The Social Kitchen at Orchard YMCA

Today I am posting a few shots salvaged from a friendly “reportage” we did with a group of friends last week for The Social Kitchen at Orchard YMCA, in Singapore.

The Social Kitchen, is the Cafe located on 4th floor of the YMCA. It is a social enterprise that provides employment to disadvantaged individuals. The intention was to give them a few pictures to put on their website.

I must say I did not perform very well, and I am bit ashamed of it. I pleased myself in my choice of gear, but the result is not really usable by our friends at Social Kitchen. Luckily some more conscientious photogs were there.

I brought the Leica M6 with Summilux 50 v2 loaded with Ilford Delta 400. Above are the shots processed in Caffenol, my eights roll and the worst so far I must say. Very nice opportunity to shoot in a kitchen, but also quite difficult as the place is small and was packed with 3 staff and 4 photogs.

I also carried the Hasselblad 500CM loaded with Cinestill 500. There are only 3 “good” shots on 12, I don’t use the blad so often these days, so I mixed up mix and max aperture, and the first 6 shots were blank. The Cinestill roll was shot at ISO640 as usual, and all shots were done at 1/60 F2.8.

It’s nice to have fun, delivering good and usable pictures is another matter.

The Social Kitchen at Orchard YMCA

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

So after the Road Side vegetables market of Toa Payoh we are heading north to Senoko fishery port. There is wholesale fish market providing stock from local fish trawlers, in-shore vessels and fish farms as well as imported sources, and distributes to markets, supermarkets, food courts and restaurants across Singapore

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The market is located at 31 Attap Valley Road, Singapore 759908; east to Woodlands checkpoint. It is lucky hat one of my friends was driving otherwise it would have been  difficult to get there and back.

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Around midnight the market starts to be busy. Individuals come here for cheaper seafood particularly in this time coming up to Chinese new year.L1009668

But the market is also preparing orders for hawkers, wet markets and the restaurants of Singapore.

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The place is busy, the ground slippery, that’s a nice small adventure.

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You can find different products types, like crabs, prawns and fish from all types.

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Each company have its own delimited concrete square , with scales and a boss, noting down orders

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The work of others is always a nice show to behold.

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People are quite friendly, I did not really go asked not to take a picture, but the place is very busy so mind not standing in the way.

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Prawns or shrimps arriving and being thrown to the ground. They will be sorted manually later.

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Outside more fish is coming.

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Ice is a big business here.

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All shots Leica M262, Summilux 50mmv2

A night trip to Senoko fishery port

Singapore road side market

L1009624I was a bit surprised when I was invited by my friend KC Eng to a night outing starting in the a “road side wholesale market” in the center of Singapore.

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The market is located in Toa Payoh area which is in the central part of the city, it is open six days a week from around 11pm to 6.30am. It is closed on Sundays.

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From 11pm the stalls are set-up, the vegetables align of tarpaulin.

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… and customers start to gather

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This is supposedly a wholesale market, so you sea the hawkers sorting and preparing big packs of vegies, probably for smaller merchants.

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Sorting bhindies (or okra or lady-fingers) at the light of torch light.

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dreamy green leaves (Summilux wide open)

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More greens.

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Chives for our guide.

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For this challenging light, I picked up the Summilux 50mm V2, not the fasted lens to use, but the widest I own. Combined with Iso set to 2000 on the M262, I can shoot between 1/30 and 1/125.

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Some wide open shots are very soft and the dark areas can show some banding.

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and now its past midnight and time head to the Senoko fisheries port, but this is another story.

Singapore road side market

The year of the piggy

L1006363What took me so long to write the next post? Frankly no idea. I probably said that I have a few other projects, like running a half marathon in June and also keeping an eye on the counter of the bike so I beat my mileage of last year. Plus a couple of family,  friends and (yes) work related things adding up.

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Nonetheless I keep shooting, so here are the digital shots of the week end before Chinese new year. These are shots with the now familiar Leica M262 and the not so faithful Summilux 50mmv2.

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The Summilux is back focusing a bit but I think I manage to compensate for it now.

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Traditional CNY outing is in Chinatown, where you can find a lot of stall selling food.

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And  a lot of people hanging around, shopping or not.

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Amazing enough this year is the year of the Pig again, meaning I arrived  in Singapore 12 years ago and completed the cycle of the Chinese zodiac.L1006388L1006390L1006406L1006408L1006413L1006415L1006417L1006688L1006693

The 50mm is a bit tight sometimes as below; I must say I am a recent convert to the 35 focal length.

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Below one of the many murals in town inspired by local life as it was a few decades back.

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The year of the piggy

A first roll of Polypan F50

Uncles at play. The best shot of the roll.

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).

Nice special “glow” and shades or grey

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.

The girl in Wanzi.

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.

Music Head

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”.

Egg Business

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

At the crossing

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.

Edit with highlights “in line”

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Original version
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

Time off

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.

Some fools sell, some fools buy.

You can check the on the web;

 

Thanks for reading.

A first roll of Polypan F50

Warorot Market in Color

Toy stall

Same day different camera in Warorot Market in Chiang Mai, the Leica M262 and the Summilux 50mmv2.

Outside the market the watch repair stall

I do not have a lot to say since the last post of film pictures on the same subject, I think I still prefer the film shots. But the flexibility of the M262 in term of ISO is much appreciated. Can go high and low on demand, it looks so obvious, but not really for a film shooter.

It is also here that I realized the Summilux is seriously back focusing and that maybe I

should get a proper 50mm.

 

This family was rolling some kind of cigarettes.

Serious negotiation (above) about dry goods, looks like everybody was happy in the end.

The coffee shop around the corner, is quite busy and like all the upper section of the market has decent light.

This man is manually making some religious artifacts used as offerings in temples. Below one of the flower stalls doing offerings as well. There are many flower shops  there, some are doing offerings some looks to be casual flower shops.

Warorot Market in Color

Warorot Market – Chiang Mai – Thailand

Last holidays trip was in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. This is my second trip there and I love place. This is the second time I travel with a Leica kit both Film and Digital. I have two bodies a M6 and a M262, a 28 Summicron, a 35 Summaron F2.8, an old Summilux 50 v2 and an Elmarit 90F2.8.

2 Bodies, 4 lens that sounds a lot and actually I packed the big Crumpler 8 Mio dollar bag. It is a bit over-sized, but then I have room for papers, wallet, reading and sun glasses and on the flight I can pack in a book, you can probably pack a tablet as well. I am proud I resisted the urge to buy a new bag.

I shot 4 rolls of film and a few hundred (but less than 1K) digital frames; this first set was done inside the Warorot market with the M6 and mainly the Summilux; film is the Kodak TMY 400.

I like the TMY400 for its low grain and slightly lower contrast that the Tri-x. I think all in all these shots turn out to be quite pleasant.

The Summilux is suffering from back focusing on the M262 but that does not show at all on the film shots.

People in the market are quite friendly, actually it is quite a touristic spot so the view of a tourist with a camera is not news.

I try to follow the advice of pro photographer Bobby Lee : let people know you are here, that you want to take a picture of them or their activity, but once they agree (or ignore you) don’t just snap and run away; as they don’t bother the least you can do is hang around until you have a good shot.

All scanned with the now antique Epson v500

 

Warorot Market – Chiang Mai – Thailand

A roll of Rollei RPX 25

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I had high hopes for my holidays in the alps, so I brought some slides and low speed B&W film, but alas, the weather was, how can I put it politely, not so great.

And over the week I did not took out the film body.

When I hit the french riviera I was still quiet excited, but I could not really convince myself that this was the time for shooting this last roll of Velvia.

Not your average glass

Anyway so I loaded the M6 with a roll of Rollei 25, I used a mix of 50 Summiilux V2, the 35 Summaron 2.8 and the newly acquired Summicron 28mm.

Needless to say I still find the M6 is a joy to use with any of these lenses.

In my ignorance, I though that a low speed film would be better used in bright daylight on a great sunny day. Actually this is a  very contrasty film and in bright light you end up with very high contrasts. You may like it or not, I am so so.

The Fig Tree

In subdued light like on the next picture taken on the beach on a cloudy day, the grays are nicer.

On a practical point of view, the film is very flat when coming back from the lab so it’s fairly easy to scan.

The Fig Tree

There is a very thorough review of this film (and many more) here:

http://photo-analogue.blogspot.sg/2014/03/rollei-rpx-25.html

Clearly it is a bit childish to play with these “special” films and bring them to a commercial lab. It looks like their “specialness” need to be handled with care when processing the film, and the character can be managed one way or the other.

Note that I did not use any filters for these pictures

A roll of Rollei RPX 25

The year of shooting with Leica(s) – Part 1

 

I bought my first Leica in 2009; it was a very nice M4 paired with a Summilux 50mm version2; both from 1967 as close as I could to by date of birth (I was a bit worried at the time about getting involved in the double stroke or single stroke on the M3).  In 2009 I was already back into film for 2 years, I was lusting for a Leica. After much considerations I splurged the equivalent of 2500 USD on the above combo.

M4

If was not love at first sight with the Leica. First I was back to the shop (actually another) to invest in a light meter (Sekonic 380s). Then I brought it in  couple of trips, but with mixed feelings.

Japan 2010

I enjoyed using the little fellow, but really the results were no all great and also I have a trouble bringing the Leica on travel : I though the 35mm was redundant with my DSLR; at least in term of format.

The following years I bought a few other film cameras and got distracted, so indeed the love story with the M4 was not going the right way.

In 2013 I invested in a small LeicaIIIc and a Summitar 50mmF2; this fellow had a couple of problems, but I quite liked it for shooting around.
The Leica IIIc

I got a couple on third party lens in various stage of in-usability to pair him with (a back focusing Jupiter 35mm, a non-focusing Canon 135F4, not mentioning  the Industar of the Zorki 1) , but all in all we had good fun. Around this time I also invested in a 21mmF4 Color Skopar, that I always found difficult to use. And I made my first Leica trip only to Taiwan.

LeicaIIIc Taiwan 2013

Leica M4 Taiwan 2013

Last year finally when Lee Kwan Yew passed away I shot a lot of the funerals with the M4 and my interest was aroused again by the Leica M, so finally for a similar amount of the M4 kit, I bought a minty M6 Classic (Back) and a Summaron 35mmF2 (The version with the goggles).

And so started the year of shooting with Leica(s) (to be followed)

The year of shooting with Leica(s) – Part 1