Canon EOS M50 with Voigtlander 35mm/1.4 Nokton SC

Finally gave in and bought that mirrorless camera because it will help me save money. Haha.

Because with a few adapters, I could use my various Takumars, Leica mount lenses and Canon EF/EFS lenses. I accidentally bought a 28mm Industar…

The Voigtlander and a few others allow for zone focusing.

Though I wasn’t fast enough sometimes.

Looking and thinking with some focus peaking.

Human, nature.

A homely arrangement.

We all need to find home.

Thingification

What happens when you choose not to place people at the centre of things?

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It’s a bit unsettling when humans are placed at the periphery.

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We cannot help but still do so – the above is still a photograph about human activity.

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Keyboards are for hands, pedals for feet.

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We love our things.

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We frame ourselves with things.

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We wait for things.

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We work with things.

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We are things.

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Some things out-wait us.

 

 

Camera: Spotmatic F

Lens: Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 35mm F 3.5

Film: Fujifilm Superia Venus 800

Things As They Are

Wallace Stevens: “You have a blue guitar,/ You do not play things as they are.”

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I suppose the whole point of the visual arts is to get us to see things as they otherwise are.

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And perhaps be unlikely.

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Wallace Stevens: “Things as they are/ Are changed upon the blue guitar.”

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This is not a bicycle.

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This is not a ladder.

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These are not sacks waiting to be moved.

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Things as they are not are directions and lines of force.

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Things as they are not are relationships between lines, textures, and light.

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With things as they are not, we learn the background of things.

 

Camera: Spotmatic F

Lens: Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 35mm F 3.5

Film: Fujifilm Superia Venus 800

 

 

 

First Roll of Film from Spotmatic F (Part 2 of 2)

So – vision, shot precision, follow through.

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As with weapons training (see previous post), so it is with street photography.

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It’s giving me an insight as to what constitutes expertise.

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There is expertise that comes with knowledge of the field – where you’re situated, what you have to offer in relation to what other people in your field have to offer, how it all fits in with what society (and the market) demands, and whether or not (or how) you would adjust to that demand.

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Related to that, there’s the kind of expertise (i.e. skills) that can only come with painstaking preparation, training, multiple failures, as you move from naivete and self-ridicule to familiarity and finally (hopefully) to mastery.

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It’s a journey from innocence to experience.

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And with experience, hopefully, one could be innocent all over again.

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You don’t truly master anything. As you can see, I’ve read my William Blake.

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Do I dare disturb the universe? (I’m quoting T. S. Eliot here.)

The above gentleman spotted me right after I took the shot.

He put on his hat, walked right up to me, snarled, laughed, tapped my shoulder, and then walked away.

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So naturally I felt compelled to carry on.

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I stood at one spot and aimed at the wall.

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I’m really not sure why I do things like this.

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I suppose this is where art comes from.

 

Camera: Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic F

Lens: 24mm S-M-C Takumar F 3.5

Film: Kodak UltraMax 400

 

 

First Roll of Film from Spotmatic F (Part 1 of 2)

Holding a Spotmatic F reminded me of my first encounter with an M16 rifle.

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Could something that felt so clunky really work?

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After having learnt how to disassemble the rifle and put it back together, I felt no better.

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It looked suspiciously uncomplicated – I actually understood how the rifle worked.

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How could that clicking sound when I pull that trigger be taken seriously?

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As I eventually discovered, after zeroing that rifle (aligning the sights to my eye for projectile accuracy) at a 300m range, it was powerful indeed, and not something to be taken lightly. I’ve never forgotten that feeling (and the recoil).

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It’s the same with a camera – after all, it involves training, preparation, positioning, proper gripping, sighting and shooting.

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And you’ll need to control your breathing to maximize shot accuracy.

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The rifle (and camera) is supposed to be an extension of your self and will.

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Did I mention I was a marksman in my previous life (2 decades ago)?

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In case you think I’m some kind of gun-crazy nut, it’s actually a common experience, if you’re a combat-fit Singaporean male who had to do national service (30 months of it in my time).

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As you can see, I’m sublimating all that weapons training, channelling it into street photography.

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It’s all about vision, discipline and decision points.

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You are what you shoot.

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You are how you shoot.

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Street photography, especially with film cameras, have taught me to respect mechanical tools and appreciate the history that came with them.

The evolution of Leica, Asahi Pentax, Voigtlander, and so on, is a history of modern life.

It is this history that gave us our Henri Cartier-Bresson, Vivien Maier, Diane Arbus, Martin Parr, Bruce Gilden, etc.

Thanks for reading.

 

Camera: Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic F

Lens: S-M-C Takumar 24mm F 3.5

Film: Kodak UltraMax 400

 

 

 

 

 

Shamshuipo

Shamshuipo, as you can see, is my other haunt.

There’s enough bustle for street photographs.

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The colours can be interesting too. The red and green combo is nice.

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He didn’t even notice me.

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In contemplation.

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I was testing out a generic rectangular lens hood on my lens to make sure there wasn’t any vignetting.

This is one of two flea market stalls selling film cameras.

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It’s a low volume high flow business. The offerings change every week.

Occasionally, you could see a few Leicas. I saw an X Pro 1 here once…

Thanks for reading!

 

Camera: Canon 600D

Legacy Lens: SMC Takumar 35mm f 3.5

Shamshuipo: Monochrome High Contrast

Again at Sham Shui Po.

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Life follows function.

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The buildings are useful for nostalgia.

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Though they’re still here.

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Bodies crammed between buildings.

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A selection of goods.

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At the butcher’s.

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Chinese foodstuff.

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Frenetic energy.

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Bustle.

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Check out the lap cheong (Chinese dried sausages)!

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Yummy.

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A window reflects.

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Work in progress.

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Still building.

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Renewal and construction.

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A tree trunk is tamed.

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Shroud on building.

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A conference.

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A building pushes.

 

 

Camera: Canon 600D

Legacy Lens: SMC Takumar 35mm f 3.5

Merry Christmas Occupy Central

An early Christmas for Occupy Central at Causeway Bay.

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Fare well.

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People are packing.

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Amidst Christmas sale.

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Installation with steel resolve.

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Imagine what might have been.

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Freedom under the eye of the clock.

 

At Admiralty.

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Unpoetic translation: even if there’s disappointment, one cannot lose hope.

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There’s a time to pack up.

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A time to plant fresh hope.

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A time to remember.

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Time to take stock.

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Sacrifice.

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Hope.

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Restrain.

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Hunger strike zone.

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Merry Christmas Occupy Central.

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The central government offices are overwritten with desire.

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Home is Hong Kong.

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A time to build up.

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A time to let go.

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A time for nostalgia.

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Merry Christmas Occupy Central.

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Fare well.

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Fare well.

 

Photos in previous posts have been featured in the following literary journal articles:”Whither Hong Kong?“, Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement: Four Poems” and “The Umbrellas and the Tear Gas“.

 

Camera: Canon 600D

Legacy Lens: SMC Takumar 35mm f 3.5

 

Occupy: Mong Kok, Admiralty and Causeway Bay

So – I managed to go to all three sites on the same afternoon.

At Mong Kok.

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People are still smiling.

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Mannequins are still standing.

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Though there’s a sense that this might be over soon…

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I’ll never look at umbrellas the same way again.

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Umbrellas and street culture are now intertwined.

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Lots of artists have emerged.

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Every person an umbrella.

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We are all umbrellas.

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No violence, please.

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The hope of a generation is here.

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I’m ambivalent when it comes to the police.

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The police stands for law and order.

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I respect the police, but what happens when the law privileges a particular social order that is in question?

Over at Admiralty.

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An umbrella community.

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We’re all waiting and watching.

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We see the organic growth of a community.

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A community that stands for something.

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An artful and thoughtful community is emerging.

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Though it’s all eggs against a brick wall.

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Vigilance.

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Constant vigilance.

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A poem by Gu Cheng entitled “A Generation”: Dark night has given me dark eyes, but I’m using them to look for brightness.

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These are students of history and poetry.

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I see students like this on campus every day.

I teach them poetry and creative writing.

They’re somewhat goofy, always respectful, and many do have a strange fondness for Doraemon soft toys.

They bring these soft toys along with them for pictures on graduation day.

Now they’re a force of social change, graduating with honours.

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It’s not just the students, of course.

The carpenters show up to be carpenters.

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It is already done.

Even if the barricades are cleared and all have gone home, Occupy Central would be that powerful idea that will be always ever present.

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The rest is just documentation.

Occupy Central is already set in memory, in photographs, social media, in newspaper and government reports.

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The skeleton of the umbrella is strong.

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There are no wasted bodies on the streets.

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They know what they want.

At Causeway Bay.

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The Hong Kong people.

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The small business owners.

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The umbrella is looking somewhat tattered but the sentiment is strong.

Rough translation: the work is hard but keep going.

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In the end, history will decide.

 

 

Camera: Canon 600D

Legacy Lenses: SMC Takumar 24mm f 3.5, Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Oreston 50mm f 1.8