When you arrive in Salzburg, you know you are in Mozart’s town. He’s everywhere in the form of 2 Mozart Houses, numerous statues, music venues and every item of tourist tat you could think of. I have to confess to actually not liking classical music (I’ve watched the Amadeus movie a few times..) and I’ve no real academic interest but he has definitely become a bit of a tourist magnet for the city.
Of the 2 Mozart houses, we visited the Mozartheim – where he grew up before going to Vienna. His birth house in the main shopping area is above a Spar and had much longer queues. There’s no photography permitted inside the Mozartheim – and it is rigorously enforced.
One slightly dodgy statue of Wolzgang is artist Markus Lüpertz’s ‘Hommage to Mozart’ outside St Mark’s church. The half male/female ‘lumpy’ piece isn’t overly prominent in the city tour guides and not too revered by its citizens. It puts the Ronaldo one in a bit of perspective.
Finally despite all the keyrings, stickers, phone covers and countless other pieces of tat, my favourite item of shopping is the Mozart Chocolate Balls. (genuine Salzburg)
This part of the trip was a bit unplanned. Trying to get a cheap train north from Ljubljana resulted in a few nights staying in Villach, a town in the Gailtal Alps in southern Austria on the river Drau. I hadn’t heard of until I checked the direction of the railway line on Google Maps. And it turned into quite a nice stopover. We got a good value AirBnB in a residential area overlooking the town and spent a nice 48 hours around the river, churches, statues, squares, beer and food.
A bit like Ireland, there’s no shortage of places to go for a drink. Villach has its own brewery – Villacher beer – and a splendid Brauhof.
Also like Ireland, there’s the church for each bar.
And there’s a statue of the most famous Villacher – painter and sculptor Hanns Gasser
Down by the river, you can get a splendid 2 hour beer cruise with a nice backdrop of bridges and mountains
Away from the crowds and walking tours there are many quieter streets and walks in the centre of Ljubljana to indulge in a bit of street photography and to try and capture the look and feel of the city, even around the Triple Bridge when it isn’t so crowded..
I had no real expectations regarding Ljubljana having little knowledge of the city or indeed of Slovenia beyond the usual photos of Lake Bled. It was however one of the friendliest, relaxed, photogenic and enjoyable cities I’ve been to in Europe, and there seemed to something going on at every junction along the river.
The area around the Triple Bridge can attract the artists and the crowds.
There is a statue of France Prešeren, Slovenia’s greatest literary figure near the bridge which is a general meeting point – and the starting point for the excellent Free Walking Tour.
And in direct line of sight from Prešeren is a little wall statue of his unrequited love and subject of many a poem, Julija Primic.
And of course if you’re hungry there’s many food vendors.
Venice is great to visit – but every bugger will have taken every conceivable picture there is to be taken. That’s not to say you shouldn’t take photos, try to find something different to shoot or just decide to visit somewhere and record what’s there. I didn’t do the usual slow shutter speed shot of blurred gondolas parked on the lagoon with San Giorgio Maggiore in the background (no tripod anyway..) but with a bog standard film camera / prime lens and cheap monochrome film you’ll get something different from the thousands of smartphone grab shots and selfies.
All photos shot with the Ricoh KR-5 on Oriental Seagull 100, developed in Ilfosol 3..
Any trip to Rome should really include some Roman sites – as in ancient Rome. There are numerous sites across the city, but as it was my first trip to Rome the easiest thing to do was the Forum and Colosseum. Oh, and a quick travel tip – go early (obvious) and buy your combined ticket to both at the Forum entrance – everyone seems to queue at the Colosseum for a ticket, with your pre-bought ticket you can just walk smugly by.
For photography I had the sturdy Ricoh Kr-5 with a roll of Oriental Seagull 100. After one shot, it was obvious that the Ricoh’s batteries were done – I’d no metering so it was Sunny 16. And as it was very, very sunny, basically F16 at 1/125 or 1/250 for toning it down a bit.
The forum was at the heart of ancient rome – market places, temples, government buildings, courts – if it was happening in Rome, it happened here. The remains date from around the 7th century BC to around the 3rd century AD. The sense of history and place is amazing and more than I’m capable of describing, but for a tourist with a camera it’s a delight to take a slow walk around the ruins and try and capture some essence of the place. Even on a 40 year old camera with a dodgy meter.
The Forum is well worth a visit, and actually makes for a much nicer photo walk than the Colosseum – which isn’t too shabby either.
The resurgence in film photography, especially with younger photographers has led to a sharp increase in the price of old film cameras. In 2008 I bought a mint Nikon L35AF for a measly £3 . With the ascendancy of DSLRs and Mirrorless systems, people couldn’t get rid of their film gear quickly enough.
10 years on and classic compacts, SLRs, rangefinders and medium format cameras go for premium prices, although only for certain cameras with a certain cachet. Cameras like the Canon AE1, Olympus MjuII, Pentax 67, Mamiya 7, anything Contax or Leica all seem to be a costly camera of choice for the affluent young blogger or YouTuber.
I however grew up on a Praktica MTL3 and whatever cheap M42 lenses I could get, and even though I progressed to the heights of Praktica B mount and aperture priority exposure, I still have a fondness for a more budget approach to film photography.
So while looking on the EBay for a 28mm lens to go with a battered but working Pentax K1000 rescued from impending landfill, I managed to obtain for the princely sum of a tenner:
A mint Ricoh KR-5 with 50mm f2 Riconar lens
A Sirius 28mm lens
A Sirius 135mm lens
An olive green Miranda bag
A wee sync cable
A blower brush (essential for negative scanning) I don’t think I’ve ever felt as pleased with myself.
The KR5 it should be said is a basic beginners camera of the most utilitarian order. But my god it’s beautiful. A solid mix of metal body and plastic casing – the name and model is cut into the plastic, none of your sticker nonsense here – it has a solid, unfussy design.
It’s jet black – front, back and top with minimal controls. You get a shutter dial, film speed dial, lever advance and shutter release button (threaded for cable release). A self-timer on the front and that’s your lot. Even the shutter speed dial keeps it basic. No wide range of speeds either..
A modest fastest speed of 1/500th is complemented by a slowest of 1/8th with B the only setting below this. So any milky water shots, you’re on B and counting. In reality of course if you’re street shooting or doing a photo-walk, this is going to cover most situations unless you’re using Ilford Delta 3200 on a bright summer day. Equally in the studio under flash – sync of 1/60th, lens at f8 and set the lights accordingly.
Exposure is measured through a simple CdS exposure meter powered by two G13/SR44 batteries. A useful feature is that the meter only works when the lever is half-cocked to show the red dot as seen above. Unlike the Pentax K1000 whose meter is always on and needs a lens cap on to stop battery drain, the exposure is only read when the lever is in this position.
Simplicity is extended through to the viewfinder screen.
It’s big, bright and has a needle that moves up and down. No LED’s or even +/- indicators. When it’s in the middle you’re good to go. Even the focussing circle in the centre is unfussy and is clear to see when you’re in focus.
And that’s the KR-5. Next step is to load film and shoot.
And that’s the Ricoh KR-5 in all its wonderful simplicity. You may ask what’s the difference between it and any of the numerous other manual SLR’s of the 1970’s and 80’s and there’s undoubtedly more sophisticated, desirable cameras out there, cameras with greater versatility and even ones with more than 7 shutter speeds.
It’s strength is in the simplicity of use and its limited options and functionality which puts the onus on the photographer. It combines Eastern Bloc utilitarianism with a bit of Japanese reliability and sleeker design. It’s not too heavy, the shutter’s not too loud and the solid black look and stripped back functionality make it the Johnny Cash of cameras.
When travelling it’s always a pleasure to check out a local football club. On a visit to Düsseldorf, the grandly named Fortuna Düsseldorf were playing the lowly 1. FC Heidenheim 1846. Or Düsseldorfer Turn- und Sportverein Fortuna 1895 to give the home side their full unedited title. (The book Tor! by Uli Hesse explains the background to the glorious naming conventions of German football).
As to the match itself, it was a cracking 2-2 draw ending up with a mass brawl between both teams, coaches and substitutes – and a referee who clearly lost control and the general ability to referee a football match.
From a photographic point of view however, armed with a 1970’s Ricoh KR-5 and a few prime lenses, it was going to be some documentary shots to give a flavour of the matchday experience.
The Espirit Arena is a big multi-function trade fair venue (Messe) and sports arena in an anonymous looking industrial estate. It does however hold over 54,000 and the Rolling Stones have played here. For a 2nd tier yoyo club, it’s an impressive home stadium.
And with typical German efficiency, getting to the ground and around the stadium couldn’t be easier.
The regular train service connects the city centre and the stadium with a loop to get the train heading back out again while the next train comes in.
Unlike many city centre stadia, there’s plenty of space when crowds start to arrive – ticketing and queing is all very efficient.
Of course, being in Germany the onsite food and drink is top quality and decently priced.
The last pre-match task – the Club Shop. For a hat.
Kit: The robust and utilitarian Ricoh KR5, 50mm f2 lens and a roll of Kentmere 400