My apologies, shitty queen Pentax 110, your lenses are great – in some cases

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Well well well, sometimes, dear audience, your blogger is a little too fast with her judgments.
You maybe have read my ode to “The queen of a shitty system”, the Pentax 110? If not, here is the chance to do so.

My conclusion was in a nutshell: I don’t get all the YouTubers and vintage lens nerds who are after the shardy remains of this weird DSLR 110 camera.
My apologies, I now understand. At least partial.
When I got my hands on the 18mm 2.8 lens, I just tried it at home and in the garden. Both with anticlimatic results after all of the hype.
So I decided to write the post and store them on my shelf for good.

Revisited Pentax 110 simply cause why not

So the camera and the subsequent lenses sat on said shelf. And bugging me big time. Not because of the money, they cost next to nothing.
But because of the simple fact, that I couldn’t believe that YouTubers like microfour nerd, which I really appreciate, were so wrong.
I mean, this system was discontinued in the early 80ies, the lenses are dirt cheap, so there is no influencer-alarm-bell ringing in my ears.
Could I’ve been wrong? Well, ehm, yes. I was.

Portrait time

I had the honor and pleasure to shoot some new profile pictures for a friend of mine – one of the very rare pandemic contacts. And what would be better than bringing some vintage goodies?
Somehow the Pentax lens found its way into my rucksack. And somehow onto the camera. With stunning results.
The colour rendering is a nightmare if you’re looking for crisp and clear pictures.
It’s not the sharpest tool in the quiver, by far not. This lens is harsh in a very interesting way.
Really harsh.
And that’s where the fun starts.

 

Going black & white

After these very promising results, I decided to take this tiny little something of a lens with me on my next trip to the outside.
You know, into this mystical land we used to live in before the virus.
In my case on Sunday afternoon in Munich’s borough Glockenbach.
Nice architecture, nice afternoon sun. Some people and some space to experiment.

harsh reflection

stray light

enjoying the sun

vintage beauty

 

So I changed my mind on these little lenses completely.
How do you see it?
Please leave your comments!

My first film – hopefully

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Today I’m really excited – if things work out, I’ll have finished my first film at the end of the weekend.
Ok, not exactly my film alone, let me explain.

A while ago I learned about this platform Meetup (no paid content here, I promise). I had look and discovered several quite interesting groups, including one filmmaker group.
So they initiated a “72 hours Film Challange” within a Filmmakers Festival. At the kick-off meeting, several groups will be formed and they got the task to make a film in 72 hours.

That’s all I know by know – but hell, I’m really excited!

So hopefully I can present next week a long read about my experiences – and show off some results!

Stay safe!

 

PS: these are the guys running the show… their portfolio looks at least impressive.
flyingpandamedia

Change is the constant, and it’s slow

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A Chinese city, rumors about wet markets, disgusting pictures of unfortunate animals in small cages. Stories about an elite eating wild animals of any species simply because they can afford it.
But it was far away, none of our problems. Change was not visible yet.

Do you remember those bright days in February?

Winter was nearly over, the promise of a new year, first signs of spring in the air.
Oh yes, the spring came – and how it came. Lockdowns, panic shopping, masks and malaria treatments. The world changed faster than ever in my lifetime. It felt like the globe spun two times faster every day.

Do you remember the slowing?

Spring came, masks went up and down, politicians forth and back, suddenly everything came to a halt. Staying at home became normal, the outside a dangerous wasteland – and I changed.
First slowly, not recognizable. It needed a while to realize that this is here to stay. And the changes will be permanent.

Do you remember summer?

Yes, there was a summer. It was warm, it was beautiful. And dry. California burned down, somewhere in the distance. Separated through a screen, a thin layer of glass, the world passed by.
The tonality of the discourse got hysterical. I drifted off, stopped trying to understand.
What for? Do I really want to understand every single utter madness people say?
I tried it for 50 years, obviously without any result.

I started to see. My colours. And my way into art again.
Started to see how I will get through and out of these situations, this clamp Corona had put on my brain.
It’s about change, constant change. As the plague changed the world in its days, Covid will do the same. It’s inevitable, it’s nature itself. We may can destroy our environment, but we can’t control nature.

Change is the constant, and it’s slow

Only a close look makes it visible, except of those rare times like the one we’re living in.

These slow changes I wanted to visualize.
Movement nearly frozen, slowed down to the edge of visibility.
Change so slow that it nearly hurts to watch,
a dance of fading and reappearing
transformation of shapes
reformation of structures.

I wanted to find the moment change happens
the moment autumn kisses summer goodbye
I guess I found it
for a moment in time

Six months and a day at home – my totally subjective Corona resume

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Oh, my esteemed audience, I almost forgot a typical 2020 anniversary in the sound of the sirens. Or rather in the non-sound. For me at least nothing was crying except maybe a couple of tin foil hats about the once again unusual doomsday. For those living outside the realm of spuds and krauts: there was a national emergency test scheduled for yesterday. Epic failure. So much about the idea to install a New World Order – we’re not even capable of testing a few sirens.

But now for the anniversary: ​​I am at home for six months and one day, half the year has just been filled. And no end in sight. If I may invite you on the trip we’re all on. Somehow together and yet everyone for himself. For me time for a Corona resume.

Maybe a week, I thought in early March. A suspected case in a very wide area, no drama, but caution is the mother of the porcelain box and anyway, one doesn’t know for sure.

No, I did not know anything. None of that that came.

At the beginning there is great motivation. A lot planned, only some of it actually done.

Morning sport with VR glasses and finally a walk, real breakfast, no subway.

The weeks are dragging on

And unfortunately, also the dark clouds.

My father’s 80th. Failed, quarantine.
Company broke, job gone.
My window to the world becomes – even more so – the monitor. While retreat is becoming the norm for me, the pandemic fuels the parade of the brain-dead in their strange lust for doom. The scraps of news seem more bizarre every day. People fight over toilet paper. Press conferences, statements, the final triumph of streaming.

Tables, statistics, R-values, K-values, curves up and curves down.
My temperature curve is rising. Fortunately, only the virtual one.
Hearse wagons in Italy, ambulances at the door.
Burning cities in the USA, burning forests in the Amazon, in Australia the remains are glowing.

I become passive, watching becomes increasingly masochistic. But at least I take it off.

Söder mutates from baffoon to doer, Drosten to meme, the numbers and charts begin to overlap, to blur. Daily change at the top of the new infections, a tour-de-madness.

Bars closed, bars open. Clubs closed, beer gardens open. Businesses closed, businesses open.
Masks down, masks up.

The “outside” suddenly seem threatening to me. Strange. The throat is scratching.
Panic.

I have to get out of this loop. Now. Immediately.

The claustrophobia of my world, which has shrunk to a few square meters, is the key.
Only when everything condenses is the path to opening possible.
So I get out. In the evening. With distance.
I am starting to see again. To observe. Perceive.
To experience my city with fresh eyes.
It seems to me that I needed this distance to regain closeness.

And I learn. In these six months I have learned more than five or 10 years ago.

Photography rediscovered for me, video, sound. I am writing again for the sake of writing.
Homepages set up, YouTube channel started.
Yes, a lot is a quarter done and half started.

But I can’t get any further without doing it – and it’s a pleasure, a lot of fun.

My batteries are charging again, barely noticeably at first, but at some point, I realize that I have more energy than I thought I could have again.

My life has changed a lot more in the last few months than I expected. I think most of them do. The pandemic is real, even if it doesn’t taste or smell. The mask in the pocket has quickly become a matter of course. Thinking about who to meet where, too. Wasn’t he only Spain, doesn’t she have an awful lot of colleagues in the office? Meet in things? Oh no, don’t be angry with me, but the tables are very narrow.

Is that the “New Reality”?

Bullshit – as if there had ever been an “Old Reality”.
We live in the here and now, there is no going back to virtual normality.
And as long as there are crazy people who want to go back to the empire and, better still, to go straight to the cave, I don’t have the slightest interest in it.
During the last few weeks, I have realized that there will be no going back to the start.
Much is lost, including much that is important to me. Many questions, few answers.

Will we ever have nights again, sweating, and happy in tight clubs? Barely.
Will we ever again walk through crowds of people completely inexperienced, get on crowded subways without hesitation? Rather not.
At least not me.

Back to cruises, consultants flying around and across and a world where home office is still an excuse for doing laundry? Back to a world that was completely out of joint even without Corona? Definitely not.
Not with me. There must be something else, something between unrestrained consumption as an end in itself and inhibited crawling at home.

And I want to find that, whatever it is.

Corona definitely changed me. The fear of catching this damn virus cannot be discussed away. A lack of social contacts, protection of parents from infection, fear for the neighbour and anger at people who deny reality endanger us all, a mix of feelings that I have never had before. Grief and compassion for people who have died, maybe just hanging on a fan somewhere, between death and life.

And yet – or maybe because of it – I feel more alive and creative than ever.

I know about the schizophrenia of this condition, but I cannot and will not feel guilty about it. Because the situation is what it is. In the end, it only matters what you make of it. I try to see the opportunities. Maybe some things will change permanently. Less flights, less travel, less buying. That may not serve the economy – but I don’t want to define myself by whether I am sufficient for the consumer goods industry.

Corona made me more thoughtful – and in a perverse way freer in the midst of the constriction. Freer in my thoughts and freer in the possibilities to express them.

Six months without a real résumé

What has Corona done to me now? Certainly not to a better person, not even to another person. But it made me humble, more grateful for what is and what is possible. And these six months made it very clear to me that life is a journey without a defined destination, plans are just what they are: plans. Certainties are only certain until they are cleared away and taken to absurdity. Three times a day if need be.

I am calmer than six months ago, more balanced and more open.
And – for whatever reason – much more optimistic.

It is far too early to be able to draw a conclusion. I don’t really know where the journey will go and how things will play out along the way.

Second wave, no wave, perfect wave or a perm?

But one thing I know for sure: I’m curious to see it, to experience it and to capture it in my own way. Because we all can’t choose, we’re in this boat on this trip and getting out is simply impossible. So only one thing really helps: make the best of it.

With that in mind, my esteemed readership: for the next six months. Or twelve.

Ein halbes Jahr und ein Tag zu Hause – was Corona mit mir macht

Ach, meine geschätzte Leserschaft, fast hätte ich ein typisches 2020-Jubiläum im Klang der Sirenen vergessen. Oder eher im Nicht-Klang. Bei mir zumindest heulte nichts außer womöglich ein paar Aluhüten ob‘ des mal wieder ausgefallenen Weltuntergangs.

Aber nun zum Jubiläum: sechs Monate und einen Tag bin ich nun zu Hause, das halbe Jahr gerade vollgemacht. Und kein Ende in Sicht. Wenn ich Sie mal einladen darf auf den Trip, auf dem wir alle sind. Irgendwie gemeinsam und doch jeder für sich.

https://sarahjaeckel.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/6-months.mp4

Eine Woche vielleicht, so dachte ich Anfang März. Ein Verdachtsfall im sehr weiten Umfeld, kein Drama, aber Vorsicht ist die Mutter der Porzellankiste und überhaupt, man weiß ja nicht.
Nein, nichts wusste ich. Nichts von alledem, was kam.
Am Anfang ist die Motivation groß. Vieles vorgenommen, etwas auch tatsächlich erledigt.
Morgensport mit VR-Brille und endlich auch mal ein Spaziergang, richtiges Frühstück, keine U-Bahn.


Die Wochen ziehen ins Land


Und leider auch die dunklen Wolken.
Der 80ste meines Vaters. Ausgefallen, Quarantäne.
Firma pleite, Job weg.
Mein Fenster zur Welt wird – noch mehr – der Monitor. Während für mich Rückzug zum Normalzustand wird, befeuert die Pandemie die Parade der Hirnverbrannte in ihrer seltsamen Lust am Untergang. Die Nachrichtenfetzen scheinen täglich bizarrer. Menschen prügeln sich um Klopapier. Pressekonferenzen, Erklärungen, der finale Siegeszug des Streaming.
Tabellen, Statistiken, R-Werte, K-Werte, Kurven rauf und Kurven runter.
Meine Fieberkurve steigt. Zum Glück nur die virtuelle.
Leichenwägen in Italien, Krankenwägen vor der Tür.
Brennende Städte in den USA, brennende Wälder im Amazonas, in Australien glühen die Reste.
Ich werde passiv, das Zusehen gewinnt zunehmend masochistische Züge. Aber wenigstens nehme ich ab.
Söder mutiert vom Kasper zum Macher, Drosten zum Meme, die Zahlen und Charts beginnen sich überlagern, zu verschwimmen. Tägliche Wechsel an der Führungsspitze der Neuinfektionen, eine Tor-de-Wahnsinn.
Kneipen zu, Kneipen auf. Klubs zu, Biergärten auf. Geschäfte zu, Geschäfte auf,
Masken runter, Masken rauf.
Das „Draußen“ erscheint mir plötzlich bedrohlich. Fremd. Der Hals kratzt.
Panik.


Ich muss aus dieser Schleife raus. Jetzt. Sofort.


Die Klaustrophobie meiner auf ein paar Quadratmeter geschrumpften Welt ist der Schlüssel.
Erst wenn sich alles verdichtet ist der Weg zur Öffnung möglich.
Also raus. Abends. Mit Abstand.
Ich beginne zu sehen. Zu beobachten. Wahrzunehmen.
Meine Stadt mit frischen Augen zu erfahren.
Es scheint mir, als hätte ich diesen Abstand gebraucht, um wieder Nähe zu gewinnen.
Und ich lerne. In diesem halben Jahr habe ich wohl mehr gelernt als fünf oder 10 Jahren zuvor.
Photographie für mich wiederentdeckt, Video, Ton. Ich schreibe wieder um des Schreibens Willen.
Homepages aufgesetzt, YouTube Channel gestartet.
Ja, vieles ist viertelt fertig und halb angefangen.
Doch ohne zu machen kann ich nicht weiterkommen – und es macht Freude, richtig viel Spaß.
Meine Batterien laden wieder, zuerst kaum merklich, doch irgendwann stelle ich fest, dass ich mehr Energie habe, als ich glaubte, noch mal haben zu können.


Mein Leben hat sich in den letzten Monaten weit mehr verändert, als ich es erwartet hätte. Ich denke, das geht den meisten so. Die Pandemie ist real, auch wenn sie nicht schmeckt und riecht. Die Maske in der Tasche ist erschreckend schnell zur Selbstverständlichkeit geworden. Das Überlegen, mit wem man sich wo trifft, auch. War der nicht erst Spanien, hat die nicht furchtbar viele Kollegen im Büro? Im Dingens treffen? Oh, ne du, sei mir nicht böse, aber die Tische da stehen sehr eng.
Ist das die „Neue Realität“?
Schwachsinn – als ob es jemals eine „Alte Realität“ gegeben hätte.
Wir leben im Hier und Jetzt, es gibt kein Zurück zu einer virtuellen Normalität.
Und so lange Spinner rumlaufen, die zurück ins Kaiserreich und besser noch gleich in die Höhle wollen, habe ich daran auch nicht das geringste Interesse.

Es gibt kein normales Normal


In den letzten Wochen ist mir klar geworden, dass es keinen Weg zurück zum Start geben wird.
Es ist viel verloren, auch vieles, was mir wichtig ist. Viele Fragen, wenig Antworten.
Werden wir je wieder Nächte erleben, schwitzend und glücklich in engen Clubs? Kaum.
Werden wir je wieder völlig unbedarft durch Menschenmassen laufen, in vollgestopfte U-Bahnen steigen, ohne zu zögern? Eher nicht.
Zumindest ich nicht.
Zurück zu Kreuzfahrten, kreuz-und-quer rumfliegenden Consultants und einer Welt, in der Home-Office immer noch als Ausrede fürs Wäschewaschen gilt? Zurück zu einer Welt, die auch ohne Corona völlig aus den Fugen war? Bestimmt auch nicht.
Nicht mit mir. Es muss etwas anderes geben, irgendwas zwischen hemmungslosem Konsum als Selbstzweck und gehemmtem zu Hause verkriechen.
Und das will ich finden, was auch immer es ist.

Corona hat mich definitiv verändert. Die Angst, mir dieses verdammte Virus einzufangen, kann ich nicht wegdiskutieren. Fehlende Sozialkontakte, der Schutz der Eltern vor Ansteckung, Angst um die Nächsten und Wut auf Leute, die die Realität verweigernd uns alle gefährden, ein Mix aus Gefühlen, den ich so noch nie hatte. Trauer und Mitgefühl für Menschen, die gestorben sind, vielleicht gerade irgendwo an einem Ventilator hängen, zwischen Tod und Leben.
Und trotzdem – oder vielleicht gerade deswegen – fühle ich mich so lebendig und kreativ wie nie.
Ich weiß um die Schizophrenie dieses Zustandes, doch kann und will ich keine Schuldgefühle dafür haben. Denn die Situation ist wie sie ist. Es zählt letztendlich nur, was man daraus macht. Ich versuche die Chancen zu sehen. Vielleicht verändert sich manches nachhaltig. Weniger Flüge, weniger fahren, weniger kaufen. Das mag der Wirtschaft nicht dienlich sein – doch ich möchte mich nicht darüber definieren, ob ich der Konsumgüterindustrie genüge.
Corona hat mich nachdenklicher gemacht – und auf eine perverse Art inmitten der Beengung freier. Freier in meinen Gedanken und freier in den Möglichkeiten, diese auszudrücken.

Sechs Monate ohne echtes Resümee

Was hat nun Corona mit mir gemacht? Mich sicher nicht zum besseren Menschen, auch nicht zu einer anderen Person. Aber es hat mich demütiger gemacht, dankbarer für das, was ist und was möglich ist. Und diese sechs Monate haben mir sehr klar vor Augen geführt, dass das Leben eine Reise ohne definiertes Ziel ist, Pläne eben nur das sind was sie sind: Pläne. Gewissheiten sind nur so lange gewiss, bis sie abgeräumt und ad Absurdum geführt werden. Wenn es sein muss dreimal am Tag.
Ich bin ruhiger als vor einem halben Jahr, balancierter und offener.
Und – warum auch immer – deutlich optimistischer.
Um ein Resümee ziehen zu können, ist es viel zu früh. Ich weiß nicht wirklich, wohin die Reise gehen wird und wie sich die Dinge auf dem Weg entwickeln werden.


Zweite Welle, keine Welle, perfekte Welle oder doch Dauerwelle?

Eines weiß ich jedoch sicher: ich bin neugierig darauf, es zu sehen, zu erleben und auf meine Art festzuhalten. Denn aussuchen können wir uns es alle nicht, wir sitzen in diesem Boot auf diesem Trip und Aussteigen ist schlichtweg unmöglich. Also hilft wirklich nur eines: das Beste draus machen.

In diesem Sinne, meine geschätzte Leserschaft: auf die nächsten sechs Monate. Oder zwölf.


With a little help from a friend

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Oh, my appreciated audience, I guess we all know situations like this:
something small and unexpected happens, just at the fringes of our perception.
A bang somewhere, a faint smell, somebody calling your name but not meaning you.
Suddenly our brains start to take an extra shift and surprises us with beauty from inside.
Our own beauty.
Yesterday I had one of those precious moments.
Month-long thoughts and development-process just found its apex in words suddenly flowing without thinking. All my way through this crazy year condensed in three lines on the screen.
I was stunned and it made me happy and calm.

Thank you, Marc

Social job platforms like LinkedIn and Xing are not my favourite places for communication. And certainly not sources for enlightenment. But they are indeed a good way to stay in contact with old friends who left Facebook for good.
Like my old friend Marc.
We were quite close for a while during the techno years in Munich. He taught me without teaching. A big part of my understanding of graphic design and communication is based on his outstanding abilities not only to design but to explain. His way to shape ideas into forms and break down messages from abstract to real always impressed me – and shaped me and my work.

Times were changing, he moved to L.A., I stayed in Munich. But as both of us were early birds with all things online, we always kept a thin wire between us.
Yesterday I got a LinkedIn message from him, obviously directed to many of his contacts.
Asking for a quote that keeps us going through these weird times of pandemic lockdowns, to conquer the fear.
My first impression was: oh my god, a chain letter.
My second was: but it’s from Marc, so I better think about it, he just don’t send out junk.

Quotes? Well …

I’m not a massive fan of quotes. Most are overstretched, taken out of context. Some are altered to an extent the author would not even recognize them as their own words. And some are just meaningless sugar coating for kitsch postcards.
To work for me, a quote has to project a picture in my head, tell me a story, give me context.
So I’m much more a fan of opening lines – these few words which are able to drag me down into the rabbit hole of a book, suck me into the phantasy of the author, these lines which open a world.

My quote? Well, I’m with William Gibson. 

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

William Gibson

Why? Well, it feels a lot like we finally reached the dystopian apocalypse of unleashed capitalism cyberpunk predicted for the 2020s… a dystopia which was never meant to happen, at least by the authors.  But as dystopian as it seems, I see the magic and poetry within it, the chance of fundamental chances and a brighter future.  And hey, we’re going back to the Moon,  Artemis will fly, we’re going to Mars and maybe beyond in our lifetime.  Call me an old techno evangelist, but I still believe in some of these magic words like love, peace, and unity.  So the image of a television tuned to a dead channel keeps me going.

And so my thoughts culminated
I learned a lot this year, much more than in maybe five years before.
A lot about virus’ and statistics I easily could miss.
A lot about people and their ways, thoughts, and changes into Q-omplete madness.
But most of all I learned about myself.
And that’s what flowed out in this special moment I answered Marc.

I learned this year that
everything I see is my canvas,
I’m the painter of my view,
the creator of my content,
the narrator of my dreams. 

And so I do. 

Sarah Jaeckel

He wrote back “Baby, this is beautiful …”
I love this guy.

If you want to know more about Marc Posch:
https://opuscreativegroup.com/
He’s worth a closer look.

Stepping up the learning curve for good – professional purpose

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Oh, my dearest audience, your blogger faced quite an interesting week on the learning curve. Not only that my day job seems at least partially come back to life. But also I had to step up in video production quite a lot.
Let me explain: I love content creation and visual storytelling. Photography is nothing new to me, it’s my second nature to take pictures and work with them.
Videography is on a different page.
It seems ages ago that I got into all this blogging and vlogging – but yesterday I realized: I just got my capture card in the middle of March.
Since then I’m working on technic, recording, cutting, channel building, and most of all on developing an idea where to go with all of that. For the latter I got al clear idea now – but that is a story for another post.
I managed to keep up and running and halfway sane during this weird year, survived the first quarantine, and overcame pandemic-based unemployment at least in a first step with occupying myself with this site, photography, YouTube, and cyanotypes.
But now it’s time to move a step further.

From pro-bono to pro-bono with professional requirements

I supported happily some friends in their respective causes with a little bit of shooting and editing. They were happy also, deal done. Pro-bono of course. But the lingering relaunch of my former and future employer sets a different goal. We see our way in the recruiting and consulting business in open and authentic communication, so storytelling on social media is crucial for our brand building.
To realize that, I had to bring the skills I gained during the last months together. I guess it worked.

 

Good fun and brilliant teambuilding

Ok, it was not the first time I made some video clips for professional purposes. But the first time with proper gear. From location research to sound setup and from preparation to post-production. Some was already routine – but most was new territory for me. We had to figure out how to coordinate clips remotely (thank you, YouTube), realize stuff without a budget, bring ideas together, and well, finally, get creative like never before in this context.

And we really enjoyed it!

I really appreciate people dancing to salsa beats and enjoying public space, especially outside a museum for contemporary art. Except when I have to shoot a video.

Starting from scratch makes you proud of your results

My colleague and I did not have much experience with business videos, but we had a clear idea, where we want to go. Most business videos in HR represent what we did not want: fake and unnatural settings, artificial dialogues, awkward situations, and irrelevant content.
Our goal is to be as authentic and descriptive as possible without acting and posing like paid imposters.
So little did we know? And so much did we learn about the real obstacles of filming when I first packed my camera bag and we met up for shooting session #1.

First time I managed to get all gear I needed into my backpack. Learning curve, you know …

The learning curve is steep but satisfying

We shot at the banks of Munich’s river Isar – a very popular place for leisure, even during Corona. And we learned a lot.
First lesson: always check your baggage twice.
Second lesson: recheck it.
It’s a great thing to have an external monitor – but it doesn’t do anything without the adapter plate for the battery. And the adapter plate doesn’t do anything without the battery. Also, a white balance card is a great thing to have, especially when resting on your desk while you’re out in the field.
Sound – oh boy, the sound.
I got a Rode boom mic when we started.
Now I got a boom mic, a lavalier mic, and a Rode Go Wireless – and I know why. Not to mention a crash course in Audition.
I’ll get into the details in another post to come – but for now, I can tell you, it was worth the effort and we had a really good time.

If you want to see the first results and the things to come:
www.asocio.de

As always, I’m looking forward to your comments and input.

Pentax 110: The queen of a shitty system

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My dear audience, your aging nerd is sometimes really baffled. Especially when it comes to totally unexpected results.
In this case, it’s the second smallest lens I own, a Pentax 110 lens. And by far the cheapest.
I just wanted to start a brutal but honest review of that thing, declaring it totally useless as it does not even work as a paperweight.
But then …

Let’s start from the beginning

As it seems to me, everybody is on the hunt today for old lenses. The prices even for mediocre consumer glass back from the 70ies is getting ridiculous. Lenses nobody with a little bit of change in the pocket would ever consider wasting valuable film too back then is hitting three digits now. To satisfy the desire for some new old shards on the high-end body, the way into obscure brands and makes seems to be the only way forward. Or, in this case, a weird model by a great brand.

Sometimes, someone, somewhere: why?

Sometimes in the late-seventies, someone at Asahi Pentax had the semi-brilliant idea to target a very underrated part of the entry-level and consumer market. Somewhere in between disposable film-with-lens crap and lowest end plastic boxes with a glass-covered hole in front of an ugly brick-like thing, there was the 110 film format. Roughly half the size of full-frame (and far away from the similar-sized micro-four thirds of today), this so-called pocket format promised nothing but kept even less. The films (I hardly remember if they were different ones available at all, and I owned one these audacities) came in a plastic cassette and were of terrible quality. So were the pictures. Blurry, weird colors, distorted, simply a waste of money and resources.
But they were small, cheap, very easy to handle. They fulfilled the job every mobile phone does today ten times better: a camera for the handbag or trouser pocket. In Germany, they were sold as a kind of predecessor of the dashcam in a box for the glove compartment to take some pictures as proof in case of a car accident.

Pentax 110: the goddess of a shitty format

seventies goddess of the 110 format

Ok, that was the state of the system. Until Pentax stepped in and presented the 110. Ladies and gentlemen, clap your hands for the second and last 110 SLR ever built – right after Minolta presented their even weirder 110 Zoom SLR without interchangeable lenses. It looked like an early Sony digital cam after been hitten by a truck. As I don’t own it and honestly not intend to do so,  back to the famous Pentax 110:
The thing came with 3 lenses and an electronic flash in a nice box. It’s tiny, unbelievable. tiny. It really got a mirror, a viewfinder, batteries, even a rudimentary exposure control with LEDs. A miniature version of the trusty Pentax K mount on top. It is by far the best 110 camera, ingenious, sturdy, a gem.

And well, it swallows those 110 films which are still produced. By Lomo, who else?

So Pentax shoved that fantastic looking tiny little camera in the market. And the market burped.
Every technical aspect of it couldn’t prevent it from doing what it did: it produced the same shitty photos as every other 110, simply because the films were bad, the negative size too small and the whole system a complete failure.
So was the 110 and it was discontinued during the eighties.

End of the story? Nope!

Most fairytales of industrial misconceptions end here or a step further in some dump. But not the story of the Pentax 110. Somehow lots of it managed to avoid becoming a vital part of the recycling process. They survived in wardrobes, basements, boxes with old photos, and circled in a sad spiral around thrift shops, flea markets, and eBay.
They would have done that maybe until the end of time – but a few years ago, mirrorless cameras started to grow up and got ready to give the DSLRs the final blow. This leads us to the beginning of my little ranty review of the – ah, I didn’t even mention it before, did I – Pentax 110 1:2.8 18mm. It seems that for a while, every YouTuber who reviews vintage lenses fell in love with these tiny little things. So of course I needed to get my hands on some, simply to understand the hype. And I was gobsmacked as I saw the biddings on eBay. Honestly, people. 50 to 100 Euro, Dollar, Pound Sterling for something like that? Not to mention that an adapter for an m4/3 is around 30 Euro, at least on Amazon. Mine came from Shanghai for a fraction by the way. After I got the first 110 lense.

eBay wonderland

Sometimes, but really only sometimes, one can get lucky on eBay. So did I. I got a box full of old 49mm filters (most likely for a Pentax 50mm) and some Pentax lens hoods which I was after, for 3 Euro plus some change for shipping. I opened the box and the first thing I saw was an empty 110 lense box. These were made from transparent plastic, more or less like a cheese bell. And in midst of the chunk, there it was: the 18mm lens in all its fixed aperture greatness. With a flexible lens hood. I assume the seller simply thought it’s another weird filter and dropped into my order.
So I got the lense. A quick research led me to an adapter from Shanghai for under a tenner.
Some weeks later, here I am. With an adapter, another 110 lense and the camera itself. For 9 Euro, but that’s a story for another day.

Hyper, hyper, Pentax 110?

So I screwed adapter and lens on my old Olympus epl7 which I always use for tests.
The first impression: OMG, it looks hilarious.
The second impression; WTF?!?
The focus is a nightmare, infinity is somewhere in the middle of the scale.
The results? Well, if you’re into street photography and manage to sell your shots as “inspired by french expressionists” or a massive fan of lomo-looks, you will be happy.
If you look for something decent – look elsewhere. The colour rendering is very soft, the sharpness is a joke and black and white is more or less a symphony in undefined greys.

Ok, I’m sounding harsh. but honestly: I don’t understand the cult. Don’t get me wrong: the results are not exceptionally bad, there are worse. And these tiny little glasses make a small mirrorless look gorgeous. But that’s it.

So I thought.

Film changes everything or at least a lot.

This afternoon when I just was to start this blog, I played around with some balance settings on my Lumix G7 which I use for my “home studio”. Somehow, I don’t know why I mounted this tiny abomination on my G7 and tried it.
I was very positively surprised. Really, I was.
My standard lens for my shots on my desk is a Panasonic 14-45. Nothing special, I know, but it does the job. I record with OBS in 1080, the light is balanced, YouTube compresses it even further… so no real big deal. The setup may be questionable but it’s mine and I like it.
Anyhow: the Pentax mini lens was a big surprise. It’s suddenly crisp and clear, the colour rendering works a treat for Cinelike D with reduced contrast.

A match made in heaven?
Maybe. Not sure yet, it will need some further tests.
But for now, it saves the Pentax 110 from being boxed again.
It deserves a closer look, that’s for sure.

Thoughtful revelations of an aging nerd

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When I started my YouTube channel at the beginning of the lockdown, I had no idea where it will go. It was a platform for me to try out things – and ultimately find out if I want to create content again. After so many years without focused creativity, it was something I had to check. The urge got stronger and stronger over the last two or so years – but the virus was a starter. It forced me to take the time and it forced me to rethink some aspects of my life.
Or at least to finally get up and do something.

Here I am, five months later

I started into my lockdown aka self-isolation early in March after the first case of potential COVID occurred in such a fashion that it could have been a chain of contacts straight up to me. Working for a small company, I didn’t want to risk anything for my colleagues and so I left office on Monday morning “for a few days” until the test results of the person are clear.
Oh, so little did I know. Still working at home nearly half a later, everything has changed.

Overcoming the depression

I guess we all have to cope with several circumstances from inconvenient to frightening. Weird situations like the short supply of toilet paper at the beginning and absurd discussions about masks now. One thing for sure: it’s time to face that there will be no “back to normal”. Either there will be a cure, a vaccine, or not – this virus changed the world already. The lifestyle we considered to be “normal” over the last decades was changing anyhow. Now we are on fast forward. Sure, many of the changes are severe and far away from desirable. The economic impact is devastating. The idea, that a night out in club maybe just gone forever makes me shiver. The distance between people, especially to risk group members, the elderly, parents, and so on is saddening. Time is flying by, the time we could have spent together.
All of that made me depressed. The Corona-blues got real.
But I got over it.

Back to creativity

For me, creativity was always the way out of the blues. Creating gives me the feeling of having at least some control. And it helps to keep my shit together, as simple as that.
So I started to experiment as I did 40 years ago when I got my first camera and used black & white enlarger. As I wanted to get into photography and especially video again before, I had some relicts of manic Amazon shopping tours ready to be used.

Creativity always comes with cut fingers

With thirty years of experience in media production – what could possibly go wrong?
Well, what not? A long phase of trial and error followed several cuts in my fingers, lots of slurs I do not want to repeat to you, my esteemed audience.
Watching a YouTube tutorial “how to put up the perfect YouTube desk” is one thing.
Doing it is something completely different.
Every room is different, everybody got a different approach.
And different resources. Mine is limited, so that’s where creativity starts to get crucial.

I don’t want to bore you out of your mind with my several attempts to get the camera configuration, the light, and all the rest to match with the realities of available space and money. All I can advise you if you want to go down that path is to buy a big bag of camera and tripod screws before you buy anything else. You’ll need them.

There is no way to get around a proper setup, at least not for me

As desk building is not especially my fetish, I did of course lots of things in between. Went out shooting, made videos. Without any clear red line but with a very steep learning curve instead.
That was good fun. But it lacked something: structure.
I realized that I need structure and a motto for my channel, a bracket to keep things together.
Simply to build an audience. Which will ever subscribe to a channel without any concept?
Well, I would certainly not.
So with the iteration of my desk, I have now – it won’t be the last, be assured of that – of a sudden, I also got the inspiration for the motto and the purpose of my channel. Maybe it was the peace of mind, I don’t know.
The “why” is not important – the “how” is.

Pictures are forming on their own

Yesterday I sat down at my desk after several hours of fumbling, huffing, and puffing, searching for items to fix stuff and build a usable camera and light stand.

It was the first time I was really happy with cable management, the position of everything, the light, the sound. But I had no backdrop. Just a white wall, and as everybody – ok everybody on the YouTube guru channels – say, that that’s a bummer for every channel … well, I needed a backdrop. An eyecatcher. Something to give meaning and depth.
After considering the backs of Chaucer, Shakespeare and Goethe I decided to for something a bit more “me”. But who am I?
Well, a nerd over 50 with some weird aspects of her taste. Like 50ies and 60ies b-movie posters, the aesthetics of pulp covers and early science fiction magazines.
So, I asked Uncle Google for inspiration and Uncle delivered.
I played around, Illustrator here and Photoshop there.
The picture of what I want to deliver to the masses started to form in my mind as the graphic on the screen started to form and clarified more and more.

My motto: Revelations of an aging nerd

Yes, I am over 50. And the fact that I got a rough idea of why people age doesn’t prevent me from doing so. Some may say, I’m generation X. Well, whatever. I still know how to spin a cassette tape with a pencil to save batteries for the Walkman. And I’m full of disgust for people who make memes from that, pretending they’re somehow superior over kids how never had to do it. Honestly, it was a pain in the ass. I would have given happily my left leg for an MP3 player in 1980.
I’m still curious, maybe even more than ever. I praise every day for the marvels of the level of communication and availability of knowledge we have today.
Even with Facebook. And Telegram.

I assume that there are many people like me out there. Having grown up with Tron and Cyberpunk. Tanned in the cathode rays of CRT-monitors. Formed by endless attempts to log into AOL and CompuServe. We have seen the birth of the yuppies from the side, the rise of the Palms, the coming and going of so many technologies and gadgets. But we are still here, we outlived Blackberry and Nokia and even survived the compact disk.
And now we’re going back to the moon, we shot a photo of a black hole, we watched the icy planes of Pluto and we will have a drone flying on Mars.
Elon Musk manages to build a factory in Germany in a year. Somebody who can do that – for my non-German readers: that’s a real big thing! – will colonize Mars, Europa, or the belt.

So I guess I’m not alone with my life somewhere between Corona, aging, and my childish enthusiasm for all these things to come.
And that is what I want to share with you, my esteemed audience: the fun of getting older in times like these. Ok, and the downsides. But forget about them, it’s, after all, a great time to live in. Just say Paracetamol

Have a great time, stay safe – and consider visiting me on YouTube. It is work in progress, I know, but so is everything else on this planet.

Das Hochwasser in München – durch die wundervolle Vintage-Linse Helios 44 gesehen

Ein paar Tage starker Regen haben oft einen heftigen Einfluß auf München Stadtfluß, die Isar: Hochwasser und Überschwemmmung des Flußbettes in der Innenstadt.
München liegt an den Ausläufern eines langen Schotterbetts, dass sich von Alpen Richtung Norden erstreckt, ein Überbleibsel der letzten Eiszeit. Regenfälle in den Alpen führen daher schnell zum einem Anschwellen der Flüsse der Region – und eben auch der Isar. Die Röme nannten sie nicht umsonst die “Reissende”. Allerdings ist seit der Fertigstellung des Sylvensteinspeichersees am Isaroberlauf die Gefahr echter Überschwemmungen in der Stadt nehezu gebannt. Im Lehel lassen sich an manchen Häuserwänden noch Flutmarken finden, die ein beredtes Zeugnis von den Hochwassern frühere Tage ablegn.
Auch wenn ndie Stadt heute nicht mehr unmittelbar bedroht ist – ein beeindruckender Anblick ist das plötzliche Anschwellen des ansonsten eher gemächlichen Flusses allemal.

Hochwasser in München im August 2020

Neben den typischen Hochwassern während der Schneeschmelze im Frühjahr sind besonders die Gewitter des Sommers für Isarhochwasser verantwortlich so auch heuer.
Nach einigen Gewittertagen schwoll der Fluß um den 5. August massiv an, das Grundwasser wurde durch seine unter der Stadt laufenden Arme in diverse Keller in isarnahen Stadtvierteln wie Giesing und der Au gedrückt. Die Lokalpresse blies diesen nicht so wirklich ungewöhnlichen Vorgang massiv auf – auch nicht eben ungewöhnlich für die zum Alarmismus neigenden Münchner Bladln.

Da ich nun sehr naher der Isar wohne – allerdings mit trockenem Keller – habe ich mir dann mal selbst vor Ort angesehen, ob sich Münchens Isarufer nun tatsächlich in die dystopische Alptraumlandscchaft verwandelt hat, die AZ und TZ ausgemacht haben wollten.

Für einen genauen Blick bestens geeignet ist meine alte russische Helios 44M 50mm aus den 60ern.
Das Objektiv ist weltweit für sein Bokeh geschätzt und begehrt – doch ursprünglich war es die Standard-Linse
der Zenit-Spiegelreflex-Kameras und damit auch das Objektiv der sowjetischen Presse.
Ein ideales Setting also, um zu sehen, wie sich das Glas in 2020 auf einer Lumix G9 für Reportagefotografie und Video schlägt.

Also, auf den e-Scooter und kurz vor Sonnenuntergang runter an die Isar. Es gab wirklich Wasser, viel Wasser.
Aber dystopische Szenerien eher nicht. Oder?

Erschreckend war nur der Mangel an sozialer Distanz

Es war voll. Sehr voll. Im und neben dem Flußbett. Die Wiesen an der Isar komplett überfüllt, Party überall.
Was ja wirklich klasse ist – spontan ein paar Getränke mit Freunden, Musik, ein lauer Sommerabend.
Das ist einer großen Pluspunkte Münchens.

Aber mitten während der Corona-Epidemie? Kaum ein Mundschutz zu sehen, soziale Distanz völlige Fehlanzeige.
Während die Infektionszahlen gerade wieder steigen wie die Isar nach den Gewittern, herrscht hier ausgelassene Stimmung ohne jegliche Vorsicht.
Leider war auch keinerlei Einschreiten der reichlich vorhandenen Polizei zu erkennen Während sich Gruppen eng zusammenstehend allenthalben
bildeten, wurden – zumindest in meinem Beobachtungsbereich – ausschließlich Ausweiskontrollen bei schwarzen MitbürgerInnen durchgeführt.
Eine Ansprache bezüglich Corona-Verhaltensregeln konnte ich nirgends sehen.
Ich denke, hier besteht akuter Handlungsbedarfs.

Hier also Video und Fotostrecke zum Hochwasser in München Anfang August 2020.
Ich freue mich über Kommentare – und einen Besuch auf meinem YouTube-Kanal.

Traumhafter Sonnenaufgang im Englischen Garten, München

Sonntag Morgen, der mystische Morgen, der Morgen, an dem man völlig ohne jegliche Schuldgefühle liegen bleiben und sich noch mal umdrehen kann…
Oder aber man steht um Viertel vor Fünf uhr auf, zwingt eine Tasse Kaffee runter und packt die Fotoausrüstung.
Beide Optionen sind großartig – aber nur bei einer gibt es als Belohnung diese großartigen Aufnahmen im goldenen Morgenlicht, schöne Erinnerungen und frische Brötchen auf dem Weg nach Hause obendrauf.
Das ist für mich ein Sonnenaufgang nach Maß.

 

Dem Sonnenaufgang entgegen

München wird von der Isar mehr oder weniger halbiert. Fer Fluß durchschneidet die Stadt ziemlich genau von Nord nach Süd und bildet so eine Achse, an der sich vieles orientiert. Da ich im Süden der Münchner Innenstadt wohne und die Isar im Laufe der Zeit sich ein Bett gegraben hat, ist es gar nicht so einfach, die ersten Strahlen der aufgehenden Sonne einzufangen. Es wäre zwar maßlos übertrieben, das Flußbett als Canyon zu bezeichnen – aber tatsächlich ist die Sonne  schon ein paar Grad über den Horizont gestiegen, bevor sie das das Wasser erreicht. Um die ersten Strahlen der Morgensonne nahezu parallel über dem Grund zu erwischen, gibt es für mich nur einen Weg: den nach Norden.

Go North, it’s bright up there

München hat nun nicht eben eine riesige Fläche und die Innenstadt ist tatsächlich ziemlich klein, zumindest in Relation zum Rest. Aber die gut sieben Kilometer in der etwas kühleren Morgenluft reichen mir zum Aufwachen. Insbesondere, da ich unterwegs eine wirklich entzückende Entdeckung machte: Münchens Kulturreferat hat eine fantastische Installation des japanischen Architektur-Büros Bow-Wow finanziert und an der Wiedenmayerstraße über die kleine Isar gebaut. Oder besser gesagt ein Stück weit – das Objekt heisst “Bridge Sprout” und ist  eine Halbbrücke, die tatsächlich völlig neue Perspektiven auf dieses Stück Isar eröffnet. Der Blick ist grandios – genau so wie der intensive Geruch nach frischem Holz!
Mehr Infos

Die Installation “Bridge Sprout” des Architekturbüros Bow-Wow an der Isar

Blick nach Süden flußaufwärts von der “Bridge Sprout”

Mein Weg führt mich vorbei am Deutschen Museum, dem Bayerischen Parlament im Maximilianeum und dem Friedensengel. Ein Stück über die Prinzregentenstraße und hinter dem Haus der Kunst über den Parkplatz des legendären P1 – und ich bin endlich im Englischen Garten. Der ist nicht nur als einer größten innerstädtischen Gartenanlagen der Welt berühmt, sondern für die notorisch verkehrsgeplagte Stadt eine essentielle Frischluftquelle. Auch wenn es am Sonntag in aller Früh nicht wirklich laut ist, bin ich glücklich über die Ruhe und den Frieden, der mich hier empfängt.

Vermülltes Paradies

Zu dieser Tageszeit ist der Englische Garten ein Wunderland. Über den Wiesen liegt dichter Morgennebel, der von der Sonne nur zögerlich weggeküsst wird. Die Schemen von Enten, die sich im Morgengrauen ihr Frühstück besorgen, geben dem Anblick etwas unwirkliches, wie Feen, die auf der Wiese spielen. Ein paar Jogger ziehen ihre Runden auf den Wegen, ein, zwei frühe Spaziergänger, das wars. Oder?

Nicht ganz: im Nebel tauchen mehrere Gartenarbeiter mit Traktor und Anhänger auf, die die Spuren der letzten Nacht wegräumen. Und die haben es in sich.
Den überall verstreuten Wein- und Bierflaschen, Plastiktüten und Tetra-Packs nach müssen hier hunderte, vielleicht tausende eine heftige Party gefeiert haben. Das Ganze ist völlig surreal: die Schönheit des Gartens, der jungfräulich Morgennebel, die Enten und der Müll. Einer der Arbeiter frägt mich, ob ich von der Zeitung sei. Nein, bin ich leider nicht und ich fürchte, dieses Publikum liese sich auch nicht von Schlagzeilen beeindrucken.

Mal ehrlich, Leute: ihr habt die Flaschen und den sonstigen Kram hingetragem – was verdammt noch mal ist so schwer daran, den Müll einfach wieder mit zu nehmen?

Die Spuren der Nacht

 

Die Schönheit

Die Schöänheit des Parks lässt den Müll jedoch schnell vergessen. Der Sonnenaufgang streicht sanft durch die Bäume, zieht lange Schatten und taucht alles in goldenes Licht.
Hier gibt es wirklich nur zu sehen, nichts zu sagen.

 

 

 

Der See im glüht in der Morgensonne

Eines der Highlights des Gartens ist der “Kleinhesseloher See”. Mitten in dem langezogenen Areal gelegen, ist er unter Tags meistens von Ruderbooten belegt – jetzt in der Früh gehört er ganz den Vögeln. Diese Entenfamilie nutzt die Ruhe für ein ausgiebiges Frühstück – und Schwimmunterricht für die Kleinen. Besonders das Nesthäkchen traut sich noch nicht so ganz – das Video bis zum Ende anzusehen lohnt sich.

Eine Entenfamilie auf ihrer Brutinsel im Sonnenaufgang

 

Ein grandioser Ausflufg am frühen Morgen, ich habe jede Sekunde genossen.
Ich freue mich über Kommentare – und natürlich über Likes auf auf meinem YouTube-Kanal.

A lovely summer sunrise in Munich

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Sunday morning, oh mystical morning, the day you finally can stay in bed …
Or get up at 4:45, force down a cup of coffee, and get your gear ready.
Any option is great – but only one gets you those fantastic shots in the golden morning light, nice memories, and fresh bread rolls on the way home.
That’s sunrise in Munich to me.

Driving towards the sunrise in Munich

Munich is roughly divided by its river, the Isar. The river slices through city centre quite exactly from north to south. As I live in the south next to the river and the Isar has dug their bed over the centuries, it’s not too easy to get the first glimpse of the sun coming out everywhere. It would be quite over the top to call Isar’s bed a canyon, but the fact is: until the sun reaches the water it has already moved several degrees over the horizon. So the way to get the first sun rays nearly parallel is going north.

Go North, it’s bright up there

Munich is not exactly a massive metropolitan area, and the inner city is even less. But 7 kilometers in the chill morning air were quite helpful to wake up. Even more, as I made a lovely discovery on the way: Munich’s Department for Arts and Culture sponsored the installation “Bridge Sprout” by the Japanese architecture office Bow-Wow. A half-bridge over the Isar, opening new and previous unseen perspectives. I really enjoyed the view – and especially the smell of fresh wood!
More info on that

Installation “Bridge Sprout” by Japanese architectural office Bow-Wow at Isar

 

View south up river from the installation “Bridge Sprout”

Passing Deutsches Museum, the parliament of Bavaria and Friedensengel, I finally arrived at the famous Englischer Garten. Not only well known as one of the world’s largest inner-city garden structures, but it’s also a stunning beautiful air refresher for the permanently traffic-jammed city. Granted it’s not really loud so early on a Sunday morning, but as soon as one leaves the street, calm is the main feeling.

Litter in paradise

The Englischer Garten is in these early hours of the day a wonderland. Soft mist over the meadows, ducks having breakfast, only a few joggers on the paths. The brooks still in the deep shadow of the willows, a place of peace.
Only a few hours before there must have been a totally different kind of punters. Lots of bottles, tetra packs, plastic bags, and other litter are clear proof of the nightly parties going on here. Gardeners are shifting like ghosts through the mist, clearing a load of filth left. Sad to see, I guess it is completely unnecessary. No problem with partying, but people, just take your waste with you.

The silent witnesses of a hard night: litter all over the place

The beauty of the Garden

I guess there’s not much to say – enjoy as I did.

 

 

 

Lake in the morning glow

Another highlight is the “Kleinhesseloher See” located in the middle of the garden. During the day mostly populated by rowing boats, during the early hours, it’s all birds.
These family of ducks is taking breakfast. Only the baby of the family seems still a bit afraid of water.

A duck family in their nest in the lake

 

So after all: a fantastic morning, worth every second of getting up so early.
I hope you enjoyed it, please leave your comments and visit my YouTube channel.

Munich flood after the 2020 summer rain in a beautiful vintage lens

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A few days of heavy rain often have some severe effect on Munich’s river Isar: high levels and flood.
Munich is situated at the end of a large bed of gravel which results from glacier movements during the last ice age.
Massive rain in the bavarian alps always leads to a swelling of the main river which transports the waters down – the Isar.
After the Sylvenstein barrier was completed in the 1950ies, the danger of the real Munich flood was banned.
Nevertheless, the sudden swelling of the Isar is still an impressive sight.

Munich flood in August

After some heavy showers and thunderstorms, Munich’s officials decided to block some of the benches of the Isar around the 5th of August 2020.
The local press decided to exaggerate the story slightly. As it happens, I live very close to the river – but didn’t notice anything.
Reading online that Munich had turned into some kind of dystopian nightmare, I decided to have a closer look.
Of course, I took my camera with me – and my Helios 44. This Russian vintage 58mm prime lens is known for its bokeh.

But that was not what I was after. I wanted to test its available light capabilities and video looks. So I went on my e-scooter down to the river.
And guess what I found? Water. Lots of it, but the scene was far from wastelands. Or was it?

Shocking only the absence of any social distancing

Crowds everywhere, people enjoying the evening sun, party feeling. Which would be perfectly ok, if we wouldn’t face rising infection rates again.
But what should I do? Taking it as it is I decided to keep my personal safety space and do what I came for.
So enjoy the pictures and the video of the “Munich flood”.
Feel free to comment and please subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Thanks and stay safe.

In the bubbly air tonight

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When I started with photography back in the stone ages there was a natural brake to experiments, at least for me: the cost of the film. As a teenager, I simply couldn’t afford to shoot dozens and dozens of pictures to get one right. But that would’ve been my only way into night photography. So I clung to the somehow limited range my Pentax MX offered for exposure measurement. And kept my finger away from the magical BULB setting, even if it twitched like hell.
Times were changing, digital cameras came creeping in (believe me, my first digital, a Kodak, was creeping and creepy at best). Suddenly, the cost of the film vanished. Not so noisy. I’ll never forget the first results of long-time exposure with these toys. But to be fair, my first real good digital, a Nikon D100, was not better in this discipline. Pure noise, colors washed out, simply unusable, even by the standards of the early zeros.

But now, oh goddess of light, I got my new Lumix G9. Weather was nice, lockdown over, things don’t feel as spooky as a few weeks ago. So I went out at night, avoiding gatherings – and shot for the first time with a capable camera long-time exposures. I don’t want to exaggerate, but it felt like my first black and white prints in a bowl with the developer. Simply amazing, down to the waiting for the camera to finish the de-noising process. I love it! Suddenly there is no instant gratification – but results worth the wait.

So, shoulder your tripods, get out into the dark, use the available light, and enjoy the bokeh unfolding.

Wiesn zwischen Wehmut und Wahnsinn

Dass ich keine erklärte Wiesn-Liebhaberin bin, muss ich weder betonen noch verheimlichen. Ich war vor 4 Jahren, am Tag des unsäglichen Nazi-Attentats auf dem Oktoberfest, auf dem Weg zur U-Bahn hörte ich den Knall. 10 Minuten früher, und es hätte für mich vermutlich ganz anders ausgesehen.

Es gibt auch noch genügend andere Gründe für mich, die Wiesn nicht heiss und innig zu lieben – Kommerz, Trachten-Fasching, Intersuff… ich denke, die Argumente sind bekannt.

Es gibt aber auch die andere Seite. Die Magie der Massen, dieser Flair, der es immer wieder schafft, durch die multiplen Lagen der Abzocke und der Touristenbespaßung durchzukommen.

Die Wiesn der Münchner

Das Mittagessen mit Kollegen im Biergarten vorm Zelt.
Der spontane Wiesn-Bummel mit Freunden.
Einfach mal quer rüber gehen, die Atmosphäre einsaugen.
Magenbrot (ok, das ist mein Laster).
All das fehlt mir – und dazu kommt nun ein handfester ökonomischer Aspekt. Die Wiesn ist für München eine wichtige Einnahmequelle. Hotels, Gastro, die Läden der Innenstadt. Aber das ist nur ein Teil des Bildes. Mir liegen die “kleinen Leute” viel mehr am Herzen als Kaufhof und MotelOne.

Brezen fürs Studium

Hand aufs Herz: wer hat noch nie irgendwann direkt oder indirekt mit dr Wiesn das Budget aufgebessert oder hat Freunde, die drauf angewiesen sind?
Für Generationen von Münchner*innen war und ist die Wiesn ein fest einkalkulierter Bestandteil des Jahreinkommens. Kellner*innen, Brezenverkäufer*innen, Aushilfen an Buden, die Betreiber der kleinen Standl, Fahrgeschäfte und Büchsenwerfen, überall hängt ein Stück Münchner Kultur und Geschichte dran.

Mein Vater hat als Teenager das Blei aus den Schiessbuden zum Schrotthändler getragen, ein irischer Freund seine Sprachenschule mit dem Teufelswerfen bezahlt. dazwischen liegen fast 40 Jahre, doch die Geschichte ist immer die selbe: Brezn fürs Studium, Autoscooter fürs Taschengeld. Und für viele ist es schlichtweg die Miete und das tägliche Leben. 16 Tage Maßkrüge schleppen schafft eben eine gute Basis für die nächsten Monate.

Dass all dies heuer ausfällt, ist traurig, auch wenn mir die Nebeneffekte der besoffenen Massen nicht fehlen. Wütend macht mich, dass zwar die Großgastronomen mit der Wirtshaus-Wiesn unterstützt werden, die Herzerl-Verkäuferin und der Schaukelbursch auf der Strecke bleiben. Denn die sind das Herz der Wiesn – und nicht die Brauerei, die das Bier mit der Pipeline unters Zelt pumpt.

Der Anstich der Wiesn-Kellner und Bedienungen

Der Wiesn-Anstich heuer war nun tatsächlich was für die Geschichtsbücher. Darum bin ich auch hingefahren, denn das erlebe ich hoffentlich nicht nochmal.
Zu sagen, dass es mehr Polizei als Besucher auf der Theresienwiese gab, wäre stark übertrieben, nichts desto trotz war die Präsenz der Staatsgewalt nicht zu übersehen. Vermutlich hatten sie – ebenso wie ich – mit einem massiven Auflauf wildgewordener Maskengegner, Querdenker, Wutbürger und sonstiger Auswüchse des Covid-Jahres gerechnet. Die waren nicht zu sehen, dafür aber der harte Kern des Bräurosl-Teams.
In ihrem vollen Wiesn-Outfit auf den Stufen der Bavaria, mit alkoholfreiem Bier und Brezn, hatten sie ihren ganz persönlichen Wiesn-Anstich. Ohne Fass und ohne Oberbürgermeister – dafür aber mit sichtlich Freude inmitten der Tragödie.


Und das, meine lieben Mitspazierer*innen, sind die Momente, in der ich diester Stadt fast alles verzeihe.