Christmas in the Basque Country – Part 2

Yesterday I returned from a trip to Germany where I was working on 3 different projects. It was cold and uncomfortable, there was a lot of long winded and annoying travel involved, but while I was there I had lots of fun anyway. I saw some excellent exhibitions, caught up with some friends and spent time with my family. I also shot 29 rolls in about 2 weeks and walked 71km! And all of it was possible thanks to my new medication: CBD, which is a form of medical cannabis. For 8 years I was in constant chronic pain and suddenly with this miracle plant I can travel and walk, even hike up mountains with a heavy large format camera! I’m still annoyed that I didn’t find this solution earlier! Why? Well, politics and capitalism. And in case you are wondering: No high with CBD and perfectly legal in the whole EU.

While I was in Germany I also continued working on my newest DIY project, which has exploded into quite a big endeavour. The plan was to build a DIY graflarger back, i.e. a light source that I can mount on my Speed Graphic to turn the camera into a 4×5 enlarger. From a hacked together contraption that was basically just a diffused light source of the right size that would be mounted with a bit of bungee cord I went to a design that will now involve RGB LEDs that I can use in 3 different modes – RGB colour correction like on the computer, RYB colour correction like regular colour enlargers and a multigrade mode that will work like the variocontrast light source on my Durst enlarger. It also won’t be mounted with bungee cord, but will get a proper 3D printed casing and a modular negative holder that will fit a standard international back and can print a whole lot of unusual formats. And since the RGB control needed a micro controller anyway, I might as well include a split grade f-stop timer with an analyser that will hopefully reduce the test strips I need to make and therefore save lots of time when printing.

So far I’ve got the RGB and RYB modes figured out and I have some notes for the VC mode. After that I will tackle the timer and as soon as some additional parts arrive I will set up the interface. It will actually have a display, a keypad and a few knobs to make it easy and comfortable to use. The last part will be the analyser, which probably won’t be entirely straight forward to do. However, there is some existing code that I can adapt for my purposes, like it is often the case when you’re trying to build something like this. There are usually lots of clever people out there who have already tried whatever it is you want to do and they are usually eager to share their experiences. I thought I would have to come up with my own RYB to RGB function, but as it turns out a clever person had already done it before and I only had to rewrite the code in a different programming language. Another clever person also developed an open source f-stop timer that I will adapt for my purposes and extend with functionality aimed at split grade printing. I could even make it possible to control this via a web interface on a smart phone.

This kind of spirit where people share their clever code and make their builds available for everyone to try is what I love about the maker community. If I wanted to buy a light source like the one that I’ve already started to program, I would easily pay 1100€ just for the light source, and every type of controller is sold separately – BW, colour or controlled with an app – for between 200-500€. An f-stop timer with an analyser would go for another 1000€. And it wouldn’t even handle like a proper enlarger head, neither colour nor vario contrast, since Heiland electronics who produce these light sources didn’t feel like figuring out how to have them produce magenta (red+blue) and yellow (red+green) or write an RGB to RYB conversion function. Strange for their kind of asking prices, especially since it’s not exactly rocket science! And besides, any (supervised) 10 year old could rebuild their basic light source design with the RGB colour controller by cobbling together a bunch of Arduino beginner tutorials for about 30€. All it needs is an RGB LED strip, any kind of cheap arduino clone – like the nano -, three transistors, some resistors, potentiometers, knobs and a cheap red LCD display. Soldering required, but that’s not rocket science either! That it’s so easy to hack together is exactly why the project keeps getting bigger. Adding one more function doesn’t seem like a big deal. In any case, I’m progressing bit by bit and I hope to be finished with all of it by April.

After returning from my trip, I will now also continue with my efforts to catch up on my film development and editing. I now have some 60 undeveloped rolls that I can tackle and after already developing a lot before I left I have about 120 rolls worth of scans to edit. I’m not be a big fan of the whole developing, scanning and editing business, so avoiding this part always feels like cutting a whole lot of boredom out of my workflow. However, it has to be done eventually and it’s even worse to do it all in one go. One of my resolutions for 2018 is trying to keep up with all the developing, scanning and editing, but for this to happen I actually have to catch up first. We’ll see whether I can manage before my next trip!

In any case, let’s finally move on to the pictures! It’s not Christmas anymore, but in the last post I promised you a second Christmas in the Basque Country post and here it is. Any leftover eggnog? Well, now is the time for it! Somehow things always get in the way and I don’t post as often as I should. Another thing to tackle in 2018.

Pictures taken with: Leica M6 with Voigtländer Nokton 35mm f/1.2 and Voigtländer Nokton 50mm f/1.1. Rolleicord V, Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 75mm f/3.5.

M6 / 35mm Nokton / HP5+.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

On Christmas Eve we usually go for a walk in the morning. Around here Christmas Eve means people in traditional dresses.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

He has to wait outside even on Christmas Eve, poor little fella.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

I’m afraid there is going to be singing.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Lots of kids.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Adults too though!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

More interested in the toy car!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Singing for money, another Christmas Eve tradition. What baffles me is the willingness of teenagers to dress up in traditional dress. I never would have done anything so conformist!

Rollei Retro 400s.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

I like that little girl in the doorway.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Reflection. The kids were looking at the display of a model railway. Not sure why that’s a Christmas thing here – for me it’s a train station thing.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Obligatory dog picture.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

More singing.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

And gravity wins again! Unsurprising that kids don’t know how to ice skate in a place where it never snows.

Delta 3200 @1000.

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

That’s the Christmas spirit.

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

I have to say that Delta 3200 in 35mm isn’t very impressive, too much grain! Pushing slower film makes much more sense even though it sacrifices shadow detail. However, in medium format it has great tonality and looks good even at 3200.

M6 / 50mm Nokton / FP4+.

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

In Spain the three holy kings or magi have their own celebration, los reyes magos. The kids stand in line to see the magi at the town hall in the morning and then there is a procession in the evening. And of course there are also presents involved. Around here it’s almost as important or even more important than Christmas Eve / Day.

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

Standing in line means that the kids are bored. However, usually figure out a way to entertain themselves. Photographically it would otherwise be an immensely dull event too.

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

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They found a new friend.

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

Rollei / Ilford XP2 (HC-110).

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Hand face synchronisation.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

I got a bit bored, but puppies are a good remedy for boredom!

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

Oh so cute!

Leica M6 / Nokton 35mm / Ilford Pan 400 @1600.

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

In the evening we went to see the procession. I’ve been trying to photograph that event a couple of times already. The first time I only had an f/2.8 lens and it was simply too dark for it. Well, gear matters sometimes! The second time we mixed up the days and when I accidentally ran into the procession I simply couldn’t get a good vantage point because of the crowds. This time we finally managed to get it right, found a good spot, I had a fast lens and film that pushes well.

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

The girl in the middle doesn’t look too happy.

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

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© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

Metering with open fire in the frame is a challenge. Turned out alright though!

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

As always, kids in traditional dresses.

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

Traditional music.

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

Well, photographing a moving black something on a dark street is quite impossible even at f/1.2. Sheep dog? Black sheep?

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

Farm animals are so Christmas … eh? I don’t know.

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

And creepy big heads on a bus.

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

Child adult interaction.

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

Last one!

breaking the lines

Lately I’ve been in the mood for some more focused learning and I’ve been following some online courses, some photography related, some not, and it has been an enjoyable experience. Every few years I make an effort and use some of the amazing resources that are available nowadays and it’s always been worthwhile. In case you’re looking for photography related courses: There is an excellent coursera course on Photography by MoMA that was really very very helpful and interesting. I did it some time ago and I felt that it was one of the best online courses I had ever taken, so I’d definitely recommend it. The one I’m following right now is called The Camera Never Lies and is actually a history meets photojournalism course which is also very detailed and interesting. I’m really amazed at all the stuff that you can learn online. You might know that I’ve been teaching myself all sorts of film photography related things over the years and I pretty much learned it all from free sources on the internet. Stand-development, developing and printing in Caffenol, C41 and E6 development, splitgrade printing, how to dry fibre prints with and without a print dryer, scanning, lately how to use large format cameras and so on. It’s pretty much all described in articles, videos and helpful comments in film photography related forums and groups. You just have to know how to use a search machine and you can find all sorts of great information. Once I even came up with a detailed syllabus that follows the progression of an art history degree with courses that are all available online for free. As long as you’re not dependent on the qualification, you can do the same thing for any degree and acquire all sorts of knowledge in self-study. The only requirement is that you have access to a good library or the money to buy the books.

And since we’re talking about books: Today I would like to recommend an excellent book to you called The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes. It’s a 700 page tome all dedicated to alternative printing and photography which compiles so much knowledge that it would probably take me years if I were to try to attempt every technique in the book. And the best thing: It’s actually an excellent book about the history of photography too and although I know quite a bit about the subject already there are always interesting details that I didn’t know about yet. Really, I can’t recommend this book enough, it’s just wonderful and full of inspiration for experiments! My latest experiments? I’ve been playing with my Diana F+ camera and the cable release bracket to take pinholes, since this is the first chapter in the alternative processes book. Not the sharpest pinhole design out there, but it definitely has a nice feel to it and doesn’t require any tinkering to get started.

The other thing that kept me busy this week was my pile of undeveloped rolls of film. Should I really admit that I still have 105 undeveloped rolls of film lying around? I’m not really pushing myself to develop them as quickly as possible, so it will probably still take a while until I’m finished with it. I might as well announce already that I will be a tad late with my New Year’s Post this time, since most of the rolls from this year haven’t been developed yet!

In any case, I better get to some pictures now since I’m also horribly behind on posting pictures. These pictures were actually taken in May 2016 during my low ISO challenge. At the time I was playing with my excellent Super Ikonta and these pictures remind me that I should really take it out for some more street shooting soon! The lens is simply superb!

Pictures taken with: Rolleicord V, Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 75mm f/3.5. Zeiss Super Ikonta C 530/2.

Starting with: Rollei / Rollei Retro 80s / Rodinal.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Twins.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

This was pretty much an accident, but I really like how the girl is perfectly framed!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Woof!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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I don’t. Or do I?

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

ISO 80 woes.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Teach them young!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

I was obsessed with dust that month.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

I love how everyone ignores what the little one is doing.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Say hello!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Love the light in this!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Did I mention recently that I love my Rollei? Well I do!

Ikonta / Retro 80s / HC-110.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

I walked into a random direction.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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He told me that he was a warrior.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

So, this is an 80 year old Zeiss lens. Isn’t it just amazing?

Retro 80s / Rodinal stand.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Just a moment too late. The Super Ikonta isn’t the most convenient camera to use.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Hiding.

Retro 80s / Rodinal.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Side street art.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Although I seriously love the Retro 80s, I had scratches on some rolls that were not caused by the camera.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Nose coincidence.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Action shot.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Beach spectators.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Strange dancing. Her hands!!

Pan F+ 50 / HC-110.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Disappointed love.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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I may have scanned this with the ANR glass upside down.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

So cute!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Assistance!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

I love all the lines in this one.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Teddy doesn’t get any love either. Last one!

indoor football

Now that my blog is working again properly, I’m going to make an effort to post at least once a week until I have caught up a little. Right now I’m more than a year behind with posting pictures and it’s sort of disconcerting. We’ll see how long I can keep up my good intentions!

There was finally some acceptable weather this last week and I got to go out with my Rollei a bit. Of course the Rollei started a conversation, this time with a punk and his two dogs, and I ended up sitting in the sun, taking pictures of them. Definitely fun! I’m sure you’ll get to see the pictures in about 2 years at my current rate! Oh dear!

I haven’t really felt like developing any film lately. I definitely need to get back to it! I found the perfect trick to motivate me though: I shot some Ilford Pan F+ 50 which has bad image latency, so I have to develop it soon or the images will fade! Every job has annoying bits and film development / editing definitely annoys me, especially with colour. I can take pride in the fact that I can do it rather well now, but that doesn’t make it any more interesting.

I was just about getting back into the swing of things with shooting when of course it started to rain again. I don’t know what it is this year, but it feels like the longest spring ever. When is it finally time for summer?

And before I start getting cranky I better get on with some pictures, this time the penultimate post with pictures from Argentina. One more post and it’s back to Europe! I will miss having my Argentina pictures in the queue. In any case, grab a cup of tea, put your feet up and enjoy!

Pictures taken with: Leica M6, Zeiss ZM C-Biogon 35mm f/2.8 and Voigtländer Nokton 50mm f/1.1. Rolleicord V, Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 75mm f/3.5.

Starting with: M6 / Biogon / Kodak Gold 200.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

They locked him in / out.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

La Boca is full of street dogs.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

And cats.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Kitty under the stairs.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

This was in one of the tourist traps.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

And another just for the photographer in the background.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

And of course the street dogs hang out next to the restaurants in the hopes of getting some leftovers.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Funny way of drinking.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Rollei / Portra 400.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

M6 / Biogon / Gold 200.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Taken from the bus I believe.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

For some reason I really like this one.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Very martial.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Looking down into a museum.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Obligatory mirror self-portrait.

Rollei / Portra 400.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Later that night, some long exposures with the Rollei from the balcony.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Sunrise the next morning! I love the view and the mist.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

My husband was also awake already.

M6 / Biogon / Gold 200.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

OK, I guess I wait here.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Right outside the butchers.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Foosball.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Busy bird.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

At the butchers. You simply can’t imagine the meat over there! Best meat ever!

M6 / Nokton 1.1 / Gold 200.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Up there …

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

… were these guys.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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And then they got all excited.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Buying tickets at the Lunapark.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Very small man, very big truck.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Oh surprise, we stopped at a bookstall!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Flag in the wind.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Plastic bag in the wind.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Visiting the Casa Rosada.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Welcome to my old hunting grounds, the subway!

M6 / Biogon / Gold 200.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

And on the bus. Buenos Aires is the city of endless trips on public transport.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Still got my subway chops.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Occasionally one sees people with books too, not just smart phones.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

It was dark and for some weird reason I took my 2.8 lens.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

I was so annoyed at myself about this picture, 2.8 lens and ISO 200 film at night. Yeah, right!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Dancing tango in front of a book shop.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Not too bad for daylight balanced ISO 200 film. Not too bad at all.

Last one!

long wait

Ah, there I am again, finally! I’m sorry it took so long this time, but I actually have a good excuse for once: My webspace provider was totally ripping me off, so I decided to migrate my website. I already thought last year that their price increases are getting more and more insane, but this year they really crossed a line. Well, now I’m back with my old provider from years ago and much happier with the performance, the support and everything really. The only problem was of course that I have an insane number of pictures on my blog and transferring all that data took forever! I also had to clean up some internal mess, reinstall my theme and all sorts of little things that I didn’t really want to deal with, so I just left the migration half finished for a while. All of it was a very good reminder why I should never go back to working in IT! That said, today I felt like posting some pictures and so I finally finished up most of the remaining issues, which involved fixing the database and some CSS issues. Now it’s done at last! Such a never-ending story! There are still some little things broken here or there – I probably still need to fix some database settings somewhere to get unicode support back up, but what’s left is really not a priority.

Apart from my big mission of migrating the website I’ve also now read 260 pages in Russian! I’m not reading very fast yet, but I’m reading in Russian, how cool is that? On any average day I’m now using 4 or 5 languages, German, English, Spanish, French and Russian. So, how does that go? I speak German with my parents and write a little bit in German almost every day, I use English throughout as my primary language, I watch series in Spanish – right now mostly Argentinian series – and in French I tend to read for fun/work or listen to podcasts and radio documentaries. In Russian I’m currently only reading translations from English and it’s still slow going, but I’m definitely making progress! I’m pretty sure that by the end of the year I’ll be reading without a dictionary and already start to watch series dubbed in Russian.

As for photography: I’m starting to come out of a bit of funk now which is probably because it’s finally getting a bit warmer. Winter and spring were cold, wet and boring photographically, so I didn’t feel very inspired. Lately I feel like I’m going through a seasonal low in winter and during the tourist season in summer, so I have to try to work around it as best as I can. Nothing to be done, since that’s just how it is here in tourist land. Most photographers who don’t live in big cities work in a seasonal fashion, so I just have to get used to it. Can be frustrating, but lately I’ve just concentrated on other things during such times – like learning languages. During my last photographic low I picked up French and now I’m on my way to learning Russian. Not a bad way to avoid the usual frustrations and waste less film!

Also, did you know that the first issue of our She Shoots Film magazine is out? It’s pretty, it’s super interesting and full of great work! You can order it on the She Shoots Film website. If you already have it, don’t worry, the next issue is coming soon!

Now let’s get to the meat of this post though: The pictures! I’m ashamed to say that I’m now more than a year behind with posting pictures, since these are still from our trip to Argentina last year! Yikes, I really need to make an effort to catch up!

Pictures taken with: Leica M6, Zeiss ZM C-Biogon 35mm f/2.8 and Voigtländer Nokton 50mm f/1.1. Rolleicord V, Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 75mm f/3.5.

Starting with: M6 / Nokton 1.1 / Kodak Gold 200.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Cat ears!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Fur ball.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Books, of course!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Trying to get rid of a stray cat.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Not exactly the best weather for checking out the bookstalls.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Miau!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

There was a certain quiet about it all.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Don’t trust the sign, the woman wasn’t selling, at least not to us.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Also, she walked right into my shot. On purpose.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Kodak Farbwelt 400.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

The Nokton 1.1 wide open is a bit funky in colour.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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It was dark.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Dancing dog.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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I think Kodak Farbwelt 400 does really well in this kind of light.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Lots of lines everywhere.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Ah, Nokton 1.1 wide open!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Fruit.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Robot clock!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Rainy day.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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I’m watching you.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Evening coffee.

Next day: M6 / Zeiss 35mm / Gold 200.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Architecture students probably.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Ombu!!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Rollei / Portra 160.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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M6 / Zeiss 35mm / Gold 200.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

This looks very Bs As in my eyes.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Rollei / Portra 160.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

M6 / Zeiss 35mm / Gold 200.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Rollei / Portra 160.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Bus depot.

M6 / Zeiss 35mm / Gold 200.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

We were out in La Boca.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Eternauta! If you don’t know it, google it.

Rollei Portra 160.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

M6 / Zeiss 35mm / Gold 200.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

La Boca is of course very touristy, but also very colourful and full of street dogs.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Rollei / Portra 160.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

I simply had to take a picture of that.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Colourful cat!

M6 / Zeiss 35mm / Gold 200.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Colourful dog.

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Posing for me!

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One for Muybridge!

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This guy preferred the stairs.

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And this guy ran past with a big chunk of meat.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Obligatory broken down car picture.

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Contemporary art.

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Internal joke alarm.

Last one!

all the pretty little horses

A couple of days ago we returned from our last trip to Madrid. Instead of melting in 40°C weather, this time we were freezing cold at times. It seems we always pick the wrong time to travel. Nevertheless, we had a very good time, saw dinosaurs and interesting art, bought books – oh surprise – and I can be proud enough to say that I resisted buying a large format camera in a nice camera shop just two blocks from our holiday flat (it’s almost as if someone had planned it that way *cough*). The other cameras I ogled were a Horizon 202 in a display case and several Rolleiflexes behind the counter. I didn’t even ask for the prices of those, since already the Graflex seemed somewhat overpriced. Not buying any cameras doesn’t mean it was a photographically unsuccessful trip though. I also shot about 15 rolls, 4 of which were taken with the Rollei, splitting the rest of the rolls fairly evenly between the Nokton 50mm f/1.1 and the Nokton 35mm f/1.2. Definitely a good trip and I can’t wait to see the pictures!

Just before we travelled I also started on a new set of experiments, this time another attempt at making slides with HC-110 and C41 chemicals instead of E6 chemicals. Since Tetenal discontinued the 1L E6 kit I’ve been waiting and waiting to see my slide pictures without any end in sight, so I decided to try a mad little experiment with the help of lots of pointers from Kelly-Shane Fuller, fellow member of the Film Shooters Collective and my personal slide film hero. He already figured out how to do this himself and I just tried to reproduce his method. After an initial failure with a weak re-exposure light I’m now fairly close to perfect results. The first development in HC-110 is still a tad too inactive – I’m still getting a little too much blue in the shadows – , but I think increasing the temperature by 1 degree should do the trick. I love it when my wild experiments work out! And once I will have perfected this process, more slide film experiments will follow, including black and white slides and paper reversal processing for shooting paper in pinhole cameras. You see, there are always more experiments to undertake and more things to learn!

Speaking of learning: The other day I decided that it’s time to take up learning Russian again. Last year I learned French with a method that was new to me and for the first time succeeded in teaching myself a language. The year before I kind of failed at learning Russian, because I got incredibly stuck with the grammar before being able to properly understand anything. My attempt to learn French was a sort of test run before tackling a difficult language like Russian with this new method and it worked splendidly. I can now read books in French without a dictionary and I even listened to a couple of audiobooks in French on the train to Madrid without any problems. After this success I will now try the same method on Russian and see whether it works just as well on a grammatically more challenging language. So, a new non-photographic challenge awaits and you’ll probably read a sentence here or there about my progress.

Now let’s get on with some pictures though, this time again taken in April during our last trip to Argentina. I actually miss Argentina again – it’s always so much fun to shoot there – and I’m really looking forward to travelling there again. We’re not quite sure when yet, but fingers crossed that it will be soon!

Pictures taken with: Leica M6 with Zeiss ZM C-Biogon 35mm f/2.8 and Voigtländer Nokton 35mm f/1.1. Rolleicord V, Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 75mm f/3.5.

Starting with: M6 / Biogon / Kodak Gold 200.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Movement!

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Lost shoe.

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Pink.

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For some reason I like that somewhat blurry expression.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Choosing ice cream.

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Strange fassade.

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Are you coming or what? Asks the dog, of course!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Camouflaged car.

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Love the light in this.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Yeah, yeah, I know, one day I’ll end up with curtain burn.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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We actually wanted to go to one of the big cemeteries, but it closed 5 minutes before we arrived thanks to another impossibly long ride on public transport.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Didn’t trust this guy, so I stayed away from him.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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We went to a café that had a whole camera collection on display. They had some really nice stuff there, so I took some pictures. Of course I had only slow film and a slow lens.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Very atmospheric place.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Obligatory café portrait of my husband.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Table top long-exposure.

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M6 / Nokton.

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Hanging out at the skate park. Literally.

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Same facial expression. And in the background my husband walked into the picture.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Mmmmh cake! We were at the Feria de Mataderos again.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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First you eat the chocolate.

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Then you give the doggy a kiss.

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Another furry handbag.

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Wild hair.

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Creepy.

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Toy gun.

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Far away from Manchester.

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There is a rider hiding in a mural.

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These kids were racing about on their horses.

Rollei / Portra 400.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Start them early!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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The leggings need no comment.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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When Muybridge published his first high speed pictures of running horses people thought the gait of his horses looked comically unrealistic.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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I love how this one turned out.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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M6 / Nokton / Gold 200.

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Aww!

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Another portrait of my husband. And people who say that this lens has strange bokeh forget that most of the time it’s actually not that bad.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Portrait session.

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High five!

Kodak Farbwelt 400.

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A real air guitar.

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Makes me curious.

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I don’t care what people say, I love this lens!

M6 / Biogon.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Happiness is having to take the bus in Buenos Aires.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Ah, back in my old stomping grounds, the subway. I always feel at home there.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Lots of hearts.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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“Oh, grandmother, what big hands you have!” is what my grandkids will say when I show them this picture.

Last one!

flip

These days it has been cold and wet, which has actually kept me from shooting. I’ve only been out to shoot a couple of times apart from one day when I spent some time to document one of the local Christmas traditions. I have been covering the local traditions pretty thoroughly over the last couple of years and this last tradition surrounding the Reyes Magos was one that had been quite impossible with my previous gear. It was just way too dark for my Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 a couple of years ago and too crowded for my 50mm Nokton f/1.1 last year. This year with my new Voigtländer Nokton 35mm f/1.2 I finally managed, which is another reason why buying this lens was a great decision. By now I’ve shot 40 rolls with the lens and I’m really impressed with the results. I will probably still get quite a number of rolls in before I have enough light for my Zeiss 35mm during my typical shooting time in the late afternoon.

Yesterday I also went for a walk in a cloud with my Rollei. Sometimes when it’s very rainy the clouds hang rather low and one can walk into them by climbing one of the hills. I have been meaning to do this since I moved here, but of course rain usually keeps me from shooting on such days. Yesterday there was a little break in the rain when I set out on my adventure, but of course that didn’t prevent me from getting a bit soaked. Obviously it tends to be rather wet in clouds and I had to wipe the lens of the Rollei many times even before it started raining again. I hope I got some nice pictures in return at least!

The film I shot during my adventure was in this case XP2, since this is the ISO 400 film in 120 I’m shooting these days. I’ve shot about 5 rolls of it so far and I will leave a few of them for our trip to Madrid which we booked yesterday. Only a week to go until we travel! This time we won’t have to face 40°C weather like in September and it will probably be less exhausting to shoot street. Apart from the XP2 I will also take some Ilford Pan 400 and other odds and ends – maybe a few more rolls of Rollei Retro 400s, a roll of Kodak Vision 3 500T and some Delta 3200. And what about gear? Well, of course I’ll take my Leica and Rollei as always, but it will be the first time that I travel without my Zeiss lens. My Voigtländer lenses are definitely more flexible and I don’t mind the extra weight.

Apart from all of this there are a couple more experiments worth mentioning that I embarked upon over the last couple of weeks: I finally figured out the right development time for Rollei Retro 400s in HC-110 and I successfully pushed a few rolls of Delta 400 and Ilford Pan 400 to 1600 in HC-110 semi stand-development. I still have to find the sweet spot with the right amount of developer to protect the highlights and still get enough density before exhaustion, but i’m on the right track. I was hitting the limit of what I could do with pushing in Rodinal – it fogs too much – and I think HC-110 stand could be great for pushing T-grain film like Delta 400 and T-Max 400. I don’t always need that kind of speed with my Voigtländer lenses, but having the possibility to push this far without too much grain is definitely helpful in certain situations.

But now, let’s finally get to some pictures. It’s now 2017 and I’m still posting pictures from April 2016! Yes, I am quite behind, but I actually didn’t shoot that much over the summer, which means that it’s not as bad as it seems. I also quite like having a distance to the pictures that I post. It’s a little like reading an old diary. This time it means that I get to relive our last Argentina trip in April.

Pictures taken with: Leica M6 with Zeiss ZM C-Biogon 35mm f/2.8 and Voigtländer Nokton 50mm f/1.1. Rolleicord V, Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 75mm f/3.5.

Starting with: M6 / Biogon / Kodak Gold 200.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

Doesn’t look like the softest ground to practice flips!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

In case you ever wondered how girls turn into cats, here is a progression documented on an abandoned car.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

More of an internal joke that one. There was another silly poster of him in another post recently.

M6 / Nokton.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Fluffy handbag.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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More fluffy handbags.

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We were at the Feria de Mataderos.

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Yes, I’m obsessed with these fluffballs.

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Creepy dolls anyone?

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Sweet stuff.

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In case the writing on the t-shirt is too small, it actually says: “I wanna be white” illustrated with a black dog trying to paint himself white. So weird.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Definitely take note of the boy biting his fingernails in the background.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Llama alarm!

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Pose your kid on a pony for a picture.

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Car turned bench.

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Weeeeird!

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Add sleeping dog in matching colour to your booth for decoration.

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Care.

Rollei / Portra 400.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Always difficult to colour correct with harsh shadows, but I really like how this one turned out.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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M6 / Nokton / Kodak Gold 200.

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What a look!

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More sweet stuff.

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This booth was very creative.

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And another fur ball!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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I’m not the only one who’s obsessed with them.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Nope, couldn’t resist the mirror.

M6 / Biogon.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Playing foosball.

Kodak Farbwelt 400.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Uhm weird! Taken from a cab.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Colours!

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Dogs expression matches the skulls.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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He was having fun though.

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Blocking the whole street for a little chat.

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How to combat boredom while queuing.

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Out for a walk with his grammophone. I just couldn’t get a good angle before he was gone.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Paying attention while crossing the street is clearly overrated.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Light was going.

Kodak Gold 200.

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Candy apples!

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Bookshop self-portrait.

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Love how this one turned out!

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At the bus stop.

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Quick, before she runs away! Oh wait …

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Rollei / Portra 400.

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Someone’s bed.

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This is actually a university.

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Colourful. My own universities were rather boring in decoration.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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bubbles

Last week I told you that I experimented with a little pinhole camera I built myself with still rather unpredictable results. This week my experimentation took me to another strange beast which is similarly unusual for a Leica shooter like me: I went out with a Holga! I actually bought the camera to convert it into a pinhole camera, but wanted to see what it could do with the lens first. It was a sunny day and I only had ISO 400 film in 120 lying around, so I had to improvise a little. The Holga really only has one shutter speed around 1/125 and the maximum aperture is somewhere around 13, so I had to shove a red filter with a filter factor of 5 on the front to get to the right amount of light. And although I was winging it on a crappy plastic camera, the exposure worked just fine and I was even surprised with the pictures. Not half bad for plastic wrapped in more plastic. Maybe I should give it another chance before tearing it apart?

In any case, as you can imagine I’m trying to push myself a little out of my comfort zone by embracing some more unpredictable stuff and experimenting with things I haven’t tried yet. These experiments are of course quite unrelated to my usual street photography work and I’m just trying to see where this takes me. I think I’ll make a point of experimenting with more toy camera / pinhole stuff about once a week over the next year and I’m certainly curious to see where I’ll be at the end of it. So, right now I have a matchbox pinhole cam that needs a bit more expert light proofing, a Holga, a toy TLR, a Lomo actionsampler, my mum’s Lubitel that needs some cleaning since it’s full of fungus and different containers for paper pinholes. There is lots of experimentation and tinkering ahead I think!

Apart from these experiments I also shot a decent amount of rolls in my Leica this last week, this time mostly FP4+ with a scattering of Kodak Vision 3 500T. And since I shot mostly lower ISO film I actually switched to my 50mm Nokton, which I enjoy shooting in the daylight with low ISO film. What’s really interesting about this is that I actually shot many of my favourite shots this year with the 50mm Nokton. Both 50mm and low ISO used to be quite far out of my comfort zone and now I’m rather enjoying both of it in combination. Who would have thought? I actually bought the 50mm Nokton for night shots, but in the end I fell in love with it during daytime.

Enough talk though, let’s finally get on with some pictures! This time I’m showing you pictures taken at the end of March, shortly before our trip to Buenos Aires in April. Next time you can therefore expect some colourful pictures from another continent!

Pictures taken with: Leica M6 with Zeiss ZM C-Biogon 35mm f/2.8 and Voigtländer Nokton 50mm f/1.1. Rolleicord V, Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 75mm f/3.5.

Starting with: M6 / Nokton / RPX 100 / HC-110.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Busy communicating.

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Copycat.

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Cow is not impressed.

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Comfy.

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Careful with the leopard print!

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Disapproving looks.

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M6 / Biogon / APX 400 / HC-110.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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I was pretty exhausted after that Nokton roll, sat down and wondered whether I should load another roll. If I hadn’t I would have missed this …!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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And this. They had already called an ambulance.

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Lost.

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If you can’t walk …!

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Expectation.

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Ah, contrast!

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Expectation.

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And he was very patient.

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On break.

APX 400 @800 / HC-110.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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I don’t know what it is about this picture, but I keep coming back to it. Maybe it’s the girls hand.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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Maimed?

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Out for a stroll.

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Bored with the breadstick I suppose.

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Taking out the cat.

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Hitchhiker.

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Dog meeting.

M6 / Nokton.

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Mid jump.

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I always say that this place is like Disneyland without the rides. Not quite true I suppose …!

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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APX 400 / HC-110.

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Geometry.

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Attitude!

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Strange moves.

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And then all of a sudden the ground seemed to become somewhat magnetic.

© Lilly Schwartz 2016

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More magnetism.

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And more floor magnetism.

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Even on the skateboards.

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That bag has a tail …

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Dog encounter.

M6 / Biogon / HP5+ / HC-110.

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Old school attitude.

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Accident waiting to happen.

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Fascination with toys.

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Hiding …

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Tree football.

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Stylish.

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