SOFT LOCK-DOWN WEEK 7

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It is hard to believe this “new normal” has already been in place for 7 weeks. A quick heads-up for the near future : a phased “unlock” will start from first of June, the only sure thing is that schools will reopen on on a rotational basis. So it looks I will be able to write a few more of these posts.

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I did not take the camera out of my bag this week, or did not even took a bag. Finally today, I decide to put the M262 + 28mm Cron around my neck on my walk to Chinatown to collect my dinner.

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Excellent light when crossing from People’s part to Chinatown

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The old Samsui woman seems lonely without any tourists around. I hesitated taking pictures of the stalls of Chinatown, all curtains pulled down, but the light was not great.

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On the area in front of Chinatown Complex a few old folks were hanging around in relative self distance.

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In front of the Buddha tooth relic temple, the incense burner was covered with a cloth, an unusual sight,

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Finally I think I managed to capture the new life of the F&B outlets adapting to the crisis by offering take away and delivery, Above in front a a Korean BBQ, delivery men waiting on social distanced chairs.

And below patrons waiting outside the popular  Kok Sen local eatery in Keon Siak Road.

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Or a Japanese restaurant spelling out loud.

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It seems that the female figures will be masked for a while on the pictures

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So long…

 

All shots Leica M262+28mm Summicron Asph V1

SOFT LOCK-DOWN WEEK 7

SOFT LOCK-DOWN WEEK 6

Time of the week again!I think I just took the camera with me three times this week, and I did not made a single shot today.

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Deserted Clark Quay

The weather is still indecisive but we have some nice moments, and some late afternoons with beautiful lights. I started the week with the old Summitar 50 that is on the M262 for a couple of weeks now.

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Strange lights on this office building (or is it a hotel?)

Despite its back focusing issues, it performs quite well.

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Hair Dressers are re-opening

… enough to capture the event of the week : the re-opening of hair dressers.

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Clark quay still empty

Saturday, I decided for a change and picked from the magic box the 28mm Cron Asph v1. You can think how nice the old lenses are, and you can challenge me to tell objective differences between the two shots of Clark Quay, but the newer Leica lenses rock, they are the one who justify owning a digital M body. I always recommend to everybody who wants to go the digital M way to get at least one newer lens.

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I have set the M body in auto aperture mode, but as much as it generally work, I always end up shooting at a too low speed. You will tell me this mode should be used with auto ISO, but yeah OK, it really needs some practice to be put to good work.

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A human

Yes I managed to shoot a human, that was a while since last one.

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An eateries at Chinatown MRT

I think it is always easy to take random pictures and rather difficult to shoot something that means something to you and on which you want to express something. I wanted to shown the blocked Chess game area where a lot of old folks gather usually.

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The area is now locked as you can see. I hope you get the feeling

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Finally a shot of Potato Head, in a very quiet Keong Siak Road as night was falling down,

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A very quiet potato head

Good night, keep safe.

SOFT LOCK-DOWN WEEK 6

THAIPUSAM 2020

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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.

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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.

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The preparation starts with offerings as above.

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

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

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This guys is fainting of having trance.

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This is the second year I see the man below.

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

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Under a shower of flowers he is ready to go

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

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Pain

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

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

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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.

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Young Kavadi bearer …
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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.

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I was able to show them a picture of 2013.

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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.

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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

A NIGHT TRIP TO SENOKO FISHERY PORT (Film version)

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This is  a small follow-up to my former post : A NIGHT TRIP TO SENOKO FISHERY PORT .

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These pictures were shot on Cinestill 800T with a Leica M6 with Summicron 35 Asph v2 or 50mm V5. Processed at the lab around the corner and scanned at home with the Epson v800.

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I shot the roll at 640 ISO, still I found the pictures being under exposed, unlike the roll I shot in Tokyo last year.

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She is the boss.

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A NIGHT TRIP TO SENOKO FISHERY PORT (Film version)

Christmas in Vietnam (Roll 1)

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I think this one  is a great cover.

So off to Vietnam for Xmas 2019, for a bit of chilling time over Christmas. In the bag, the usual kit, M262, M6, 28,35 and 50 crons and of course a couple of Tri-x rolls.

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Hanoi is a great place to shoot. People are friendly and generally not photo  adverse. There are so many pictures to take, that if you cannot take one, just walk to the next.

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As usual, the M6 is most often mounted with the 50 cron, that ensures a reasonable distance for candid shots.

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Street side food vendors and their patrons are still a great subject.

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I was last in Hanoi 10 years ago and the traffic has not changed, crossing the roads still feels like an adventure and motorcycles are omnipresent.

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We arrived late on Christmas eve, so our first outing was a walk to Saint Joseph Cathedral on Christmas day. The mass was already going on when we reached and people were standing outside of the church. 2019-38-M6-23-12

After the service an orchestra was playing outside.

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A good opportunity for selfies.

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We walked down to the Metropole hotel, where the two Citroen below are standing guard. I stayed there 10 years ago, and at that time  they could be sent to fetch you from the airport in style.2019-38-M6-23-17

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Grab delivery men are ubiquitous through the city

We then walk north in direction of Long Bien bridge, going through the old quarter.2019-38-M6-23-21

Among many, I met these local photographers and we took shots of each others.

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Finally we made it to Long Ben bridge.

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Where I met the two young film photographers below.

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Hey this was a long post. Be reassured the next roll is not as good.

Christmas in Vietnam (Roll 1)

Thaipusam 2019 – A roll of Ilford Delta 3200

Nearly one year ago, in January, I went to Tank road in the middle of the night to shoot a roll of Ilford Delta 3200 at the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple for the Thaipusam ceremony.

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The orchestra

Thaipusam is a Tamil Hindu ceremony where devotees walk from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Little India to the temple in Tank road.

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The priests

It is interesting to shoot the ceremony at both temples ; at Little India where they start the pilgrimage or here where they finish it.

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I favor the little India location early in the morning ; it is already very busy, but manageable. But for a couple of years I go to Tank Road in the evening before ; it is general quiet, the action (if I can say so) is more subdued. Pilgrims flow through the temple, receive blessings and walk out.

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At the back of the temple is a resting aera and pilgrim receive tea and nibbles.

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A Chinese Hindu devotee

This year I tried a roll of Ilford Delta 3200 with the Leica M6 and the Summicron 50mm version 5. The result is quite nice, the M6 does a good job once again, the light meter is working very well once again.

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Giving offerings

I rarely shot the Ilford 3200, but must say the result is quite good. The grain is nice but controlled, the contrast is good. As I said somewhere else I think high ISO film give good results if you scene has a minimum of contrast.

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Collecting ashes

These were shot around 11pm, on the first evening, it is very quite just when the priest open the inner sanctum of the temple. Alternatively, you can come around on the next day and take pictures from pilgrims disassembling their Kavadis.

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The inside on the temple of the day itself is over crowed and their is no shortcut, you have to follow the devotees from Penang road, I am not sure how long it will take. Surely a great experience, but you will need a good couple of hours.

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The friendly volunteer
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Get ready I have 2 or 3 rolls of TRIX that I shoot the next day.

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Walking out of the temple

Get ready, this year the Thaipusam procession is expected to start from SSPT on 07/02/2020 from 11.30pm.

 

Thaipusam 2019 – A roll of Ilford Delta 3200

FIRE WALKING CEREMONY – Another roll on Kodak TMZ3200

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Devotees waiting outside the temple

You can read more about the Fire Walking Ceremony in my post from 2014 (here). In short it is a Indian festival honoring the Hindu goddess Sri Draupadi, who is the wife of the five Pandava brothers who walked on hot coals to prove her purity.

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Devotees waiting outside the temple

Devotees go through a purification period and on the day of the festival they walk from Little India where they get blessing and protective amulets to the SRI MARIAMMAN TEMPLE in Chinatown where they walk through the coals of the fire pit. After this they go at the back of the temple where they discard they protection and offer to the god the beads necklace they wear since the beginning of the cleansing period.

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Devotee entering the temple

This is the 3rd time I am going to the festival. As I mentioned in my last post, total respect to the devotees. I went in the evening as usual with my friend Matte Lim.

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Devotee entering the temple

This is my second or third roll of this film. The first attempt was so so. This is supposedly a new film, replacing the old TMZ 3200 discontinued in 2012. I think the film works well for scenes with good contrast and some lighted parts ; if your scene is grayish you wont get much on the picture.

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Devotee entering the temple

It was night when I attend the fire-walk festival but both places where I was had some heavy lights on parts of the scene.

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Devotee entering the temple

The M6 is great for focusing in the night, even with my ageing eyes, also the metering is quite ok. 

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The fire pit (Heavy back-light fooled the meter)

Most shots are done with 50mm Cron (v 5), maybe some with the 35mm Cron (Asph v2), as I swapped the lens between teh M6 and M262 at some point.

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Devotee removing his beads necklace
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Offering the beads necklace

Processing was done by the usual lab and scanning at home with the Epson v800 , scanning is easy.

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I like the grain, which is quite limited and pleasant imo (but my wife does not).

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The 3 next pictures are my favorites.

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FIRE WALKING CEREMONY – Another roll on Kodak TMZ3200