Gurdwara dukh Niwaran Sahib – Patiala

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The Gurdwara dukh Niwaran Sahib is situated in the north part of the city of Patiala in Punjab, 80 km from Chandigarh.

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It  is the place where Guru Tegh Bahadur came to rid the by then village of a serious and mysterious sickness which had been their bane for a long time. The place where Guru Tegh Bahadur had sat under a banyan tree by the side of a pond came to be known as Dukh Nivaran (meaning eradicator of suffering). Devotees have faith in the healing qualities of water in the sarovar (pond) attached to the shrine.

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We were very lucky when arriving there late afternoon, as the Gurdwara was preparing for a celebration the next day. Plenty of people where gathering already some very colorful as the young Sikh above. Or the older gentlemen in the following pictures.L1000228

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The gentlemen on the right was here with his family and used to live in what is now Pakistan before India’s partition in 1948.

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I always enjoy seeing people working; here partaking in the cleaning and preparation of the next day ceremony.

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We skipped visiting the kitchen this time.

All shots above Leica M262+Summicron 28/50

Below are some film shots, Leica M6, the other summicron, and Kodak TMY 400

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Gurdwara dukh Niwaran Sahib – Patiala

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

Eve of Vesak Day in Brigh Hill temple – Singapore

For Buddhists Vesak Day marks the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. This is my very first time at Bright hill temple ; it is a huge compound in the center of Singapore.

Bright Hill temple also known as Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, is famous for the “3 Steps 1 Bow ceremony” on the eve of Vesak Day.

Above are monks who are opening the procession. The ceremony starts at 5pm and takes 2 and half hours to complete ending with the monks back in the main hall blessing the devotees with water.

Monks are followed by lay people who will queue all evening and a big part of the night. One people I know said he will go at 3am.

Below people queuing at the start of the procession

 

The main halls are also the occasion to pray and give offerings; mostly candles.

During the day itself, ritual is generally the bathing of the Buddha.

Most shots done with Leica M262 and Summicron 28mm, close ups with Elmarit 90mmF2.8.

Some film shots (with black border) done with Leica M6 on Fuji Xtra 800ISO with same lenses.

How to get there: Bright Hill is quite central  (like in the middle of the island) but may take some time to reach. You can get a bus there (check gothere.sg) which will take close to one hour from CDB or take a cab (more of less 15 SGD).

Devotees and temple staff are quite photo friendly, so as long as you are decently dressed and don’t go in the middle of ceremony you feel welcome to shoot. There is actually a small crowd of photographers.

Eve of Vesak Day in Brigh Hill temple – Singapore

Singapore Photo Walk – March 2016 – Rochor Center

Rochor Center classic view

I joined Bernard Goh’s Singapore Photo Walk outing of March with my son.

Rochor Centre is group of buildings built by the Housing and Development Board of Singapore. It was built and completed in 1977 and consists of 4 blocks painted in vivid colors yellow, green, red and blue.

Rochor Center classic view

This is an iconic building in the east side on Singapore center that can be seen by tourists going to Arab Street or Little India.

The buildings comprise habitations, shops and hawkers ( food stalls). On the ground floor you still can find some religious artefacts.
Rochor Center classic view

Rochor Center classic view

The center has started closing as later this year it will be torn down to give way to a motorway joining the north to the south of the island. A lot of the shops have already relocated, but some are still open. The habitations seems to still be occupied if I can judge by the drying laundry.

Rochor Center classic view

The void desk is a classical feature of the HDB blocks, an open area for inhabitants to congregate and do activities.

Rochor Center classic view

Rochor Center classic view

Our friend Long Siew Leng aka Jumping girl.

Pictures 1 and 2 : Hasselblad 500cm+80mmF2.8, Rollei CR 200 slide film

Pictures 3,4,and 5 : Leica M6, summaron 28mm2.8, Kodak Portra 400

Pictures 6 : Hasselblad 500cm+80mmF2.8, Rollei RPX 100 film

 

Singapore Photo Walk – March 2016 – Rochor Center

Alms ceremony at Wat Palelai – Singapore

Someone at the photo lab tipped me that Saturday that the next day, there will be an alms ceremony at Wat Palelai, a Thai Buddhist Temple located in Bedok, in the east of Singapore.

Devotees stood around the yard of the temple and gave their offerings to the monks who made a procession around the yard.

Later the monks gathered at their dining room.

There was 30 to 50 monks for the ceremony but I think only 5 are permanently staying  at the temple. Others are going through a temporary monk-hood.


This day was the fiftieth Singapore National Day, happy birthday Singapore. The ceremony was interrupted by the singing of the national anthem at 9am.

It was very nice to discover this temple and be able to attend this ceremony. I also met two people who always hang around the photo lab, so we could have coffee and chit chat a moment after the ceremony was over.

All black and white pics with Leica M6 and either 35mmF2.8 or 50mmF1.4. Film is Rollei RPX 400ISO. Scanned at home with Epson v500.

Color pics with the old faithful Nikon D700 with either the 85mm F1.8 or the 17-35 F2.8.

Alms ceremony at Wat Palelai – Singapore

The Agfa Isolette goes to the end of the world

Moais quarry at Rano Raraku

A once in a lifetime trip, done for the second time : April – May we went on a family trip from Singapore, to Auckland, to Tahiti, to Easter Island and back. In total more than 30 thousand kilometers or travel. And on top of packing both swimsuit and polar jumpers (Auckland and Easter Island are on the cold side compare to our usual 30 degrees), the eternal question. What camera do I take.

Moais quarry at Rano Raraku

Of course the Nikon D700 is part of the trip, with the perfect travel combo: 50mmF1.8, 17-35F2.88 amd 80-200F2.8, a few filters, several cards in my new Pelican Case CF card holder, a spare battery, charger, flashgun, and Tripod (barely used). For film I immediately settled for the waterproof Heineken Camera loaded with Tri-x for fun and beach and then I pondered what serious film camera I should bring.

Moais quarry at Rano Raraku

Although I have a kind of return of love for the Leica, I think it is too fragile for this trip. The Hassie is too big for the hiking part in Easter island, the Nikons are a bit too unpredictable (although it would have been fun to bring the F3 back there after 20 years). Finally I decided for the Agfa Isolette, it is small enough not to be a pain to carry so I can eventually forgive bad results if any.

Ahu Akivi: the only moai facing the sea

The Agfa still has a problem with the rangefinder, so I have to guestimate the distance and report it on the lens but all in all with Tri-X and bright sun most of the pictures are taken around F11 so focus is not an issue.

Moais quarry at Rano Raraku

I only shot two rolls, all in Easter Island also called Rapa Nui in local dialect.

Ahu Tongariki - Easter Island
One day on the Anakena beach I met a nice Chilean lady with a Rolleiflex taking shots of the beach and the statues who are sitting on its background. I was as so happy to meet a charming fellow film photographer that I offered us a roll of Rollei RPX 400 to try.

On top of Terevaka - Easter Island Highest pic

We stayed at the wonderful Explora Hotel, unforgettable experience there; we made a couple of hikes with the new manager Francisco as above on top of the highest peak of the island.

The Moai Quary - Easter Island

Did I mention that this is our second time there? We went in 1995, 20 years ago for our honeymoon; I was carrying the Nikon F3 then, so this is why I considered bringing it back. I had a couple of old shots on my phone and inquired about people on them. Unfortunately on the three identifiable person, 2 have passed away; but the young boy visible on one, is now thirty and a father of two have I been told. I did not manage to meet him though.

The Agfa Isolette goes to the end of the world

Good bye Mister Lee – Day one

Remembering LKY

So that Monday morning the news broke out : Lee Kuan Yew had passed away. The historical leader, the father of the country was no more. I have been living in Singapore for 8 years now and we call this place home, but I am just a foreigner after all and cannot judge in one way or another the the legacy of the man. I must admit I did not had the courage to queue to see him resting, but I went in the streets that week and tried to capture the event.

The first day, the body is Mister Lee was laid in the Istana, the residence of the Singapore president (which he never was). A condolence book was set outside the residence and people start coming and queue and sign,

The Istana

And bring flowers.

The Istana

Another condolence book was set in front of parliament house which will be the final destination of the body before the funerals.

Parilament house

All Hasselblad 500CM, Planar 80mmF2.8 Kodak Trix400 and Ilford Pan 50; first shot is SMRT public transport company screen shot with Leica M4 and Summilux 50mm1.4 wit Kodak TriX 400.

Good bye Mister Lee – Day one