Fifty Two in Twenty Thirteen

Let’s not beat around the bush here – the 52 rolls in 52 weeks project was not easy to complete and that for a number of reasons, not least that I’m keyed up about deadlines.
Then why – you might well ask – did I undertake it? Well, for the two most obvious reasons: to improve my photography skills and to motivate myself to get out of my nice warm house with a camera in my bag. But its’ beyond question that I should have given more thought to the time (… and money) needed to carry on such a project, instead of launching myself into it head first. Then why did I not quit? Because, given my inability to bail on myself – I can’t help it, whenever I start a project I have to finish it – quitting has never been an option.

Although I often resorted to my medium format cameras to take care of only 12 shots per week, there were times I dreaded the thought of skipping a week. With the roll needed to be developed by the lab or by myself and the negatives to be scanned, shooting the roll was only half the battle indeed!
Having said that, I ended up shooting as many as 56 rolls in 2013 mainly because, when I went on holiday and had plenty of eye candy to inspire me, I surely couldn’t restrict myself to shoot only one roll per week.

31th roll 2 Fifty Two in Twenty Thirteen

Although I can claim that for the past year I (almost) always went out with a camera in my bag or around my neck, I made a habit of shooting one roll in one go as a consequence of waiting until the end of the week for the inspiration to strike or for the weather to improve (… which, by the way, never did).
I can not count the times when, running out of time, I went out completely demotivated and therefore with quite low expectations but got home with great shots (the photo below is a case in point), or the ones when I simply had the wrong camera and/or film for the occasion and couldn’t make the most of it.

The Obelisk Stillorgan Fifty Two in Twenty Thirteen

After the initial motivational high wore off (… roughly at the end of February) the thrill of using a new film or camera kept me in the game. Twenty Thirteen has been a great year in terms of cameras added to my collection, but if shooting with the Belair X 6-12 proved to be a far cry from what I’d expected (after the initial fun, I left it on the shelf for most part of the year), the Hasselblad 500 C/M and the Horizon Perfekt have been such a joy to use that I’ve been shooting with them almost non-stop since the moment I bought them (respectively in May and July).

I wont’ deny that there were times when the frustration of not having time for any other project led me to doubt the benefits of this one, but now that it’s over I can see I have learned a lot about my beloved cameras, about developing and scanning but, most importantly, I have identified the subjects on what I want to focus next, oops… this year.

where to go from here Fifty Two in Twenty Thirteen

If any of you readers have done or take a stab at doing this same project at some point in your life, and have put your thoughts in writing somewhere in the Internet, please leave a comment with the link as I’d love to read about your experience!
And for those who are thinking of committing themselves in 2014, I have only one recommendation: auto-discipline yourself as it’s very easy to get behind.

It’s been a bit of a challenge, but today I’m finally crossing the finish line of the 52 weeks | 52 rolls project! Three cheers for me!

As it’s my intention to write a recap post about the whole experience – as a matter of fact I’ve already started on it – I’m heading straight for last week’s roll which I took in the span of an hour, after one storm ended and before another began.

Trying to make the job easier for the lab – it’s still holiday season after all – I asked to have the film C-41 processed, but being Lomography X-Pro Slide the film in question that meant I had it cross-processed.

Aren’t the first two shots – nearly the same but for the colours – amazing?
I took the same image twice because as usual my Yashica got stuck after the first shot, but I haven’t the faintest idea of how I managed to create such a completely different colour scheme!
Until someone will come up with an explanation, I’ll think of it as a final dose of Christmas magic.

52th roll 11 Week 52 | 52 rolls project

52th roll 2 Week 52 | 52 rolls project

The tinge of redness in the rocks below has utterly charmed me.

52th roll 3 Week 52 | 52 rolls project

That’s not a tangerine tree (they don’t grow at such northerly latitudes), but a tree decorated with tangerines. Isn’t it lovely?

52th roll 4 Week 52 | 52 rolls project

Thank goodness that afternoon the sea was calm, otherwise with such a high tide it would have been impossible to walk where I did.

52th roll 5 Week 52 | 52 rolls project

52th roll 6 Week 52 | 52 rolls project

52th roll 8 Week 52 | 52 rolls project

And here’s the last film photo of 2013, or at least the one I think will be the last.
The focal point didn’t end up where I wanted it to be, but I’m happy the iconic chimneys (the two red-and-white striped chimneys I’ve been shooting so many times lately) are still visible among the approaching clouds and general haziness. Aren’t they?

52th roll 12 Week 52 | 52 rolls project

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas holiday. Are you now getting ready for New Year’s Eve?

Camera: Yashica Mat-124G
Film: Lomography X-Pro Slide 200
Location: Seapoint, Co. Dublin

Although I have put on hold my walks in the woods – at least until after the Christmas holidays – I still, now and then, walk through the grounds of the National Botanic Gardens as I think they offers images of great beauty in every season.

NBG Winter Week 51 | 52 rolls project

NBG Winter 2 Week 51 | 52 rolls project

NBG Winter 3 Week 51 | 52 rolls project

With no bright flowers and lush foliage there to distract me, I can truly enjoy the subtlety of the winter season.
I could never get tired of staring at the neat shapes of the unadorned trees and the abstract drawings of the bare branches. What’s more, bare branches can reveal unexpected surprises like bird nests or burls.

NBG Winter 4 Week 51 | 52 rolls project

NBG Winter 5 Week 51 | 52 rolls project

At this time of the year days are very short and dusky, and although it was just past midday when I set out with a 800 ISO film, it still was too dark to shoot without the aid of a tripod.

NBG Winter 6 Week 51 | 52 rolls project

I wish you all a very merry Christmas… and a quite restorative walk sometime later!

Camera: Hasselblad 500 C/M
Film: Lomography CN 800
Location: National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin – Dublin

When last week I found myself in need of a break from all the Christmas excitement, I withdrew to a central but rather calm part of the city: the Grand Canal.
I hope you’ll enjoy the water reflections, tall grasses, quacking ducks, moored barges and weeping willows as much as I did.

Dublin Along Grand Canal 407x616 Week 50 | 52 rolls project

Dublin Along Grand Canal 2 Week 50 | 52 rolls project

Dublin Along Grand Canal 3 407x616 Week 50 | 52 rolls project

Dublin Along Grand Canal 4 Week 50 | 52 rolls project

Dublin Along Grand Canal 5 Week 50 | 52 rolls project

Dublin Along Grand Canal 6 407x616 Week 50 | 52 rolls project

Dublin Along Grand Canal 7 407x616 Week 50 | 52 rolls project

Dublin Along Grand Canal 8 407x616 Week 50 | 52 rolls project

Dublin Along Grand Canal 9 407x616 Week 50 | 52 rolls project

Dublin Along Grand Canal 10 407x616 Week 50 | 52 rolls project

Dublin Along Grand Canal 11 407x616 Week 50 | 52 rolls project

Stay warm!

Camera: Canon EOS 300
Film: Fujichrome Provia 400X
Location: Dublin

A few more photos of Christmas illuminations, but this time from my home town in Italy: Salerno. I took them last year but I managed to have them developed only in February*. Slowly but surely, they made their way out of the archive and up here.

Salerno Natale 2012 Slowly but surely: Salerno

Salerno Luci di Artista 2012 Slowly but surely: Salerno

Salerno Luci Artista 2012 Slowly but surely: Salerno

*The number of labs able to process the Agfa Scala 200X, which is a discontinued B&W reversal film, is very small. This Italian lab took great care of my exposed roll, and therefore I’d greatly recommend it.

Camera: Canon EOS 300
Film: Agfa Scala 200X Prof. 200/135
Location: Salerno, Italy

Apparently I’ve fallen a little bit behind with my 52 Weeks | 52 Rolls project. Whilst I haven’t failed to shoot a roll per week, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to find time to develop the roll, scan the negatives and upload the photos. But that’s hardly surprising in the two weeks leading up to Christmas, isn’t it?

On Nikolaustag (Saint Nicholas Day) Roberto and I flew to Munich for a mini winter holiday. Three days were barely sufficient to walk the length and breadth of the old town, but the nippy weather (at some point on Saturday afternoon even snow made an appearance!) perfectly suited the Christmas Markets the city is famous for.

In all there are twentyish Christmas Markets located throughout the city of Munich, but we managed to visit only four. We swiftly walk through the main one which is held on the Marienplatz, in the heart of the city centre,

Munich Marienplatz Christmas Market 407x616 Week 49 | 52 rolls project

but stopped for Glühwein (mulled wine) and Gebrannte Mandeln (burnt sugar almonds) at the Medieval Christmas Market in Wittelsbacher Platz.

Munich Medieval Christmas Market Week 49 | 52 rolls project

Munich Medieval Christmas Market 5 407x616 Week 49 | 52 rolls project

Munich Medieval Christmas Market 4 Week 49 | 52 rolls project

Munich Medieval Christmas Market 2 Week 49 | 52 rolls project

Munich Medieval Christmas Market 3 407x616 Week 49 | 52 rolls project

Then we went on for the so-called Christmas Village, which is held in front of the historic Residenz.

Munich Christmas Village 5 Week 49 | 52 rolls project

Munich Christmas Village 6 407x616 Week 49 | 52 rolls project

Munich Christmas Village 3 Week 49 | 52 rolls project

Munich Christmas Village 4 407x616 Week 49 | 52 rolls project

Munich Christmas Village Week 49 | 52 rolls project

Munich Christmas Village 2 407x616 Week 49 | 52 rolls project

Such an exquisite traditional charm, don’t you agree?

Camera: Canon EOS 300
Film: Kodak Portra 160
Location: Munich, Germany