For this photo marathon I’ve decided to use the small old Nikon V1 on the big 70-200 F4 lens, giving me a long 190-540mm reach. Miraculously, the little black camera that stopped working in Rome started working again, after repeated shutter presses, firmware reinstalling, battery taken out… I don’t know what did it, but I’ll take it.
Themes for this marathon are songs! I download the first 6 for the morning session, make a note of the titles and let the first play in my ears while I hit the road.
01 Amadeus (Falco)
Click below to play. I’m leaving only audio visible because that’s what I had. You can stop it obviously when going to the next song :).
I notice an electronics store, let’s see if I find anything musical to inspire me. Taking these shots, kinda meh.
I remember a music store next to Oerlikon. Right when I’m there this guy passes me. Full gear, somehow it fits the badass profile Falco sings in my ear. A rock star of his trade.
Getting the camera out feels like slow-motion, I don’t get to frame the shot properly, am cropping it in-camera (computer edits are not allowed). Hmm. Then I want to enter the music store, but P., another participant, is inside taking shots of a sax. Taking a few shots of him, but don’t like how they look. I’m not entering though, don’t want to do the same thing.
Looking up I see the store sign. Taking a few shots in various positions… meh. I think I like the one where he’s smaller, to suggest an urban Amadeus.
Took me 45 minutes all in all, too much time wasted for the first pic, so I go on, not knowing if I should use the worker or the singer. Seeing this in the distance and liking it, even if it doesn’t fit the next topic. Ideally I’d like to take superzoom shots like this one, enabled by my gear combination, which I would guess cannot easily be replicated by others.
I decide to take the train, getting out at the main station, passing by a flower shop. Ah, maybe they have some pigeon of sorts, for the next topic, La Paloma. I don’t see any pidgeon, but lo and behold, a little boy with a violine. Amadeus! Black and white or in colors? Hmm…
02 La Paloma (singers unknown)
A lady asks if she can help me, I ask if she has any pigeons around – nope. But I notice the white feathery headless…things hanging around. Wait, I have a zoom, so let’s see.
Not bad. Or rather…?
I think I like this one more. More contrast, more dramatic. A secondary objective I set for myself is to prioritize aesthetic quality of the photo over topic fit. Of course it has to fit, but I’ll be fine with crude direct or subtle metaphorical, as long as I like the picture. Also, I’d like to make original photos, i.e. not using existing art, like posters and stuff. That’s why I’m not too fond of using the pre-drawn singer in the previous photo.
03 Imagine (John Lennon)
Imagine all the people! Yep one could get wide-eyed.
Again, pre-done artwork, not too happy about it. But this little angel… it imagines there’s no heaven.
Ok, decision made, the angel it is, fits too well. Meaning I won’t use the similar looking kid for Amadeus, meaning I’ll probably use the worker. Maybe too loose fit, but that’s life at the fotomarathon.
04 O sole mio (Jerry Vale)
I enter a jewelry shop, hoping to find something sun-shaped, ideally a head ornament. Nope, that’s the only thing I see. Not approved.
I want to be out in the open, my camera is not too good in low light. Yellow leaves are beautiful, can I do something with them? Yellow like the… sun! And they’re falling, summer is over, the sun is leaving us, o, sole mio, don’t go! say the trees. Serendipitously, the sun actually comes out from behind the clouds, hoping to make the colors more vibrant. Aiming to make this the one color photo of a black-and-white series.
Or should I use one of these for the “retiring sun”?
Ah, I like this scene. You can see the o sole mio subtly shining on the leaves… too subtly? Too subtly.
05 Kiosk (Rumpelstilz)
I enter an emtpy interior yard around the Europa-Allee, without much hope. I don’t want to take a photo of a kiosk, or of the Kiosk brand name, but what else? “Am I a kiosk, or am I maybe a bank? Or do I look like a hotel, or like a cash cabinet?”, says the song. How about this wall – does it look like a kiosk, or a hotel, or a bank? (which in German also means “bench”). It looks more like a bench to me, although it’s neither. I like the picture though, sold.
06 Mein kleiner grüner Kaktus (Max Raabe)
If you speak any German, doesn’t matter how little, listen to this song, it’s hilarious.
While shooting the yellow leaves I’d noticed some spiky fruit. Fake cactus.
Playing a little bit more, I randomly take a contre-jour shot, I like it. And a random leaf has a little spike next to it, ha! On the small screen I can’t tell which one is the cactus. Unfortunately I cannot have both the tiny spikes on the right and the larger spike on the left in focus, things are moving, it’s tough to take a good shot. I am tempted to use the single spike in focus, because the song at some point says “sticht sticht sticht” (stings stings stings).
Time for lunch break.