When I visited Tel Aviv in April 2019, I found a very different looking Dizengoff Square to the one I photographed back in 2016. I’m not going to write about the history here. There is Wikipedia for the fact curious. I’m just going to share some images and my personal view.
So when I came back in 2019, I found the square back to its street level and roundabout origin. Back in 2016 it was still elevated separating traffic and pedestrians. From a practical point of view the elevation had benefits: there is always heavy traffic in the center of Tel Aviv which might have been the original reason to separate. However, the heavy looking concrete pedestrian platform changed the look of the square drastically.
While I really liked the old Fire and Water Fountain, I believe it was risky to add the seventies style platform to the one of the major points of Tel Aviv’s White City. The elevated view also took away a part of the historic buildings surrounding the square.
I guess the new design “answers” many of these debatable style questions. It seems to make more sense and it fits the character of the square. The place feels more airy, open and connected. I’m not sure how Tel Avians think about the new but old street level design but for me it was just right ridding the square of tons of ugly concrete.
Finally, here are a couple of words about the images. I admit I like the 6×6 frames with a horizontally limited pane. It forces to focus on shapes and pattern instead of grant views. It’s about the interception of vertical and horizontal lines as well as bright lights and deep shadows deflecting from the allover design.
While the panorama images want to capture the opposite: the busy urban city square connected to all directions and still a place to linger. Maybe color images might do well here but then again, the challenge is to be able to see the world in back and white.
Pictures taken in 2016 are done with a Hasselblad 500CM on Rollei 400s Retro and developed in Rodinal. The 2019 images were taken with a Noblex medium format panorama camera on Fomapan 100 developed in Spur SLD.
I’m late with the images of my summer vacation. The quiet days during the holidays finally gave me opportunity to edit the images taken in August. I traveled with the new addition to my collection, the Noblex 150U Pro and the Hasselblad 500C/M. The b&w film used is solely Rollei Retro 400s developed either in Spur Speed Major or SLD. The “normal” looking color photos are shot with Kodak Ektar. While the two “different” looking images are shot with expired Velvia 100 and Rollei CR 200.
I also tried my luck with the new layflat paper offered by blurb. It is awfully expensive but I got one using the year end discount. Check it out here.
The Hasselblad is a quite familiar animal and pretty much behaved as foreseen. The square format is sometimes hard to fill with a good story. However playing with the depth of field is the best mean to deepen the image into the third dimension. I also never crop or rotate square frames. What’s on the film is also seen here. The Noblex is a different animal. Normally, everything is in focus from a minimum distance depending on the chosen aperture up to infinity. I also feel that the panoramic format is more forgiving than the square format. The control of the extreme edges is difficult since the finder doesn’t cover them. That’s the reason some images are minimally cropped. The second problem are the distortions when the camera isn’t leveled correctly. The lever inside the viewfinder only indicates horizontally while the vertical lever is outside. I guess the camera was supposed to be used mostly on a tripod. Unless, of course, the distortion is used to add drama to an image. In this case a bigger effect is even desired.
My first post in 2017 shows some old pictures I took on a trip to India in 2015. I also showed some of the images here before. These here are the last images taken with a Mamiya 645Pro that I sold a couple of weeks ago on eBay. Next to the 80mm standard lens, I also had a 45mm/2.8 wide and 150mm/4 long lens. While I never used the long lens, the 45mm was a great choice for traveling. I also had two film magazines and a metered prismn finder for the camera, which I also didn’t use much. I really preferred the waistlevel finder and a small handheld light meter hanging around my neck looking extremely nerdy. Honestly, the set, excluding the prism finder and the 150mm lens, was pretty perfect for traveling. The camera is reliable and not too heavy. The electronic shutter needs a battery that lasts quite long at least. I’m not a big fan of electronic shutters but I’m able to tolerate as long as the camera works. The lenses are good but not great though. They would lose the direct comparison to Zeiss lenses for Hasselblad or old Nikkor lenses for the Bronica S. But they are good when compared to Pentax or the later Bronica Zensanon.
I guess it’s a valid question why I decided to sell the entire system in the end. Before Christmas I decided to simplify my camera collection and decided to let go of the Mamiya 645Pro and kept the Mamiya 645AF which seem to have a couple of advantages. Admittedly, the AF isn’t as compact but lenses are good, the auto focus is fast for a medium format camera and the meter works just fine.
Enjoy the photos I took in Agra and Delhi in 2015.
I made some changes to the blog. Ich changed the theme but also cleaned up the categories and added some of them to the top menu.
Bunaken is a small island off the coast of North Sulawesi, Indonesia. It’s a beautiful place without wide roads, cars and large chain resorts. I love going there for diving and during my last visit in March 2016 I took my Mamiya 645AF with me planning to walk around with it. I went there four times before but only brought an underwater camera and also never visited the villages. It’s less than one kilometer from the Bunaken Cha Cha resort to the nearest village and an about thirty minute walk to Bunaken village, the main village of the island.
Around Bunaken Cha Cha resort. I didn’t take many images of and around the resort. I just wanted the portraits of my dive guide as well as the captain of the dive boat.
I think I tried several times to take decent images of the Bauhaus Meisterhaeuser in Dessau and I’m not sure I succeeded this time. The three double houses for the Bauhaus masters and the single house for the director were built in a small pine forest between 1925 and 1926. The architect Walter Gropius assembled cubic shapes of different sizes and envisioned an industrial Lego to build the houses. The houses have spacious patios and balconies as well as large windows on the sides illuminating the stairways. The street side of the houses are mostly shaped by the large atelier windows.
Now let me talk about the challenges of shooting these houses. There is trees allover the place. They are everywhere and really ruin the light as well as an unblocked view. On the other hand, these tall parallel pine trees somehow underline the cubic architecture and sometimes a tree cleverly breaks the parallelism. I guess I was rather luck with the light and the sun even broke through the clouds. I took this as a chance to use a dark red filter and together with the Rollei Retro 400s film it lightened the greens which looks quite fresh compared to the expected heavy dark above the white buildings.
Another quite annoying issue is that the space is very limited. Regardless of the lens used, lines will be falling and nothing is worse trying to portrait a design based on parallel lines and 90deg angles. Sometimes it seems beneficial to make the falling lines even stronger by using a wide angle lens or a low point of view but except using a large format camera or a tiltshift lens, we need to live with it.
None of the images show the street side views of the houses. I tried one out of twelve and didn’t find it worthy to be shown here. The issues with the trees, the light and the falling lines just seem to be worse. However, maybe a good reason to return and focus on the street facing side.
Last but not least, I want to make some comments about the choice of film. Rollei Retro 400s is a fine grain emulsion that is also very sharp as well as high contrast. I think it’s a good pick to shoot architecture. However, I usually tame the contrast a bit by shooting at ISO 200 and reducing agitation during development.
The last image doesn’t show one of the original houses. The homes of the directors were destroyed during the last days of WWII. In 2014 new houses were built but they do not resemble the originals. These two houses are new interpretations of the old without being the old.
i will continue with a bit more Bauhaus in a couple of days. Until then, enjoy.
Hey, it’s raining today. Let’s take the umbrella, load the hasselblad with fast film and play in the puddles outside. You don’t have to ask twice, your kids and most of the photographers will always follow the first call. My good friends from Tel Alviv, Victor and Sergio Bezrukov, accompanied me on this rainy September day to explore a different look of Munich. By the way, both make excellent models as well.
A couple of hours in the city are always a good reason to get out the bulky and heavy 40mm distagon for the hasselblad. I also left the back with the TriX pushed to ISO 1600 on the camera to gain some freedom in exposure but also for the increased contrast by means of extended development. While TriX pushes well, the film starts to lose details in the shadows pushed to ISO 1600 adding to the already strong high “contrasty” feeling.
Next time you get out in the rain, find umbrellas that add pattern and shape to your images. Don’t forget to look out for the reflections in the puddles of rain water.
Check out Victor Bezrukov’s images here. These were taken with a Fuji GA645 and Bergger Pancro pushed to ISO 800.
There is never much time during a business trip to go out and take photos. This is especially true for trips to India since there isn’t much ground to cover between the hotel and the office. I didn’t have much time to add an extra today to look around. So, I chose a one of the cheapest cameras I have, a Euro10 Polaroid Supercolor 1000 which is a no thrill point and shoot being stuffed with Impossible SX-70. I got a couple of b&w and color film packs, loaded the electronic flash and planned to shoot some portraits. First I was a bit concerned going “Gilden” style flashing people from a close distance right in the face. However, when you are a 2m tall western guy with a friendly smile, people start to be interested and I even started talking to some. Although, I wanted to keep the feeling of rushing by, taking the shot and moving on. Sometimes I took a second shot and gave it to the people I photographed. The smile in their faces when the picture appeared had no price. Maybe the picture sticks now on a wall somewhere in Bangalore.
Looking at the originals, they look just fine. Viewed from maximum of 40cm they look fairly sharp and detailed. But scanning them shows the “truth”. They are not really sharp but what is to expect from a tiny lens and a chemical process that happens all right there in the paper. To me, it’s still pretty amazing thanks to Edwin H. Land who invented the instant photography. I”m also happy that the Impossible guys picked up the old machines and were able to create their very own instant films.
Looking at the recent appearance of new instant film cameras by lomography, fuji as well as leica, there seems to be a segment that is very popular with young and old. All in all it’s good news for analog photography.
The only thing I haven’t figured out yet is how to display these tiny images. Best thing is just to hang them on a wire to be seen but the’ get dusty. Second option is individual frames. I’ll never be finished drilling hold in the walls.
This is supposed to be the last entry of my India trip and I wanted to keep a set of images that show the urban and rural life. Interesting is that the pictures don’t look so different. It seems to me urbanization happened extremely fast and people just brought the village with all its inhabitants into the cities.