Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to 50mm

I wasn't very happy with the images I produced during Exercise 13, but at the same time quite intrigued by the process of street photography with a limited focal length.  A few days ago I headed out to Muenchener Freiheit in the middle of the cities cafe and bar district.  From this square the street Leopold Strasse heads South into the city center.  All along this street are open air bars and cafes offering good subject material.

Unfortunately the weather was not good to me and few people were sitting out, although that did offer the chance for this image with a repetitive structure:

Further down the street a few cafes had clients, in this one the bar man had plenty of time to chat with his one and only guest

Turning around and shooting from the other side, I tried to capture the colour and form of the bar but also include the barman speaking to the edge of the frame

In another bar that I passed the only evidence of human life was provided by the TV screen in the corner

Other bars did have a few clients

This den of iniquity can only be seen from the inside and is generally empty until around 10pm, however, from then until 3am it is standing room only - Munich's most notorious Irish Pub, "The Shamrock"

Another unwelcoming place is the church of Scientology, in Germany they cannot be legally classed as a religion and gain no tax break as a result.  I thought the no-entry sign next to the front door said it all

Numerous fast food and coffee to go places dot the landscape of Leopold Strasse.  In common with many "trendy" places the signage is almost all in English, the German language is really taking a beating right now:

As we are now well into August, the Oktoberfest is only a few weeks away.  This is self evident by the number of shops selling low quality traditional German Lederhosen and Dirndl's.  This full set can be had for 199 Euro

As I walked around I tried to catch a few shots of people minding their own business

My final shot was just inside the Schelling Salon, a famous bar in the center of Schwabing, once a favorite haunt of a certain Austrian dictator.  When I poked my camera inside and took a shot I was questioned quite loudly if I had permission, a frequent challenge these days.  I was surprised as I cannot imagine how they could police the use of cameras in a bar, when virtually every one has a camera phone and the web is full of "look at how drunk I am" photos.

In any case not a great shot, but given that Hitler used to go here for a coffee it has a little historical interest for anyone living in Munich.

This time I felt very much more comfortable working with the "standard" focal length and really enjoyed walking slowly through a district waiting for something to appear that would make an interesting photograph.  This is quite different to my usual method, in which I have a clear target or type of picture that I want to make.  Nowhere near the insight of Joel Meyerowitz, but I am practicing!

I now carry a camera everywhere even if it is just my little G11 (actually an excellent camera for unobtrusive street work).  Later that day when the Sun had come out and the beer garden was calling my G11 came in handy for the following few shots:

The river on a lazy Saturday afternoon

A foot bridge crossing the river and a sample shot of a public building that might be part of my Assignment 3 work

Yours truly carrying the rewards of a long day taking photo's - the larger beer is my one

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