One thing Ireland isn’t short of (other than pubs) is pilgrimage sites and general Saint Patrick related places of interest. One picturesque site is Lough Derg in County Donegal, just outside village of Pettigoe which like the Brexit vote, is half in the North and half in the Republic – and hence the EU.
Lough Derg has a nice walk around the lakeside, a visitors centre and a church but is mainly used for the boat crossing over to the Station Island of retreat – St Patrick’s Purgatory. This isn’t available to non-pilgrims but it’s a nice spot for a walk and a photo. I had the chunky Praktica L from this post with APX100 and being in Donegal, guessed exposure with Overcast 8. Or 5.6.
The Kodak Retinette 1A. The site Kodak Classics gives in excellent detail the history of the delightfully well-built Kodak Retina range and its budget sibling the Retinette. Mine is the type 042 Retinette 1A from around 1962 and the first thing you’ll notice is that this is one solid wee camera. There’s a lot of metal and it’s not the lightest, there are no lugs for a strap (you’ve to use the case) and it’s fully manual – no meter and viewfinder/guess focussing (there are sort-of zone dots). And it’s a delight to use.
All the business is done on the lens/shutter housing. A Pronto shutter unit with a Reomar 45mm f2.8 lens. With no internal meter, it’s Sunny 16, a handheld meter or the phone app. There is a generous range of four shutter speeds 1/30th to 1/250th and B. Who needs milky water anyway. Aperture is F22 to F2.8.
Focussing is a reasonable guess or using the sophisticated 1-to-3 dots going from close to further away, Father Dougal style.
You could attach a rangefinder to the cold shoe, but since you can pick these cameras up for a tenner, it hardly seems worth the bother. And why not go fully manual – it’s part of the fun of using something of this vintage.
There’s a wee button to open the back and film goes in easily, and the viewfinder ? – nice and clear with zero information apart from the subject.
There is a self timer, they’re the weak link in a lot of vintage cameras and since I’m never going to use it, I’ll assume it’ll work.
The first roll out was Agfa APX100 developed in Ilford Ilfosol with some shots taken in Lloret de Mar, Spain and east Belfast. For the contrast..
The main thing I noticed about the Retinette is that in good light, f8 and smaller, the lens is tack sharp and nicely contrasty. In fact all the over/underexposed and blurred shots were purely down to me and rushing a bit. When you slow down, check the exposure and take a bit of care focussing, this is a terrific camera. If the Irish summer holds up, it’ll see a few more rolls.
I generally prefer black and white – it removes a feeling of clutter, great for showing contrast in a scene and it has that delightful separation from reality. Occasionally, though, you encounter a scene that demands to be shot in colour. In Chiang Rai there is Wat Rong Suea Ten – or The Blue Temple. On a sunny day, there is nothing quite so blue as The Blue Temple.
As you can see, its predominant characteristic is its undoubted blueness.
And once you get inside, there’s still blue. And some white. And people to add a bit of colour enhancement.
As always when visiting temples, not all of us are Irish tourists runing around with cameras. Some are there for more spiritual reasons.
Wat Rong Suea Ten is about 3.5km from the centre of Chiang Rai (the Bus station) and there are a variety of busses, taxis and songthaews. We walked in the heat. A lot of surrounding cafes were closed late afternoon and early evening (it closed at 6pm) but the light is so much better.
All shot on the Canon 6D and an old film era EOS lens 28-90 kit zoom.
I don’t know if it’s a good idea or not to start going over travel photos from the previous year or two in the middle of a lockdown but I’m more determined to get back to Asia in summer 2021 as the planned 2020 trip to China may have been overtaken by events….
So Thailand. My favourite place in Thailand is probably Chiang Rai. It’s smaller and a bit more relaxed than Chiang Mai, has a few extraordinary temples – maybe not for the purist, but certainly ones for the tourist with a camera, a delightful premier league football ground and the most entertaining and exotic Saturday night market.
Here’s a few random shots for a intial feel of Chiang Rai.
You’ll find no shortage of cafes and restaurants in Chiang Rai. A particular mention to this one – the Bhucheedeun coffee shop ร้านกาแฟภูชี้เดือน, a few minutes walk from Wat Phra Kaew. We called on a Monday – it seemed to be open only for take-out but they let us stay for super iced coffees and they popped out to another cafe to bing us cake. You don’t get that in High Street Costa..
Most of my gig photography has been in local venues, usually small sweaty bars in the greater Belfast area. In stark contrast to this I stumbled upon a free gig in the more picturesque and exotic location of the Singapore Esplanade Theatre on the Bay. Performing in the Jazz in July concerts were Philippine jazz and funk band Conscious & The Goodness. The band were happy for me to walk around shooting during the sunny afternoon soundcheck and then I was back for the post-sunset evening gig. Quite the difference from death metal night at the Goat’s Toe pub in Bangor.
and once darkness fell…
All shot on digital – the occasion, lighting and Singapore colour too risky to lose the moment for B&W film – Canon 6D with 50mm and 70-300mm lenses
Munich is all about the beer – there are countless places to drink – indoor and outdoor, particularly outdoor and even on a Sunday, when shops are all closed the drink continues to flow.
Viktualienmarkt round the corner from Marienplatz is a great palce to start.
Away from the main beer garden,you can always find somewhere for a beer when you see that exquisite signage or well turned out staff.
or if you don’t fancy a beer, there’s aways the traditional Bavarian Coffee Haus..
All shot on the Ricoh KR5 and Agfa APX100 – €4 a roll from Drogerie Markt
The Kehlstein, site of the Eagle’s Nest and the Nazis’ Bavarian getaway outside Berchtesgaden has always held a bit of fascination. Is it a case of considering whether even the most evil of humanity needed the odd vacation or a natural curiosity to visit a significant historial site which happens to be in a spectacular location? I’ll go with the latter.
The Kehltstein can be reached on foot (long and very hot in summer) or you can get the bus from the train station and use the path (about 40 mins climb) or you can get the lift via a dark and cold tunnel.
Once up, it’s time to enjoy the views from the top and have an enjoyable walk as well as a suitably priced coffee at the Kehlsteinhaus.
Shot on the Vivitar V3000s (before it died) and Fomapan100