“Instant Inspiration” is my series for you if you look for something to overcome “Photographer’s Block” or simply want to shoot something that you have never tried, or at least not recently.
Covid-19 confines many of us to our homes. Travel is impossible, and in some places the lockdown rules even prohibit us to venture out with our cameras. But that is no reason to keep the camera locked away until the sanctions are lifted. With Episode 32 of my “Instant Inspirations” I want to motivate to use the camera at home, and to extensively shoot an object you love.
The Covid-19 lockdown is dominating our lives these days, as well as the news. Also, all public events have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. Corona is also overshadowing the remembrance of the end of World War II this spring. 75 years ago to this day, on April 20th, 1945, the US Army liberated Nuremberg from the terrors of the Nazi regime. A day not to be forgotten.
Last November, The Significant Other and I visited Jordan. It was a great trip into a fascinating country. I already wrote about our visit to the ancient Nabatean capital Petra and the tour of Kerak Castle, a stronghold from the time of the crusaders. Today I take you along to explore Al Balad market in the old town of Jordan’s capital Amman.
Well, the title sounds more dramatic than it really is. But the Covid-19 imposed lockdown had Big Boy and myself taking a trip down memory lane (for me) respectively a time travel into the digital stone age (for Big Boy)….
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.
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.
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.
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.
Took the Leica on a stroll into town on Saturday. There were noticeably fewer people on the streets of Nuremberg. Could have been due to the week of school holidays. But maybe it was the fear of getting infected with the new coronavirus that leaves people confined to their houses.
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.
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.
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