Bye Bye Dakota

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For the last post of the year, I will show you pictures of a small walk I did at Dakota Crescent estate in Singapore.

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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.

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The blocks have some interesting feature, some inherited form modernist lines. The most well known feature is the “dove” play ground.

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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.

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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.

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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.flickr-013flickr-014flickr-019flickr-026flickr-027flickr-028flickr-030flickr-031flickr-1003444flickr-1003463flickr-1003489flickr-1003484flickr-1003486flickr-1003488flickr-1003493flickr-1003500flickr-1003491

 

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Bye Bye Dakota

Singapore Photo Walk – March 2016 – Rochor Center

Rochor Center classic view

I joined Bernard Goh’s Singapore Photo Walk outing of March with my son.

Rochor Centre is group of buildings built by the Housing and Development Board of Singapore. It was built and completed in 1977 and consists of 4 blocks painted in vivid colors yellow, green, red and blue.

Rochor Center classic view

This is an iconic building in the east side on Singapore center that can be seen by tourists going to Arab Street or Little India.

The buildings comprise habitations, shops and hawkers ( food stalls). On the ground floor you still can find some religious artefacts.
Rochor Center classic view

Rochor Center classic view

The center has started closing as later this year it will be torn down to give way to a motorway joining the north to the south of the island. A lot of the shops have already relocated, but some are still open. The habitations seems to still be occupied if I can judge by the drying laundry.

Rochor Center classic view

The void desk is a classical feature of the HDB blocks, an open area for inhabitants to congregate and do activities.

Rochor Center classic view

Rochor Center classic view

Our friend Long Siew Leng aka Jumping girl.

Pictures 1 and 2 : Hasselblad 500cm+80mmF2.8, Rollei CR 200 slide film

Pictures 3,4,and 5 : Leica M6, summaron 28mm2.8, Kodak Portra 400

Pictures 6 : Hasselblad 500cm+80mmF2.8, Rollei RPX 100 film

 

Singapore Photo Walk – March 2016 – Rochor Center

Singapore Photo Walk – Jan 2015 – Pulau Ubin (2 on 2)

So the slides are back from the lab finally. This is only the second roll of Digibase 200ISO, this time with the Leica M4 and the Summilux 50mm F1.4.

I like the results a bit more than the first roll. Some of the shots really have this vintage look and feel.

Bumboat driver waiting on Changi village quay.

One of the bumboats doing the crossing to Pulau Ubin.

Arriving at Pulau Ubin

The three next shots are from the Wei Tuo Fa Gong Temple

It really feels like being on holidays in Thailand or Cambodiia.

Inside shot with subdued light.

Pulau Ubin is very green

Back at the quay there is always an uncle waiting to make the crossing.

I quite like the following shot of our driver:

Singapore Photo Walk – Jan 2015 – Pulau Ubin (2 on 2)

Fire Walking Ceremony – Sri Mariamman Temple – Singapore

Fire walking is a South 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.

This is the first time I can go to this ceremony. Total respect for the amount of faith, the sense of community and probably the amount of pain going on there.

The devotees arrive from Little India, a couple of km away in groups, some chanting, some with music, some singing and dancing.

They then arrive a few hundred meters from the Sri Maramiam temple and wait in a staging area.  All of this is very well organized; groups are allowed to pass from one area to the next by the organizers in order to organized the crowed. Some devotees told me they were expecting 5000 people.

I have seem this man many times in Thaipusam in the past years, seeing these people years after years in the viewfinder is one of the attractions I find in photographing these events.

I asked one of the Hindu man in the public how do the devotees group themselves; he told me they are friends and make a kind of team that make each of them stronger and helps them going through the ritual. Like a sport team he told me, doing this on your own would be much more difficult.

I did not really thought I could enter the temple, but as I was close to the entrance, one of the organizer asked me if I wanted get inside. I removed my shoes and they even gave me a plastic bag to carry them and I was moved inside the temple. Actually there is a special track for visitors and a different one for devotees.

The track goes along the fire pit, and although we are asked not to stay there too long I could witness two men doing the ritual.

This one above, was walking very casually (so to speak).

This one was more in running mode, you will notice the flower petals he through in the air before starting.

Walking out of the main temple area, people are waiting and resting and going through other stations, I must admit I am ignorant of what the whole pilgrimage consist of after the fire walking itself.

Outside people are resting.

The ground of the temple is covered in yellow power, probably not saffron more likely curcuma, clearly these feet have been walking through fire.

I saw a few times some ethnic Chinese Hindu in Singapore, here is one who was looking to be quite in pain,

I hope you enjoyed this post.

For my Hindu friends if you find a picture of yourself and you are not happy with that, let me know and I will remove it from this album, if you like them, let me know I’ll be enchanted. I am never sure if my schedule allowed but I would really enjoy meeting one of the groups and following you over an extended period of time to produce a photo-book of some sort.

Needless to say that these picture for my own interest in photography and the pleasure of sharing. They are a not for commercial use.

On a side note: I am a donkey sometime; when I pass at the temple on the afternoon I see this older gentleman of a photographer that I meet every year at Thaipusam. Not only did I not take his portrait but I did not ask for his contact. He carries a Nikon F5, if somebody knows him let me know.

Camera: Nikon D700
Lens: Nikkor 85mm F1.8D, only the first one is done with the 17-35F2.8AFS

Fire Walking Ceremony – Sri Mariamman Temple – Singapore

How the Leica III let me down on the green corridor

All was looking well when I was walking away from the Bukit Timah railway station, but the Leica had a surprise in stock. This time it is a white band on the right side of the frame. Posts suggest this is an issue with the curtain or with some light seal at the front of the camera where the slow speed dial is. Well I think I have to send the little fellow to be serviced sometime soon. Anyway here are a few more shots of the walk.

Bukit Timah railway station

Singapore is quite a compact city/country so even the green corridor is crossed by several roads, I should rather say highways, which make the walk a bit noisy, but nonetheless enjoyable.

Bridge over the green corridor

This is a typical colonial Black and White house, legacy of the british times; I cannot say for sure but I think this should not be far from Wessex Village,

A black and white house in the greenery

Interesting things can be seen along the corridor, a mosque, a temple or shrine, a mechanics where I used the drink selling machine, a couple of shacks like this one. and in some places old folks sitting in the shade with their belongings close, discussing among peers.

A shack along the road

This is the final sign: No it says. At te back you can see the cranes of the harbour.

No Trespassing

Camera; Leica IIIC

Lens: Industar 22, 50mmF3.5

Film: Kodak Tri-x

How the Leica III let me down on the green corridor

The green corridor – Singapore

It’s already a coupe of years back since the railway station in Tanjong Pagar was closed moved to Woodlands close to the Malaysian border. To give an idea to the reader with no knowledge on Singapore geography, Tanjong Pagar in in the south side of the island and the border is at the north. For the small story the station, the tracks and the land below were Malaysian property. So a couple of years back, the station (see here) was closed, the tracks removed (and returned to Malaysia) and an exchange of land and other compensation was done. So was born the green corridor, the former railway from the south of Singapore to the border of Malaysia.

Sometime on August, after a brunch at Rider’s Cafe and a drive along the border with my friend Oliver, I was dropped at the former Bukit Timah railway station (in the middle of the corridor) and walked 10 KM south until I reach a “No trespassing” sign before getting to the old station area. I carried the Hassie with 2 backs and the Leica III (That will be for next post).

 

The bridge over Upper Bukit Timah road
The bridge over Upper Bukit Timah road

The bridge across Bukit Timah road and the railway station are the most interesting items to see, there lay the last meters of track.

The bridge over Upper Bukit Timah road
The bridge over Upper Bukit Timah road

After (or before) this point the green corridor is a dirt track between trees; very green and very blue this day as well.

The green and blue corridor
The green and blue corridor

The city is never far however and you can never forget the constructions nor the noise of the traffic. Maybe going upwards to Malaysia is different, but going south to the sea you can;t forget Singapore is a dense and busy city.

Habitation blocks along the green corridor
Habitation blocks along the green corridor

 

Color shots done with Fuji slides, 100 ISO. All scanned with Epson v500, adjusted with Lightroom 3.6.

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Nuwara Eliya – Sri Lanka

The fish stall

I am still going through the pictures of Sri Lanka but at the same time rolls of films are pilling up (so to speak) in the hard drive, new cameras have arrives and lenses to try are expected and the  next trip is just around the corner with plans for the second half of the year in the making. I have told too much already, haven’t I? Well, ok, the new camera’s are a Kiev 4 with a 35mm and a 50mm Jupiter lenses and I already done two rolls with it, the other one I’m not supposed to use as it’s my present for the upcoming Bday, it’s a beautiful Leica IIIC, but I’m having a test roll at the moment just to check you know. Ok and the upcoming holidays are 5 days in Taiwan, I plan to shoot on  film only.

 

For those interested 1st of May will be the International Commie Camera Day 2013, take out your Zorki, Kiew, Praktika and more. Check here on flickrInternational Commie Camera Day 2013

 

Ok and now back to Sri Lanka.

 

Nuwara Eliya is a hill station as it used to be called, close to 1800m above sea level, the center of a region of tea plantation. The city itself is very touristy (by local standards) and did not seem to be so interesting, but the countryside and the plantations are worth the visit.

The road from Kandi is about 2 hours, steep and tortuous.

The Tea museum is worth the visit, stopping by one of the tea factories in activity for a commercial tour (and buying tea on the exit) is also worth the stop.

For those like me who like markets the  small food market in the center of town is also a valuable place to visit.

 

We stayed one night in the Langdale by Amaya, one of the boutique hotels on the other side of the city when coming from Kandy, something like 45 minutes drive. The hotel is built in a old tea estate and you can walk the plantations (if you have time). After Nuwara Eliya, we drive directly to Gallle (see next post), which took us the best of 6 hours, not the best day of the trip.

 

Nuwara Eliya – Sri Lanka