All pictures taken with: Olympus Pen E-PL3 and Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 ASPH.
Last night I spent a few hours working on the first batch of pictures that I took recently in Berlin while working on my Down Below project. Every day I went down in the subway and spent some time exploring, getting off at every station and taking pictures. It seems to be a good strategy, because I got a lot of interesting pictures and only spent a little more than half an hour for each session. After about 5 stops with trains every 5 minutes and spending 10 minutes at some stations when it was interesting enough, I was already saturated and had taken a ton of pictures with a good results. Some stations are obviously more interesting than others. Usually those are the ones where several lines cross and where more people get off. However, even the stops where you would not expect to see anything interesting can be worth a try, since one might get lucky. After seeing the good results of my first session I’m really curious about the next ones.
The last couple of days I realised how very silly it was to choose November for my plan to come to my hometown to take pictures. Boy is it cold out here! On the first outing my hands were red and stiff when I took my gloves off. These gloves work fine when I have my hands in my coat pockets, but not when I’m holding a metal camera! You can imagine how much fun it is to rewind a roll of film when the camera is really cold and your hands are already freezing before touching the damn thing. So, the first order of business was to get some cold weather gear, which meant going to the mall and getting myself some mittens and leg warmers. And did I mention that taking pictures involves standing around too much in the snow, which is a guarantee for numb toes? I’m hoping that wool inlays for my shoes will help at least a little bit, but judging from experience it won’t prevent cold feet entirely. Only walking helps with that and once the feet are cold they usually stay cold anyway. Somehow the gloves are still a problem as well. The mittens are really nice and warm and work fine with my Olympus, but they are actually a bit of a hassle while shooting with my Zorki. It works, but I tend to cover the rangefinder window while trying to focus, which is hugely annoying. Maybe I have to get some sports gloves instead.
The other problem while shooting analog in this weather is that the film tends to get a bit brittle. Yesterday I managed to break a roll of film in such a weird way that I still don’t know how it could have happened. It basically sliced a bit of film off the long side while rewinding. I guess I can be lucky that this did not happen on the whole length of film or else I would have sliced the whole roll in half. Normally film rips on the short end and you only lose a few frames, but this could have easily ended up ruining the entire roll. The way it happened I only lost about 3 or 4 frames instead of one or two with a regular rip. Ah, the joys of photography in cold weather! No wonder that I’m trying to escape this madness by moving to Spain! At least there it snows just a few days if it snows at all, while here in Germany it’s usually months of this weather! For this project there are only two ways of dealing with the cold though: Putting up with it now or re-scheduling the whole effort to happen in spring instead. I’m already here though, so I might as well try to get it done anyway even though it involves quite a bit of discomfort.