02 May 2010
So much easier now
While Greece is being "saved" from bankruptcy by bankrupting the Greek "man on the street", I'm happily busy with my photographic hobby. Last weekend I had some major equipment problems: apart from the usual stuck shutters, a cable release broke off and there was a piece left in the thread on the shutter. No fun.
The good thing was that it finally annoyed me enough to pack up my lenses and give them in for a shutter servicing. On monday I handed them over to Mr. Picopoulos camera repair shop in Lekka street. On tuesday I was to get informed what it would cost and if I gave the go-ahead, I'd get them back by the end of the week.
First good surprise was that they called on Monday already and - second good surprise - quoted me a very reasonable price: 20€ + taxes for each shutter. Still I was nervous, having someone working on my lenses. It's not that they have much monetary value - they are old and quite obsolete for "professional" work - but they are what I have, I had them for more than 20 years.
So, in the end everything went well. I went to pick them up on friday. Had a nice chat with Mr. Picopoulos, about his time in Switzerland, when he got trained at Bolex.
Yesterday I took my first pictures. I'm happy. Not only do I have one lens more to work with now - as the 180mm had become completely useless stuck. But the shutters on my other two lenses are a joy to work with too now. They used to be stuck on the longer times, especially if the weather was slightly colder. Now they even sound better, they feel different to cock and when changing the time. The cable release thread is clean too now, I found a new cable release for a good price, so I'm all rock and rolling again!
06 May 2010
Wohlauf, aber wütend
Eine Stimme aus Athen
In Europa schaut man Griechenland im Fernsehen. Mein Vater hat gestern bei mir angerufen, um zu fragen ob ich wohlauf bin. Ja, keine Probleme für Leib und Leben. Ich wohne und arbeite weit genug weg vom Stadtzentrum um nicht von Demonstrations- und Polizei-Gewalt betroffen zu sein. Ich begebe mich auch nicht selber zu Demonstrationen.
Anders sieht es aus, was den Seelenzustand betrifft. Ich bin Ausländer hier, aber meine Freunde sind hier, mein soziales Umfeld ist hier, meine Arbeit, schlicht mein Lebensmittelpunkt ist hier. Gestern auf dem Nachhauseweg habe ich wieder einmal darüber nachgedacht, wie sehr ich in dieser chaotischen Stadt zuhause bin (auch wenn ich lieber irgendwo auf dem Land wäre). Ich bin ganz einfach wütend, drum entschuldigt, wenn ich von meiner Linie abweiche, nicht über Politik zu schreiben...
Continue reading "Wohlauf, aber wütend"
07 May 2010
Cable Releases Received
... freshly shipped in from Germany
A few weeks ago I had an accident with a cheap cable release. The stupid thing broke, leaving a piece of itself inside the shutter's thread. Not nice, but it was probably something that was machined to the cheapest possible specs.
So I went and ordered two nice new cable releases from http://www.gebr-schreck.com/ - a German manufacturer, who makes exactly this product. The funny part is that they were cheaper than what I had paid for the "cheap" chinese wire release at the photo store here, even considering the postage. It's also nice to be able to buy something not "made in china" for once, just for a change. (At least I presume they are made in Germany, I think these manufacturers should write that all over the place.)
They are smaller and "leaner" than I had expected. Well, I had ordered the 25cm size, the larger sizes probably are thicker too. But they suit me fine the way they are, they seem to be well made and will hopefully serve me for a long time.
15 May 2010
First Films in Years
You never unlearn it, it's like flying a fish... or was it a bicycle?
This afternoon I developed my first black+white film in I don't know
how long... likely more than 10 years... or thereabouts, hard to
remember. All the time that I got the Arca-Swiss back, I took pictures
with color negative and b+w film in parallel. I have two cassettes for
the Arca, so that is easy to do. The color negs I give for development
and scanning at "Tolis" lab (Nikitara 9 / Em. Benaki, they do C-41 up
to 120 film). The b+w films went into a box.
Now I signed up at the Photoclub Ennea, which is a photography club,
which has its own darkroom set up with all the necessary equipment - up
till 6x9cm, which is by coincidence just what I need. The yearly
membership dues are a bit steep for me, but since all the equipment use
and the chemicals is included, it's better than buying all the darkroom
After I signed up, I went right to develop my first batch of films. The
place is well organized and apart from some leaking development tanks and some spirals refusing to wind up my films for a short while I
didn't have any problems. I developed first 2 films, then 4 in one batch.
Next week I'll do some more and then I'll start to print stuff.
It feels a bit weird to do this kind of thing again. I haven't really
forgotten anything. All the little tasks feel completely natural and
normal, like I've never stopped. Working in another lab sure is
different though, gotta find where stuff is and how "they do it" there.
In the end though it's nice to take the neatly processed films home and
look at the negs!
17 May 2010
Free music wanted? ... get yourself a record player
Little thought of the morning: If you want free music, just go and get yourself a good, old-fashioned record player. My friend saad did just that last Friday and he's practically showered in LPs from friends and neighbors. High-quality, good music Long Playing Disks at that. Stuff you will listen to over and over. You might not be able to listen to it on your MP3-player while you're out doing something else, but listening to music undisturbed, as an act in itself, is something really rewarding.
With a bit of luck you will even get the record player for free or for a very good price second hand. Even if you can't get one for free, there are some very good models sold for very reasonable prices.
Never mind that with a good setup the music will also sound much better than CD. Funny how in my mind I draw the parallel to "analog" (good old silver-halogenid based, non-digital) photography, where the image quality is also in a different dimension and where you also sometimes get stuff for free.
19 May 2010
If I don't watch TV, TV will come to watch me?
Today a film crew was doing some shooting for a TV spot in our office. A friend of our boss had told them how cool our office looks, they went to see the pixx at our site, they called and wanted the location. Result: We weren't working today.
In the morning I was taking advantage of that by sleeping longer and having some extra quality breakfast time at home. Then I went for two hours to the office to have a look.
After that little interlude of "work" (haha), I went to Photoclub Ennea and printed some pictures. That's "printed" as in "in a darkroom, on a photographic enlarger, involving light-sensitive paper and lots of chemistry". It's been a while since I've done that kind of stuff. Well, I got it to work, but I'm not yet satisfied with the result, some more practice and tinkering will be required. Also I'll need to get some fiber based paper... and pay for it.
As for the film crew: They had an Arri camera (film, not digital) and lights. They also had some little Elinchrom flashes, but only as decoration, since our office was masquerading as a photographers place. Well, look how funny, whenever someone was taking a pic with flash, the Elinchroms slave cell was triggering the flash too :-).
27 May 2010
Über Politik reden
Das Thema hatten wir doch schon
Letzten war ich an einem Abendessen zu einem Namenstag eingeladen.
Ausser einer Person die ich kenne und zwei Leuten, die ich gerade mal
gesehen hatte, ein Tisch voller Unbekannter. Nach relativ kurzer Zeit
kommt das Gespräch auf die Politik, die Finanzen, die Krise, die
Banken, die Politiker. So wie das Gespräch hier in Griechenland wohl
zur Zeit immer auf die Politik, die Finanzen, die Krise, die Banken
kommt. Das Gespräch war interessant, wo wie fast jedes dieser Gespräche
In diesen Diskussionen kommen immer wieder andere Aspekte hoch. Neue
Informationen tauchen auf. Unglaubliche Beispiele für Korruption,
Verschwendung, Schlendrian werden aufgetischt. Unglaubliche, aber sicher
wahre Beispiele. Immer wieder wird klar, dass es schwere Misstände gibt,
dass es Bedarf für Änderung, Klärung, Aufräumen gibt.
Die Schuld an der Krise wird nicht nur woanders gesucht, im Gegenteil.
Es ist klar, dass zumindest ein grosser Teil der Schuld hier ist. Da
sind mal die eigenen Politiker, bei denen ja wohl inzwischen jeder
kapiert haben sollte, dass sie ausser Schaden nichts anrichten. Da ist
aber auch die Mitschuld, die jeder oder fast jeder trägt. Vom kleinen
Schummeln bei der Steuererklärung, bis hin zu den grossen Unternehmern,
die in etwa gar nix an Steuern abliefern sollen.
Der Grad der Einsicht schwankt wie Wellen rauf und runter bei diesen
Diskussionen. Da sind die, die schimpfen und kritisieren. Da sind die,
die es einfach nicht wahrhaben wollen. Da sind die, die mit der
Diskussion und der Stimmung mitschwanken. Sicher gibt es da draussen
auch die, die beim Wirtschaftsspiel wunderbar oben schwimmen und die
auch jetzt wieder obenauf schwimmen werden, egal was auf uns zu kommt.
Doch die sitzen nicht bei mir am Tisch. Die hier am Tisch werden alle
Was mich am meisten stört sind zwei Sachen: Das man nicht miteinander
reden kann. Jeder fällt dem anderen ins Wort, jeder wartet nur ab, bis
der andere fertig ist, damit er seinen eigenen Senf dazusagen kann. Ich
glaube nicht, dass wir so wirklich weiterkommen. Ich selber halte mich
bei diesen Gesprächen stark zurück, rede fast nie, höre zu, soweit ich
Das zweite, was mich wirklich stört ist eben das, dass wir mit diesen
Gesprächen wohl nicht wirklich weiterkommen. Gut, dass wir drüber
reden, dass wir Informationen und Meinungen austauschen. Was wir
wirklich machen können, das habe ich bei all diesen Gesprächen aber
noch nicht gehört.
28 May 2010
Ups, I did... C#
So, *that* was what that file ending meant
Since some time now, I'm finishing up a project for someone else (long
story). There's a lot of Flash involved (aua) and some rudimentary cms
in some files that run in a Micro$oft .NET environment. Today, as I was
searching for a solution for a very stupid error message, it finally
dawned on me that I was in fact doing C#! So, that was what that .cs
file ending was all about! (If you don't know this: "C#" is not pronounced
"See-Pound" or "See-Hash", but "See-Sharp", ergo .*cs*harp, duh.)
As my friend Javier put it: Now I could even write in my C.V. that
I have experience in C#. In fact, I think C# is a very nondescript
language with c-style-braces all over, like dogsh*t in the park. (Uhm,
why, yes, I'm a python programmer, why did you ask?) I didn't see
anything using pointers, so I'm not so sure the reference to C is
actually valid (I think I've heard that pointers are in there
though). Why this language even exists? Beats me.
30 May 2010
European Jazz Party... err Festival
There is music too
Both on Thursday and Friday evening I passed by the 10th European Jazz Festival in Athens. I say "passed by", since in difference to the last years, I wasn't there for more than half an hour each time.
One reason was that both times the band currently playing wasn't playing on my bandwidth. I'm not too much into the experimental, modern kind of jazz. If you can't be too sure if what you're hearing is the actual performance or they're still sound checking their instruments, it's not too groovy for me. Possibly just tough luck, another time I might have hit on something great like in other years.
Apart from that, the festival is so much just a big party. Hey, it's free, it's summer, everybody is there. It does not leave me with the impression that people are there for the music. In fact, any music would probably do. I would not be surprised if someone brought a ghetto blaster. To put it short, an event to pass by from.