one day at a time


© Verena Fischer 2013

Berlin | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

Berlin | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

Berlin | © Verena Fischer 2013

All pictures taken with: Olympus Pen E-PL3 and Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 ASPH.

When I copied pictures from my SD card yesterday I suddenly became confused with the dates. I completely forgot that between my trip to the planetarium and my trip to the hospital for a checkup I actually went out to go to my photography course. A whole day just disappeared from my awareness and I needed the timestamp of my pictures of that day to remind me where all that time had gone. Speaking of time, did I mention that it seems to fly these days? Not only is it June already, but my analog photography course ended as well! Didn’t I just start that? Well, nevermind, the important thing is that the content stays in my mind. I learned how to develop film and have since started to develop film at home. I learned how to make contact sheets, how to make prints, how to use multigrade paper and how to dodge and burn in the darkroom. It was so much fun!

The most valuable part of all this was learning how to develop film, because now I’m much more in control of how my pictures turn out. I can change ISO settings in the middle of a roll, can shoot without paying too much attention to the light meter and I know that for the most part I will still end up with something usable. And most importantly, I don’t have to pay 5€ for something that only costs a few cents when I do it myself. The next thing I want to try at home will be to make my own contact sheets. My photography course really showed me how useful they can be, especially when you just want to evaluate your pictures quickly or when you’re trying to find a specific negative. At the moment I have to actually scan the whole roll in full resolution before I can see whether the pictures are sharp, which is a bit of a hassle. With contact sheets I can evaluate the pictures before and only scan those that turned out alright.

I won’t try the contact sheets immediately. Since my checkup at the hospital confirmed that I’m healing alright after my surgery, I will actually be in San Sebastian over the next month. Finally a real holiday! This also means that I won’t have access to a darkroom, which I actually see as a good thing. Using a commercial lab for a while won’t be the end of the world and it will force me to be more accurate with measuring light a while longer. My main plan is to relax on the beach though, take pictures whenever I feel like it and hopefully enjoy some good food as well. My next doctors appointment here in Berlin is in August, so that gives me at least a month to relax and get a real holiday away from doctors, away from the city and from my daily routine. And my return from Spain is as good a time as any to start making my own contact sheets.

Speaking of August: Last year in August after I finished my 365 project I wrote that my goal for the following year was to really get into analog photography. I wanted to really get the hang of shooting my Zorki and to learn how to develop my own film. At this point I can give you a clear update on these goals: I definitely got into analog photography and I also learned how to develop my own film. I even learned some more darkroom techniques apart from that. I filled 10 rolls of film with my Zorki so far and although I’m not completely at ease with the camera yet, it’s definitely getting better. By now I can properly expose with the help of an external light meter and I’m trying to get the hang of judging light intuitively without a meter. Until August I’m planning to shoot at least another 10 rolls of film and maybe by then I can really say that I got the hang of taking pictures with my Zorki.

I’m really happy that I’m actually reaching my goals. With all my health problems in the last year it’s really reassuring to be able to still do the things I want to do. In fact I even went beyond my goals. I figured out that my passion lies in street photography and updated my gear accordingly. I also had a few pictures in an exhibition in Dresden and I made a portfolio to apply to art school. I didn’t get in, but at least from the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf I got a response which showed that I’m on the right path. After all this I think I deserve a holiday!

By the way, don’t expect me to drop off the face of the Earth while I’m not in Berlin. I’m not only taking my Zorki but also my E-PL3 and I’m actually really looking forward to some street photography in the Basque Country.


3 responses

  1. Wow Verena, you are really doing well with the B&W photography! Isn’t playing in the darkroom fun?! I hope you have a wonderful time on holiday…you deserve it!!!

    June 15, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    • Oh yes, playing in the darkroom is awesome! It needs a lot of concentration, but it’s really magical when the print comes out of the developer. So much fun 🙂 I wish I had access to a darkroom in Spain, but I’m sure the holiday will be great anyway 🙂

      June 16, 2013 at 8:09 pm

  2. Bon voyage and happy holiday. 🙂

    June 17, 2013 at 5:47 am

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