The Playground Diaries Part V

29 weeks

Wait, the diaries on Monday? Yep, for good reason. After Mari go sick the weekend before last weekend, sadly last Thursday it was J’s turn. So I stayed in on Friday, and took care of my girls and the household most of the weekend. So this will be the diary entry for the week, as I’m gonna skip this Wednesday because I have to prepare a talk for a conference on Thursday.

While a long weekend might sound like fun it wasn’t exactly. It’s hard to get any idea how much effort it is to take care of the household unless you actually do it. I had that pleasure last weekend, and my word, it is a lot of work. You don’t hear me complaining though. It was an experience. Of course I caught a weekend where Mari still suffered a bit from the aftermath of her infection, and pretty much pooped around the clock. But that just on a side note.

Anyway, there’s not too much to tell. There hasn’t been much time for anything else really, I managed to do some writing code, and I even managed to shoot some film on World Toy Camera Day. Finally a good opportunity to stuff some Ilford 3200 in my Holga and shoot a roll indoors.

Speaking of World Toy Camera Day, you should check out this video of a guy building a TLR out of nothing but cardboard.

And yes, that’s a digital photo. Weather and light was shit all weekend, what’s a photographer to do?

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He Was A Skater Boy

germina_speeder.jpgI like reliving my youth, because who doesn’t? That youth involved skateboarding. Even in East-Germany I owned a rather funky-looking (by today’s standards anyway) skateboard that was manufactured by a company usually building machines for chocolate production. It had a nice and simple set of things not to do on the downside of the deck, so luckily you didn’t have to look at them while on the road.

Obviously I never made it to become a pro or anything near that, but it was still good fun, and that skateboard was quite dear to me.

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Now, Berlin has a pretty big skater scene, there’s an indoor skate park not far from our apartment, and there’s the Mellow Park, probably one of the biggest outdoor skate parks in Berlin. They also have a nice dirt track and some other things you’d expect from a place like that.

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Every year they’re throwing the Mellow Jam, a weekend full of skating, moto-crossing and bmx-riding. Obviously there’s also beer and partying involved, at least so I’ve heard. Friends of ours work there and they invited us to drop by. Of course we went on the day where most of the action had already been done the days before, but it was still an excellent day out in the sun, near the water, watching some skaters, and meeting friends. Good enough for me.

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If Mari comes to me asking for a skateboard or something similar, I sure as hell won’t say no.

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I’m longingly looking back to these days when the sun was shining, and it was more than 20 degrees outside. I spent all day inside today, mostly because J is sick, having caught what I had two weeks ago, and Mari had last weekend. This weekend is supposed to be grey, rainy and not more than 5 degrees. Winter came here early, and it sucks. Not a great weather for World Toy Camera Day, which is tomorrow in case you forgot. Maybe I’ll do some indoor shooting with the Holga and a flash.

Have a great weekend, friends.

The Playground Diaries Part IV

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Today the playgrounds were empty, and I don’t blame anyone for that. Apparently we skipped autumn and went directly to winter. I just bought a winter jacket last weekend, and today was the first day I had to wear it. I’ll tell you how I feel about that: It sucks! I’m not a big fan of autumn, but at least there’s some sun, fallen leaves and all that stuff, but that doesn’t seem to be happening this year.

So I’m guessing parents were doing what I did, head right back home, or were sitting in the caf├ęs for parents and kids, though I didn’t see a lot of people in there when I passed by one of them. The sun was shining a bit, but it wasn’t a good day to hang out at the playground, even more so with no people around to watch. So apart from doing some chores I spent most of my time with Mari inside, which I have to get used to anyway.

It’s cool, because you get more time to squish her, to play with her and to just watch her, compared to pushing her around in a pram, or her sitting on your lap watching life on the playground, while not showing much interest in you.

I also spent some quality time at the cupcake shop, getting totally high on sugar from a chocolate cupcake and a hot chocolate. What I realized there is that you just have to point a laughing baby in the general direction of some girls sitting on another table, and it’ll do magic. Not that I did it, or that I’d have any interest in it, Mari did all of the work herself, but it confirmed a suspicion I had. Before I keep blabbing on about this, and you start to think less of me, let’s get to something serious.

J and one of her mum friends played with the idea of opening their own alternative kindergarten. You basically set up something like a business, get some space (usually in what used to be a shop). It’s not an easy feat to pull off, put I fully support it. Waiting for a kindergarten space for your kid is more of a gamble around here, so we’d have no problem filling the spaces to make it a sustainable “business.” There’ll be bigger updates about this, I’m sure, but it’s starting to take some shape, and to get a bit more serious.

As always, I had good fun with little Mari today. She’s so squishable and entertaining, and it’s so awesome to watch her grow and learn. I can’t say that enough. Watching her laugh makes us laugh, you can’t do anything about that, it’s so infectious. Mari just makes me very, very happy.

I Made Banana Bread

We must alert the church elders!

No seriously, I don’t know why I put it off for so long. Yesterday I found some dark-brown bananas in the fridge and immediately thought of one thing: banana bread! Now I can hear you say that bananas that went brown in the fridge aren’t really the kind of banana you need for banana bread, and you would be right. But, once you put them out and leave them in a warm place they start to ripe pretty quickly. I left them on the heater for a couple of hours, et voila! Almost as good as the original, if not the same.

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Now, it’s probably not worth it sharing the recipe right here, because it’s so insanely simple to make banana bread. So simple in fact, that right now I’m wondering why I haven’t tried it before. It probably could even use an extra banana, I’ll have to try that again. I threw in some walnuts as well, and I’m pretty pleased with the result. It’s really awesome eaten still warm, and I can safely say that I didn’t store it right, and it dried out a bit faster than I liked. Anyway, still worth the shot, and I’ll definitely make banana bread again soon.

Mamiya C33

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Self with Mamiya C33

My Yashica Mat 124G has been broken since the day I got it. I admit not having read the ebay description correctly, but it still worked to a certain degree. The lighting meter has failed me over the last six months quite a lot, and some of the camera’s pieces would need some repair beyond my skills. So I looked for an alternative.

Sure, there’s Rolleiflex cameras, and they’re awesome and really good-looking and all that, but they can be (read: they are) quite expensive, and the cost didn’t really justify the means. The cheapest one I could find in a shop started at 300 EUR. Out of the question for me since I like to keep my camera collection on the cheap.

The other alternative seemed to be Mamiya’s range of TLR cameras. Jen Sophik shoots with a Mamiya C3, and that was good enough to convince me to look for either a C3, a C33 or a C330. They only have minor differences. Obviously the C330 is the king of the crop, as it seems to be able to use 220 film, and it’s a whopping 340 grams lighter then the C33. Did I mention they’re the only TLR cameras with interchangeable lenses? I know, right? What it doesn’t have is a built-in lighting meter, but I can live with that. Its awesomeness definitely outweighs the loss.

Still, on Germany’s election night I scored a C33 in excellent condition for a great price. It’s a real beast, and with two kilos quite a heavy one, but I can live with that. It uses bellows instead of just pushing the lenses out from the body like other TLRs do, so you can get up close, really close.

I stuffed a roll of Efke 100 black and white film in it to give it a go. While that’s arguably not a great film for shooting indoors, it gave me an idea how the camera works. Turns out, it works like a charm.

In other news, The Impossible Project just announced that Polaroid decided to start making cameras again, reviving some of their classic models. Awesome news to wake up to, no doubt.