.

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The preparation starts with offerings as above.

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Kavadi carriers often have chains or pots attached to their flesh , or spears as below.

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Other devotees like the group below are carrying posts of milk along the pilgrimage road,

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This guys is fainting of having trance.

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This is the second year I see the man below.

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After the Kavadi is set-up the cheeks and tong are pierced.

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Under a shower of flowers he is ready to go

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You can see fire, smoke and photographers (my friend Matte above)

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Pain

Each devotee is accompanied by friends and family, giving a warm atmosphere of community, support, friendship.

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Pots of milk
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Prayer
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A prayer to the gods before stepping our for the procession
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The god

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On the way out many of the Kavadi bearers will dance before leaving the temple. This is a very impressive feat, I tried to capture this using a slow shutter speed.

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Young Kavadi bearer …
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With Monkey God effigy. In multicultural Singapore the Monkey God and Hanuman are often associated.

The group below is one of the two groups of Chinese devotees I met over the years.

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I was able to show them a picture of 2013.

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Below is the other Chinese Kavadi bearer.L1000148

Thaipusam is a great opportunity to take pictures of members of the public as below.L1009922

Finally I got to Tank road temple for a few last picture. This is a great place to see the devotees getting rid of their Kavadi and piercings.

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And for a final picture this man finally arrived looking grateful to his big friend (very big) who is taking care of him.

All these shots with Leica M262 and either Summilux 50mm v2, Summicron 35mm Asph v2, Elmarit 90mm F2.8 Oh I also had the M6 body and shot 2 rolls ; be ready for another post next week.

THAIPUSAM 2020

Cho Cau Long market Hanoi

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This is a follow up of the first roll shot in Hanoi (here). On the way back to Sapa, we stopped in the area from Hanoi which is close to the lake for a single night, lucky enough thee was this nice market next door.

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Best shot of the roll was the first one, on the evening of the arrival, this man was barbecuing meet outside of the market.

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Mother and son breakfast before school (I just imagine)

This also is a roll of Tri-X 400 shot with the Leica M6, and the Summicron 50mm v5.

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The market is small but large enough to shop with your moped.

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Toufu stall

The market though small has several entrances making for interesting lights (not that I may have used it).

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Outside the market the area is very lively with street sellers, small shops and all.

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Street fruit seller

 

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Street flower seller

On the fringe of the old quarter this is a nice area to visit, a lot of small hotels, shops, an further out you can walk to the lake are.

 

Cho Cau Long market Hanoi

Roll 37 of year 2019 – Hanging around Singapore

This is one of the last rolls of 2019, finished on the 31st December morning.

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Hong San See temple celebration

It is a Kodak Portra 400, shot with the Sumaron 35mm F3.5 lens on the Leica IIIc.

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Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple

As usual I shot the roll over two weeks, I was lucky on the first day to stumble upon a ceremony at Hong San See temple around the corner, where deities coming from China to be worshiped here were sent back home by the lion head lorry. A few moments later I went to Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple in Chinatown for a the temple consecration ceremony after its renovation.

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Rainbow

December is a wet month in Singapore, umbrellas are out (and colorful).

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Focused

Pre-Christmas the Orchard road shopping area was busy.

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Girls in uniform

At the “wings” watering hole in Clark quay I finally managed a decent picture of girls in uniform. I just printed it for them, to give away next time I walk by. This was shot wide open at 1/60 or 1/30.

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Banana
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To the top

The newly opened Funan mall with its climbing wall is just around the famous Peninsula shopping center with its many cameras shop and my fav lab.

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I like the Portra for many reasons, I think it is very good for shots as above with muted colors.

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Orange is the new black

Christmas is also an opportunity to visit churches for office or to watch the Christmas cribs.

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Off to work
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Burning Angel

Finally on the 31st of Dec, I carried the M4 along, to finish the roll. This was to Chinatown again with a group of photographers. Weather was just great.

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I must say I also love the Portra for its saturated colors.

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All shots, Leica IIIC, with the Summaron 35mmF3.5 LTM lens and assorted 35mm Viewfinder. Kodak Portra 400

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Leica IIIc, Summaron 35mmF3.5 with filter, hood and viewfinder

Scanned at home with Epson v800

Dropped for processing at Ruby Photo (not sure who does the actual processing)

Roll 37 of year 2019 – Hanging around Singapore

Thaipusam 2019 – A roll of Ilford Delta 3200

Nearly one year ago, in January, I went to Tank road in the middle of the night to shoot a roll of Ilford Delta 3200 at the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple for the Thaipusam ceremony.

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The orchestra

Thaipusam is a Tamil Hindu ceremony where devotees walk from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Little India to the temple in Tank road.

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The priests

It is interesting to shoot the ceremony at both temples ; at Little India where they start the pilgrimage or here where they finish it.

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I favor the little India location early in the morning ; it is already very busy, but manageable. But for a couple of years I go to Tank Road in the evening before ; it is general quiet, the action (if I can say so) is more subdued. Pilgrims flow through the temple, receive blessings and walk out.

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At the back of the temple is a resting aera and pilgrim receive tea and nibbles.

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A Chinese Hindu devotee

This year I tried a roll of Ilford Delta 3200 with the Leica M6 and the Summicron 50mm version 5. The result is quite nice, the M6 does a good job once again, the light meter is working very well once again.

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Giving offerings

I rarely shot the Ilford 3200, but must say the result is quite good. The grain is nice but controlled, the contrast is good. As I said somewhere else I think high ISO film give good results if you scene has a minimum of contrast.

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Collecting ashes

These were shot around 11pm, on the first evening, it is very quite just when the priest open the inner sanctum of the temple. Alternatively, you can come around on the next day and take pictures from pilgrims disassembling their Kavadis.

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The inside on the temple of the day itself is over crowed and their is no shortcut, you have to follow the devotees from Penang road, I am not sure how long it will take. Surely a great experience, but you will need a good couple of hours.

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The friendly volunteer
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Get ready I have 2 or 3 rolls of TRIX that I shoot the next day.

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Walking out of the temple

Get ready, this year the Thaipusam procession is expected to start from SSPT on 07/02/2020 from 11.30pm.

 

Thaipusam 2019 – A roll of Ilford Delta 3200

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)

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