A tour around Taipei

I am cleaning a bit of my backlog, and found on my work-space some remaining pictures of our Taiwan trip back in Feb/March.

The only day we decided to take a tour with our friendly guide was also the only rainy day of the trip so it ends up being a no so great experience.

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We took off from our hotel in Daan and headed to the North West, to visit what I believe is the Wufeng Lin Family Mansion and Garden. A historical house and garden from a rich Taiwanese family.

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This is a very nicely preserved house, a quite interesting visit, not a good as the Lin Family mansion in Banqiao  district but still a nice thing to see.

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We then drove down to see the change of the guard at the National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine, but we arrived too late, and the rain started. Continuing further west we stopped in Beitou, a suburb of Taipei known for its hot springs

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The place made its living through mining and hospitality, including bath and spas.

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There is a very nice museum is an old bath house, including the beautiful pool below.

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At this point we headed along the Tamsui River to the fisherman’s wharf for lunch. We did not find anything much exciting, had a sandwich and then a long walk, without rain, before finding our car again.

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The last stop was Tamsui old street, that we reached after visiting the interesting Fort San Domingo, showing an interesting display of the colonial times. By then the weather started to be very.

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We nevertheless spent a good hour walking along the Tamsui River and through the old street with a stop at the beautiful Longshan temple, above and below.

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Finally, after a nice Taiwan beer in a dry place, we happily headed back to the city and our hotel ( probably the rain stopped along the way ).

All shots Leica M262, Summicron 28/50/35, it was another day where the weather was not enticing to pull out the M6 and play with two cameras.

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A tour around Taipei

A rainy afternoon at Barbican Estate – London

L1008013One of the thinks I wanted to visit during my last trip to London was Barbican Center.

The estate is an example of Britsh Brutalist architecture built between the 1960s in an area once devastated by World War II bombings. Opened in 1969 and is now home to around 4,000 people living in 2,014  apartments. The residential estate consists of three tower blocks and 13 terrace blocks. You can read more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbican_Estate

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I cant remember having been there in my many trips to London when I was younger, I probably spent most of my time around Camden, Soho and Portobello road.

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I finally reached the place on a rainy afternoon ; weather and timing were no really photography friendly. I did not take any film shots and I think I only used the 35 and 35 summicrons. I regret not having pulled out the M6 loaded with Tri-x from the bag, but it was really feeling cold and wet at the time

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The place is really majestuous in its own way, it has been shot many times and its probably great for on location shots. The brutalist style is characterized by the usage of concrete on the outside parts of the buildings.

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There are a lot of different constructions, passages and angles which can provide a great variety of subjects.

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How to get there? Easy : Barbican is an underground stop on the Circle line, Hammersmith & City line and Metropolitan line.

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A lot of details of the architecture and decoration are surely work a look as the lift lobby above (where does this flare come from?)

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There are plenty of resources online about the estate, even some BBC programs about life in the estate.

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All shots taken with Leica M262 and summicrons 28mm Asph v1 and 35mm Asph v2

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A rainy afternoon at Barbican Estate – London

Taoist ceremony in Dihua old street – Taipei – Taiwan

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I was very lucky last march in Taipei to stumble upon this Taoist ceremony while visiting the Dihua street area with my family and local friends.

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I must admit my ignorance of Taoism, so I will not comment much here. Teh following blog post contains quite interesting information on Taoism in Singapore :

http://weecheng.com/singapore/9eg/index.htm

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Various groups are parading their idols or images of gods around the area of Taipei Xiahai City God Temple.

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Most of the groups as below have musicians, Taoism is noisy and colorful, I learned this a long time ago when I arrived in Singapore.

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This group has gods puppets dance in front of the temple.

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Another group was composed of young people dressed as what looks lie warriors.

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This group traditionally rock the sedan chair when the image of the god is carried, portraying their struggle with the superhuman force possessing the chair once the god has come to posses its image.

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Taipei Xiahai City God Temple

All shots with Leica M262 and Summicron 50v4 or 35Asphv2

 

Taoist ceremony in Dihua old street – Taipei – Taiwan

London on Film

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I spent a week in London recently with my family and brought the usual travel kit (Leica M, M262 and the Summicrons 28mm Asp, 35 Asph v2 and 50mmv5), I brought a nice set of films but in the end I did not shoot much, only a roll of TriX and half a roll of Portra  400. And on digital as we are here I took a mere 300 shots.

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Looking at the TriX shots I am quite pleased; as usually they have been dropped for processing at Ruby photo in Singapore and scanned at home ; but when I was there I was a bit puzzled about what or who to shoot.

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On one hand I am so used to travel in Asia that I am a bit lost in European cities, I am not sure about people reactions to the camera (I like candid shots), but also I think the whole way the big city works need so getting used to. So a bit of frustration. Maybe also my expectations were a bit too high, who knows.

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London as changed a lot since I was last there 14 years ago. The south bank area is so lively now, also packed with tourists and street performers.

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Asian tourists selfy-ing themselves are everywhere, but that’s the same all over the planet. Here at the Borough Market, a place that I never saw before, this is definitely a good area to shoot.

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There are many food stalls there.

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Some attractions on South Bank are using old lorries that are worth a shot imo. I only realized today that the London eye was reflecting on the bonnet of the lorry, I would have framed it better if I have known.

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A morning stroll in SOHO, is also a nice opportunity for people shooting.2019-22-M6-15-22

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Or just window shopping.2019-22-M6-15-27

In the places I never visited before was Ealing Broadway, home of the Ealing Studios who produce(s/d) cinema and television shows.

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Finally another happy discovery was Old Spitalfields Market that I visited the day of the vintage records market.

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A couple more Portra shots below:

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London on Film

Not shooting much in Naoshima

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Kusama Iconic Pumpkin in Naoshima

Naoshima is an island town in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea, it has been a long time project to go there, as it hosts several arts museum built by Tadao Ando as well as a famous hotel made by the same architect.

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This year we finally made the trip to Osaka and on the way to Hiroshima we stopped at Naoshima. Getting there seems difficult at first, but in the end it is quite easy, you take the train either to Takamatsu or to Tamano and ferry to the island.

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The Benese house hotel is full 6 months in advance so we had no chance to stay there. We then decided to sleep in Takamatsu and take a ferry for a day trip in Naoshima. Takamatsu is a secondary town, with a big hotel “JR Clement” (a bit expensive for what you get) and a few restaurants where you can manage in english. It also hosts the garden-museum of Isam Nogushi which is well worth the visit.

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A day is Naoshima is probably enough, the Chichu museum hosts some art pieces made to measure and the Benese house museum has an awesome collection of modern and contemporary art. The Lee Ufan museum is also worth the visit, although less well know if you are not into minimalist art. We took a bus to the Chichu Museum with is the furthest palace from the ferry and walked our way back from there.

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The subtle architecture of Tadao Ando is beautiful and invite to meditation. All the buildings are no photo, so you will see here no photos of the them. And I must say I did not miss being surrounded by people taking selfies, not that the place is packed though.

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The rest of the island contains minor exhibitions in some traditional houses and some outdoors installations.

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We spent a nicely filled 10 hours there and probably enjoyed most of it. Time to take the ferry back to Takamatsu

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Pictures shot with Leica M262 and Summicron 28/35 or 50.

Not shooting much in Naoshima

By the sea in Thailand with the Leica M6

I always found the mix of photography and beach repulsive, the salty breeze, the sand that gets everywhere, hands oily with sunscreen, splashes and the odds of falling into the water,… so much things happening that you don;t want a camera, let alone your precious Leica mixed into.

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Well I must say I am a bit fantasizing here, as an adult the experience of the beach is not necessarily the one I had when I grew up along the shore of the french riviera. A stroll along the water not involving leaving the camera on a beach towel or in a bag in the sun is now more common that is use to be, and if it is a day I intend to go for  dip, I generally take a lesser camera (read MEDIUM FORMAT ON THE BEACH : “LE CABANON DE LA PLAGE” AND MORE)

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The sea side always offer a special quality of light, that works particularly well in black and white.  2018-51-M6-21-05

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All shots with Leica M6 on Kodak TMAX400 (The shop ran out of TriX), the first three were taken with the Summicron 50 v5, the rest with the Summicron 28mm Asph v1. Shooting at 400 on this very bright morning means the lenses are completely stopped down and the shutter speed at 1/500s or 1/1000s, which may not be idea technically. My favorite film the TMAX100 would surely have been better, but…

As I am here, on the same roll of film were also some street shots taken in Bangkok on the say back from Hua Hin.

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A young film photog with his Olympus pen, he also shoots medium format.

Below are four shots of the food hawkers around our hotel near Lumpini park.

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A friendly and muscular worker along the Chao Phraya river near the Grand Palace2018-51-M6-21-32

Finally below are two shots of worshipers inside the Grand Palace i think.

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By the sea in Thailand with the Leica M6

Yes another roll of Cinestill 800T (35mm)

I shot the last of my Cinestill 800T 35mm rolls during the last holidays in Japan. This is the last roll from the batch I ordered from UK a few years back when it was first released. I must say that I am quite satisfied with this one.

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The roll was kept a couple of years in the fridge but had also traveled by plane in many occasions, because it is not so easy to make up your mind to shoot a 18$ roll of film rates at 800 Iso and specified for Tungsten light.

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The roll was shot with a Leica M6 camera and one my Summicron lenses, 35, 28 or 50mm.

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Based on my former experiences I rated the film at 640 ISO on the M6 ISO dial and off we go lets shoot happily.

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The first few shots are taken at night in the popular area of Dotombori in Osaka. Neon lights, restaurants and people, that works great for the 800T.

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When shooting at night the M6 meter, which does center averaged measure, will have a tendency to overexpose : your subject is bright surrounded by a lot of darkness, so the reading will tend to overexpose. I generally underexposed by a step of diaphragm or the next speed to get the balance right.

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On the next day we were off to Nara to visit its park and temples and the 800T was still not finished. The following shots were done without filter.

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The above shot has tints that reminds of Portra 400, so it is not that bad. I tried to shot as open as possible which explains the softness. The M6 speed is limited to 1/1000 second so shooting in daylight with a 640 ISO film does not always give you a lot of latitude in term of aperture.

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But shots taken in the shade allows a wider aperture and to play with out of focus.

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The next few shots are taken in restaurant in Takamatsu the main city in Kagawa prefecture.

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The south most part of our trip was Hiroshima where we visited the peace memorial.

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At this point I played it old school and rewind the film which was about 28 shots and store it aside. I loaded a roll of Rollei CR200 slide film and when back in Osaka, I loaded the Cinetsill back again, put the cap, turn the aperture rint to on F22, set the speed to 1/1000 and fires 29 shots to find more or less the point where I was last and use my last 8 frames below:

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Yes another roll of Cinestill 800T (35mm)