These two auspicious oranges offered during CNY period, here at the entrance of a restaurant in Clarke Quay. As often I make associations in my mind which are quite irrelevant, why think of Serguey Prokovief Opera The Love for Three Oranges where actually I just have two? Maybe the essence of photography : showing what’s not there.
I started this roll in Chinatown a while back, and as we were during CNY period, people came around the Buddha Tooth Relic temple to take selfies.
CNY is also about food, and the Bak Kwa (sliced barbequed port meat) shops are busy. There are queues outside some of the most famous who generally have sold all their goods by lunch time on week ends.
I was very happy / lucky a couple of weeks later when coming back to Chinatown I saw this group of youngsters dressing up in traditional Chinese costumes, for a fun photo shoot.
This is a roll of Rollei retro 80s, shot with the Leica M6 and the Summaron 35mmF3.5 ltm lens.
The film was processed in Caffenol CM recipe at 28 degrees for 5minutes. Some shots are great, but the ones with big dark areas like above are showing some marks in the dark parts. Fingers marks? Fogging ? Effect of the expired film? I don’t really know. The effect is even more noticeable below:
It is not super easy to shoot indoor with 100 ISO setting and a 3.5 lens. I quite like the result, regardless of the marks.
A big thank you to Louis Vuitton for this fashionistas playground giving opportunities for a few candid shots. Once again it was 7pm the light of the day was fading so the shots are taken at 1/60 or 1/40 and F3.5
A few random shots to finish
A pile of bar stools, the blacks and the contrast are really specific to the Rollei 80s, so I am happy this can be rendered in Caffenol.
Some sculpture in a back alley, I think it’s the entrance of a club or a bar.
A bit if tragedy to finish this is the place where 5 party goes met their fate when driving into coffee in the late night hours a couple of weeks back. You can still see the burned façade of the building. A few days (maybe 1 or two weeks) after the incidents, offerings were placed for the deceased.
So when I brought my last roll of Portra to the lab the uncle coaxed me into buying some Ektar 100, not wanting to look mean I bought not a roll but a box of 5 rolls. I must say this is a decent deal as it comes with five coupons of one dollar to be rebated of their processing. If I remember correctly this is 52 dollars for the 5 rolls and they do processing + super decent scanning at 11 dollars (Singapore Dollars).
I shot Ektar before, but mostly in 35mm, I must say it pays credit to the claim that it is the finest grain film. So I loaded the good old Hassie 500 CM with my first roll and hit the road to give it a try.
12 shots on a 120 roll is not much, but walking through overshot areas on a Sunday afternoon, it can be quite a challenge to finish a full roll.
We walked from home to Tiong Bahru, then headed to Chinatown. The Straight Clan is where the Majestic hotel used to be. I spent 5 weeks in this hotel in 2006 and have some interesting shots from the construction site period, when it was converted. Maybe I’ll share this some time.
We moved to the Buddha tooth relic temple where I notice the Buddhist flags which where not there last week ( you can check the post) and I though it was a nice opportunity for color sampling and smooth grain demonstration.
In Chinatown every year temporary stands selling goods for the occasion the Chinese New Year appear and disappear in a mater of a few weeks. Generally they close late on the eve of the New Year day. This year everybody was masked, there were less stands as the people coming from other countries could not enter Singapore. If you want to ne picky, the focus is on the cage bars, not the seller.
Exiting Chinatown, I took this shot of the Ox silk paper statue. This is not the best angle as it is quite busy with the traffic lights posts and cars. The best angle is diametrically opposite I think. But you can see here how nice and bright the colors are.
Nice mural on Substation, an art center on Armenian Street, close to the Peranakan museum. Substation used to host gigs and has a broad program, with what seems to be a focus on the street / youth culture.
The last shot in order to finish the roll : a mundane view of the Rendez-Vous Hotel at the bottom of Orchard Road. Totally uninteresting but very nice blues.
Passing my favorite photo shop the other day (Ruby Ye in Excelsior Plaza basement), I noticed a stack of an unknown (to me) boxes of film. I was told it is Kosmo Foto Mono. I heard of the brand before but never tried it. So I could not resist, parted from 14 SGD and walked home.
Next day was an unformal outing of the HUGS (Hasselblad User Group Singapore) and I brought both the Hassie (see last post) and the Leica M6 loaded with the said Kosmo Foto Mono and mounted with the 50mm Summilux v2 (My first ever Leica Lens). We met in Chinatown, to capture the Chinese New Year atmosphere.
That day was also the outing of the Urban Sketchers group, which gave us (me) plenty of pictures opportunity, I like shooting random strangers, but strangers in action is even better.
The Mono is a 100 ISO film, the weather that morning was quite ok for outdoor shots with normal speed and aperture. Except the below, inside the Chinatown complete, probably full open and 1/60 sec.
When I reached home after lunch the tricky question came : how do I process this film? Querying the Caffenol Facebook group I learned that this is some rebranded Kentmere 100, so I looked up processing time. But when I removed the label to take a nice scan of it for my collection I noticed the canister actually says Fomo.
Who to believe? Anyway checking the Massive Development Chart I noticed both the Kentmere 100 and the Foma 100 have the same development time for the same Caffenol formula. My vitamin C stock is a bit depleted but I still could find enough to process one roll with the following formula:
500 ml water. 27g Washing Soda, 8 g Vitamin C , 20g Netscafe classic
My room temperature here in Singapore is 28 Deg, so I scaled the time and processed for 6 minutes, with agitation the first 20 seconds then 3 inversions every minute. Using Ilford method to rinse, Ilford rapid fixer and dishwashing soap in the last rinse batch.
The negative is a bit over but the scams are looking good. There is a certain softness to them which is quite pleasant. 14$ is a bit expensive for a standard 100 ISO film, but I quite like the results so I may give it another try (oh yes maybe I have to finish by 100ft roll of Ilford Delta first, I probably have the equivalent of 12 rolls left in there)
Saturday morning a small outing was organized by one of my friends and we met in Chinatown to capture the atmosphere of this every special Chinese New Year.
I brought the Hasselblad 500CM with the standard lens (The only one I have), loaded with my last roll of Portra 160.
The film was processed and scanned in Whampoa Color. And I am quite happy with the results once again. I think from the roll are missing picture of the bottom of my bag and a redundant picture of the Sri Mariamman Temple.
Shooting with the Hassie is very slow, and I brought multiple films but could only shot one.
Singapore racial harmony (official term) finds a perfect example with the display of Chinese lanterns in front of this Hindu temple and the sign above the entrance wishing to all a Happy and prosperous Lunar New Year.
I waited 15 good minutes to take this shot to finally get a mopped in the middle and miss the top of the roof.
Covid or not, Chinese New Year 2021 is upon us : a lot less feisty than usual, with masks and social distancing, here we go again.
CNY 2021 will be on Friday, 12 February, but for a couple of weeks now, some stalls have open in Chinatown, and people start to go do their shopping. Yes there are less stalls than usual, and Chinatown has lost quite a few businesses these last months. Also there will be no Lion dance this year
You will see more of it surely, Chinatown is always happening and picturesque. Above some shots of an aquarellist, and in the top middle an art exhibition part of SPIF (Singapore Photography International Festival).
Shots were done on Kodak 160 slightly expired, shot with a Leica IIIc and Elmar 50mmF3.5. Filem was processed and scanned at Whampoa photo. Whampoa does an excellent job as usual, but the pictures seems a bit underexposed, maybe the roll was a bit more expired that I thought.
On a more technical note, I always wonder why people use 50mm finders for the Barnack Leicas, as its suppose to be what the viewfinder window is doing. But actually I found when shooting this roll that the I missed a few shots because of framing. In the absence of framing lines using the border of the viewfinder is quite uneasy.
During my trip to Melbourne where I discover the FilmNeverDie shop, I bought a couple of rolls of their SHIROKURO but also one roll of JCH StreetPan 400 film (why only one?)! I am always looking forward to try new or uncommon films, this is part of the magic of chemistry of film photography, to make me expected something new and exciting that does not depend on my technical skills (if I have any) to happen on the roll.
You can find the announcement of the film and read more about it there.
This does not look to be a re-branded film as the negs have the mention JCH.
This is not a technical review, I am by noway an expert, I understand that pan chromatic does not mean much other than a reproduction similar to human eye. Not sure what this means for black and white. This film is supposed to have a higher sensibility to red and a low grain.
I loaded the roll in the newly repaired Leica IIIc, and the following shots are done during Chinese new year in Singapore using a Summitar 50mmf2 lens. The Summitar is a bit back focusing so this is probably not a proper set-up to judge the quality of the film, but I have a soft spot for the IIIc.
Exposure is measured with a handheld Sekonic 308s lighmeter.
This picture is shot under a red tent and gives for interesting palette of grey, probably due to the sensitivity to red.
For those who wonder, this was processed by the usual lab used by Ruby photo, no idea what chemical they use.
The grain is actually quite controlled, and the sharpness, if you keep in mind this is shot with a vintage soft lens, is quite good. I am not a big fan of high grain film like the TriX (although I use it a lot), and always preferred the soft TMAX100 or Fuji Acros
Actually the contrast is quite smooth, unlike the Rollei Retro 400s I used recently, so for higher contrast scenes it gives nice gradation of grey.
Even this night shot with back-light could be salvaged and give a nice rendering.
All in all this is quite a satisfying experience, if I manage to get more rolls they’l deserve to be shot with a better camera like the M6 or the “never-fail” EOS 1N.
JCH has sold all his stock, so only retailers will have some rolls now, until more are produced. I don’t think anybody has some in Singapore but you can find a list of suppliers on the JCH web-site.
So the last week-end before the start of the year of the goat I went with the family in Chinatown. I brought the Leica IIIc and a couple of lenses actually 3.
Most of the shots below are done with the infamous back focusing Jupiter 8, 50mm f2.
Quite fun anyway.
Chinatown is very busy around this time. People shop for food, decoration, or just stroll around.
These two guys selling chestnuts are here all year round
But other stalls are just temporary,
Just selling nuts
or fruits in the side of the street
Some of the sellers are coming from China just for the event, or so have I been told.
Sausages and cured meat stall.
This was the first time I use Kentmere 100 ISO film; reasonably cheap, I understand it is manufactured by Ilford now. As I rarely use Ilford product (except fro Pan 50 and Pan 400) I cannot really tel how it compares to FP4 for instance. Nothing to rave about, I’ll probably finish my stock and go back to Tmax or Rollei RPX 100.
Each Camera takes it turn, a quick look in the film box in the fridge, 6 AA batteries to fill the F4s Grip and here we are, ready for a walk. Oh and let’s take a lens, might be useful. Today the manual focus 50mm F1.4 AIS, fast lens may come useful with a 100 ISO film. That Sunday, before the Chinese New Year, dragons were on display along Marina Bay; this one made of china bowls, plates and spoons, was the nicest to my taste.
Stroll around Waterloo street in Singapore before the Chinese New Year. I asked this gentleman for the picture. I focused on his hand and his ring, not a to good oof effect. But I did not know how long I could wait before shooting.