Photomarathon November 2018 (II)

We’re meeting at a playground in a park for the mid-day break, soon the next 6 songs are ready to entertain and challenge us for the second half of the day. While they’re downloading, I play the first one:

07 Don’t worry, be happy (Bobby McFerrin)


A few kids swinging, one playing in the sandbox, that would be quite suitable actually – but I’m not allowed to photograph people’s faces without asking for permission. Well then, no faces. Feet should be alright. Camera out quickly, as the scene changes fast, click! I like it.

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30 seconds, and the first theme is taken care of. Not bad. what will the others be, I wonder?

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08 La Cucaracha (Kings of Salsa)


Oh no. Where do I find a bug in november? They’re all in coma underground, or dead. Listening to the lyrics for other prompts… “porque le falta marijuana que fumar”, or something. Searching for “cannabis shops Zurich” (great for my Google profile, for sure), they’re far away. Hmm. I have no idea what to do, going down Seefeld towards the lake, it’s a residential neighborhood, no graffiti, no stores, nothing interesting.

I don’t know how I saw it, it’s tiny and lonely on a flower. The proverbial eye’s tail (coada ochiului). Well, little buzzer, you’re the closest thing I found to a cockroach, let’s call it a “bug”.
I’m having quite a hard time to focus with the long lens on it. Thinking about taking the other camera with the macro lens out of the backpack, but no. Till I’ll get ready the bug may take off, and good luck finding another one. Simpler is better, stick to one camera. Luckily probably the bug was rather lethargic from the cold, it did move around the flower, feeding, but didn’t take off for a few minutes, enough to get a workable shot.

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09 Hell’s bells (AC/DC)


I didn’t know this song, but I didn’t want to ask for help. I didn’t understand what they’re saying in the refrain, so I listened again from the beginning – ah, there’s a bell sound. Google ACDC bell – and voila, Hell’s bells. The lyrics are quite dark (didn’t know they had that stuff going on in their music), but I’m not too worried, I’ll find a way to set some church bells in scene. Making my way towards the cathedral with the song playing, keeping eyes open for alternative motives, looking left, right, up – ah, here we go. Leaves have fallen off some trees, branches are stretching into the grey cloudy sky like desperate limbs of people falling the ladder down to hell in church paintings. Ok, this would be a very abstract church painting, but I’m less concerned with the obviousness for now.

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Oh, but look at those leaves hanging – dead, about to fall… decay, death, works. And I’m playing my zoom cards. It’s very difficult to get a clean shot though, and I’d like my pictures in this series to be clean, as little ‘visual pollution’ as possible. This is the cleanest I can get them, with a little bit of in-camera crop, but I’m not very happy.

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How about those other trees by the lake? Ah, I like these. With a little bit of fantasy the branches could also simulate the heavy metal hand sign… works.

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10 Je t’aime (Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin)


I have a clear backup plan for this one, heading to the bridge where lovers put locks, I know from last time that some have ciphers, so I can include my starting number (81) in one picture without using the piece of paper they gave it to us on. The problem is, last time I did the same trick. Then it was innovative, this time it would be lame. But if I’ll run out of time, I’ll do it.
Meanwhile I’m passing by this Alphorn player by the lake, has a cute lineup, very photogenic, and one could say he loves his country, but… not like that. Still worth a shot.

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Walking by another jewelry store – ha! This could be a good one. I just need to finde a price including 81, and it could work. It seems though that 81 is the least popular number combination in jewelry prices – understandably so, most prices end in 0, 5 or 9. Harly any price ends in 1, or has 1 even as a follow-up number. Psychology, probably. And yet – here, here! Some odd discount calculation has lead to this 816! Unfortunately it’s hidden in the back row, and I’m having a lot of trouble taking a shot with my long lens, the camera won’t focus, it’s quite annoying. I spend a lot of time for some shots I’m not too happy with, until I hear someone problably addressing me. I know what’s coming, but ignore him, until I feel a finger on my shoulder. Now I have to turn – “yes?” “Excuse me, why are you taking pictures?” I’m annoyed but trying to keep a steady voice – “I’m participating at a photomarathon and I need to photograph the number 81 with the topic “je t’aime”, and I saw this one that would fit”. I “see” his brain’s struggle with processing all that unexpected information. “We don’t like people taking pictures, for security reasons”, he reverted to the default. He went in with a reproachful expression on his face, and I annoyedly give up looking for a better shot and move on.

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The first lock on the bridge was what I was looking for. The cleaner, I guess better quality picture, even if I like the layers of the previous one more.

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11 Gangnam style (Psy)


Google maps, where do I find a Korean restaurant? Quite far, 3km. What about a Korean… anything? There’s a Korean library close-by. Great! I cross the bridge back and bump into an East Asian-looking man handing out leaflets. People mostly ignored him, but I take a leaflet and ask him where he’s from. China, he says. Yep, didn’t look Korean to me, but making sure. Still, I ask him if he would like to pose for a portrait. He refuses. Oh well. I make my way towards the library address, when I notice this storefront. Ha. Close enough, let’s take a shot.

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Good thing I did, because the Korean library was not to be found at the address, so that’s it. Last song, less than one hour, in which I need to find my way to the submission place.

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12 Somewhere over the rainbow / Wonderful world (Israel Kamakawiwo’ole)


Right. Over the rainbow. Over the horizon? This horizon?

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Nnah. Maybe this one?

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Not exciting. Where blue birds fly… I know a place where pigeons gather, let’s head up to Lindenhof, it may also give a better view over the horizon. Indeed. Is this over the rainbow enough?

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Hmm. Over chimney tops, he sings. Here some chimney tops. Not a great picture though on its own.

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Let’s get back to those blue birds. The zoom theoretically helps to get close-ups, but it’s very hard to get them in focus. I do a few which could qualify, even if not perfect for the job.

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My back aches, arms hurt, it’s not a very comfortable position and gear for this job (good to know, I’d been mulling over getting an upgrade to the malfunctioning V1 off ebay for bird shots, but it’s not really a comfortable experience. Also I don’t like the electronic viewfinder too much, my eyes are tired after a day of squinting through it. I think I’ll stick with DSLR for special occasions, and the small Sigma – and phone – for the rest). I have exactly 25 minutes to get to the place on foot, and it’s 15:34. Off we go.

I’m glad I took the walk, it gives more opportunity for some random shots, you never know. Over the rainbow?

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Mmmmaybe not, but crossing the creek I see a dog running up and down the shore, extremely happy to be out for a “wild” walk. The action shots are not great, but then – this.

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Over the rainbow, you could argue the rainbow is in the water, he’s looking at his reflection, beyond the water curtain, wondering what the dog thinks. Like from a different dimension. Hmm.

I think I have everything now. Question is, which pictures to choose where I have more alternatives? What would you have chosen?

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