Sunday was a beautiful day, to march, dance and discuss.
Good opportunity to take a camera out, and make a bit of advertisement for the cause of fighting climate change.
So well there I went armed with the Leica M4 and the 50mm Cron, loaded with a roll of Kodak TMY400. I also use the handheld meter (Sekonic 380x) rather than the hot shoe one.
.. are not yes instinct, and happy to pause for a snap.
The lady on the left photobombed the shot with her banner, I am not sure what is exactly her specificity. I feel that sometimes even if I agree with the big picture of the movement I may not find myself in one specific chapel, but ok I am here lets go with the flow.
There is no Planet B, encore !
I hope you enjoys the pics, and until proven otherwise lest assume there is no Planet B.
As most of the planet knows 6th of May 2023 was the coronation of King Charles III of Britain. Being in London it was another good occasion to go out and burn some film.
That was a particularly wet Saturday even for London, so I had a bit of hesitation on the weapon of choice.
I finally settled for the infamous duo : the Leica M6 for film, the Leica M262 for digital. This is the roll of Kodak TMY400 shot on the M6 with the 50mm v5 Summicron.
I did not want to carry too much gear, so I just put the 35mm Asphv2 on the M262 and put the Elmarit 90mmF2.8 in my Wotancraft bag (I cannot remember the model), which usually makes a pretty good job keeping the gear dry in wet weather.
The first set of pictures was shot in Hyde Park after a cumbersome walk around Hyde Park Corner then nearly up to Exhibition road where the park could be entered.
We hang around the giant screens with my friend L. an avid Sony shooter.
Cool crowd, good but not outrageous quantity of drinks ( well ok that was 10h30 am), a bit of silliness and dressing up in a festive mood.
Most everybody was happy to be snapped.
My roll ended up a bit dark, but what do you expect with such a weather.
Finding the exit of the park was just as complicated as getting in but we head out, looking for greener pastures. Through Mayfair and Regents street we made our way to the “Little Republic of Trafalgar Square” where Republicans were demonstrating their opinions on the affair of the day.
Also in good and cheerful atmosphere.
I swapped the lens for the Voigtander 21mmF4, time for a horizontal et a vertical snaps.
These pictures are a bit less descriptive but quite dynamic.
Finally a last supporter of the the King met on the way back, in full attire.
A bit later it was time for the maintenance team to regroup and head back home.
As the proverb says “errare humanum est perseverare diabolicum“, so here my second post with the second roll shot in Paris ( in the spring) with the Leica IIIC and its curtain problem
Of course I did no knew at the time that the infamous back curtain was lazy and that my pictures would be overexposed on the left and underexposed on the right.
I was so happy shooting away because as per my last post ( 2023 ROLL#04 – PARIS IN THE SPRING ) Paris and Leica III make for happy shooting. Particularly when a jazz band is playing at the foot of a giant Kuzama painting in the sky ( courtesy of LVMH advertising) .
We made a particularly long walk that day from the Seine to the Canal Saint Martin, aiming to reach la Villette ( we stopped before and turned back, that was already a 10 km plus walk).
When I lived in Paris, I rarely ventures in this area, I probably did not set foot there in 20 years. For the cinema aficionados along the canal is the famous “Hotel Du Nord” from eponymous movie by Marcel Carné with Arletty.
The canal seems to have become a fashionable leisure area where the young and the less young go for a stroll, a ciggie or a drink on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Particularly if the sun is out.
.. playing pétanque, reading, lounging, studying, making music, drinking again, sunbathing, all typeof activities seems to fit along this calm water piece.
Our road ended at the “base nautique de la Villette”, visiting the park of la Vilette will be for another time.
Next day was the last day in Paris, time for a couple of snaps like the creperie above of the other jazz band below.
Ok I did not emphasize too much but the all the shots show signs of the curtain problem, at various level, depending on the speed of the shutter. I played a bit with Lightroom trying to balance highlights and underexposed areas, but I think as the scanner was fooled by the problem, there is just that much I can do. I think I can try to rescan some shots twice and blend… not sure there as any worthy of such work, maybe the next one…
Back in London I still had a few shots in the roll. I changed the lens for the Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mmF4 and shoot away on a Saturday stroll. The mounted police above is quite nice, very dynamic, the 21 has some charm.
This roll was shot on Kodak Tri-X (ROll 04 was TMY 400).
So the Leica IIIC went to Aperture UK for a CLA and they called me after a little more than a week to announce it was ready. I went to collect it yesterday and put a roll on it so I am checking that its definitely ok. The CLA cost 240 GBP, already the cleaning of the rangefinder is awesome, even if the window is small, it is super bright, focusing is a bliss. It looks like I have anew curtain also.
Is it worth it? Well how long is a piece of string? The gentleman from the shop told me a IIIC is about 250 GBP, so I could buy a new non CLA’d one instead of fixing mine : that’s an easy answer. Now on the other hand this starts to be an expensive camera. I bought it for about 200£ 10 years ago, had an initial service of about 200£ and now an 240, that’s a 640£ body. On the plus side its newly CLA’d, is in good condition. I shot something north of 40 rolls over 10 years, you can try to make some maths see how much vintage shooting costs.
“Are you feeling lucky punk?”, the famous line of Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry was probably a warning. How lucky was I feeling picking up the Leica IIIc for a week end in Paris?
I had not used my oldest Leica for a good year, so it was time for a walk outside the cupboard. I attached the Elmar 50mm3.5 and took a couple of rolls of Kodak film. One TMY 400 (this one), one Tri-X (the next one).
I also packed the Sekonik 308x light meter, as I cannot guesstimate and I found it easier to use than the flash shoe one I use from time to time.
The IIIC is charm to use, and shooting with it you really feel lucky (I do). The Elmar itself is another story, the aperture setting at the front of the lens is not very user friendly, and it puts me in a mode where I set my speed and aperture only every few shots.
So far so good, and I can add, probably for the 10th time, that the camera is quiet small and funky so it is quite appropriate for street photography ( I don’t like the term cause I am a bit snobbish, but that’s what I kind of do).
So where does it go wrong? As usual with film photography it goes wrong when you get home, wait a week for the lab to process your film and you discover that the film has not turned out quiet as expected.
With some reframing and photoshopping I managed to minimized it, but on that beautiful week-end where most of the shots were done at high speed ( for the IIIC that means 1/100, 2/100 or 1/500, I never trust the 1/1000) the left of the pictures is constantly overexposed and the right underexposed.
It is more noticeable in the scenes which are brightly lit, like those at the market, not at all in the one below shot in dim light. This is due in my experience to the back curtain being lazy.
The two pictures above were actually shot in landscape and resized, as half the frame is black.
So what happens next? Well first thing I shot a second roll because I did not knew, and you will see it in a couple of days.
Then last week I brought the camera to Aperture UK in London to have it serviced. For the second time this little fellow will cost me more than I paid for it in the first place (230 USD back in 2013). Ok I realised that this is 10 years back! I can’t believe it. I think I shot about 35 rolls with it, so we’ll probably say that each roll cost me 20$ of camera usage, not counting the lenses. Film is definitely not cheap.
I hope you enjoyed the reading, be patient, next roll is coming
Well actually this roll was shot between mid December and the first week of January. It travelled around a bit as it started from London (Spitalfields market on the first three shots)
Then came Xmas holidays and a trip to see the family in Cannes on the French Riviera, and the long awaited trip to Lapland (Guess which shot). I will try to talk about my (limited ) experience shooting in Lapland but maybe another time.
We were back from Lapland in Paris the 1st of Jan
Then finally back in London (one have to work)
Then back to Cannes and Nice again.
and finally back to London where I have to go to Brick lane to drop this roll.
Ok so these two months were not very good for my carbon footprint and I feel a bit ashamed, although some of the trips were done by train. This also mean this roll of Kodak TMY-400 travelled quite a bit and went through at least 6 scans, and is still faring pretty well. I still have a TMZ 3200 that I bought for Lapland and did not shot, so it will also have a bit of mileage and it will be interesting to see how it turns out.
All shots were done with a Leica M6 classic and a Summicron50mm v5 or 35mmAsph v2.
It has been super long since I last posed anything so here is my first post of 2023, even though these are pics of 2022. These are picture of the Italian Market that happens once a month, the first week end of the month, in Cagnes sur mer, near Nice, on the French Riviera.
Very colourful, even in black and white. Excellent cold cuts and cheese, pretty good value for money.
Genuine food sellers coming from nearby italy.
Shots were done with Leica M262+Summicron 50 and Leica M6 with Summicron 35mm Asph v2 on Kodak TMY (400Iso)
Another long post, but I don’t fill like splitting this story up, hey that’s my third post about Thaipusam this year.
On arriving at Farrer park MRT, we met our first Kavadi bearer.
And then more devotees waiting for the traffic light.
The little devotees
Then when moving inside the temple the devotees are assembling the Kavadis
or prepare their offerings
While others use their phones to snap their friends.
Pictures above are taken Ilford HP5 shot at box speed, I used not to be a big fan of this film, but actually I am very satisfied with these results. The pictures after are done with the Kodak TMY 400, not exactly my usual Tri-X, but i generally quite like it.
Actually I don’t see any difference, so I may shoot more of the cheaper HP5 going forward.
Still osculating but looking more steady.
All shots with Leica M6 Classic and most of them with the Summicron 35mm F2 AsphvII (the last version), processed at the usual lab (well dropped at Ruby and they get the usual guy do the work) and scanned at home with the Epson v800.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The basement of the main building above contains the tombs of some saints where people come to make offerings.
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.
We tasted the sweets and pack-up after a little while and finally made it to Chandigarh.
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.
For the last post of the year, I will show you pictures of a small walk I did at Dakota Crescent estate in Singapore.
Like Rochor Centre, Dakota is supposed to be demolished at the end of this year (so pretty soon). The estate belongs to the public housing administration (HDB), it was built in 1959 during the British area.
The blocks have some interesting feature, some inherited form modernist lines. The most well known feature is the “dove” play ground.
The estate is made of 17 blocks, some high rise, some lower rise, located closed between Old Airport Road and the Kaland river. Old airport road s the road that was leading to the airport that was used prior to the opening of Changi in the 1990’s I think.
As this time the buildings are more or less empty, ready to leave way for a new development (I ignore which). There will be more pictures of Dakota as I went there again last week. But that will be for 2017.
Color shots done with Leica M262 and Summaron 35mmF2.8; Back and white with leica M4 with Voightlander Color Skopar 21mmF4 or Summitar 50mmF2 on odak TMY 400 film.