A rainy sunday morning

Patience

I am not sure if we are officially in the rainy season but we are definitely heading for it. After a very wet bike ride Saturday morning, I joined some fellow photographers last Sunday. What started as a very cloudy morning ended being very wet as well.

China square

I went armed with the Leica IIIc now paired with the Elmar 50mmF3.5, and as it was rainy I loaded a roll of Shanghai GP3 400. This is supposed to be a new film, I could not find much information on the web.

Sam at the Kopitiam

We spend quite a while at the Kopitiam close to Circular road waiting for the rain to stop

The wild bunch

Finally we set out as the rain stopped and walked around the area.

If you read so far and wonder what happened to the pictures, I will inform you that I am currently in a Caffenol frenzy and my process is currently not working so well after some initial success.

Slowly the city wakes up

My last roll was a disaster (you can read here ), this one is quite close, I have made steps to improve my process thought:

  • I have invested in a changing bag
  • I bought some proper fixer (the images on this post are relatively clean)
  • I learned to bleach my spirals to help loading the film ( it is a breeze now)
  • I realized that my recipe was for 1 liter but my bottle was 0.75 so I reduced the doses of chemicals
  • and I ordered some pure vitamin C to have a more predictable result (but I don’t have it yet)

So the result is crap, but I scan still make a post with it : yeah! Ok there is no information anywhere on this film, left alone about Caffenol processing. I processed 5’50” at 28 degrees. As it’s over cooked I reduce by one minute this morning for my film of this week and … its not developed at all. I am a bit clueless.

Many take away from Lucky Cafe some years ago

As usual there is no lesson, lets do better next time. Maybe go back to 100 ISO films. Or start cooling the developer.

After the party
Good bye (Cruel world)
A rainy sunday morning

When its so bad it s almost good

Today’s roll of film has been perfectly ruined, the experience showing that I am not yet the master of Caffenol.

Busy

This was a roll of Fuji Across 100, shot with the Leica M6 and a mix of Summicron 50mm and then my “new” Elmar 50.

I processed the roll with my second batch of Caffenol which is now 4 weeks old, and my dodgy Fomapan fix expired for 5 years and used for the 9th roll. A recipie for disaster you call it. The only new variable on the batch of Caffenol was the addition of table salt to act as restrainer for higher ISO films, could this cause the problems seen here? It did not seem to improve the processing of the Ilford Delta 400, so I wont try it again.

I decided not to clean the negs in photoshop, but just to enjoy the artistic look after the usual adjustement. I have a mixed feeling, because the processing looks to be working quite well, the quality of the greys and finesse of the grain below is just great to my taste.

Marina Barrage

Finally the Elmar is working just fine, focusing and all seems good as you can check below. This is a great addition for my LTM kit, lets check the next roll.

Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple

Dont worry I have taken good resoltutions: I binned both the Caffnol and the Fixer and will shop for some new fixer this week. I also ordered some pure ascorbic acid to replace my lemon flavoured vitamine pills.

A mundane shot to show of the Elmar quality

On this note I whish you a good week, happy shooting and maybe next week a good roll for a change?

When its so bad it s almost good

Did I fix the Agfa Isolette rangefinder?

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The young film photog and his model

So a few weeks ago, after the last roll shot with the Agfa Isolette, I decided that  something must be done with the rangefinder. My easiest solution was to order a second Agfa from Ebay. But actually when he finally reached home, the camera was in very good condition but the rangefinder was stuck and so was the lens focusing ring. So I took  step back and decided to leave it alone (for the moment) and try to fix the rangefinder of my original Agfa.

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Potato head

I think I mentioned earlier this is a family camera bough in 1958 in Germany by my dad who was in the French forces there. It was my first medium format camera, I used it for the first time in 1990 (30 years ago already). I looked at this link and proceeded to fix my rangefinder : The Classic Camera Repair Forum: CLA’ing an Isolette III.

 

 

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The photographer’s wife

I don’t have much to add to the procedure, this precise camera has other issues so I think I will proceed with repairing the other one soon, or maybe send it to repair, depending on the time I have at hand.

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A chair’s story

Once again I used a roll of Rollei 80s because I have a few hanging around and because I love it. Shot at 100 Iso, this is a slow film for the weather conditions so some shots were taken at 1/50s F4.5.

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Public transport

I processed the roll in my second batch of Caffenol, so this is my Caffenol roll #7. The results are good I think, but there is a lot of dust or particles compared to the roll#6, I am not sure where it comes from and I am  bit disappointed as I took care to filter both the Fixer and the Caffenol before using them. I also added 1 minute to the fixing time, just in case.

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The chess players #1

It also seems there is some unevenness on the processing. I will have to reach out for some advice.

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The chess players #2

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Ah yes so what about the rangefinder ? Well see for yourself, but it looks to me that it may not be spot on but it surely can focus.

Did I fix the Agfa Isolette rangefinder?

The new normal

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The usual Shake Shack long queue

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.

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The uncle just score

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.

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Back Alley BBQ

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.

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Fishing in the shadow of the tower

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.

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A catch like that

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.

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Chef of wheels

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.

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Sometime we feel we are so small

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.

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Reserved

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.

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Mannequin

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.

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The world’s on fire

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.

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The dancer

We hijacked the model above, thanks, thanks, one shot and we move, my camera is so old, anyway.

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Haji Lane usual crowd

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That time of the year

We have entered the 7th month of the Chinese new year and offerings are appearing outside maybe businesses.

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Lets all go home safely hop you enjoyed the ride.

 

The new normal

CAFFENOL REBIRTH : WEEK 4 : Errare Humanum est

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Happy Birthday SIngapore

Here I am back for the fourth week with my Caffenol. I intended this week to be the last of my first brew. I was encouraged by the last weeks experience and became a bit too bold maybe and alas the issues added to the issues.

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Let’s go shopping

First for this last batch I chose to process a roll of Tri-x that I shot over the week end with friends and family. Tri-x is said to be not super Caffenol friendly and my first roll was not a massive success. How to calculate for both the estimates 7.3 minutes leading to over processing and the exhaustion of the Caffenol? I settled to try for a 6.3 minutes (including pouring in and pouring out time). To put odds on my side I also filtered the fixer that seemed to show some flocculation last week.

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Tiong Bahru riders

Alas again the gods of the dark room were not with me today, and after fiddling for a while (in the dark) I managed to load the film incorrectly in the spool of my Patterson tank. And the result is here : half of my roll is not processed. As I write it I think  could have put it back in the Caffenol, but actually I just binned it. Well we learn by our mistakes, so I will have to iron out this process. All in all I may only have loaded 10 to 15 rolls in my life.

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The Scalper

The film shows a bit of reticulation, but I think it may be the tap water used to rince the film, may have been to warm (tap let on hot after the washing up). Also it i snot as clean as my first negs so on top of it maybe the Caffenol need also to be filtered.

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Anyway, I think the point is that my negative looks ok, so 6 minutes 30 seconds in 3 weeks old caffenol is OK for processing Tri-x and also maybe the caffenol can last 4 weeks?

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The umbrella academy

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Mirror ok my mirror

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Refection in Tiong Nahru

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The small Tiong Bahru Durian stall

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That’s what a partially destroyed picture looks like

CAFFENOL REBIRTH : WEEK 4 : Errare Humanum est

The lock down roll

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Banana-ah-ah

This is not actually a full roll of the lock-down, I did not shoot much and probably on the first 20 frames of this roll.

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Cooking for take away only

This is a roll of Kodak Tri-x shot with the Leica M6 classic and the Summicron 35mm Asph vII.

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Deserted hawker center

The first part of the roll was taken on a Saturday around lunch time in the Balestier area. Shops were half closed, hawkers were deserted and the rare shoppers wearing masks.

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The masked shopper

Little traffic rare cyclist allowed not to ear masked while ridding, life seemed to have come to a halt under the scorching sun. We had dreadful weather for a while, but the day I go out at lunchtime with a 400 ISO film, I am forced to shoot at F1/500 and F16.

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The unmasked rider

There is always a nice outcome : I stumbled across the coffee shop below, I first stopped to take a shot (the symmetry of the arrangement caught my eye), then the chord bring the entry puzzled me and finally I bought some coffee. I usually use some arabica in my old Moka machine but they sell only robusta. In the end for a bit more than 5SGD for 250 grams that was a ok deal.

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The old style coffee shop

Of course life is full of encounters, an sometime you meet fellow Leica Shooters

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Another M6 with 50mm cron

I am no sure that Grab food riders made a fortune during the lock-down (my good sense tells me otherwise), but they were ubiquitous during the period and thanks to them we managed to have entertaining food at our table. (Thanks guys and gals).

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The ubiquitous Grab food rider

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Hawker at work

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Tiger’s haunt

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The other unmasked rider

As no many activity goes on to finish the film I walked the places where people were going out to exercise or just take a bit of fresh air while respecting the prescribed social distancing procedures. It is funny how here again  you meet some acquaintances.

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A well known Leica figure caught during his jogging (hard to resist)

The Singapore river was usually packed with joggers and cyclist, we  will surely do great at next Olympics when they eventually happen. The Marina Bay Area, though not empty was really a lot quieter that it used to be.

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Sorry ladies can you get out of my the view

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MBS in black and white

Skaters did had much problems crossing big roads carelessly.

The last few shots where taken after the lock down when we entered what was known as phase 1 and now phase 2. More freedom to roam around, retail shops reopening, still as nothing exceptional is happening, back to my usual vice : random shots of people in the streets, preferably with masks.

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Hope you enjoyed the roll. I manage 38 shots on this roll again, unfortunately the process suffers from reticulation (same as the one I took a couple of month back ), I ll tell about it to the photo shop and maybe i ll try to process the films myself going forward.

 

The lock down roll

The last pre lock down roll is back

I collected yesterday my first roll in a long time. It was probably finished the first week of the lock-down in Singapore which was on 5th of April.

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This is an expired roll of Fuji Across shot with the Leica M6 and probably a mix of Summaron 35 and Summicron 28.

The roll is so so , maybe the roll is too expired maybe sitting on my drawer for 3 month was not a good idea, maybe I just mucked up the metering. Well there is a couple of fun shots. I put them as a slide show just to try.

 

The last pre lock down roll is back

SOFT LOCK-DOWN WEEK 7

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It is hard to believe this “new normal” has already been in place for 7 weeks. A quick heads-up for the near future : a phased “unlock” will start from first of June, the only sure thing is that schools will reopen on on a rotational basis. So it looks I will be able to write a few more of these posts.

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I did not take the camera out of my bag this week, or did not even took a bag. Finally today, I decide to put the M262 + 28mm Cron around my neck on my walk to Chinatown to collect my dinner.

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Excellent light when crossing from People’s part to Chinatown

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The old Samsui woman seems lonely without any tourists around. I hesitated taking pictures of the stalls of Chinatown, all curtains pulled down, but the light was not great.

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On the area in front of Chinatown Complex a few old folks were hanging around in relative self distance.

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In front of the Buddha tooth relic temple, the incense burner was covered with a cloth, an unusual sight,

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Finally I think I managed to capture the new life of the F&B outlets adapting to the crisis by offering take away and delivery, Above in front a a Korean BBQ, delivery men waiting on social distanced chairs.

And below patrons waiting outside the popular  Kok Sen local eatery in Keon Siak Road.

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Or a Japanese restaurant spelling out loud.

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It seems that the female figures will be masked for a while on the pictures

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So long…

 

All shots Leica M262+28mm Summicron Asph V1

SOFT LOCK-DOWN WEEK 7

SOFT LOCK-DOWN WEEK 1

So here we are (were) the past week : it officially started Wednesday. Work from Home became mandatory, restaurants were closed and outside activity were, if not restricted advised against, except shopping for food and exercise.

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Part of my time out for exercise I carried my M262 and the old Summaron 35mm F3.5. The first shot is not related to the current situation, but the the closure of Liang Court commercial center. The Novotel is closing, I foresee a big and long construction site in my backyard.

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But back to reality, Tuesday before our version of the lock down kicked in, a lot of moving around happened, people pushing office chairs, …

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… or waiting for a ride with piles of paper.

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But otherwise there was a lot of business as usual.

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and above all it was a beautiful day.

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Well also you could see the take-out, food delivery business start to expand. Actually a lot of my friends running restaurants started messaging their customers about their take away offerings.

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It is a bit more difficult to shoot people in the street when there are less of them. But still i tried.

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Friday was a bit more funny, in a hotel, guests (are there still any?) were exercising (withing safe distance of each others) to the loud sound of a coach talking to them from the 3rd floor.

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Taxis stand for taxis, everything is still in order.

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Oh yeah nice light as well.L1009635

Construction of a new MRT station still ongoing at Keppel Road

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Saturday streets were very quite.

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Some were praying

 

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The sky was beautiful

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Strange view of the satay club, closed down, with Boon tat Street still closed for the evening nonetheless.

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Easter eggs were early

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Taxis queuing for customers in from of Great World City

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Vintage vehicle, maybe can be reused as deliveroo?

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And finally, a flora picture, very unlike me, so enjoy for one.

I have one finished roll in the in a drawer, I am not sure when I will be able to have it processed. So I think I’ll stick to digital for a moment.

SOFT LOCK-DOWN WEEK 1

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