Outing at Redhill Market with LUGS

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These are pictures taken during the LUGS (Leica User Group Singapore) outing in August to the area of Redhill in Singapore. Redhill area is accessible by MRT. Places of interest are the newly renovated market (dried goods, meat and veggies, but also religious artifacts) and the soon to be demolished Redhill close estate.

 

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Ciggie break version one
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Ciggie break version two

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Picture were taken with the Leica M6 classic (mine is black but that does not affect the pictures) and my new, Summicron 35mm Asph v2.  In my opinion this particular version has not a big added value on film, but it seriously kick ass on digital.

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The flower stall
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The market singer
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The chatty veggie seller
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Local vegies

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Egg business

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The shy butcher

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Old style trade

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King of fruits

I used the two rolls of Ultrafine Xtreme 400 film. This is the first time I hand roll film myself (I bought a 100ft roll and a bulk loader, for 100$, this is about 18 roll of 36 shots for roughly 5.5$ a piece).  I shot 14 rolls of it so far this year, this is quite a good film, with fine grain and good contrast. I don’t develop myself, but my local lab does a good job with it.

 

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Outing at Redhill Market with LUGS

FIRST ROLL OF Rollei Variochrome

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“A la Mort Subite” Brussels – Belgium

Summer holidays have been over for a few weeks, and it is time to go back to this blog. As usual I did not shoot as much as expected during the holidays. One poor roll of medium format Rollei 80S with the old Kodak Autographic, and with the M6 a roll of Kodak Gold and the present roll of Rollei Vario Chrome.

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L’Atomium – Brussels – Belgium

The Rollei Varichrome is a reversal (slide) film, claimed to have high latitude and can be shot between 200 and 400 ISO, 200 being recommended for scanning. Although introduced in 2017 it seems it is a “new old” stock that will have a limited availability. some reading suggest this is altogether expired material already. Note this film can be cross processed in C41 as well.

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L’Atomium – Brussels – Belgium

My complete roll is a bit over exposed, in particular those of the Atomium, generally the dark areas are not dark enough.

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Le botanique – Brussels – Belgium

Above shot of the botanical garden in Brussels is very pleasing, the lack of contrast gives a great mood.

The following street shots taken during the FIFA world cup final also work quite ok. The vintage look is overall quite nice, except maybe the picture of the two young ladies, but it may just be the exposure being off on that one.

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FIFA World Cup Final – Downtown Brussels
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FIFA World Cup Final – Downtown Brussels
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FIFA World Cup Final – Downtown Brussels
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FIFA World Cup Final – Downtown Brussels
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FIFA World Cup Final – Downtown Brussels
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Mrs B

I like very much the first shot and the one above taken in the vintage café “La Mort Subite”.

All in all this looks too much like an Instagram filter to me, some shots are very satisfactory, but it will become very gimmicky to use. The experience is quite expensive as well, I think the roll was like 18SGD and the processing 13 SGD, so more or less 1SGD a shot. Shooting a roll of Kodak Gold would cost half of this and Instagram filters are free. In conclusion it is worth giving it a try, but then it’s better have a subject on which you will shot your whole film, the gimmick effect being lost in the consistency of the subject. For instance I imagine a wedding photographer may like to shot a roll of this as a special feature. For me I don’t think I’ll use this again.

Finally two shots below on quite different subject :

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Still life : a traditional French post box
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Countryside restaurant outside Manila (Philippines)

 

All shots at 200 ISO with Leica M6 and one Summicron or the other (28, 35, 50) and scanned on Epson v800.

 

Rollei Vario002

FIRST ROLL OF Rollei Variochrome

First Roll of Kodak TMAX P3200

I had a couple of events recently and thought about trying the new Kodak TMax 3200. This is supposedly a new film, replacing the old TMZ 3200 discontinued in 2012.

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1. Singapore CDB late afternoon

I loaded the Leica M6 and used my brand new Summicron 35mm Asph v2. The M6 meter is basic but consistent.

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2. Make up session

The result is quite disappointing, chances are that can be some issue with the processing as the lab may not get used to this film yet (but they have been quite reliable so far).

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3. The show

What is so disappointing?  Mainly the high level of grain. I shot a roll of Ilford 3200 last year and it was far lot better. Ok the lighting conditions vary, last year was a concert where the band was quite lighten up on a dark background.

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4. Office decoration

On this roll there are different scenes with various lighting conditions. The first shot isoutdoor, late afternoon light. The next two ones are a show for kids, one make up session lighten through a bright large window, the second a  little girl during the show.

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5. Office decoration

Shots 4 and 5 are taken during the preparation of the Charity day in my office. Light on shot 4 is challenging, as it’s shot  through glass. But 5 is standard office neon light.

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6. Merci Marcel

The last 6 shots were taken during the opening party of Merci Marcel  restaurant in Singapore (thank you guys this was a nice party). The pictures are quite moody, and the 35 mm is a great party lens. Maybe I should have overexposed a bit?

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7. Merci MarcelThe
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8. Merci Marcel
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9. Merci Marcel

 

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10. Just a small one
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11. A refill?

 

 

First Roll of Kodak TMAX P3200

The Alms ceremony – Luang Prabang Laos

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The alms ceremony in Luang Prabang is a unique ritual that makes the charm of this small city. It is a also a well know one and pictures of the monks lining the streets of Luang Prabang at 5am are famous worldwide. I could not attend it the first time I was there 10 years ago, but I made sure to see it this time.

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The little lady above lives on the other side of the street, where I am shooting from. The people on her right on the first picture are tourists (Korean, Thai, Chinese?) renting a stool, and buying alms from the merchants. So this has become a real touristic attraction, many stools are ready for Buddhist tourists or anybody who want to participate, and the non participating are legion.

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I try to keep a safe distance and show respects for the monks but as usual this is not the case for everybody. This is a bit frustrating, but I generally prefer to miss a shot than to fight or be a nuisance. All of this spoils a bit the ceremony for me, but it can be that I am just a tad difficult.

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I may stand corrected but what make it unique is the fact that monks from the 7 or so monasteries in town go out in the street to collect alms in procession, rather that visiting houses of people who will donate food.

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If you are out in the street at 5h30 you can assist roughly to one hour of procession, and i f you follow the rules you can approach the monks up to 3 meters.

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We were sitting on the pavement of the main street and it is quite busy. I think there may be many “spots”, like places  where the procession turns who may offer better photo opportunities, same from the exits of the monasteries of the path along the river.

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Outside of the center you will see random people waiting for monks from place to place, which surely would enable a closer encounter with this local customs.

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Regardless of the crowd it is a great experience.

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We enjoyed very much sitting opposite the lady-from-across-the-street as we regarded her devotion more authentic. But this is quite subjective and I don’t want to be judgmental.

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Flash photography is forbidden or course, so high end DSLR will probably have the upper hand here.

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For this lady renting stools and selling alms this is time to ring the end of the show.

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Color shots taken on Leica M262 with 50mm F2 Summicron v5, Black and white taken with Leica M6 classic and Summicron 28mm F2 Asph on Ultrafine Xtreme 400ISO film.

 

The Alms ceremony – Luang Prabang Laos

A wet day in chinatown

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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.

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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.

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You will find old watches and Buddhist artifacts and amulets, and for the rest … you’ll see for yourself.

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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.

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I hope you enjoyed the visit

A wet day in chinatown

CHANDIGARH – THE CAPITOL COMPLEX

 

The Open Hand Monument

So here we are on the last day of our trip, on the road to visit the Capitol Complex; the heart of Chandigarh, designed (partially) by Le Corbusier in the late 1950’s. An ode to modernist architecture that we have been longing to visit for years.

Palace of Assembly

Well not quite; aside from the bad planning (in my own opinion) of our travel agent, visiting Chandigarh is a bit more complicated than we thought. So apart from the 3 sites cited in my last post, there is nothing organised to visit the habitations buildings and finally you have to go through a guided tour to visit the Capitol Complex.

The Shadow Tower

This is not quite all : the two main buildings on the Capitol, the High court and the Assembly are in use (why should they not be after all?). So you cannot enter the High Court and you are lucky (we were) to enter the Assembly ( but no photos inside).

Punjab and Haryana High Court or palace of Justice

Add bye the time the guide assembled the small crowd of tourists we started our visit by mid morning, time was starting to be short and the light was quite bad for taking pictures.

As you can see above the high court is in use with layers in their work outfits.

Palace of assembly

In the opposite site of the plaza from the Hight court, the Palace of Assembly has a better lighting. It is overseeing a large pond and offers a spectacular view.


The holes in the front walls give nice perspectives and see through views.

Patterns on the assembly walls, reminding that man is the scale of the construction.

Getting out of the Assembly House the inevitable Ambassador car, now a civil servant official car, which used to be common taxis.

Mister Mohan

Our visit was accompanied by Mister Mohan, from the tourist Police who turned out to be a friendly person.

A few more things:

  • For the habitations buildings there are no restrictions to go and visit them, ask inhabitants,… we met some passionate french people who were spending a full week there. But Chandigarh is a big city so you better plan for what you want to see.
  • You can “pass by” on a road at the back of the Open Hand monument, in  a certain distance, without getting into a tour and then be able to take picture at better moments (I did not)
  • The tour of the Capitol Complex is a bit rushed through, you are not welcome to wander around or take too long with your photography nonsense,
  • You do not see on the pictures, the parking lots, the vans, the 20 Spanish tourists of our tour, the barriers,…
  • How did I manage to take so poor pictures of a site I longed to visit for decades? It shows (if needed) that some skills need working on.
  • Camera geekerry : color shots Leica M262, black and while Leica M6, Summicron 28 and Summicron 50
CHANDIGARH – THE CAPITOL COMPLEX

On the road from Patiala to Chandigarh

Patiala looks to be a very interesting place, but we had little time to hang around. We try to visit the two palaces but both were under renovation and although we were allowed to the grounds in both (many thanks to our guide), I was denied using my camera. The first palace was a residence for the maharajah and his many spouses; the buildings we could see are set around a very large pond. It is located in a residential area on the town outskirts.

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This may have been some sort of Natural Sciences museum
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Under construction
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The “pond” is what separate the girls here to the building in the background.

 

The second palace, Qila Mubarak, is located in the heart if the city, it is normally hosting a museum which was closed at the time of our visit (Oct 2017) and the building also under renovation. This is an incredibly big compound to be located in a city center. There is a fort behind the main buildings and more buildings behind the fort. No pictures available unfortunately.

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We then start our drive to Chandigarh through the busy city streets and then on the very good roads off Punjab. Chandigarh is only 70 km away, but with a few stops, we got there in about 4 hours.

The main stop was in Sirhind-Fategarh, the Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib there is famous as it is the place where younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh, who were bricked-up alive in 1704 by Wazir Khan and a place to commemorate the memory of the brave Sikhs who were killed while fighting with Mughal forces.

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Gurudwara Bhora Sahib, the wall where the younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh were bricked-up alive

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Outside the Gurdwara itself is a  shop for religious artifacts where I finally decided to satisfy my long lasting envy to buy a  Kara (a Sikh bangle). After a long debate we decided to by one each (ok my wife wanted two) and to our great surprise the shop keeper refused us to pay for them and offered them as presents. Another sign of the great Sikh hospitality and friendliness.

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The Gurdwara shop keepers 

Next to the main Gurdwara is another one, where we met the guy in charge (below). Very happy to talk about his religion; probably on of the first guys we could exchange in English.

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Not far from this site is a Mosque, which is supposed to be linked to friendly Muslim people at the time of the war with the mughals. The complex is very nice and spacious. Not all places are allowed for women to visit and photography is a bit more limited than in the Gurdwaras.

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The basement of the main building above contains the tombs of some saints where people come to make offerings.

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Back on the road again, our guide stopped us by one of the many places where a few men where boiling some sugar cane to make some solid sugar.

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Pressing the cane to extract the sugar

We tasted the sweets and pack-up after a little while and finally made it to Chandigarh.

All shots Leica M262+Summicron 28 or 50

B&W shots Leica M6+Summicron 50

 

On the road from Patiala to Chandigarh