one day at a time

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there

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

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

Before visiting the Meret Oppenheim exhibition in the Martin-Gropius-Bau yesterday I wanted to quickly shoot a test roll at the Ministry of War/Finance right next to our destination. I had abused the film by boiling it in water for 5 minutes and wanted to see how it turns out. The only problem was that at 3.30pm it was already starting to get dark. With this light I only managed to shoot about 30 pictures and knew that there was already too little light. Back home after the exhibition I didn’t have the time to push the roll and so I was a bit worried that it might turn out a bit thin. Well, no reason to worry about light, since my film destruction efforts were a little too effective anyway. There were only 8 shots where the emulsion was not completely destroyed. Next time I’ll try boiling it for one minute only. It was a fun experiment anyway and maybe I can save a couple of shots from the roll.

The exhibition was quite nice by the way. I already visited it once before, but that time we went there so late that we could not see everything. Yesterday with enough time I could appreciate it all a little more. I especially liked her early work and the pictures of her taken by Man Ray. Most of her newer work was a bit too overly conceptualised for my liking. It seemed to lack the immediacy of her earlier work. Still, it was interesting to see it anyway.

The pictures I am posting today are probably the last ones from San Sebastian until I manage to scan some film. Since I just arrived in Chemnitz and my scanner as well as my negatives are in Berlin this will probably only happen in about 2 weeks. Not to worry though, there are tons of shots from Berlin I can show you as well.

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too much icecream

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

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

Somewhere between sleepless nights, writing and going out with the camera I somehow forgot to post some pictures. And no, these were not the fun kind of sleepless nights, but the ones where you toss and turn for all the wrong reasons. In any case, here are some pictures from San Sebastian. On that day I was having extremely good luck with the light and I’m really quite happy with the results.

Preparations for two projects are going fine, although I seem to be behind on both of them. Somehow trying to write 2000 words a day and working on two photography projects at the same time is a little too ambitious. Nevertheless I hope to get it all done in time anyway. Next time I will have to plan my November a little better so that I don’t end up doing 3 or 4 projects at the same time while having my sleep wrecked by completely unrelated issues. Tomorrow I will also travel to my hometown as part of one of the projects. I hope my ability to sleep returns, or else the project might turn out a little too surrealist. Oh well, one has to work with the circumstances, right? After all, the project involves destroyed film, so surreal is actually the aim. I just hope I manage to shoot and develop my test roll later today, so that I don’t end up going in there completely blind.

parallels

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

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

I love it when randomly unconnected people line up and perform for my camera. How else would 2 independent people be biting their finger at the same time? It is also an excellent example for the reason why you should shoot with narrow apertures on the street. You never know what might be happening in the background! That’s also why MFT is a good format for street photography. It gives deep depth of field even at wider apertures. This might not be great for portraits because it’s harder to isolate the subject, but for street photography this is exactly what is needed.

run

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

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

The last couple of days I have been looking through my archives and found a lot of completely forgotten pictures that I somehow never got around to sharing. Quite a number of them haven’t even been edited. Two rolls of film are still sitting on my shelf undeveloped and I’m quite sure I could find even more pictures in my archives if I go further back in time. Of course I frantically continue shooting pictures anyway. Is it getting too much? I don’t think so. I just need to find a better way of archiving them, so that I don’t lose track of them all.

On that note, the order of editing the pictures of my last few days in San Sebastian sort of got confused, so I’ll be posting somewhat randomly. These were actually already taken on the journey back. There are some more San Sebastian pictures still to come though and so time might be running backwards for a few days, at least on this blog.

beautiful failures

Since analog photography has much more creative opportunities to fail than “ran out of battery” or “ran out of space on my SD card” I thought it was time for a new category: Beautiful failures. In this category I will post all those shots that are interesting despite being quite obviously flawed:

 

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

My film clips for hanging the film to dry are somewhat destructive. They produce these 3 circular indentations. The shot looked too underexposed to save and was cut off anyway, so I thought I was not destroying anything salvageable. Well, I was wrong.

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

It was pouring down like crazy, so the film got wet. As a result the film was not transported anymore at the end of the roll and I had no indication that the roll was finished. I don’t even know how many times I exposed this shot, multi-exposure deluxe.

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

Since my walk in the rain was like pre-soaking the film for half an hour the film ripped. There is also some sort of stain on the negative from who knows what.

All pictures taken with: Zorki 4K and Jupiter 12 35mm f/2.8.
Ilford HP5+ souped in Tetenal Ultrafin 1:20.

niche existence

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

All pictures taken with: Zorki 4K and Jupiter 12 35mm f/2.8.
Ilford HP5+ souped in Tetenal Ultrafin 1:20.

Scratches in my pictures? Well, I could either spend hours removing them or I could go out and take some more pictures. I chose not to give in to obsessive perfectionism (Yes, this is the point where you’re supposed to say “Oh wow, well done!”). These pictures are from the roll that ripped in the camera because I got soaking wet. The scratches happened because I could not rewind the roll properly and instead had to get the film off the take up spool in the dark. Basically, whenever the film rips, scratched negatives are inevitable.

friends

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

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

The last few days I didn’t write as much as I planned. I’m behind on my NaNoWriMo project as a result. There is still a lot of time though, so I think I can catch up. The reason why I’m behind was that I had to go to doctor’s appointments every afternoon and felt very tired afterwards. At least I managed to take pictures every day though. I’ve been working on my Down below series again and yesterday I received some gear in the post that I had ordered recently. I got a 35mm viewfinder for my Zorki – the internal one has 50mm – and I also got a ton of film. This time instead of my usual HP5+ I am trying some Kentmere, because I want to experiment a bit. HP5+ is too expensive for experiments. One thing I want to try is to shoot film on the subway. Since my Zorki lenses are rather soft wide open I need to shoot at ISO 3200 to get the pictures as sharp as possible, even though it’s still only f/4.5. So, I’m going to push the Kentmere to 3200 and compare it to Ilford Delta 3200, which is actually a ISO 1600 film that can be pushed to 3200. It should be a rather interesting experiment.

Yesterday on the way to the doctor I had a roll of Kentmere in my Zorki and it was already getting dark. I’m really curious to see how they turned out! The only silly mistake I made was to leave the yellow filter on, which swallows at least a stop. Well, that’s why I used the Kentmere for the first attempt and not the one single roll of Ilford Delta 3200. By the way, I have to say that my new viewfinder is fantastic! It’s so much brighter than the internal one and it’s basically in mint condition. It is an old Zorki finder which I ordered from Latvia and not a fancy brand. Any brand name finder costs 5 times the price and might not be in such a good condition, so I got a real bargain there!

The other experiment I want to make is to abuse the film in some way. Soak it in film soup, boil it or something like that. It should give some really interesting results. Of course I’m going to do this with my Zorki 3C, because I don’t want to risk jamming the film forward mechanism of my 4K.

So, as you can see I was busy photographically, even though I’ve been falling behind on my NaNoWriMo project. That’s what happens when you do too many things all at once. Now that I don’t have as many doctor’s appointments anymore – another one next week and that’s that until December – I will hopefully find the time to catch up.

against

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

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

Today I went to the dentist. As a result I feel like someone was trying to break my jaw. Talking hurts, chewing hurts, drinking hurts, opening my mouth hurts, actually smiling hurts, maybe even being hurts? Anyone else would probably just pop a bunch of painkillers and get on with their day, but of course it’s not that simple with my health. Painkillers don’t agree with me and usually make things worse. So, I’m just here, trying not to grit my teeth and hoping that it will pass soon enough.

high above Berlin

© Verena Fischer 2013

Berlin, Germany | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

Berlin, Germany | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

Berlin, Germany | © Verena Fischer 2013

© Verena Fischer 2013

Berlin, Germany | © Verena Fischer 2013

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

On Friday I travelled from San Sebastian back to Berlin. Honestly, it was a journey from hell. I was supposed to land at Tegel airport, but just as we were approaching Berlin the pilot made an announcement that Tegel was closed due to an emergency landing. We were being diverted to Schönefeld airport which is in the far south of Berlin, at the other end of town. I already saw myself trying to figure out trains and wondered whether I should take a cab from somewhere, so that I wouldn’t have to deal with luggage on the subway. However, I was being rather optimistic there. It turned out that Schönefeld airport just didn’t have enough ground crew to deal with all those extra planes from Tegel. For one hour they couldn’t even get stairs to the plane to let us get off. The planes to the left and right from ours were in the same predicament. My thoughts of trains and cabs inevitably shifted to the evacuation slide. Finally after one hour the pilot made another announcement. Apparently the best solution would be to refuel and fly to Tegel after all, because it would take at least another 1 1/2 hours to get us off the plane, not even thinking about luggage or transportation to Tegel yet. The announcement caused quite a bit of laughter. Imagine your plane lands at an airport and nobody comes to let you out! It’s almost like a rather absurd hostage situation. Ironically for safety reasons refuelling is only permitted with the stairs in place, so after half an hour escape seemed finally possible. However, since there was nobody there to handle the luggage or even let us into the seemingly abandoned airport building, we were stuck anyway.

The whole situation was somewhat ridiculous and surreal, especially since the only food I had left was half a raw courgette meant to go with my dinner that apparently was still ages away. Then finally …

“We welcome you to our flight from Berlin Schönefeld to Berlin Tegel. [-applause-] The flight-time will be approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Please switch off your electronic devices now …”

[-20 minutes later-]

“… We are delighted to FINALLY have managed to bring you to your destination [-applause-] … and thank you for your patience.”

In Tegel it was the fastest I ever got my luggage – it was basically already waiting for me when I entered the building – but of course that couldn’t make up for lost time. And just as my thoughts started to revolve around cabs instead of the courgette one big problem manifested itself. There were no cabs and the queue for getting one looked about half an hour long. Swearing I made my way to the bus stop and waited another 15 minutes, while pondering why the 10°C lower temperature in Berlin seemed like it was approaching freezing. By now my mood was rather subterranean and the [expletive deleted] guy eating a kebab on the bus while my stomach was grumbling definitely didn’t help matters, even though I would never eat kebab! Ah, believe me, there is no more appropriate way of arriving in Berlin than hearing a youth shouting Turkish insults into his mobile phone for 10 minutes followed by having someone else stink up the bus with kebab and then finally watching this same person drop something on the floor and eating it anyway.

Another 20 minutes later I finally arrived at the bus stop near my house. You can’t imagine how very long a 10 minute walk can stretch when you’re absolutely exhausted and have to drag two suitcases behind you while you’re freezing off your bum. The first thing I did when I came home was to sit down on the sofa with a big sigh. And that’s exactly where I stayed for the next hour or so, because I just couldn’t face the thought of getting up on my feet again. At around 12pm I finally managed to drag myself to the kitchen to prepare some dinner and soon later I devoured a chicken leg with … dun dun dunnn … half a roasted courgette.

Well, the silliest part of the story is probably that the plane that had caused my journey to take 13 hours instead of 9 or 10 actually had no apparent fault at all. There had been smoke in the cockpit, which is why the emergency landing happened, but when the firefighters arrived, it was gone. They checked with heat sensors, but apparently there was no problem whatsoever.

You see, this is a story of absolute and utter incompetence, which one nowadays can easily associate with Berlin’s airports after the disastrously failed attempt to open a new one last year – with some luck it might open 2015, but at some point I also heard talk of possibly tearing it down again because of its dismal fire safety arrangements. Oh the irony! Not without cause one of the stewardesses joked during one of the many announcements that we must have landed at the yet to be finished airport instead of Schönefeld.

Ah, Berlin, it’s good to be home. (Translation: “I think it’s time to move.”)

PS: No, your eyes are not deceiving you, these pictures are actually in colour [Space for sufficiently exasperated gasps here]! In my defence, although it might seem rather out of character, this Stalkeresque display actually strikes me as a rather appropriate fit for this surreal experience.

the new generation

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

San Sebastian, Spain | © Verena Fischer 2013

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

This year NaNoWriMo is going well for me. I’m already almost 12,000 words in and right on track. I think this time I can actually make it! For me this project is also a nice way to get back into the swing of writing. Although this writing project is at the moment just for me and not really meant for anyone else to see, it is still good practice and maybe it will inspire me to finally edit my first novel that I finished already last year. I will see how it goes.

In between writing and packing we also went out to the grocery shop. Apart from dinner and some fruit for the trip I also picked up a couple of cans of mussels, since I just haven’t managed to find clean ones in Germany yet. Even here there was only one brand that sold the mussels just in brine, instead of having them in some kind of sauce. It is surprisingly difficult to find some foods without any additional processing, also around here. Bacon with sugar, ham with lactose or whatever else they think of throwing in there. What happened to just plain natural food with a bit of added salt maybe? One perk of being at the see I will definitely miss: always having fresh fish and seafood available. I wonder whether I can get some type of cephalopod somewhere in Berlin as well, even if it’s frozen rather than fresh.

After having yesterday’s roll of film dry over night I also had a look at the pictures and it looks as if there are some really nice ones on there as well. Should be interesting to see how my experiments with Tetenal Ultrafin developer actually look after I scanned them. My next developer experiment will involve Coffenol by the way. I’ve seen quite some amazing results online – for example a beautiful shot taken on Kentmere 400 pushed to 3200 and stand-developed in Coffenol -, which definitely make me eager to try this. Apart from it being one of those mad scientist experiments – fun already because of that -, it definitely beats using toxic chemicals as well. It’s a shame that fixer can’t really be replaced by non-toxic components. I’ve read that salt works as a temporary fix, but it’s not enough for a long-term solution.

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