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Analog Photography

I only have a week left here, so I’m probably down to my last blog post or two. This one is about all of the cool analog photography we’ve been doing in my class. I didn’t really think about anything but taking pictures on my digital camera when I signed up for photography, but I’m very glad that my teachers thought about analog photos!

The first analog photography technique we learned about was pinhole cameras. In theory, these things should be pretty easy to use: put photo paper in a box that’s painted black on the inside with the pinhole covered, uncover the hole, and develop the photo. Easy, right? Wrong. The difficult part about pinhole cameras is that the tiniest thing can make the photo. If the inside of the box isn’t completely pitch black, the picture is overexposed. If the pinhole is too large, the picture is overexposed. If you don’t leave the shutter open long enough, it’s underexposed. Every little detail has to be exactly right for this to work well. Since all of us are amateur photographers, none of us had perfect pinhole prints. That’s okay though, because it was very cool to see it work and make adjustments to make the pictures look better.

Here’s the photogram of my phone case, which is clear with flowers on it. The flowers are translucent and purple, and I think this came out really well.

The second type of analog photography we tried was photograms. These are much easier than pinhole cameras are. With these, all you do is put an object on top of photo paper and expose it to light for a few seconds. It sounds really simple and it is, but it’s probably the coolest thing we did. Taking photograms of translucent objects is really amazing because you’re able to see the levels and layers inside of it. Some of my classmates used lemons and theirs came out very cool. I used a flower for one and my phone case for another. The one of my phone case came out really well, and I’m excited for my instructors to see it!

 

The next technique was film cameras. We worked in pairs with these cameras and each pair got a roll of film that would take 36 pictures. Developing these was a little more complicated and long than the other types of analog photography. I ended up not really liking a lot of the pictures I took, so I ended up going with one I took of some flower right outside the institute. I’m really happy with how it came out.

The last thing I want to talk about is cyanotypes. I’m not sure that these count as analog photos, but I’m putting them in with this post anyway! For these, we chose a photo and edited it in Photoshop to make it black & white and then inverted it so it was negative. We e-mailed that version to one of our instructors and she had it printed on special paper. In class, we painted this really thick paper with some chemicals (apparently cyanide was involved?) and waited for them to dry. To make the prints, we placed our photo on top of the painted paper and put it in a special frame. The chemicals react to UV light, so the paper has to stay inside until you are ready to make the print. For the photo to transfer to the paper, you just take it outside and expose it to sunlight. It was overcast the day we did this, so it took about 15 minutes of exposure for it to get to the right point. When exposed, the chemicals turn blue (which makes sense, because cyan is blue and they’re called cyanotypes) and your photo is printed!

This is the print from my developed film. I love this picture!

The analog photography has been one of the coolest experiences here. I am very excited to bring all of my prints home and hopefully frame them or something. They’re also printing a poster of our favorite photo for each of us to bring back, which I’m really excited about. I’ll be able to have a poster in my room next year of my own photography! I picked a picture of wisteria that I took in Copenhagen. I can’t wait to see it printed out full-size!

The Niceness of Nice

By now, y’all know I can’t resist making puns with the names of the places we’re going. This weekend we went to Nice, France which is definitely the easiest one of all to makes jokes with. It was also one of the hardest places to leave.

I took this of the moon our first night in Nice. It was so beautiful!

Nice, like Copenhagen, is pretty expensive. We did the French Riviera on a budget, most of our spending coming when we needed to use public transportation. There was small grocery store around the corner from our Airbnb (which actually ended up having wifi!!!!) that we made really good use of. The first night we were there we went out for pizza (that’s sort of become a thing on our travels–pizza on night one so we have an extra meal for later on in the trip) before buying some wine and sitting on the beach. We wanted to watch the sun set but ended up being rewarded with both a beautiful sunset and a rising full moon. I think that first night we sat on the beach for almost two hours watching the cruise ships go by.

The second day (Friday) was our first full day, and it was very full. We went to the beach in the morning for two hours before coming back in to shower and hop on the train to Monaco. The timing was lucky, because I’m not sure I could’ve laid on the rocky beach for much longer than two hours! The rocks also make it hard to get in the water because they’re just small enough to be painful to walk on. However, the water itself was crystal clear and really, really cold. I didn’t even put my face in that day because it was so cold! It was gorgeous–our beaches in North Carolina pale in comparison to the ones on the Mediterranean.

This is looking directly down into the Mediterranean. I’d never seen water like this until Nice.

Public transit in Europe rocks. For $5.00 we bought train tickets and rode for 20 minutes to get to Monaco. Monaco makes Nice look cheap. We got lunch at McDonald’s because we figured it would be as cheap as anywhere, but even that was over $8.00 per person (which is crazy when you compare it to Prague, where a nice, sit-down dinner costs that much or even less). The view from the McDonald’s was definitely the best view I’ve ever had at one of those. It looked out on a small port with a bunch of boats, and up on a cliff beside it was the Prince’s Palace of Monaco. In the same shopping center is the museum that houses the car collection of H.S.H. Prince Rainier III. We went to that museum and let me just tell y’all, he had some really nice cars. Several Ferraris, a couple of Rolls-Royces, and even some old carriages. It was incredible to see. I would highly recommend it if you’re ever in Monaco.

Just one of the many, many nice cars outside Monte Carlo Casino. There were a lot.

Of course, you can’t go to Monaco and not pay a visit to Monte Carlo. The Casino enforces a dress code, so I was wearing a dress and sandals with backs on them because I wanted to go in. You can go in the foyer for free, but entering the actual gambling rooms costs about $20.00. We stood there for probably half an hour just watching the insanely nice cars drive by before I got up the courage to go in. It’s gorgeous in there. I felt funny taking pictures, so all I have of inside is a picture of the stained glass ceiling, but again I would definitely recommend dressing up and taking a quick stroll around the foyer. Even just standing outside and watching the cars go by is well worth it. After our time at Monte Carlo, we got back on the train and came to Nice to sit on the beach again.

Yesterday was beach day. We went to Beau Rivage Plage and rented chairs for the day. I got so sunburned. Definitely not the worst I’ve ever had, but it’s pretty red! The chairs were a little pricey, about $20.00 for the day, but between the cushions and the wifi (and the private bathrooms!), we felt like that was a decent way to spend our money. The water is less clear in up at the more touristy beaches, but it just looks more blue from the shore. We split a salad for lunch and left the beach at 3:30 so we could get cleaned up and walk around Old Nice a little bit. We found a little local place for dinner, got some macarons for dessert, and walked around a craft fair. Our flight out this morning meant leaving our Airbnb at 5:00am, so we were

Macarons! One is chocolate and the other is salted caramel. They both were amazing.

packed and in bed by 11:00pm last night.

All in all, I’d definitely recommend a visit to Nice. It sounds really fancy and expensive, but like anywhere else, you can do it cheaply if you do some planning ahead of time! I really loved the location of our Airbnb there. It was close to the airport, but you couldn’t hear the planes at night and the beaches down there have more locals than tourists. As an added bonus, sitting on the beach down there gives you a really cool view of the planes taking off from the airport.

Nice was my last trip out of Prague until I leave to go home. It’s crazy to think that I’m 2 weeks away from being on a plane to JFK right now. The next couple of weeks will be chock-full of doing the touristy stuff in Prague. I’ve been putting it off because all of those places are so crowded, but I’m at the point where I’ll run out of time if I don’t get started on it!

A War Weekend

I know I said I’d write from Germany, but I ended up not bringing my laptop on the excursion. So this post is coming post-trip from Prague. This weekend we visited 4 different places: Bohemian Switzerland National Park, Dresden, Terezín, and Lidice. Most of this trip was related to World War II with the exception of the national park.

Bohemian Switzerland was our first stop and is a two-hour bus ride from Prague. We did a boat ride that involved a guy with a giant pole literally pushing us up the river. No one is really clear

on why we did this, because it didn’t take us to any cool views or waterfalls. The boats could only hold about 30 people at once, so with almost 80 students this took a really long time. After a really good lunch, we set off on a hike that is 15 kilometers long. For those who don’t know the metric system like me, this is about 9 miles. The last time I’ve hiked 9 miles is never, so by the time we got to the top I was very ready to already be back at the bottom and on the bus. The view was pretty good–it led to a sandstone arch. That night we arrived in Dresden and I checked my phone to find that my step count for that day was 30,046. 11 miles in total.

This is the Pravčická brána, a huge sandstone arch in Bohemian Switzerland National Park. It’s the biggest one in all of Europe!

Saturday in Dresden was the start of our World War II lessons. We visited the German Museum of Military History, which was pretty interesting. It was pretty focused on the World Wars and had a display of shoes that belonged to Jews. Apparently the concentration camps served as an industry because the Nazis could sell the clothes and shoes and even the hair of the people they killed. I had no idea they did that and was really horrified by it. Overall, the museum was interesting and I learned a few things that they never mentioned in school. The rest of the day was spent at an art gallery and a café where I got an incredible ice cream sundae.

On Sunday we visited Terezín, a prison camp. It was originally built to be a fortress but the Nazis took it over in World War II and it became a ghetto. It wasn’t a concentration camp, so no one was gassed there, but over 30,000 people died because of illness and just generally bad living conditions. The man who killed Archduke Ferdinand and started World War I spent 4 years there before he died from illness, which was interesting to learn. Overall, I did not like Terezín because it made me so sad. Imagining the horrors that went on there was aw

The grave of one of the people who died at Terezin. A lot of the graves just had the number of the prisoner, not their name.

ful. We did a guided tour and then had some time to walk around on our down, during which time another American tour group stopped in one of the rooms and sang what we think was a blessing song. Listening to them was almost enough to bring us to tears, and a few of the people who were singing had to leave because they were crying. It’s hard to be in America and imagine what these people went through, but seeing the places where they actually lived and died makes everything feel more real. The worst part was seeing the place where the Nazis lived just a few hundred feet from where the prisoners were. They had a swimming pool and a movie theater while people were crammed into tiny rooms and forced to sleep standing up due to lack of space.

Even seeing Terezín did not prepare us for what we would find out at Lidice. Lidice was a small village of about 500 people in the Czech Republic. During World War II, one of the major leaders of the Nazis was assassinated in Prague. Hitler believed that the people of Lidice were hiding the assassins and told his soldiers that he wanted it to be as though Lidice had never existed. The Nazis came in and executed all the boys over age 15. They separated the women from the children a few days later, sending the women to a concentration camp called Ravensbrück. Some of the children they sent to German families because they were blonde and blue-eyed.

This memorial shows all 82 of the children of Lidice who were gassed. It is a memorial to all of the millions of children who were murdered in the war.

Others were sent to an orphanage because they were unable to walk. The remaining 82 children, the youngest of which was 16 months old, were put in the backs of trucks. They drove the trucks around for 20 minutes and pumped the carbon monoxide from the exhaust into the trucks, gassing the children to death. Meanwhile, the village itself was burned down and the ruins were bombed. They even moved the lake and the hill so the entire area was unrecognizable. As if this story wasn’t horrible enough on its own, the Nazis found the actual assassins in Prague a few days after burning the village and killing the men. They could have let the women and children go, but Hitler said that if they admitted they were wrong it would make the Nazis look weak. I had never heard this story and it is without a doubt the saddest thing I have ever heard.

Overall, this excursion was a good experience. There were a lot of times where I wanted to cry, but I think it was good that we found out about all of these things. The story of Lidice is very well-known in this part of the world and was famous during the war, but they don’t talk about it in America. I think they should, because it makes the Nazis seem even more horrible than they already appear. It just adds an entire level of evil when you know that they knew the village was completely innocent.

On a happier note, this weekend Livia and I will be traveling to Nice, France. Our Airbnb doesn’t have wifi (which is weird, right? I feel like most Airbnbs should have that by now), so I probably won’t be blogging from there, but I’ll make sure to tell y’all all about it when we get back! Later this week I will be doing a post about my photography class again because we’ve gotten into some really cool techniques with water!