By the sea in Thailand with the Leica M6

I always found the mix of photography and beach repulsive, the salty breeze, the sand that gets everywhere, hands oily with sunscreen, splashes and the odds of falling into the water,… so much things happening that you don;t want a camera, let alone your precious Leica mixed into.

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Well I must say I am a bit fantasizing here, as an adult the experience of the beach is not necessarily the one I had when I grew up along the shore of the french riviera. A stroll along the water not involving leaving the camera on a beach towel or in a bag in the sun is now more common that is use to be, and if it is a day I intend to go for  dip, I generally take a lesser camera (read MEDIUM FORMAT ON THE BEACH : “LE CABANON DE LA PLAGE” AND MORE)

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The sea side always offer a special quality of light, that works particularly well in black and white.  2018-51-M6-21-05

Also it is an endless opportunity of activities, landscapes and man made constructions.2018-51-M6-21-082018-51-M6-21-092018-51-M6-21-102018-51-M6-21-132018-51-M6-21-14

All shots with Leica M6 on Kodak TMAX400 (The shop ran out of TriX), the first three were taken with the Summicron 50 v5, the rest with the Summicron 28mm Asph v1. Shooting at 400 on this very bright morning means the lenses are completely stopped down and the shutter speed at 1/500s or 1/1000s, which may not be idea technically. My favorite film the TMAX100 would surely have been better, but…

As I am here, on the same roll of film were also some street shots taken in Bangkok on the say back from Hua Hin.

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A young film photog with his Olympus pen, he also shoots medium format.

Below are four shots of the food hawkers around our hotel near Lumpini park.

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A friendly and muscular worker along the Chao Phraya river near the Grand Palace2018-51-M6-21-32

Finally below are two shots of worshipers inside the Grand Palace i think.

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By the sea in Thailand with the Leica M6

The year of the piggy

L1006363What took me so long to write the next post? Frankly no idea. I probably said that I have a few other projects, like running a half marathon in June and also keeping an eye on the counter of the bike so I beat my mileage of last year. Plus a couple of family,  friends and (yes) work related things adding up.

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Nonetheless I keep shooting, so here are the digital shots of the week end before Chinese new year. These are shots with the now familiar Leica M262 and the not so faithful Summilux 50mmv2.

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The Summilux is back focusing a bit but I think I manage to compensate for it now.

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Traditional CNY outing is in Chinatown, where you can find a lot of stall selling food.

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And  a lot of people hanging around, shopping or not.

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Amazing enough this year is the year of the Pig again, meaning I arrived  in Singapore 12 years ago and completed the cycle of the Chinese zodiac.L1006388L1006390L1006406L1006408L1006413L1006415L1006417L1006688L1006693

The 50mm is a bit tight sometimes as below; I must say I am a recent convert to the 35 focal length.

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Below one of the many murals in town inspired by local life as it was a few decades back.

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The year of the piggy

Tadao Ando’s Church of the Light – Osaka

The Church of the light is Osaka, is one of the most famous designs of Japanese architect Tadao Ando and it was the highlight of our first day is Osaka.

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Built in 1989, is it located 20km from the center of Osaka. It is a quite small building the chapel which is the original building is only a bit more than 100 sq meter.

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When the parish approached Tadao Ando, the most important point was the lack of funding that was available for the building. That suits the minimalist approach of the architect who also chose to use some recycling planks for instance to built the bench.

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The most iconic feature of the building is the wall of the chapel at the back of the altar wit its hollowed cross from which the light pours.

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Bare concrete, narrow spaces, the emptiness is expected to make room for the spirituality.

 

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The chapel also contains an organ (with rear view mirrors)

10 years later a second building, the Sunday school,  was added on the side of the chapel with similar architectural elements.

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From the practical side : you ca visit the web site of the church : http://ibaraki-kasugaoka-church.jp/e-forvisitors.html

You will learn that the church is not open for visits every day and that you have to register online for the visits. (we did). The ladies there were so nice so I don’t think it is  a problem if you forget to do it, but given the time to get there better be safe. The entrance of free but you are asked to do make a small donation for the  maintenance of the building

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Accessing the church from Osaka you have to take the train to Ibaraki station (30 minutes) and then the bus the church. All in all it should take 45 minutes to an hour. At the station there are not many signs, you have to take but number two  which starts on the left most bust stop outside of the station when you face outside. There is a taxi stand there, you better ask than wandering for 20 minute like me.

The are plenty of excellent resources on the web of the church.

Color shots Leica M262, BW leica M6+Ultrafine Xtreme 400ISO lens – Summicron 28,35 and 50

Tadao Ando’s Church of the Light – Osaka

FIRST ROLL OF Rollei Variochrome

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“A la Mort Subite” Brussels – Belgium

Summer holidays have been over for a few weeks, and it is time to go back to this blog. As usual I did not shoot as much as expected during the holidays. One poor roll of medium format Rollei 80S with the old Kodak Autographic, and with the M6 a roll of Kodak Gold and the present roll of Rollei Vario Chrome.

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L’Atomium – Brussels – Belgium

The Rollei Varichrome is a reversal (slide) film, claimed to have high latitude and can be shot between 200 and 400 ISO, 200 being recommended for scanning. Although introduced in 2017 it seems it is a “new old” stock that will have a limited availability. some reading suggest this is altogether expired material already. Note this film can be cross processed in C41 as well.

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L’Atomium – Brussels – Belgium

My complete roll is a bit over exposed, in particular those of the Atomium, generally the dark areas are not dark enough.

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Le botanique – Brussels – Belgium

Above shot of the botanical garden in Brussels is very pleasing, the lack of contrast gives a great mood.

The following street shots taken during the FIFA world cup final also work quite ok. The vintage look is overall quite nice, except maybe the picture of the two young ladies, but it may just be the exposure being off on that one.

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FIFA World Cup Final – Downtown Brussels
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FIFA World Cup Final – Downtown Brussels
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FIFA World Cup Final – Downtown Brussels
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FIFA World Cup Final – Downtown Brussels
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FIFA World Cup Final – Downtown Brussels
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Mrs B

I like very much the first shot and the one above taken in the vintage café “La Mort Subite”.

All in all this looks too much like an Instagram filter to me, some shots are very satisfactory, but it will become very gimmicky to use. The experience is quite expensive as well, I think the roll was like 18SGD and the processing 13 SGD, so more or less 1SGD a shot. Shooting a roll of Kodak Gold would cost half of this and Instagram filters are free. In conclusion it is worth giving it a try, but then it’s better have a subject on which you will shot your whole film, the gimmick effect being lost in the consistency of the subject. For instance I imagine a wedding photographer may like to shot a roll of this as a special feature. For me I don’t think I’ll use this again.

Finally two shots below on quite different subject :

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Still life : a traditional French post box
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Countryside restaurant outside Manila (Philippines)

 

All shots at 200 ISO with Leica M6 and one Summicron or the other (28, 35, 50) and scanned on Epson v800.

 

Rollei Vario002

FIRST ROLL OF Rollei Variochrome

A roll of Kodak Ektar shot with the Leica IIIc

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01. The first shot, in a Hindu temple in little India

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.

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02. Sri Veeramakaliamman temple in little India

 

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03. Hindu temple in little India

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.

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04. Coconut stall Little India
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05. Coconut stall Little India

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.

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06. Mural

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.

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07. Working Class Hero

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.

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08. Working class hera take two.

Not as good.

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09. Cardboard Man

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.

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10.Elephant Park

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.

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11. Hotel 81 in Jalan Besar
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12. 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.

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12. Female passer-by 1

Too far, would you even have noticed her?

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13. Female passer-by 2

Motion blur, Out of focus, bad framing.

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14. Female passer-by 3

So what?

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15. Colorful

Maybe yes, maybe not, that was just a try.

The same afternoon I walked into Chinatown

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16. Ceno2 new mural

Quite a bad pic, maybe OOF ? Shame. I thinks it’s also not Ceno2’s best mural.

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17. South Bridge Road commercial building
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18. South Bridge Road commercial building

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.

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19. Strangers with brolly

 

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20. Strangers with brolly

Second version is probably an ok street shot, movement, color and overall an umbrella.

 

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21. Buddha tooth relic temple

Buddha tooth relic temple, one random shot

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22. The mosque on new bridge road

I tough the light was great and worth capturing

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23. Mural in “Amoy Alley”

I quite like this one, unusual.

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24. Satay club

Another random shot, not great angle, too far, not showing much.

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25. MBS reflection

Ok ok we can try.

Next great spot is the Merlion Park, it is always endless fun shooting people taking selfies there.

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26. The lady in cheamseong

It would have work with better light, the subject here is a bit lost in the background.

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27. Posing

This one is really random.

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28. Uncle shooting a relative (or friend)

Something was going on, but it was not the right moment yet.

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29. The same uncle in action

I think that one is ok, just average but ok. Nice light, funny pause and all.

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30. hijacking the shot

Nothing easier to ask somebody who pause if you can also take a shot. Too contrasty but probably OK.

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31. The three good fairies

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.

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32. Beach Road

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.

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33. a fish stall

Ok I think I took enough fish stalls so far not to call this one a keeper.

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34. Another fish stall

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.

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35. Fruit Stall

Obviously random

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36. Fruit Stall (again)

The lens was attracted by the lady in the center, but one week later it does not look like it is enough.

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37. Tiong Bahru street scene

 

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

 

A roll of Kodak Ektar shot with the Leica IIIc

KEBUN BARU BIRDSINGING CLUB (The Leica M4 SHOTS)

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A follow up of the last post , I showed pictured made with the Hassie 500 CM on Cinestill 50D, but that was the Leica User Group Singapore outing after all, so I carried along a Leica M4 for film shots (here) and a M262 for Digital.

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On the recommendation of fellow members of the group I brought my longer lenses, the 90mm Elmarit and a Canon Serenar 135mmF4  (the bad version). I did not use the Serenar on the M4, it is too unpredictable no use to throw away valuable shots.

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It is easy to see here what shots are taken with the 90mm and whose with the 50mm.

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Shooting with the 90mm is very unusual for me, specially on film. The Elmarit often comes with me on holidays but only for a couple of digital shots. The results are quite pleasing, it offers very different point of view.

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The film is another roll of my bulk Ultrafine Extreme 400 hand-rolled. The processing from the lab was a bit below the usual quality, that’s life.

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You see mostly men in these pictures, but there were many women as well, they just did not come on the frame at the right time.

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KEBUN BARU BIRDSINGING CLUB (The Leica M4 SHOTS)

Around city center with a 1970’s Minolta Himatic 7s

The Himatic 7s

Beginning of the year and excitement to try the Ultrafine Xtreme 400 that I am bulk loading, I am taking the odd camera from the treasure box.

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The painter (who is also a photographer)
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Major checker competition
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Back alley

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A couple of weeks back it was the turn of the 1970’s Minolta Himatic 7s. Actually the 7s was released in 1966 same year as me. The Himatic is a rangefinder camera with a sharp, fast 45mm F1.8 lens, and in-camera metering.

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Ok I don’t quite like the the Himatic too much : it is heavy feels clunky compare to the German rangefinders; it is not that fast to operate, and also the metering died on mide during a bike tour.

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I also the viewfinder to be not that bright and having too many signs inside; there are just three visible sides of the frame, so I always wonder how to frame the fourth.

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Shoe locker outside Mustapha

BUT when I got the roll from the shop I must say that I am impressed by the result, the lens is fast and sharp and the 45mm give a bit of air to the shots.

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This is my 3rd roll of the Ultrafine Xtreme 400 bulk and I quite like it. I am new to handrolling, the picture below is the last of the roll, so the first from the bulk that I attached to the canister and I think it was exposed to light. Pitty I like this shot.

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Upside down nap

I think I like the film, it is now 3 rolls I shot this year and 2 last years, it is on the contrasty side but nothing too extreme, so it makes a good replacement for TRI-X or TMY 400. The shot below is quite smooth as I like it. Actually tones quality reminds me of a proper wet paper print.

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Mmm also I fell the Epson v800 gives immediately better results that the v500, but this may be just because I paid so much for it.

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There will be no declugging for the Minolta, it belonged to one grand uncle, so that’s a keeper even if it goes out of the box only once a year.

Around city center with a 1970’s Minolta Himatic 7s