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.
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.
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.
The crowd after the ceremony is eager to partake in ice cream, pop corns
It gets dark quickly, and there is nearly one km of little stalls stretched along the car parks.
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.
Polypan F50 is a mysterious beast : it is a film made to copy cinema movies. It has no anti halation layer: it means the light bounces back from the pressure plate of the camera and on highlights produce a “glow” effect (To reduce the glow you can put apply some black backing paper to the pressure plate).
It comes in bulk of various lengths and can be found on auction sites, it looks it was produced until recently. It can be pushed to 100 or 200 as some friends do, I may try on the next roll.
This roll was shot with the Leica M4 + Summilux 50v2, at 50 ISO, hand metered (Sekonic 308S). I processed mine at my local lab which used Kodak D76, I was told the buy pushed it one stop.
The result is quite OK to my taste, the grain is quite smooth in some of the shots, more present on others, like a generic 100 ISO film. There is something special on some shots that can be related to the “Glow”.
This is a 50 ISO film, so not so easy for street shooting, but still I think three out of four shots are OK technically. Using the Summilux gives a bit more leeway to play with compare to slower lens, and on a sunny day I could shoult at 1/125, 1/250
The film is moderately curly, scanning did not show any special difficulties. The highlight seems to be a bit blown, bringing them in line needs darkening the pictures a bit too much to my taste, but I cannot deny the palette of grey is interesting.
I though it was more interesting to share about this new experience that following up my last post about the art of curating films. But I can quickly share the following: on the 25 shots of this roll, 5 where not good technically, 4 are of my family, 13 seriously lack of interest or are dupes. So I am left with the 8 shareable shots shown here
A bit high ratio, but I am a slow shooter, specially with a film of such slow speed, so maybe I paid more attention. The first and last shots are probably a bit above OK. “Music head” with its quirky composition is probably very close to be an OK. The “Girl in Wanzi” would have been as well if not for some motion shake I think. “Bump”, “Egg Business” and the “Time Off” are on the very low end of the interesting range.
The title is a bit pedantic, but actually it came from something very down to earth. I recently reviewed 30 years on pictures for a small personal project and the experience was both fun and sad. The fun side came from the obvious pleasure of looking at them : the reason why we like photography. The sadness was brought in by the shots I did not take: these long lost friends I have no portraits off, this great week end, that awesome holidays; my first car, but also for the lack of quality of some shots, making them unusable for my project, and just plain depressing : how could have I done that?.
This lead me to reflect (quickly) on the quality of the many shots I take, and my overall photographic journey. A bit further in my thinking came the idea of sharing how I select my shots maybe for a rolls or two.
I just collected today a roll of Ilford Delta 100 from the lab, it was shot with the Leica IIIc and the Summaron 35mmF3.5, over two weeks of relatively no inspiration and crap weather. So maybe this roll is a bit more lame than usual, but let’s see.
Last week I went out with fellow members of the “Lets shoot film SG” group, in the area of Arab Street in Singapore. The intent was to shoot the crowd : this has became a very popular spot now and there are many opportunities for candid shots.
I loaded the Agfa Isolette III with my second roll (on 3) or Pancro 400, to see how it fares with a slightly better camera. I must say this was not some precision work, the uncoupled rangefinder is not working so the distances are guestimated and I preset the exposition most of the time. I put the original yellow filter (probably 1/2 stop) in front of the Apotar 80mmF4.5 lens as well as the aluminium hood for good order.
The film was processed at the same lab as the first one, I was not told the film need pushing this time, so maybe they worked out how to process it “normally”, go figure!
The results : as the first film, this one came fairly flat from the lab and was easy to scan. A bit of tweaking in Lightroom, et voila!
Is it the conjunction of the small aperture used and / or the yellow filter? The results surely have more contrast that my first roll but still shows pretty smooth tones, and no hard contrasts. Highlights were easily recuperated, underlining the claim to large latitude.
Something keep on surprising me ( as I also just scanned my first roll in 35mm format) it is that this film manage to be quite grainy and still preserves an impressive amount of details even in under or over exposed shots (no shown here) or areas.
I will shot the last 120 roll with the Hassie; maybe I’ll try to do some portraits to see if in a more controlled environment something else is revealed.
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.
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.
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.
This picture is shot under a red tent and gives for interesting palette of grey, probably due to the sensitivity to red.
For those who wonder, this was processed by the usual lab used by Ruby photo, no idea what chemical they use.
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
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.
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.
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.