07/2013: Old friends new friends

Still sort of in between things. Uni started about a month ago now. We have to take all ten major courses (photography, film/animation, graphic design, typography, cast [like in podcast], space design, interaction, cgi, illustration and verbal communication) this semester and were doing more and more real projects which is very cool. Kind of the complete opposite to engineering classes at tech uni a couple of years ago. We are only about 50 people that are curiously getting to know each other. Very cool people i have to say. And since the only condition for the qualifying test was to be creative in any way (photo/film/animation/illustration/whatever), it is quite a challenge to figure out what anybodies talents are. However, theres also a lot going on besides uni, so heres another mix of everything.
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i5414There was this weekend back in summer when we installed a small irrigation plant in Olgas family garden. I caught some moments on film on the side. Here, the whole team is getting some instructions. I shot a roll of trix with the Leica M2. Just so you know.
i5422We spent almost half of the day digging those ditches through the garden, then laying all the small pipelines and connecting spray heads and valves.

i5427After we had finally filled up again all ditches and ran some performance checks, we enjoyed the rest of the day and had some great barbecue. Eugen recovering from all the work and all the food here.

i5512I ran into Waldi while going for another walk in the Südstadt district the other day. These are some frames from a roll of Kentmere 400 in HC-110, which i really start to appreciate. It has a kind of trix-ish tonality but lacks some of its tones imo. But for the price (3€ vs. 4,40€ trix) its a very serious option for me. Well see how it pushes in the coming winter months.

i5516 i5519Another random people-shopping-frame.

i5520This is a little craft shop of the Handwerkerhof that sells all kinds of leather goods. I had a little talk with this lady, discussing pros and cons of several materials that i could use as a strap for my M2. However, some days later i found some old leather band in my random-old-camera-accessoire-drawer (where you keep all the case and filter and cap and battery stuff) and had her rivet the ends with some small metal rings. The M2 is now equipped with a perfect matching (= fucked up 🙂 ) leather strap that only did cost me 5€! So if youre around and you need some leather goods such as straps, keyholders, wallets, messenger bags or whatever or some custom made leather stuff you make sure to check out this nice little shop!

i5521 i5522Guy reading a newspaper. So heres another thing: I’ve been fighting for several years with the Canoscan 9000f + the Silverfast SE that came with it to get some acceptable scans out of my negatives. I should note that “acceptable” in this context just means “to my own taste”. Im not into that zonal system stuff and i dont like my negs to be flat and “classic” looking. I dont have an what you would call recognizable style yet, i just keep experimenting with different dev+post procedures to create a variety of different looks in contrast and tonality. However, me fiddeling around with dev temps and stuff is just one thing. The main point here is the scanner itself: I am just not satisfied with the scans the Canoscan produces. Well, 35mm at least, mf works great imo.

i5524So i spent some time to compensate the scans lack of crispyness in post, and i mean i really did dig into things. I developed several workflows for lightroom+photoshop to get as much as possible out of my scans. But somehow, this final little bit of image quality i was unable to reproduce. So once more, i kept looking on ebay until i once again made a pretty good deal on a Nikon Coolscan IV. Yep, no V. I also switched from Silverfast to Vuescan. Silverfast might be pretty ok to work with, but the SE version that came with the Canoscan is just a joke as it only gives you 8bit bw images. I know, thats a lot of geeky technical stuff, but i think it might be useful to some at this point.

i5525So i ran some quick test scans with the Coolscan and did a 1on1 comparison. The results were even more devastating than i thought. And still, this is just a IV version. Drop me a note if youre interested in a full size comparison. So, end of the story is that with the Coolscan (+Vuescan is pretty awesome also) im finally getting this sharpness and detail i want.

I know i know, its always (or say 99%) the subject or story or moment or feeling + a good composition that make the picture, not the technical stuff like a good tonal range, good sharpness or perfect development. But i guess sometimes, knowing your tech stuff well just helps the image. And sometimes it doesn’t. However, your images are always just as good or bad as the weakest part in your system. So if you’re out with your asph. Summicron, scanning the negs with a flatbed might not be what you wanna go for. Also if your just having fun with a small disposable 35mm: no need to set up the Coolscan 9000. Excuse this little technical excursion, back to the actual images.

i5529Cute older couple.i5530A man reading some postings at the church. I passed him by and took a quick shot because it looked like a nice scene. When i passed this spot again as i walked back to the bus 20 minutes later, he was still standing there, reading those notes.
i5532i5535i5543A roll of trix.

i5545Im planning on doing some more underground and train station shots this winter. I had some of those in my portfolio which was approved at uni back in the summer.
i5551And speaking of uni, there we are. This was the very first introduction course at the auditorium for all design students in october. There was a power outage the whole time so some students lit the scene with their smartphones, hence those shadows. This was 1/4s at 2.8.

i5552 i5553The famous Maronimann.i5554 i5556Ah i miss the sun…i5560Another couple.
i5561 i5562Some images are just timeless.i5563 i5564This Cellist (Alban Gerhardt) was playing some classical pieces in the middle of the train station.
i5565People stopped and started listening, this girl took a shot with her rangefinder-covered! iphone.

i5571-2 i5572 i5577Alex stopped by and started to sort the change i keep in a big jar. We loved to do this and then run to the bank to get some bills in return when we were kids.

i5580Flea market with a roll of HP5+.
i5581 i5583i5585I still needed a bike for uni so i got curious and checked out all bikes that were for sale. Most dealers sold theirs for about 80-150€ and an hour later i was pretty disappointed and about to give up when i spotted a friendly-looking family that was selling all kinds of lovely, used stuff and also this beautiful Peugeot bike. We talked a bit and they told me that they had had it serviced just a couple of days ago. I told them i would need some cheap but good bike for riding to college and back and so they sold it to me for 30€. Yay!i5591Some people just like to attract attention, while others prefer to stay unobtrusive.
i5596As a walked around i came across this beautiful installation of urban art and took a shot.
i5597I took a step forward to frame the pigeon in flight when suddenly a second one came out of nowhere.
i5598A sandstone wall.i5604 i5606 i5608

i5619Dumping some stuff at the recycling depot.

i5621 i5622Cool hair. And check out that happy dog!i5630 i5638 i5639i5641In the first semester, we have to take all the 10 courses that you can major in, just to get an impression of what each course is about and to get to know the wide range of “design”. Well, guess im not gonna be an illustrator.
i5642i5649 i5650Didn’t know we have that here now.i5651By the time im writing this post, summers all gone and all that it left is a layer of depressing grey shit.i5652

i5654Check out my beautiful bathroom tiles! This is a roll of kodak ektar shot with the Konica Hexar.

i5656Nothing special about this frame, im just really really happy that im starting to get a grip on scanning the shit out of color negative film, now that im using the coolscan+vuescan combo. Finally, the colors seem to match each other and the images just start to look “right”, with no weird color shifts or so.i5658 i5664Another shooting with Olga.i5668 i5670Evening sun.i5671 i5672Stopped by at the former office. Chris joined and checked out the Zeiss.i5673This is the garage above the soon-to-come darkroom at my uncles place. Were going to turn this place into a complete workshop. First things first, making sure that people feel comfortable.i5674Just some nice colors.i5677Even salad looks great in warm sunlight.i5679 i5682Neustadt Bleichweiher.i5687On my way home from uni.

i5695Wednesdays illustration course. We do all kinds of drawing exercises and projects and hang them on the wall to discuss afterwards.
i5697Starting to note typography in public.i5698 i5699 i5700 i5702 i5706Free beer: tomorrow.
i5708Circles and rectangles and lines.i5709Lunch with the family. Olga and my sisters wearing all the same sneakers by chance.
i5711Andreai5714 i5718At the lab.
i5719i5725

i5733For a walk with the beast, the Fuji GSW and a roll of Fuji pro 160NS (an older roll from summer).

i5735 i5738i5739Random Hamburg frame.

i5745Back in Nuremberg at the Steintribüne, part of the former nazi party rally grounds. People enjoying the weather and the space. Hexar + Ilford Delta 400.
i5747Sunday lunch.
i5748Sunday walk.i5749No comment needed here.
i5751 i5756Since it was a few days before Halloween, we decided to carve some pumpkins in the garden. Step 1: drawing.
i5757Step 2: carving.i5758Step 3: making it durable.i5761 i5762 i5763i5766Father and son.
i5771Thy did some shooting stuff, probably for a website.i5772 i5776Well-arranged posters, german style.
i5781Shot some Tmax 400 for a change, negatives turned out quite underdeveloped (Tmax negs tend to be slightly thinner than trix which is normal, but mine were really too weak this time).

i5783i5785For a walk somewhere.
i5787Julian and Sandra cutting some advert stuff last minute we had design for typography course. Turns out those cutting machines are horrible!i5788Tanja looking fascinated while Nico is doing some card tricksi5789Hes a professional magician actually, how cool is that! We were all watching him doing several tricks in the afternoon break. Thats our professor for illustration in the back.
i5791Dinner with Chris and Stephan, who just came back from Bangkok.
i5792

i5795 i5799People kept asking why i always carry a camera with me. This is on my way home from uni in the evening. She was taking photos of the birds.
i5800Friday morning, introduction course at the sound studio.i5802Whats left from my office.i5805i5813Günter proudly demonstrating his new apple slicer.i5814Winter is here.

 

05/2013: “I think you should keep doing that as a hobby.”

Oh boy its another template again! I cant help it. To be honest im not even sorry. I just  love to play with css. Whatever. This post will be rather personal than other ones, for reasons. Lots of pictures about family stuff of course. But also some stories about my work life or profession or whatever you may call it. You know that feeling when you go to work everyday and it feels ok? Not great, just ok. You do it because you can, because you get paid for it, because its comfortable. You just function and do stuff and you tell yourself “well it may not be what i dreamt of but a time will come. Be realistic. Whats to grumble about? Just be patient and wait” You know that feeling? Well i do. And there came a point where i asked myself “Wait? wait for what?” And for some reason i could not answer that question. That was back when i made the decision to apply to college again. People i told about this noticed “oh nice, so youre going to get your engineering masters degree?” and i answered “well, not exactly.”
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More on that in the post itself. This one contains much text, dont freak out. You can of course skip my confession writing ego trip stuff and just look at the pictures.

i4841Starting with some casual Südstadt frames. This is the Hexar, loaded with Ilford Delta 400. Mid-speed films shot in bright sunlight tend to give hard contrasts anyway, so i decided to push it a little more and souped the roll in Rodinal 1+25.

i4842As expected, contrast is dominating. However the tones are really nice in most frames.

i4844This was in mid-June. People demonstrating for Taksim. If youre not that familiar with the topic you might wanna check out this documentary from Simon Becker, who was right there in Istanbul and captured some intensive moments when things started to escalate.

i4846 i4847 i4855At some flea market.

i4856Cigarette

i4858 i4859I know its boring but i just like these kinds of structures and patterns, plus the grain is really nice. Only two years to get a clean, even negative.

i4860 i4863One for the former smoker-me.

i4865 i4867So after weeks of rain and depressive dark days the weather got better again. Finally.

i4870Some factory building outside Neustadt.

i4873What remains.

i4874Since it was midseason, we decided to pick some strawberries. “Some” somehow became 3 kilograms.

i4876So each of us got a bucket with about 1,5kg of strawberries. That was literally all i ate the entire weekend.

i4877Some pickers in the background.

i4889Remember?

i4891This is Fuji Neopan 400 in Rodinal 1+50.

i4892So we had some fun time shopping. Except that i didnt.

i4896 i4897As soon as it started to rain, people start running for cover, which i always find kind of amusing. This guy didnt seem to care about this wuzz at all.

i4903 i4905

 

i4908Opposites.

i4909

i4914Another sunday morning flea market with cute puppies!

i4915 i4918Later that weekend, lunch at my uncles place. Checking out the pictures of our boat trip some weeks ago.

Coburg. Next roll. Kentmere 400 in Xtol.

Sign on the left says “Frankonia! Apprentice stabs cousin to death at party!” So thats whats going down here. Were pretty mad people. Well, not really.

What an adventure!

Random

My mother in the studio. Thinking of stuff.

Gerhard was busy with some car repair stuff.

Some random frames.

i4922Guys taking some snaps of two parked Audi R8.

i4925 i4927 i4929

i4931Brake fluid, pants and shirts, thrown away like regular waste. People suck sometimes.

i4932Yeah, you guessed right. Acros 100, Xtol, Hexar AF.

i4935 i4936Wondering what they are looking at…

i4938Skater guy with sweet skater scars.

i4939i4940A poster for the annual academy of fine arts students exhibition. This was actually just a reminder because i was way to lazy to use my phone.

i4942 i4943 i4945-2This roll of film has seen the inside of a camera before.
i4947 i4948Challenge accepted!

i4949 i4953Stopped by at fotomax for some camera strap, all they got are these sun-sniper kind of things. Pretty usable for your big DSLR, but damn ugly. This guy is testing some equipment right outside the store.

i4955Südstadt, my favorite greengrocer.

i4956 i4959I wonder what i looks like from inside.

i4960 i4964Finishing the roll.

i4966-2So the other day i felt like shooting some street with the Rolleiflex. Since i recently bought some rolls of Efke 25 i loaded the little gem and went for a walk. Sry about the border across the frame in the top area, that is from an obviously misaligned glass i put on top of the negatives. Helps a lot with flatness though.

i4969-525ASA shoots surprisingly well hand-held.

i4974-10 i4975-11Ok, not so street-ish, but wow at those tones the efke produces!

i4976-12

i4989b

Back to 35mm. Back to Leica. Except that it is not the M6. Actually it was a rather impulsive decision, but the other day i spotted a really good deal for a recently CLA’d M2 with a superb black Zeiss C-Biogon. I immediately thought to myself “this is the real thing!” and just went for it. Since i got the Hexar i dont use the M6 as frequently as i used to, so i thought, why not give it a try. (Plus the deal was really really good. The body is a real user but with fresh service, the lens is new)

i4985Oh yeah and another thing: Since i ran out of Xtol i was in the mood of playing around with something new, so i bought a bottle of Kodak HC-110 which here in Europe comes as very highly concentrated syrup in a 1l bottle. It is recommended to make a 1+3 stock solution for better handling. That means, it is way easier to measure and pour correctly from A to B. Plus your bottles and scales will be easier to clean because the stock does not stick to it like the syrup does (it really does, feels like maple syrup or honey so make sure to clean all your stuff really good to get rid of possible residues from the developer.)

i4986So these are some frames from the M2 with C-Biogon, Fuji Acros in HC-110. People dancing for some reason.

i4991Cute little fellow.

i4992 i5009 i5003Made me think of this. Nice tattoos though!

i5005So we had some lunch when these guys passed by.

i4979HC-100: great tones. C-Biogon: great rendering and smoooooth bokeh.

i5002 i4977 i4995Well heres another story: as mentioned above, i applied at Nuremberg University. Not for Engineering but for Design (with photography being a major subject ofc). I have had this crazy idea in my mind about becoming a designer/photographer/writer/whatever creative stuff since a long time, but somewhere along the way it got lost. Until now. So as i said, at some point, i told myself “just go and try it, you have nothing to lose. They could turn you down, thats all. PS: Youre a pussy if you dont do it!” It was back in march when i took this decision and so i had some time to select some pieces, write some documentation stuff and design my portfolio (which i never did before). I handed in the folder in may.

perlen4erSince im not necessarily an award-winning drawer, i put together a collection of small series of both analog and digital pictures i took in the last years. This here is a cycle of 4 abstract water stills i took about a year ago.

seatbelt1 seatbelt2More abstract stuff from another series.

seatbelt3All the analog stuff i handed in is featured in previous blog posts: some street shots from Nuremberg train station and from Paris as well as some stills from Prien am Chiemsee and from a walk in the woods. So im not gonna show that again.

i4978About a month later i recieved a letter from the college saying that my portfolio was approved and that i was invited to the qualifying examinations in july. That was when i slowly started getting nervous. So july came and i took the tests, here is some of the stuff we had to do. Day 1: written exam, designing a bookcover and drawing a storyboard.

i4990Day 2: Photography (actually we had to choose between drawing, photography and filming. Not so hard choice for me). Prof Jostmeier gave us a quick early morning briefing on the topic and the time schedule in the photo studio. I was torn between throwing up from anxiety and the urge to document this. We were all just nervous as hell but somehow i still wanted to capture this moment, knowing that it would be very intense and unique. Well, for me at least. Its always personal after all.

i4998So after several hours of shooting we returned to the college and had some time for selecting, post production and for writing a down some lines about our approach on the topic.

i4916The topic for photographers was “Zeitspiegel//Spiegelzeit” which means something like “time//reflection”. These are three of the images i submitted.

i4925 i4998i5000Girls viewing their portfolios. i5000 btw. Way to go. After we had finished the drawing/picture taking/filming part, we got back our folders and waited for an individual talk with one of the professors. In the end, those two days went pretty good and its again time to wait for a response. If you have questions about the whole process of application or about specific tasks, feel free to drop me a note.

i4984Ok, back to normal life. Later that day, i had a look at the annual student exhib i mentioned before. As always, very interesting stuff and great people.

i5006 i5010Guy taking pictures of some of the installations.

i4987 i4996Time to lay back and just relax. Finally!

i5016Last roll with the M6. Ektar, labdev. Its like in the wild nature.

i5023 i5034Whats wrong?

i5046 i5048Some stuff going on at Nuremberg castle.

i5049i5019 i5022

i5054Some regular bw again. M2, Kentmere 100 in Rodinal.
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i5055These papers looked kind of scientific, weird deja-vu.

i5057We decided to have a small barbecue. Dont mind the very blown-out highlights here, still fighting with crappy Silverfast SE.

i5059I live on the 2nd floor, so i just dropped a cable out of the living room window to power my macbook (old Simpsons episodes!) Well, its just a very dull backyard…

i5060 i5064 i5067Hey buddy!

i5069 i5071I remember that on this day, it was incredibly hot outside, like 35°C. I walked around for half an hour in the sun and was completely exhausted. She probably felt the same.

i5074 i5077This was about those 2 guys inside the store checking out some instruments. Worked out great. Yeah.

i5079 i5081 i5083 i5085Probably the best thing to do on this day.

i5091Some more Acros stuff.

i5095So the summer came and it came like a punch in the face! We decided to spend that sunday at the lake.

i5097Still funny that some people didnt seem to care about the outside temps at all.

i5099At the annual Classical Open Air, which takes place in the nice spacious Luitpoldhain park here in Nuremberg. Sun was already gone and there i stood with my 100 ISO film.

i5100That was around 8pm, most people had occupied the place hours ago. Acros rules here.

i5102I remember when i was at the Open Air some years ago with my girflfriend at the time, it was not that crowded and we could easily find a comfy place for our blanket an hour before the start. Here, everything you see from the foreground to the trees in the very background is actually people listening to the concert. Ridiculously overrun. The week after i read in the paper that there were some 75k people in the audience that night.

i51041/8th.

i5105There was a glitch in the matrix.

i5106 i5107Let the nature in!

i5113 i5114Some weird stuff again at the train station.

i5115 i5117This one is about nothing specific i think.

i5119Curious kid.

i5121 i5123 i5124 i5125

i5128The next weekend, Chris joined our little hangout behind the building. This is the smoothest roll of Delta 100 i shot since ever. M2/Zeiss again.

i5130Spent the day at the outdoor bath. I really love Delta in HC-100 at the moment, it just gives some exceptional tones imo.

i5131

i5133Later that day, i went to this years showman/singer/songwriter festival, called “Bardentreffen”. That means hundreds of musicians and artists, music, shows and food all over the place.

i5135 i5136 i5137 i5138

i5139i5140Somebody had too much chili.

i5141 i5142So after one more day at the pool, i went to the festival again to take some more snapshots. when i later looked at the negatives i noticed that the lens (actually the filter in front of it, came with the M2), had gotten very smudgy from sun lotion or something, which added a nice summilux-like glowing look to about 12 frames of that roll.

i5143 i5144 i5145Kid playing the violin + glowing highlights from the dirty lens.

i5147 i5148 i5150Some musicians passed by. I wonder what they needed that for. Probably to party hard.

i5153 i5154i5155The only acceptable Mini. End of glowing frames here.

i5151Some small pieces of art my mother sold recently.

i5158 i5159 i5161 i5162Police freshmen getting in touch with the people.

i5163

i5164I did some adjustments on my hybrid workflow as well, meaning that i changed my scanning method and got rid of those toyish plastic canon film strip holders. I cut some cardboard masks to be able to place the strips correctly and directly on the ground glass. Then i put a plate of glass on top which i got from some picture framing. The results are decent and also slightly sharper then with the film holder. Plus i can do this: digital contact prints of the entire roll (PS stitched of course). This is pretty neat to learn something about your metering and your general style of shooting. So here is the contact sheet of aboves Delta frames. You can clearly see that frames 14, 28 and 33 are underexposed, 1 and 29 are overexposed. Frames like 4, 11, 13, 15 already show a great tonal range (this is a completely untouched scan). Dirty lens from frames 16 to 27. Since i also did a little more experimenting with the process in Silverfast and the post production in LR and PS, i will probably set up a separate post on this topic the discuss all this stuff in detail. Let me know if youre interested. So whats important here: contact sheets -> great tool to review your work.

Ill make a cut here and push the next 5 rolls to the next post since this one is getting longer and longer.

i4883To conclude this post, a quick still of the new old workhorse.

Oh yeah, the college story. So after another month i finally recieved a letter from the university in august. It said that i made it through the qualification tests and that i have been approved. Some day later i went to the college office and handed in my matriculation files. About a week ago (mid august) i got the universities final confirmation. Wow. This autumn, im going back to college. Not for what is reasonable and appropriate, but for what i love to do.