A morning in Myanmar

During our trip to Chiang Rai one of the most exciting activities available is to walk into Burma, for a few hours only. Driving one hour from our resort in Chiang Saen (already one hour north of Chiang Rai), we arrive in the Mae Sai checkpoint where it is possible to cross the border and enter Myanmar at Tachileik.

This in the Shan State; Tachileik boasts 50000 inhabitants.

Crossing the border is allowed provided that you leave your passport at the border and pay a nominal fee. Overnight stay is not permitted and I read that guesthouses in the border areas of Myanmar are not allowed to host foreign tourists.

The area close to the checkpoint has a busy market where Thai and Chinese tourists like to shop, for cheap counterweight of handbags, watches and so on. We rode a tuck tuck outside of this area in a more rural side of the city with its food market.

Aside from the usual colorful street life, a nearby covered market, shows more food stalls.

But also some fashion shops; tailors, housewares,…

A few streets from there, a Buddhist monastery, hosts young and old monks who were having their lunch when we arrived. There we could witness the ceremonial of meals, who its first, who last who eats what is not eaten by the others.

The main attraction in Tachileik may well be the replica of the Shwedagon Pagoda. Situated on a small hill. There are a few tourist / devotee stalls outside and food stalls on the parking.

One of the food stalls around the pagoda.

I tried one of these sweet pancakes, delicious. Grilled for you on the spot on the ground of the parking.

Our guide was very knowledgeable or the area and spoke fluent Burmese which made the experience very enjoyable.

3 hours in Myanmar, a new Stamp on our passports, time to head back in Thailand.

All shots with Leica M262 and Summicron 28mmF2.

A morning in Myanmar

Japan Camera Hunter – JCH 400 FILM

During my trip to Melbourne where I discover the FilmNeverDie  shop, I bought a couple of rolls of their SHIROKURO but also one roll of JCH StreetPan 400 film (why only one?)! I am always looking forward to try new or uncommon films, this is part of the magic of chemistry of film photography, to make me expected something new and exciting that does not depend on my technical skills (if I have any) to happen on the roll.

You can find the announcement of the film and read more about it there.

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This does not look to be  a re-branded film as the negs have the mention JCH.

This is not a technical review, I am by noway an expert, I understand that pan chromatic does not mean much other than a reproduction similar to human eye. Not sure what this means for black and white. This film is supposed to have a higher sensibility to red and a low grain.

I loaded the roll in the newly repaired Leica IIIc, and the following shots are done during Chinese new year in Singapore using a Summitar 50mmf2 lens. The Summitar is a bit back focusing so this is probably not a proper set-up to judge the quality of the film, but I have a soft spot for the IIIc.

Exposure is measured with a handheld Sekonic 308s lighmeter.

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Peanut stall

This picture is shot under a red tent and gives for interesting palette of grey, probably due to the sensitivity to red.

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There’s a cow behind the bins

For those who wonder, this was processed by the usual lab used by Ruby photo, no idea what chemical they use.

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Cookie stall
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Fellow film shooter, using a Canon 7s and Summar 50mm (but I saw he has more tricks in his bag)

The grain is actually quite controlled, and the sharpness, if you keep in mind this is shot with a vintage soft lens, is quite good. I am not a big fan of high grain film like the TriX (although I use it a lot), and always preferred the soft TMAX100 or Fuji Acros

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Kueh shop

Actually the contrast is quite smooth, unlike the Rollei Retro 400s I used recently, so for higher contrast scenes it gives  nice gradation of grey.

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The ladies selling newspaper on Keong Saik Road
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Happy fellows
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Night shot in Chinatown, a Bakua shop
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Preparing for Chinese new year

Even this night shot with back-light could be salvaged and give a nice rendering.

All in all this is quite a satisfying experience, if I manage to get more rolls they’l deserve to be shot with a better camera like the M6 or the “never-fail” EOS 1N.

JCH has sold all his stock, so only retailers will have some rolls now, until more are produced. I don’t think anybody has some in Singapore but you can find a list of suppliers on the JCH web-site.

 

 

Japan Camera Hunter – JCH 400 FILM

The Kiev IV is still alive

The end of 2016 was fast approaching and looking at the treasure chest (and my spreadsheet of films shots during the year), I looked at camera who had not went to the field.

The Kiev IV is one of them, and I felt the next trip to Dakota was a good opportunity to take it for a spin. I loaded a roll of Tri-X and pocketed (so to speak) the body, the 50F2 and the 35F2.8.

My Kiev now has a new skin (no more mummy look), and no more light leaks (fingers crossed). So it does not look to shabby anymore and is quite a usable device.

The light-meter on mine is dead, or maybe is it too complicated to use. I find the speed control very difficult to use, and difficult to read with my poor eyesight at close range. The rangefinder with its lighting window below the shutter is not great as I always have a tendency to obscure it with a finger or the other.

I always like the images that the Kiev produces, my two lenses are very sharp, the rangefinder when not blocked, is very accurate. The speeds on my copy are quite on as well. But this fellow stays in the cupboard (actually a giant Tupperware) because of its not so friendly controls (speed change, shutter button, lens change, winding, loading of film). I think it even compares negatively to the Leica III.

This says I love the pics, I may get rid of my set this year, it may be a cheap entry  level rangefinder for someone else, who knows.

About Dakota Crescent estate, you can read more on other posts, around mid-December the place is quite empty now.

This is a roll shot with the Kiev IV Camera, Jupiter 35 or 50 lens on Kodak TRI-X.

Scanned at home on Epson v500.

The Kiev IV is still alive

THE SECOND FILM WITH THE LOMO KONSTRUKTOR.

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This has been more than two years since I was offered the Lomo Konstruktor kit by my wife and my son. It took me 2 month to complete and shoot the first roll and actually it took another two years for me to shoot a second roll.

(See my first post here)

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There are a couple of reasons for this none might be very good nor definitive, but here they are.

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I first found the Konstruktor very flimsy.  The winding is very hard (hence the frames overlapping, or extra spacing), the shutter mechanism is quite hard to press causing camera shake more often than not.

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The F10 lens and 1/80s speed are only allow well lit scenes; my first roll for 400 ISO and a few of the pictures were underexposed. I had a try this time with a 800 ISO Fuji Extra, and some shots are over exposed but all in all that’s not too bad.

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I found the framing and focusing difficult, ok focusing a F10 lens is not that critical after all.

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Finally I have enough sh*t cameras a home and the Lomo does not bring anything really new. It’s back on the shelf now, it may stay there for a little while.

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THE SECOND FILM WITH THE LOMO KONSTRUKTOR.

Sydney on Film

I went “down under” for the first time last school holidays. I was now carrying the “new” travel kit:

  • Leica M6
  • Leica M262
  • Summicron 28F2
  • Summaron 35mmF2.8
  • Summilux 50mmF1.4v2
  • Elmarit 90mmF2

5 or 6 rolls of film (I just shot 2) and small accessories.

I overcome (temporarily the urge to by a new camera bag by loading all of this is the very big Crumpler 8Mio and for day to day walks to put in my suitcase a Crumpler 1Mio. The later can fit one body with a lens and an extra lens, my wallet and phone, the second body goes around the neck.

On circular quay there are always a few buskers including this group of aboriginals, playing didgeridoo along with disco beats.

The fish market is packed with Chinese tourists.

Men’s biz : a trendy barber in one of the galleries in central Sydney.

Sydney on Film

CENO2 Graffiti Artist

This is the second time I bump into CENO2  over the past few years he is a Singaporean graffiti artist that lives abroad, apparently often in Chicago.

This time again I saw him working on a mural at Somerset Skate park in central Singapore. This was one of the first days where I was carrying around the M262 and Summicron 28.

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Back two weeks later I saw he had already replaced his drawing with the two followings.

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These were taken with the old Summilux 50mm V2 mounted on the M262.

You can learn more about Ceno2 at https://www.facebook.com/Ceno2Artkhalytis/

 

 

CENO2 Graffiti Artist

Leica M – Model 262 – Back to Digital

So this is it 3 years after borrowing a M9, 2 years after renting a M240 and deciding it was not for me and I better buy a M6 (Which I did), I just turned 50 and offered myself a beautiful M262 and a Summicron 28mmF2.

 

On the first day I went out to the Kong Siak road festival and managed to catch the following shots with the Summilux 50mm VII.

 

A more elaborated review will follow shortly, but it was time to share those.

Leica M – Model 262 – Back to Digital