Tallinn Explored – Patarei Prison

Patarei Prison - food flap in prison door
Food flap in massive cell door

With Covid-19 confining many of us to our own four walls, either under stay-at-home orders or even under quarantine, it is natural that some feel kind of imprisoned. During last Summer’s visit to the Estonian capital of Tallinn, The Significant Other and I had the chance to visit a truly gruesome place, the Patarei prison, built in the mid 19th century as a sea fortress on Tallinn Bay. Join me for a tour of a real prison and dive into the history of a place that many occupants did not survive.

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Italy explored – Bergamo

Colleoni Chapel
Colleoni Chapel

The novel coronavirus induced total lockdown has caused a standstill on the Streets of Nuremberg. While technically I could take my camera out on the streets (walks of single persons are still permitted), morally I’d feel kind of guilty. And on top of it, with the totally deserted streets, what’s the point of doing street photography? And with travel all but impossible in the days of closed borders and cancelled flights, this is a good point in time to revisit some older travel photographs, and allow us to travel the world virtually via our blogs. This first post takes you to the city of Bergamo in Northern Italy, today the epicenter of the horrific corona pandemic in Italy.

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Standstill

boy wearing a protective mask in downtown Nürnberg
1/350 sec | f/9.5 | ISO 1600 | 35mm

Public life has come to a total standstill on the Streets of Nuremberg. Bavarian state authorities have issued a 24/7 curfew for the next two weeks. We can leave our homes only to go to work (if we have a pass from our employer), to seek medical assistance or to buy groceries. Single persons (or people living in one household) can also go for a walk outside. Only grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and places selling take-out food are open. When things got bad in China and the government locked up 15 million people in Wuhan, we all said that would be impossible to do in our western democracies. Four weeks later we know better. Crazy world. Amazingly, the majority of the affected population is fully supportive of the measure. Including me.

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Spring Cleaning

Marcus Puschmann Self Portrait

March is upon us, and spring is coming to the Streets of Nuremberg. And it’s really time for it. Albeit, how much we will be able to enjoy it will also depend on how things will continue with the new coronavirus. And it doesn’t look good these days. The latest company directive is to avoid all travels, and everyone who can work from home should work from home for the time being (affecting me as well). And I just learned from TV news that Italy has put the entire nation under lockdown, that means 60 million people. And who’s to decide if that’s insanity or necessary precautions. But, coming back to the Streets of Nuremberg, well into the fourth year of existence of this blog, I thought it was about time for some needed personal spring cleaning.

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One Exhibition, one lens

Photographing art with a smartphone
1/125 sec | f/2.8 | ISO 1600

Last Sunday, together with good friends, The Significant Other and I visited the exhibition of contemporary German painter Christopher Lempfuhl in the Museum Würth in Künzelsau-Gaisbach. Frequent readers of this blog know that I love shooting street photography in an exhibition. Taking my recently acquired used Leica M for a spin, I gave myself the challenge to shoot a small reportage with only a 35mm prime lens. One exhibition, one lens.

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The Rangefinder effect

What's up, shutterbug
1/350 sec | f/9.5 | ISO 1250 | 35mm

Shooting street photography with a Leica produces what I call “the rangefinder effect”. While people in the streets have a tendency to find it disturbing having a big ass DSLR pointed at their faces, their reaction is definitely quite different when they see the casually wandering photographer working the manual focus and the aperture ring of an almost anachronistic looking small black camera.

Obviously, shooting with other retro looking cameras like the Olympus PEN-F or the Fuji X100F is also much less intimidating than using a big DSLR with a huge lens attached. But those cams use autofocus and thus the process is often reduced to a simple point and shoot. The point and shoot approach would also work on a rangefinder using zone focusing (the systematic pre-focusing of a lens at specific distance and aperture to achieve a sharp image), but to get the hang of using a rangefinder I mostly take the time to set up the shots individually. Which, as totally unusual these days, draws curiosity and often a (probably pitiful) smile, the rangefinder effect. Especially when you are close to your subjects, what you have to be when you shoot street photography using a 35mm lens.

If you are looking for tips and inspirations around photography, be sure to check out my free Learning Center.

Wish you a great Monday!

Marcus

Related Posts:

Street Photography Quick Tip 2 – Another way to shoot inconspicuously

Street Photography Quick Tip 3 – Practice shooting “blind”

Instant Inspiration (8) -Make a portrait of a stranger

Instant Inspiration (29) – Frame your subject

Into the Light

Into the Light
Into the light | Nuremberg | 2020

Yesterday was my first day back shooting on the Streets of Nuremberg after the passing of my mom. The past four weeks have been tough, both emotional and physical. The two weeks being daily at her side, when it was already clear that her life will come to an end. Sitting at her bedside the last hours. Then, coping with the loss and with all the tasks that come with it. I didn’t feel like picking up a camera. Neither I was up to do any blogging. But now it is time to get back into the light. I missed going out to play with the light. It’s the best therapy one can ask for.

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