Feb 2020 in Singapore with the Leica III

Regular readers already know the Leice IIIc is my go to camera when I just walk around without goals. This roll was loaded at the end of a supposed Hasselblad walk with the Hasselblad User Group Singaore (HUGS).

2020-10-IIIc-03-4
Masks and hankies are out to fight the Coronavirus

This is a roll of cheap Kodak Color Plus. I shot a few of them so far, and I think it is good enough when you have no special goal.

2020-10-IIIc-03-6
Reading your fortune for the year of the rat

This is quite an easy film to scan, the ISO 200 is quite convenient for color street shots on a nice day.

2020-10-IIIc-03-8
Roasted Chestnut stall

Walking from Bugis and Waterloo street area, the weather was beautiful, and I think the colors are very nice, vivid enough but not over saturated.

2020-10-IIIc-03-12
The newly renovated Indian temple on Waterloo street

That day I had the Voigtlander 21mmF4 mounted on the Leica IIIc, and as above and below I think it realy renders movement very nicely.

2020-10-IIIc-03-13
The shy passer by (cropped)

The colors on the next two shots are outstanding, but light was exceptional too.

2020-10-IIIc-03-14
HDB block at Middle Road
2020-10-IIIc-03-15
Ezekiel the HUGS master
2020-10-IIIc-03-17
The Chinese tourists at Chimes

Of course sometime as above the 21mm gives a bit too much negative space.

2020-10-IIIc-03-19
Capitol theater

Over this last year I shot a lot of with the 21 VC and I like it a lot. On the negative side I would say that sometimes it gives a very crisp and modern look to the pictures you may or may not like.

2020-10-IIIc-03-20
Man at work

From this point the pictures are taken with the vintage Summaron 35F3.5. They are mostly taken in the afternoon where the light if not as good.

2020-10-IIIc-03-24
Miror Miror
2020-10-IIIc-03-25
The ugly Jag in from the Raffles hotel

I also think the Summaron is an excelled lens. 35mm is a lot more manageable than 21, but I also have a 35mm finder,

2020-10-IIIc-03-30
Boom

The above is taken inside the National Design Museum, but there was plenty of light.

2020-10-IIIc-03-32
The Man Machine

I don t realy know the relationship between the expo and Kraftwerk, but…

2020-10-IIIc-03-34
Beaty Street Tibetan temple
2020-10-IIIc-03-35
A random arcade game
2020-10-IIIc-03-38
A Hot Road is a rare sight in Singapore

Film is scanned at home with Epson v800, I do a bit of colour and exposure correction in Light-room .

Feb 2020 in Singapore with the Leica III

Thaipusam 2020 on film

Another long post, but I don’t fill like splitting this story up, hey that’s my third post about Thaipusam this year.

2020-8-M6-2-1
The first Kavadi bearer

On arriving at Farrer park MRT, we met our first Kavadi bearer.

2020-8-M6-2-5
Pots bearers

And then more devotees waiting for the traffic light.

2020-8-M6-2-6

The little devotees

2020-8-M6-2-7
And the older ones

Then when moving inside the temple the devotees are assembling the Kavadis

2020-8-M6-2-9

or prepare their offerings

2020-8-M6-2-11

While others use their phones to snap their friends.

2020-8-M6-2-20

2020-8-M6-2-21
Looking proud
2020-8-M6-2-22
Family and friends accompany the devotees.

2020-8-M6-2-232020-8-M6-2-28

2020-8-M6-2-29
The drummer
2020-8-M6-2-31
A member of a Chinese groups of devotees (and a friend of a friend)
2020-8-M6-2-35
This one goes into a trance.

2020-8-M6-2-37

Pictures above are taken Ilford HP5 shot at box speed, I used not to be a big fan of this film, but actually I am very satisfied with these results. The pictures after are done with the Kodak TMY 400, not exactly my usual Tri-X, but i generally quite like it.

2020-9-M6-2-02

Actually I don’t see any difference, so I may shoot more of the cheaper HP5 going forward.

2020-9-M6-2-03

Still osculating but looking more steady.

2020-9-M6-2-04

2020-9-M6-3-11
Holly smoke

2020-9-M6-3-132020-9-M6-3-172020-9-M6-3-202020-9-M6-3-25

2020-9-M6-3-27
One of the priests of the temple

2020-9-M6-3-292020-9-M6-3-32

2020-9-M6-3-33
Preparation is everything

2020-9-M6-3-38

All shots with Leica M6 Classic and most of them with the Summicron 35mm F2 AsphvII (the last version), processed at the usual lab (well dropped at Ruby and they get the usual guy do the work) and scanned at home with the Epson v800.

Thaipusam 2020 on film

THAIPUSAM 2020

L1009888

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.

L1009804

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.

L1009853

The preparation starts with offerings as above.

L1009866L1009893

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

L1009899

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

L1009940L1009952L1009953

This guys is fainting of having trance.

L1009965

This is the second year I see the man below.

L1009911L1009988

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

L1009996L1000009L1000014

L1000021
Under a shower of flowers he is ready to go

L1000043

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

L1000058
Pain

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

L1000082
Pots of milk
L1000085
Prayer
L1000094
A prayer to the gods before stepping our for the procession
L1000154
The god

L1000107

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.

L1000108

 

L1000115
Young Kavadi bearer …
L1000119
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.

L1000137

I was able to show them a picture of 2013.

L1000157L1000166L1000169L1000183L1000181

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.

L1000215

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

Thaipusam 2020 – What to expect

2019-05-M6-05-33I am by no means a specialist of Hindu religion, so please forgive any mistakes, I am happy to be corrected. This is a a small guide for fellow shutterbugs on what to expect on next Thaipusan day.

This year Thaipusam falls on 8th of February, it is a Saturday so there is no excuse for not going out and shoot ; and Thaipusam offers many different photo opportunities.

DSC_6791
The Chariot at Sri Thendayuthapani Temple (2013 Nikon D700)

The eve of Thaipusam, on the Friday, the Chariot of the temple will take Lord Murugan for a day’s visit to his brother Lord Vinayagar at Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple on Keong Saik Road. Along the route, he stops at several places, including Sri Mariamman temple on South Bridge Road (Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple), to greet the goddess within, a manifestation of his mother. He then continues on to see his brother.

Thaipusam 2010 Kodak Trix pushed 1600
On Clemenceau Avenue (2009 Nikon F4)

The Chariot leaves around 6pm and comes back around 9pm ; then it is parked in front of Tank road temple and visited by many devotees. Later in the night starts the Thaipusam procession : devotees start from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple (Serangoon Road aka SSPT) at 11.30pm.

Inside Sri Thendayuthapani Temple (2016 Leica M4 Cinestill 800)

Doors at Sri Thendayuthapani Temple (Tank Road aka STT) will open at 12.01am on 08/02/2020. You can enter the back of the temple and watch the priests opening the inner shrine, and then let the devotees came in and receive their blessings. The activity is quite low around that time but it gets busier around 2am.

2019-04-M6-04-30
2019 inside STT (Leica M6 Ilford Delta 3200)

Devotees will keep on leaving the Serangoon Garden temple until midnight on Saturday. My usual routine is to reach Serangoon Road temple before 8am. The sun is still very low and and the light inside the temple is dim. The temple and the nearby parking area are used to set-up the kavadis of the devotees and prepare themselves for the procession. Groups are constantly setting up, so no pressure to shoot. All of this happens under canopies to the light can be tricky.

2011 Inside SSPT (Nikon D700)

You can follow one group all the way to Tank Road, or walk a bit faster and move from group to group. Beware, when you reach Clemenceau Avenue, the only way to get inside the temple is to queue with the devotees until you reach the temple. I never did it 10 years, but if you do you will be able to enter the temple by the front door.

2013 Ready to go (Hasselblad 500CM)

If you are not that brave enough, you can walk along the queue of the devotees and arrive at the back of the temple. Where you can see devotees exiting the temple then arriving at the rest are and disassembling the Kavadis. Moments of rest and relief.

2013 After the procession (Nikon F3)

Finally if you go on the path of the procession at night you will see lighted-up kavadis!

I have no idea of what happens at both temples after the last devotee leaves or arrives

L1006570
2018 – Leica M262 – 35mm Summicron asph v2 

So plan for a great day : you can shoot from Friday 6pm to Midnight on Saturday.

A few advises:

  • The Chariot procession can be fun, especially if you spot it in town or upon its return to Tank Road. But chasing it may be complicated.
  • The evening when the temple at Tank road open is interesting, I have been two or three time, I may skip it this year
  • During the day I prefer going the morning like getting ready to shoot at 8am for a couple of hours
  • You can spent another hour at the disassembly area

Practical: the places will be busy, many visitors attend all stages of the event, and many buddy photographers, hot (but I never felt the need to bring water), and yo have to leave your shoes outside of the temples (I don’t mind, but you can also bring flip flops and put them in your bag)

Technical stuff: I shot with DSLR (from 17 to 200 mm), SLR, Leica film and digital and the Hasselblad. This is a busy event, so you don’t have much time to fiddle around. Last year I shot only with 35 and 50mm, with a couple of shots on 28. With 28 and 35 you get a lot of “noise”  in the frame, maybe something around 80mm would be nice if you want to shoot portrait or the actual  moment piercings are performed (I am a bit less interested in this now). People are super friendly but I avoid to be too a nuisance and to thrust your camera in people face, show some respect.

For film: I used 400 ISO for B&W in the temple in the morning , for the night events I used 3200 Kodak TMZ or Ilford Delta and Cinestill 800.

For more information you can visit the Hindu Endowments Board website https://heb.org.sg/

You can see some of my past posts on Thaipusam here.

Thaipusam 2020 – What to expect

A night trip to Senoko fishery port

So after the Road Side vegetables market of Toa Payoh we are heading north to Senoko fishery port. There is wholesale fish market providing stock from local fish trawlers, in-shore vessels and fish farms as well as imported sources, and distributes to markets, supermarkets, food courts and restaurants across Singapore

L1009661

The market is located at 31 Attap Valley Road, Singapore 759908; east to Woodlands checkpoint. It is lucky hat one of my friends was driving otherwise it would have been  difficult to get there and back.

L1009665

Around midnight the market starts to be busy. Individuals come here for cheaper seafood particularly in this time coming up to Chinese new year.L1009668

But the market is also preparing orders for hawkers, wet markets and the restaurants of Singapore.

L1009673

The place is busy, the ground slippery, that’s a nice small adventure.

L1009680

You can find different products types, like crabs, prawns and fish from all types.

L1009683

Each company have its own delimited concrete square , with scales and a boss, noting down orders

L1009690

The work of others is always a nice show to behold.

L1009692L1009695

People are quite friendly, I did not really go asked not to take a picture, but the place is very busy so mind not standing in the way.

L1009696L1009699

Prawns or shrimps arriving and being thrown to the ground. They will be sorted manually later.

L1009702

Outside more fish is coming.

L1009710L1009714L1009722

Ice is a big business here.

L1009719L1009727

All shots Leica M262, Summilux 50mmv2

A night trip to Senoko fishery port

Singapore road side market

L1009624I was a bit surprised when I was invited by my friend KC Eng to a night outing starting in the a “road side wholesale market” in the center of Singapore.

L1009598

The market is located in Toa Payoh area which is in the central part of the city, it is open six days a week from around 11pm to 6.30am. It is closed on Sundays.

L1009611

From 11pm the stalls are set-up, the vegetables align of tarpaulin.

L1009616

… and customers start to gather

L1009623

This is supposedly a wholesale market, so you sea the hawkers sorting and preparing big packs of vegies, probably for smaller merchants.

L1009656 Individuals can buy, but don’t expect to be able to get chilies by the piece.

L1009629

Sorting bhindies (or okra or lady-fingers) at the light of torch light.

L1009638

dreamy green leaves (Summilux wide open)

L1009644

More greens.

L1009653

Chives for our guide.

L1009633

For this challenging light, I picked up the Summilux 50mm V2, not the fasted lens to use, but the widest I own. Combined with Iso set to 2000 on the M262, I can shoot between 1/30 and 1/125.

L1009642

Some wide open shots are very soft and the dark areas can show some banding.

L1009659

and now its past midnight and time head to the Senoko fisheries port, but this is another story.

Singapore road side market

Roll 37 of year 2019 – Hanging around Singapore

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

2019-43-M4-4-3
Hong San See temple celebration

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

2019-43-M4-4-7
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.

2019-43-M4-4-10
Rainbow

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

2019-43-M4-4-13
Focused

Pre-Christmas the Orchard road shopping area was busy.

2019-43-M4-4-16-Edit
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.

2019-43-M4-4-17
Banana
2019-43-M4-4-24
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.

2019-43-M4-4-26

 

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

2019-43-M4-4-27
Orange is the new black

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

2019-43-M4-4-32
Off to work
2019-43-M4-4-33
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.

2019-43-M4-4-29

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

2019-43-M4-4-312019-43-M4-4-352019-43-M4-4-37

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

Leicaiic
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