A very quick post of shots done earlier this month on an expired roll of Kodak Portra 400 with the Leica M6 and the Summicron 35mm Asph v2.
The roll was processed and scanned at Whampoa Photo. I find the scanning job they do of equal quality (or better) than what I do myself, so no point wasting time. The first set above was done around Marina Bay, over a couple of different week ends, one being just before Halloween.
Second section comprise photos of Little India around Deepavali celebration and the first shot was in Chinatown during a meet up with fellow film photographers.
Third section contains some shot shots fort Siloso in Sentosa, and a couple of random shots from a walk around Newton.
Finally a shot of fellow film photographer from Japan who has been around in Singapore for quite a few years and always carry his two pristine Nikons F2. He will go home soon for good, so farewell.
This was roll number 42 of the year, and the 11th with the M6, I hop eyou enjoyed the ride.
The National Aerated Water Co Pte Ltd was the actual goal of my walk. I went there with public transport and walk my way back home via Marina Bay. The old factory is going to be part of a new development, but almost two years after my last visit this is still a work in progress.
This is the first time I pass by the Geylang Bahru industrial estate. It looks like a promising area, with small workshops, like here a Rattan Basket factory.
Heading down into town towards Boon Keng MRT, is a very lively areas
I am nearly a full time barista because this is another roll processed in Caffenol. As the Agfa one it turned out very fine with the new Vitamin C. This is a roll of Ilford Delta 400 by the way.
The roll was shot with the Elmar 50 mm F3.5 on the Leica M4.
I took a close up on this little paper flag used for prayers or offerings and I am very pleased on the sharpness and overall rendering.
Opposite Jalan Besar stadium are a few workshops creating tarpaulins. I made many shots over the years but this is one off the best.
I am not sure if we are officially in the rainy season but we are definitely heading for it. After a very wet bike ride Saturday morning, I joined some fellow photographers last Sunday. What started as a very cloudy morning ended being very wet as well.
I went armed with the Leica IIIc now paired with the Elmar 50mmF3.5, and as it was rainy I loaded a roll of Shanghai GP3 400. This is supposed to be a new film, I could not find much information on the web.
We spend quite a while at the Kopitiam close to Circular road waiting for the rain to stop
Finally we set out as the rain stopped and walked around the area.
If you read so far and wonder what happened to the pictures, I will inform you that I am currently in a Caffenol frenzy and my process is currently not working so well after some initial success.
My last roll was a disaster (you can read here ), this one is quite close, I have made steps to improve my process thought:
I have invested in a changing bag
I bought some proper fixer (the images on this post are relatively clean)
I learned to bleach my spirals to help loading the film ( it is a breeze now)
I realized that my recipe was for 1 liter but my bottle was 0.75 so I reduced the doses of chemicals
and I ordered some pure vitamin C to have a more predictable result (but I don’t have it yet)
So the result is crap, but I scan still make a post with it : yeah! Ok there is no information anywhere on this film, left alone about Caffenol processing. I processed 5’50” at 28 degrees. As it’s over cooked I reduce by one minute this morning for my film of this week and … its not developed at all. I am a bit clueless.
As usual there is no lesson, lets do better next time. Maybe go back to 100 ISO films. Or start cooling the developer.
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.
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.
Despite its back focusing issues, it performs quite well.
… enough to capture the event of the week : the re-opening of hair dressers.
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.
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.
Yes I managed to shoot a human, that was a while since last one.
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.
The area is now locked as you can see. I hope you get the feeling
Finally a shot of Potato Head, in a very quiet Keong Siak Road as night was falling down,
The soft lock down was extended two weeks ago until 1st of June, so all in all that will be 8 week of lock-down.
Conditions are a bit more strict, but all in all I cannot complain. I can work from home, we have plenty of hardware here so we don’t fight over PCs, and we can within reason go out if we wear a mask.
We are allowed to go out for shopping in the neighborhood or for exercise, which is flexible enough and can be used without abuse. We generally walk an hour at the end of the afternoon, go for our food shopping and go home.
The photographic practice is a collateral victim of the lock-down, I am quite busy with work, so I have no leisure to (re) invent a “shoot at home” activity, and while going out, there is not so much happening and we always roam the same aeras.
I have stopped shooting film after the first week : I do not process at home so there is no incentive until the labs open again. I am carrying the Leica M262 Body (Coming to its 4th birthday soon) and some vintage lenses : the Summaron 35mmF3.5 ltm on the first two shots and the Summitar 50mmF2 for the others.
The Summitar is back focusing a bit, but its quite easy to adjust after a couple of shots. Wide open it gets this “swirly” Bokeh, which is funny.
The colors for both lenses are quite nice, but unfortunately the weather is also pretty nasty, it generally rains lightly when I can go out.
What to shoot to show the emptiness and halted activities? Not much really. Although activity is very quiet and the traffic is noticeably smaller, it is rare to be able to picture a usually busy street that is empty.
But surely there are a lot of signs like the public areas where seats are blocked as above.
Or below, bar areas who are wrapped away.
Empty parking places in the city center are definitely a sign that something is going on.
Hairdressers which were ordered to close two week ago, will now reopen before the rest of the businesses.
Finally when reaching the river on the way back home today, there was a very nice light on the buildings of the city center.
Yeah, we made it through another week. I my case work from home means being super busy, so I just have the time to go out shopping for food everyday and take a bit of fresh air and exercise a bit, generally I walk 3 to 6 km. Only today, Sunday, did I found the courage and energy to go fur a quick ride.
So this week I did not had much time for photography, Friday I did not even stepped out of the house. Saturday we had a long walk (for food) and I brought the camera along, under the disapproving eyes of the family.
Clark Quay was our first stop and a funny (funny as in strange, no as in Ha Ha) sight, no bars, no boose, no tourists, no waitresses : just joggers and cyclists.
Some pics do not work : I found the juxtaposition of Ice Cream and temperature check funny (funny ha ha) , but that is unreadable.
Who remembers that the author of “Into Darkness” was once a sailor heading to Singapore?
On Raffles place the sound of advertisements is still playing full blast for no crowd, except maybe this uncle.
The Providore is open as most food businesses trying to take their chance with take away food.
Through Telok Ayer and Club Street we head to Maxell and then to Kon Siak road.
Above the picture that works.
Finally a real street shot from Orchard road today!
All pictures taken with the Leica M262 and the Summaron 35mmF3.5 LTM.
This is a follow up of my first write up YOU CAN’T HURRY LOVE (ABOUT THE VC COLOR SKOPAR 21MM F4) For those who don’t feel like digging back in the archives (pitty, there are a couple of nice shots there and probably my best piece of text in a while), this is about picking the Voigtlander Cosina Color Skopar 21mmF4 back from the dry box and putting it back to work.
Very quickly, the 21mm had two terrible defects for me: the color fringing in digital and the difficulty to frame in general. I decided in June to invest into a proper viewfinder to try to overcome the second issue : I picked a 21-25 VC metal finder.
The viewfinder did a really good job, it very bright and accurate, well built and on top of it it is super sexy (I have to post pictures of the Leica IIIc with it).
All pictures here are from a single roll of Kodak Portra 400 shot with Leica M4 and VC Color Skopar 21mm F4 with the now famous 21-25 VC metal finder. Even vertical framing is accurate now.
Horizontal framing works as well. As I am a slow shooter these were probably taken over a few week ends in different areas of central Singapore.
To shoot portraits the 21mm requires you to get very close to your subject, and still you will get some distracting details in your frame. Also you may get funky perspectives even if you frame correctly your subject (thanks to the perfect new viewfinder)
When yout wan to put a lot in the frame as the Tan Boon Liat Building, actually it goes in. Colors with the Portra are quite rich, and vignetting is limited.
Or when you are close to buildings and want to put them in the frame as above, this is a great ultra wide angle.
I did not do many “street” shots on this roll, but the 21 gives an amazing dynamics to the shots like above.
I was very convinced by these first 2 or 3 rolls, and this has slightly changed my photographic practice recently. I use the M262 and M6 with the summicrons for holidays or events, the M4 and IIIc with older lenses for fun( or street, or burning film name it as you want) and recently the 21 is glued to them.
So expect more posts like this one, but as you know that I found love with the VC21 again, so i will have to find out new titles.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The M6 is great for focusing in the night, even with my ageing eyes, also the metering is quite ok.
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.
Processing was done by the usual lab and scanning at home with the Epson v800 , scanning is easy.
I like the grain, which is quite limited and pleasant imo (but my wife does not).
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.
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.
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.
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.
The void desk is a classical feature of the HDB blocks, an open area for inhabitants to congregate and do activities.
Our friend Long Siew Leng aka Jumping girl.
Pictures 1 and 2 : Hasselblad 500cm+80mmF2.8, Rollei CR 200 slide film