Hol18: Venezia 3 – what to shoot?

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.

 

Music indifference, St Marks, Venice
Indifference to music on St Mark’s

 

Venice
St Mark’s from the Lagoon

 

 

 

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A bloke fishing.  In Venice.

 

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Deliveries, Murano

 

 

 

Chiesa dei Santi Geremia e Lucia
Chiesa dei Santi Geremia e Lucia..  so it is

 

Venice
Icon

 

 

 

Venice
The dynamic range of cheap 35mm film
Murano
Murano canal.

All photos shot with the Ricoh KR-5 on Oriental Seagull 100, developed in Ilfosol 3..

 

HOL18: No Place Like Rome 1

When you get to a certain age, holidays should be a time for rest and relaxation. So this summer I decided to backpack from Rome to Munich over 3 weeks with an old film camera.  The robust Ricoh KR5 with a few K-mount lenses was the kit of choice with a Vivitar V3000 body as backup although this became quickly irrelevant when the back of the Vivtar fell off in transit.  

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I did have a digital option – a Fuji X20 compact and a Huawei phone – but the aim was to capture the holiday on monochrome film and with no specific photographic objective in mind other than always having the camera with me.  So first stop was a few days in Rome.  While with some cities it’s often a struggle to convey a visual identity, Rome has no such problems exuding a certain cool.  And on every street, you’ll find scooters – Vespas.

 

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Classical building and a Vespa
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Vespa.  One of many.
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I love a wee European kiosk.  And a Vespa
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Woman on a scooter admiring other scooters.

It’s worth mentioning that the traffic in Rome is bloody awful and this pale middle-aged northern European would look ridiculous wobbling around the Roman vias with a well reduced life expectancy.  Unlike the natives, however who have a natural born ability to safely navigate the eternal city while remaining the smartest looking people in Europe.

Photos shot on the Ricoh KR5 on Oriental Seagull 100.

 

Ueno Park, that’s where I’ve been

what did you do there? I took photos

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Kaneiji Temple, Ueno Park

Ueno Park is a large green space in central Tokyo and a great place for a walk around the city with the camera. There’s temples, museum, a zoo, entertainment – including Taiko drumming blogged here, flea markets and plenty of people. It’s also beside a large shopping area, the Ameyoko Shopping Street so you can easily fill a day here. And like Tokyo there’s any number of JR and metro stations in the area to get here.

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Another Kimono photo

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Ameyoko shopping

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Oul lads, Ameyoko

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Blind among the flowers

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Oul lad in the park

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Strange cabbage-like plants, Ueno Park

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Flea Market bargains

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Seller of weird shit, Ueno Park

All shot on the Nikon F60 and Kentmere 400 or Kodak Tri-X

Osaka

Osaka is a nice city to visit and works well as a base for trips elsewhere (Kyoto, Hiroshima etc) albeit without an overwhelming must-see identity of its own.  It is however clean, safe, friendly  – and has a Universal Studios park.  I’d only a few days in the city armed with the Nikon F60 and Huawei P9 and got some shots.

A good place to start is downtown at the Shinsaibashi shopping street, 600 metres of covered shopping.

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Shinsaibashi shopping street, Osaka

There’s also every conceivable eating place, including a bit of crab.

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Downtown Osaka, seafood restaurant.  Crab on the menu.

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Downtown Osaka, Dotobori Canal

One of the main sites for a visit is the Osaka Castle in its large gardens. It focusses on local history and art as well as some viewpoints of the city.

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Osaka Castle

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View of the city from Osaka castle

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Osaka Castle gardens

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Osaka Castle gardens

Osaka is also the site for Japan’s Universal Studios theme park. Cue lots of Minions but I was particularly taken with Hogsmeade, Asian style.

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Hogsmeade, Japan (snow not real)

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Hogsmeade staff (Owl not real)

Practicalities – we stayed in the suburbs at the wonderful Rainbow Hostel near Imazato train station about 20 minutes from downtown.  The area was nice and quiet and you’ll not go hungry

 

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Out in the suburbs

And of course in  Shinsaibashi there are plenty of camera stores.  Nice that film is still widely used in Japan.

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just over a tenner for a three-pack of Acros

Kit:  Nikon F60 / Kentmere 100 and the Huawei P9

 

Tokyo: Shibuya

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The Crossing:  Nikon F60, Acros100

There aren’t many places you visit just to cross a road.  We’ve loads of crossings in Northern Ireland  – press a button, wait until a green man appears then dander across the road.  Occasionally this will involve a car or two stopping and perhaps a few other pedestrians.  Certainly nothing for tourists.

The Shibuya district in Tokyo has one of the biggest crossings in the world.  Roads from all directions get a red light and then it’s a pedestrian free for all.

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Crossing the crossing.  Nikon F60, Acros 100

It is of course best seen from above  – there is a ridiculously packed Starbucks overlooking the crossing  – the phone is best to record this this.

There is of course more to the Shibuya district than a pelican crossing no matter how big assed and busy it is.  It’s a vibrant shopping, eating and socialising area making it great for street shots.

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Marlboro Men of Shibuya. Nikon F60, Acros 100

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Queueing for a traditional Japanese Wendy burger. Nikon F60, Acros 100

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Signage. Nikon F60, Acros 100

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Bunting. Nikon F60, Acros 100

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Shibuya street scene and a Barcelona FC fan shop…    Olympus Trip 35 / Fomapan 100

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Tokyo Taxi . Olympus Trip 35 / Fomapan 100

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Shopping Nikon F60, Acros 100

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Night shopping Nikon F60, Acros 100

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Struggling handheld at night on 100 ISO.  Nikon F60, Acros 100

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True.  Olympus Trip 35 / Fomapan 100

 

O Fortuna. Part 1

Fortuna Dusseldorf
Toni Turek.  Fortuna’s most famous player – and goalkeeper in the 1954 Miracle of Bern West Germany world cup winning team

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.

Fortuna Dusseldorf
Industrial estate setting

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.

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Fortuna Station (ESPIRIT Arena / Messe Nord)

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.

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End of the line – train heads straight back out again

Unlike many city centre stadia, there’s plenty of space when crowds start to arrive – ticketing and queing is all very efficient.

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Pick your seat

Fortuna Dusseldorf
Then buy the ticket

Of course, being in Germany the onsite food and drink is top quality and decently priced.

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My Club, My Stadium, My Sausage.

The last pre-match task – the Club Shop. For a hat.

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Fortuna Fan Shop

Kit:   The robust and utilitarian Ricoh KR5, 50mm f2 lens and a roll of Kentmere 400

Indiana Wants Me

I’ve had the good fortune to visit the US on 3 separate occasions in recent years – and most of that time has been spent in Indiana.
These were working visits – it’s one of the more unlikely holiday destinations if you’re heading across the Atlantic but it has a quiet charm and warm feeling that makes me want to return.

Indy

The city of Indianapolis is a smart place with an accessible downtown area, the speedway and is home to my weekly dose of NFL.

P6273270View from Monument Circle

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Capitol Building

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Monument Circle

Upstate (Downstate..?)

I spent quite a while at two of the state’s Universities – Ball State and Taylor – and travelled around some unheralded places.

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Headin down south. Upland, IN

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A poor man’s Stephen Shore. Muncie, IN

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The Middle. Surrounded by corn

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another photogenic gas station (petrol as we call it..)

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The big sky around Matthews Restaurant, Matthews, IN

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Welcome to Matthews

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Old trucks and primary colours. OK, ‘colors…’

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Grain Truck, Matthews

Gas City – the smallest ‘city’ I’ve ever been to, but home to Friday speedway. Noise, fumes and fried food.

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The home of motor racing

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Gas city Speedway

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Gas City bunting

One of the most striking visual features I noticed was the signage. Sometimes grander than the actual place, sometimes unintentionaly funny but something we’ve lost over here.

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The King of Pizza

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It was closed, but I would’ve had a good time here

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Free panties on Friday night, Fort Wayne, IN

Baseball. If ever a sport is more enjoyable watching live rather than on TV, it’s baseball. This was my first experience at Fort Wayne.

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Parkview Field, Home of the Tin Caps

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Uncontroversial kneeling

I hope to go back to Indiana next time I visit the US. It’s an unassuming place with warm, friendly people, incredibly photogenic and seems to exude a laid back form of conservatism. Sometimes, though you have to be immodest, especially if you are the best damn sports bar.

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Simply the best. Blu 49

 

It Happened at the County Fair

Summer in Indiana and I got to experience that colourful cultural experience – the County Fair. We have, of course, fairs in Ireland – it’s usually cold and wet, they’re often like outdoor shopping malls, and they’re a bit… two dimensional. Now whether it’s the novelty of travelling or enjoying a trip to somewhere like parts of Indiana that are well off the tourist trail, there are things you just don’t get at home.

Forget Healthy Eating
There was a serious diet and a gym membership organised after this trip. It wasn’t just the grilled/fried everything – it was the sheer size and volume of portions.  All delicious, of course.

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Corn Dogs.  Wrong on every level.. I ate loads

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Make sure you have an up to date dental plan

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Porky’s.  Ate here as well….

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Satisfied customers from the Big Dog Diner

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Something for the little ones..

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Are we in Scotland???

We The People
With the fine weather and good food, everyone seemed chilled.

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The Fire Department – ready for action

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I think it’s a Nikon

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Competition time

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Love it when a Bass Player Smiles.  And nice Gretsch.

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Hangin’

Bit of Politics
I have to say that these guys had considerably less attention than the food, agricultural shows, sports and entertainment. The Tea Party strangely had no tea.

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Democrat casual.

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Down with this sort of thing. Careful now.

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A military presence

Sports
Tractors we have at home. Horses at agricultural shows, ditto.
Demolition derbies and pig wrestling, not so much.

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John Cougar….   …. John 3:16

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They actually did play ZZ Top for this

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Driving without lights.  and windows

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One careful owner

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a fine display of horses and hats

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ZZ Top tribute band and pig wrestlers

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Ladies and Gentlemen., we have a winner

And finally..
Sorry about this Dave, but we were on the lookout for you the whole time.

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Lock up your daughters.. Dave’s skipped bail

Hancock, Grant and Delaware County Fairs, I salute you. Every conceivable type of food and entertainment, everyone enjoying themselves and so, so much to photograph.

Tech note:
ColorEfex Pro was used to punch the Raw files taken off the Olympus E450.  It’s a great free tool.

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the Fuji 160 film emulation

 

 

Fairmount, IN.

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Understated James-Dean-free welcome

It was while watching a recent documentary about Magnum Photos,  a segment on Dennis Stock’s photos of James Dean reminded me I’d been to his home town of Fairmount on a trip to Indiana.  Due to lack of time, I ended up in Fairmount early on a Sunday morning, had a walk, took some shots of the town and some James Dean related sights with the Olympus E450, and in the absence of any other souls or open cafes, headed on to my next stop.

I then forgot about Fairmount and the photos sat on a hard drive for a few years.  Looking at them now and running them through a quick Color Efex filter, Fairmount looks to these European eyes exactly like how a mid west US town should look.  with added James Dean.

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An ornate 19th Century bank and stop sign.  Main Street, Fairmount

 

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Fairmount Post Office.  Closed on Sundays

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Wall based nostalgia

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no MP3s

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I’m sure a Beth Grant lookalike librarian works here

It doesn’t take long to find visual sightings related to Fairmount’s most famous son, and it’s all reasonably tasteful.

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The Giant Bar and Grill.  

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Fairmount Record Store

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Rebel wall art

I never got to the James Dean gallery, museum or his grave site – it was a fleeting visit at an early unsociable hour  – but I’d love to go back.  I’d orginally had a look at these shots in black and white but a town like Fairmount deserves colour – and Kodachrome would have been wonderful.  Sadly like Fairmount’s most famous resident it’s another much missed Amercian cultural icon.

Olympus Tripped.

When the meter finally goes….

Trippy.  Meter no more
Meter no more

The inherent risk of bringing your 40 year old film camera on holiday is of course that it decides to call it a day.  Before loading the Trip, I always give it a quick check to ensure that it responds reasonably appropriately to light – particularly that the wee red underexposed marker appears in the viewfinder.  Day 2 of a trip to Tokyo and before the Fomapan was loaded, it was clear that the Trip meter had finally given up the ghost.  However, before putting it back in the suitcase and relying on the Nikon F60, I remembered the manual aperture settings – a quick check showed these to be responding.

So, a pretty useless 1/40th constant shutter speed in a bright summer Tokyo day and it was Sunny 22 to see how the Trip would go on manual only.  F22 for the bright outdoors and guess for the shade and indoors.

And…  it went ok.  Fomapan 100 is pretty forgiving anyway and with the bright harsh sunlight and deep shadows, I couldn’t really complain with the results from a 40 year old malfunctioning compact and a £3.50 roll of budget Czech film.

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Kimonos, Asakusa – a great range of detail captured by the Trippy

It would have been a challenge getting any sort of shadow detail here given the contrast between the umbrella and background.

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Posing

Of course, with an aperture setting now to consider on the Trip,  there was the added risk to forget about adjusting the zone focussing from “mountains” to “2 blokes“.

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Bookstore.  Blur unintentional..

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Orange Street. In black and white

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Incense

 

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Simultaneously shot on her own phone and my dodgy Trippy

The Trip of course, is a great street camera, all you have to remember is to set the zone focus.  My immediate reaction when the meter went was to retire the Trip and have a look on The Bay for a replacement.  But doing a quick Sunny 16 setting of the Aperture is no problem, and you can learn to live with the constant 1/40th shutter.  The lens is as sharp as ever (after remembering to check the focus) and frankly there is no better looking 35mm compact out there.  My meter-less Trip hasn’t had its last holiday just yet.

More Trip/Foma100 photos on the Flickr.