For my foreign readers, in these hard times, up to the 3rd of April, not a lot have changed in Singaporean’s lives. Obvious places of mingling, like bars and discos, had been closed a few weeks back and we were encouraged to work from home when possible and apply social distancing, controls were put at the border and a quarantine system was put in place.
Things changed Friday when the prime minister announced a “soft lock down”, basically we are going to be on lock-down like a big part of the human kind. Nearly all public places will be closed, but for the soft part, we will still be allowed to walk out.
So Friday saw a moderate panic buy (including massive queues at Victoria Secret, LuluLemon and Louis Vuitton, more reassuring of the human race people were also queuing in the Japanese library Kinokuniya.
Restaurants will close next Tuesday night, so after what looked like a dreadful Friday night, a lot of places where pretty full, Saturday and Sunday, of course respecting mandatory social distancing. We also visited some friend’s restaurant Saturday, as we fell the need to support the businesses and share a bit of love and friendship in these hard time.
I did not really dig in the details of the soft lock down, but just in case I started the Sunday by a 37 Km ride with my son. And in the afternoon we had a long walk to our Community Center and back to collect our free reusable masks (Thanks guys). These shots were done along the way with the Leica M262 and the Summaron 35mmF3.5 LTM.
First stop, a few clicks down the Community center, was the Wat Ananda Metyarama a Thai Buddhist temple, a very nice Thai temple (surprise !), an at the back are more buildings. Including one for nuns or monks.
I don’t know what this building is. A king of shrine, with drying laundry, birds in cages and gods effigies.
I want to shoot this little police hut for a while (Polis is Police in Malay), geographically it looks like it was commanding the entrance of the Malaysian enclave that was containing the railway station and the railway tracks up to Malaysia. But I am not 100% sure.
St Matthew’s Church is now all wrapped up, you can check my post about it here. I cannot really give any information about the new development there.
Or dance steps.
As part of earlier measures places of worship are now closed, but devotees congregate (in small numbers) in front of temples.
That’s it for today! Keep safe, follow the rules, and read many posts ever after.
Well the situation in Singapore is not too much at celebrating and I did not find yet the way to represent the poetry of empty streets. So this posts start with reminding the not so distant past when Humans were roaming the streets.
At that time, a couple of weeks ago, I put one of my last rolls of Polypan F50 in the Leica M4 and hit the road with the Summaron 35mm F3.5 ltm.
I have a nice Leica LTM to M adapter which provides proper focusing, and bring the 35mm framelines on the M4, so I can frame accurately.
The roll of Polypan was given to me two years ago, and is probably expired, but shot at ISO 50 it still looks fine.
Shooting ISO 50 with a 3.5 max aperture lens in overcast light is a bit challenging.
Shades of grey on the old Polypan are amazing, so are the details.
I had a couple of disappointing roll recently. First I shot a roll of Kodak Tri-X with the Heineken toy camera that shows reticulation. This was a small boat trip with friends for a birthday celebration, so I am quite annoyed.
The camera works superbly, and ISO 400 by the see on a bright day is plenty for the F10 plastic lens.
Even in the shadows as above, but it was screwed up at processing as you can see below.
Is it a call for self processing in the future?
The next roll, is the evening birthday party of my friend Paul, shot with the Leica M6, and still the Summaron 35mm F3.5 LTM. This was a roll of Ilford Delta 3200 shot at 3200. The M6 meter is always very accurate so I am very surprised that the roll turned out so underexposed.
The film was not expired. My only guess is that the meter was fooled by the very bright patches at the table, and even more easily that a 35mm gets a wider range), probably for such event its better to meter from close and keep it fixed.
This is one of the last rolls of 2019, finished on the 31st December morning.
It is a Kodak Portra 400, shot with the Sumaron 35mm F3.5 lens on the Leica IIIc.
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.
December is a wet month in Singapore, umbrellas are out (and colorful).
Pre-Christmas the Orchard road shopping area was busy.
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.
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.
I like the Portra for many reasons, I think it is very good for shots as above with muted colors.
Christmas is also an opportunity to visit churches for office or to watch the Christmas cribs.
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.
I must say I also love the Portra for its saturated colors.
All shots, Leica IIIC, with the Summaron 35mmF3.5 LTM lens and assorted 35mm Viewfinder. Kodak Portra 400
Scanned at home with Epson v800
Dropped for processing at Ruby Photo (not sure who does the actual processing)
A small write up today, and I will avoid the temptation to make another complete roll review (although in fairness I was tempted).
The flea market that use to seat in Sungei Road east of the city center has been closed for building a MRT (the local term for underground). What used to be coined as the “thieves market” has slowly moved to Chinatown in the heard of the city.
I am not sure what the authorities think of it, but here is another attraction in one of the tourist hubs of the Lion-city. These guys sell mostly old junk, and it’s rare you will find anything you might want to bargain for … actually as odd as it seems I bought for 2$ a record of Industrial Music, and one of the sellers (not sure how to call them) actually has a few interesting cameras.
You will find old watches and Buddhist artifacts and amulets, and for the rest … you’ll see for yourself.
Sure this will come a popular spot for street photography.
The 4 shots above were taken in a rainy afternoon, with Ultrafine Xtreme 400 iso with the Leica IIIc and the Summaron 35mmF3.5, probably 1/60 second and f3.5.
As I am here I also add as a bonus three earlier shots done on the same film with the Leica M4 and teh modern Summicron 50mm v5.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Not as good.
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.
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.
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.
Too far, would you even have noticed her?
Motion blur, Out of focus, bad framing.
Maybe yes, maybe not, that was just a try.
The same afternoon I walked into Chinatown
Quite a bad pic, maybe OOF ? Shame. I thinks it’s also not Ceno2’s best mural.
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.
Second version is probably an ok street shot, movement, color and overall an umbrella.
Buddha tooth relic temple, one random shot
I tough the light was great and worth capturing
I quite like this one, unusual.
Another random shot, not great angle, too far, not showing much.
Ok ok we can try.
Next great spot is the Merlion Park, it is always endless fun shooting people taking selfies there.
It would have work with better light, the subject here is a bit lost in the background.
This one is really random.
Something was going on, but it was not the right moment yet.
I think that one is ok, just average but ok. Nice light, funny pause and all.
Nothing easier to ask somebody who pause if you can also take a shot. Too contrasty but probably OK.
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.
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.
Ok I think I took enough fish stalls so far not to call this one a keeper.
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.
The lens was attracted by the lady in the center, but one week later it does not look like it is enough.
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 small follow up to y last post about this celebration
Above is mister Lee Kum Yuen, he is the current master and son of the master who brought this Kung Fu / Lion Dance style in Singapore. There is a very interesting video here https://youtu.be/kZq6iGxfWUo.
I shot a couple of rolls with the Leica M4 and either the Summaron 35mm F2.8 (the one with Goggles) or a Summicron 50mm v5.
Above is the typical Lion Dance troupe transport, a lorry used the rest of the week for hardware work.
Below the troupes gathering before climbing up the slope to the part of the temple where the celebration takes place. (Did I mention if the other post the temple is massive?)
The slope is tough, the sun is hot, and yes they drum up-hill
Below starts the celebration directed by a monk,
below the final parade and one minute drumming of all the troops together.
The color shots are Kodak Portra 400, the black and white are Ultrafine Extreme 400, hand-rolled.
Oh yes if you want to see more, come back soon, I also did a certain number of digital shots as well.
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.