Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

Nikon FM2n w/ Lensbaby Sweet 35 , Kodak T-Max 400 dev. in T-Max Dev 1+4 @6:45mins


This high school turned security prison simply known as S-21 was situated just 2 blocks away from where we were staying in Phnom Penh. After making a trip out to the Killing Fields that morning, we decided to walk to the prison. Today it is called the Tuol Sleng (Hill of Poisonous Trees) and has been converted into a museum to bare remnants of a horrendous past where over 20,000 prisoners were tortured and executed, many of which were prominent public figures and politicians, at the hands of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Like other known concentration camps around the world, S-21 also had a very organized administration. Photographs were shot of every prisoner brought there, personal details were taken and concisely documented, their possessions confiscated before the horror began.  It was an utterly grim place and the atrocity lingers to this day.


For other prison-themed photos, check out this post by delusiana with pictures shot in an abandoned jail in Kuala Lumpur. A recurring theme here at CGSF are our excursions into abandoned buildings and sites for those of you who are interested.

No Where To Go

Kiev 88, Fuji Velvia 100 cross-processed


I always say this when I post slide film results, I am NOT a fan of cross-processed positive film. I think they always end up overly saturated, and one toned. But that is just a personal taste, some people love the color pop and stark contrast, it’s just not for me. This roll was from a time when I had no access to E6 development (now I can do it in my own bathroom!!) but I have to admit that for this particular shoot, cross-processing the film was the ultimate way to go to bring out the grunge and grittiness of the location. The abandoned house was already menacing to the eye without the effects of this film, but with the color shift, the place appears to be even more forbidding than it actually was. So this time I say, bottoms up to cross-processing.


Abandoned Tin Dredge

Kodak T-Max 400 on Holga GCFN


These pictures are from one of the first few rolls I shot on my Holga GCFN, the Holga that captured my heart from that very first roll I shot on it. I probably have said this a thousand times, but I love looking into my Holga to marvel at the simplicity of the build and machanism of this plastic camera that many call a toy camera. I love the dreamy images produced with a plastic lens on the Holga, but I absolutely adore the extra pinch of sharpness the glass lens offers. The only secret to getting amazing film photos on the Holga is to shoot it under the perfect light when on N-mode (shutter speed at about 1/100, aperture f/8 or f/11) or with a tripod on Bulb mode.

The pictures above were shot at an old tin dredge in Batu Gajah, Perak in Malaysia, which was in operation from 1938-1982.

From the goTaiping.com website,

The dredge would run on diesel generated electricity 24 hours a day, in two shifts with approximately 20 workers per shift. The conveyor buckets would dig the tin-bearing soil and transport it upwards, emptying the contents into an oscillating drum. The tin would then be extracted through a system of jigs and screens, leaving the excess material to e disposed of via a system of chutes at the back of the dredge. (which you can see in the third image above!)



Superia Vs Gold. Any difference?

Kodak Gold 200 on Nikon F80, Lensbaby Sweet 35 
(by delusiana)



Fujicolor Superia 400 on Yashica TL Electro, 50mm f1.8
(by Yovie Eswark)

Now, what do you make of these photos? I’d say that the Gold sticks to its name, with much warmer hues vs the cooler Superia palette. Color negatives can be pretty drab and boring, much like an untouched digital photo but with proper lighting and carefully chosen subject/object, they can be really stunning.

My personal favorite had to be the first photo taken by Yovie. I wished I shot that, hahah. The light leak made the whole scenario much more interesting, like some kind of magical fire lighting up the model’s tattoos.

I must say my Gold roll turned out pretty drab, which was totally my fault as I rushed into the shoot (a great NO in photography). So what to do with a whole roll of ugly photos? Why, black and white conversion of course! Don’t believe me? Check out the comparison below:

Neat? Pretty much I’d say.


The Black Widow

Kodak TMAX 400 on Nikon F80D, Lensbaby Sweet 35








(Ilfotec HC  1+31 @ 6:30mins, Epson V700)

Yup, this was way overdue. 

The shots were taken some 6 weeks ago at an abandoned shoplot somewhere in Shah Alam. For the first we weren’t bitten by bugs so everything was cool and the outing turned out quite well.

Honestly I’ve forgotten the experience I had during this particular shoot since it was so long ago, LOL. Damn my university life!

Anyway, I’ll be posting more shots from the shoot in color soon so look forward to that.

Till then, keep the analogue spirit alive.


Stumbling around in Fortress Josefov

Canon AE-1 Program w/ 50mm f1.8 lens, Rollei Retro 100









(all photos developed in Tetenal Ultrafin Plus 1+4 @8mins)

I was in Jaromer in August for a metal festival called Brutal Assault, no, I am not a metal fan. I was there only for work and nearly missed the chance to explore this vast ex-fortress that once a year becomes the flocking ground of devil-worshipers (wanna bet?) and headbangers from across Czech Republic. It was past 8PM when I finally found time to grab my newly acquired Canon SLR as the sun was slowly sinking below the horizon to power-walk away from the loud pounding music in hopes of exploring the serenity that was guarding the rest of the compound.

Taken from Wikipedia,

Fortress Josefov (Czech: Pevnost Josefov), (German: Josefstadt or Josephstadt), is a large historic defence complex of 18th-century military architecture, built between 1780-1790, in eastern Bohemia, Czech Republic.[1] Together with fortress Terezín, it was intended as protection against attacks from Prussia, but its military importance, like other such fortresses built across Europe, was minimal as decisive battles were often fought elsewhere. Today it is part of the city of Jaroměř.

Over the years, the fortress has been converted into a residential district. The biggest extreme metal music festival in Central Europe Brutal Assault takes place here each August, with the music stages built against the outer walls. Metalheads from all over Europe occupy the fortress for three days each year.

As the description inscribes, the fortress is now home to the residents of Jaromer, but according to the festival organizers, not many of them are there. Those who stayed behind are gypsies who shy away from the public. I can’t imagine how they feel to have a throng of noisy concert-goers invading their home. As I walked further away from the festival site, I saw no one on the streets. The houses looked abandoned or pretty run down. If not for the little signs of life, like the white curtains shading the windows and clothes hanging out to dry, the area seemed to me to be a ghost town. One that did not give off an ominous vibe, mind you, but a calming and peaceful space on Earth that is left untouched.

How I wish I had more time to really walk around the complex. The pictures I got were shot in the time span of less than 30 minutes and sadly I doubt I will ever go back again. Still, I thought I managed to capture the essence of Josefov, the emptiness, the stillness of everything there.



PS: Oh wait! I did capture a lone resident of the fortress! Seriously, I was surely transported back in time over there. How can a place as tranquil as this exist today…?

PPS: This is my first time developing my film with Ultrafin Plus and I love it!! So much more than Ilford DDX! I’ll write about that in my next post with more pictures that reek of the past, from a different location of course! :)

A Colorful Despair

Konicacolor SR100 (expired 2001) on Holga GCFN

I shot this roll at two different photowalks, the first 3 featuring the abandoned Catholic cemetery in Kuala Lumpur (you can check out my other sets here and here) and the last 3 was shot in a parking lot, also abandoned somewhere in Desa Sri Hartamas, KL (also featured in the Lucky BW film soup set here). 

It’s pretty awesome that this expired film managed to retain such vibrant colors given the fact that it was expired for a decade! Too bad Konica doesn’t produce films anymore, and with the recent discontinuation of many types of films, I wonder how long will we be able to share the joys of analogue photography. :/

Anyway, let me share with you a quote from Michael Jang’s interview in Wired Mag:

I’m not sure I’ve taken a good picture yet with a digital camera. Everything that I’ve done that’s good is film. [Digital] is perfect within a certain scale: There’s no dust, no scratches; you can Photoshop it till it’s ultra-whatever. I probably will cover myself by doing both, but if you really push me to take one camera I’ll take a Leica. There’s three mechanical things: There’s focus, and your shutter and your f-stop, and I’m good with that. I can just walk in and you can throw me the camera and I know exactly where the crank is on the focus for six feet.

You can check out the rest of his interview here: http://www.wired.com/rawfile/2009/10/michael-jang/all/1


What is Holga film??

Holga B&W 400 film on Nikon FG-20

Holga has film now too? Apparently yes. This 400ISO film works terribly well under low light, just as advertised. It produces creamy smooth grain that brings a sexiness only possible on film to your pictures!! The darks are super black and the highlights are not too overblown, adding a lot of mood to your final shot. For US$3, this is one film you’d definitely want to give a try. Some may cry a little when they find out it only has 24 exposures, but 24 is more than enough for me for a specific shoot in one location. 36 sometimes seem a drag to finish.

After shooting this film in both low light and in daylight, I have to say the best results come from images shot indoors or under a lot of brush with minimal light. The daylight shots still look good if you have a nice dark background. The more blacks you have on this film, the louder it gets, if that even makes any sense ;P

Official item description,

This is a roll of 24 exposure Holga 35mm Black and White Film from Foma. It’s a panchromatically sensitized black-and-white negative film designed for taking photographs under unfavorable lighting conditions or using short exposure times. This film will help you maximize your Holga experience. Under or overexpose it by 2-stops to achieve a wide variety of effects. 191424 Holga 135-24 Black and White Film Feature Highlights: Holga 135-24 Black and White Film, ISO 400, High Speed 35mm Format Film, General Purpose Indoor/Outdoor Film, Excellent Grain Structure, Pushable + or - 1 EV 


Golden or broken dreams?

Kodak Gold 200 on Nikon F80D, Lensbaby Composer & Double Glass Optic



I know that I haven’t been shooting with color negatives for a long time, and if you click "Film Index" at the navigation bar, you will realize that the Kodak Gold 200 used to be heavily featured at CGSF by our fellow readers & contributors. 

The warm, golden tones compliments your shots really well, especially with careful lighting & composition. I’ve yet to discover a more versatile film, as I find that even the Ektar 100 produced cooler hues compared to this film. I’ll sorely miss the demise of this film, as with the terminated lives of Kodak’s beautiful color positives.


Btw, meet Valentine. She was really fast that I only managed to catch her ghostly blur. She’s 14 years old.

Old is definitely gold.


The kaleidoscope of “Kolors” that is Revolog

Revolog Kolor on Pentax ME, Zenitar 16mm f2.8 Ultra Wide Fisheye



I took my time to finish all 36 exposures of this roll, and I must say that the results are unpredictable. You’ll never know what rainbow hues you might get on your shots, each frame differ with various light intensity. 

The first set was taken at noon during an overcast afternoon, with the unpredictable Malaysian downpour. I find that you tend to get all 7 color spectrum in slightly shaded areas and especially when shooting directly with the sun in front of you. We revisited an old haunt, the abandoned house just a few turns past the Malaysian National Monument.

This second set was taken somewhere along Jalan Tangsi in Kuala Lumpur, where you can find several heritage buildings, mostly in bad shape and with little or no conservation efforts to secure these crumbling relics of the past.

A shame, really.


Kodak Tri-X 400 is still a favorite

Kodak Tri-X 400 on Nikon FG-20 w/ Nikkor 24mm f2.8

Kodak Tri-X 400 on Nikon FG-20 w/ Nikkor 50mm f1.8

Nothing special about this set. I took my 24mm lens out to the abandoned house shoot a few weeks back after looking at this wonderful street photography set using the same wide lens. I think the 24mm takes great looking close-up portrait shots that draws you to the subject. I was not able to utilize the lens in the way I had hoped to but might go out this weekend for a walkabout in the city.

The FG-20 is not so great when shooting outdoors under bright light when you are trying to shoot wide open to create a nice creamy bokeh, as the shutter speed only goes up to 1/1000th of a second which ultimately overexposes your shots. You’d need a faster shutter speed to achieve that, which could have been done on the FM2 I left at home. Of course.

As always no complains on the Tri-X, still one of my favorite black and white film. Very glad that Kodak will not take this film off their film line-up as they did their slide film ;) 


Framing your analog photos digitally

Rollei RPX 400 w/ Diana 151 + digital frame

I did this once before, where I merged analog with digital (in Supersampler Hack meets RadLab), and I did it once again, this time to bring out the old from my photos. The images were originally shot in black and white using the Diana 151 and I thought the images came out a little too contrasty than I had anticipated. To tone is down a little I decided to merge the images with a frame template I found online. You can easily google “vintage frame template” and choose one to work with. Most probably you would need to resize and crop the frame to fit your photo.

I did this all in Photoshop, and you can do it too.

1. Resize frame to fit image.

2. Import image into Photoshop, change opacity to Multiply at 30%

3. Paste same image into a new layer, change opacity to Overlay 30%

4. Paste same into once more into a new layer, change opacity to Saturation 30%

You can play with the opacity strength based on the color of your frame. I thought a more sepia look would suit this frame than a faded straight B&W one and ended up with this.

Just for your reference, here is the original image shot on film.


The film soup returns!

Agfa CT Precisa (expired 2002) on Pentax ME, Zenitar 16mm f2.8 Ultra Wide Angle Fisheye

Can I be lazy tonight and just post the pictures without any blurbs? Heheh. You can click here for more info on how to make your own film soup roll. 

OK, I’m gonna make things simple for those who are as lazy as me and couldn’t be bothered to read the long long write-ups so this will be in point form and succinct.

  • Film soup recipe: 1 cup detergent + boiling water + 1 tsp silica gel + 1 expired roll of Agfa CT Precisa
  • Location: An abandoned house in Bangsar
  • Film accidentally exposed whilst drying with a hairdryer in the darkroom bag
  • There were tons of mosquitos

A few shots came out totally incomprehensible with blobs of colors like this:


Fujicolor Superia 200

Praktica LTL

Our friend kodachromedays is traveling across the globe on his very own adventure and made a stop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia a few months back. CGSF took the chance to meet up with him on a quest to show him around town but instead of hitting the usual touristy spots, we took him to an abandoned house! These photos were shot on a fresh roll of Superia 200, so you may be wondering why they look so retro and possibly shot on an expired roll. According to kodachromedays, these are the effects from an old scanner he used.  Pretty cool isn’t it. Feels like we were warped back into the early 80s in this picture below.

(L-R: eleanorrigby236, kodachromedays, delusiana)

Kodak Portra 400 (NEW)

La Sardina El Capitan, Fritz the Blitz Flash









These were taken with the new Kodak Portra 400 on the plastic toycam by LSI: the La Sardina during our illegal exploration of the now abandoned Pudu Prison in Kuala Lumpur. As I’ve mentioned earlier, it has a small aperture of f/8 with a wide angle 22mm plastic lens, designed for use under bright sunlight. 

We managed to break into the prison grounds at 5.30pm when it was already getting dark and the damp prison loomed ominously. I didn’t have any other camera with me that’s suitable for low light photography and the only fast film I have was the Portra 400. Since this 1895 built prison was scheduled to demolished soon, we felt that we had to get in no matter what, and I took the chance that my expensive Portra won’t be wasted in a toycam.

All photos were taken with the flash fired and fyi, the 3rd last picture was taken in a totally dark corridor! Pitch black! I was surprised to see that the pic even appeared, thought it would be ruined. 

Oh, btw the prison was purported to be severely haunted, we were even warned by the construction workers to come back in the morning if we really want to explore the place…hehehe. Luckily we didn’t meet ANYTHING although I swear when we were in that dark corridor, I felt an unnatural chill and just KNOW that we had to get out of there, no matter what. That was one the scariest moments I’ve had in my entire life.

With that said, yes the Portra had proven itself to be a crazy film with so much tolerance to light that it can shoot and produce beautiful results in ANY SITUATION!

Thank you, Kodak!



p/s: That’s me, Didy & Yovie…hehe. We can’t resist, although we felt like screaming while taking the shot, imagining if we’re gonna be trapped there and the gates will get bolted shut!