TK Roll 2015–12: Kids and Grown-Ups Love It So (Autocord, Portra 400)

Ladies and gentlemen, here it is again, my current desert island camera, the little (not that little) camera that could, the camera that has not yet let me down, the one and only Minolta Autocord.

You may have noticed I have developed a bit of an infatuation. In a way, I feel, camera makers the world over could have decided that the TLR was it about 50 years ago, called it a day, and gone home. My life would be only marginally less fun in terms of photography.

Okay, so maybe it’s not a very practical beast in many situations. I tend to not travel far from home with it. This time, however, I ventured slightly further afield, to West Germany’s (and later united Germany’s) erstwhile capital of Bonn. From Cologne, the town is reached rather easily on public transit. You don’t even have to switch trains.

Most of the day was spent in the mostly excellent and occasionally strangely baffling “Haus der Geschichte” (“House of History” – us Germans love the literal). It’s well put together, and it’s free. As museums in capital cities should be. I’m looking at you, every world capital that is not Washington, D.C.! The “Haus der Geschichte” deals with a lot of Post-World-War-II German history, in interesting ways, but it doesn’t allow photography. This rule is not strictly enforced for the occasional iPhone snapshot, but a very visible old timey twin lens reflex camera to me would seem to cross a line. The line where a tired docent, happy to ignore even the now Coachella-banned selfie stick, would have to consult their mental rulebook, and call a spade a spade.

So the Autocord stayed locked up for the duration of the visit, and only came out afterward, as me and my girlfriend were strolling through Bonn. The light had begun to fade, so my f3.5 maximum aperture lens and 400 ISO film were possibly not the wisest choice. Yet they performed okay, testament to both the non-shakingness a leaf shutter is capable of, and the versatility of Portra 400. Sure, some pictures may have needed some cleaning up in post, and a bit of help with white balance, but overall, not a bad performance. Especially since I don’t like tripods.

After walking past the university building (location of the “night entrance”), we stumbled through town, and happened onto the Haribo store. If you’ve ever had Haribo, Bonn is where this jolly jelly madness began. (The “Bo” in the name is evidence of this). After purchasing several kilos worth of things that were very bad for our physical, but very good for our mental health, we walked through the market square – of the once-quaint, now boringly commercialized variety you find in towns all over Germany – and settled on a place for dinner.

I didn’t have much to show photographically for the excursion, but the day had certainly been worthwhile anyway. Also: gummy bears!

The usual: Portra 400, typically overexposed by about a stop, though in the night time and dusk pictures probably underexposed one or two stops. Possibly more. Commercial lab development – though another one than usual, dropped off in Munich, not Cologne – and Epson V600 scan at 3200dpi with post-processing in Aperture. Dfine plugin used on the two gummy bear pictures.

The first and last pictures respectively were taken in Cologne, not in Bonn.

One thought on “TK Roll 2015–12: Kids and Grown-Ups Love It So (Autocord, Portra 400)

  1. Haribo macht die Kinder froh, und Erwachsene ebenso! Or at least that’s how I remember it from my visit to Germany in 1984. Cologne was one of my favorite visits. Climbed the steps to the top of the Dom and looked out over the city. Shot it all with a crappy 110 camera as that was the best I could afford then.

    Enjoyed your photos. Makes me want to go back to Germany for a visit.

    Liked by 1 person

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