TK Roll 2015–31: The Way, Part II (Minolta 300si, Sigma 35–70, Agfa Precisa 100 CT)

The Way, Part I (see roll 29) was not the end of my hiking with the Minolta 300si.

Further along the route, more adventures awaited. Carrie and I meant to check with ourselves when and where we’d stop on this first leg (a stopping point had been suggested by the guidebook about halfway through). It turned out that we’d missed that point completely, and thus needed to continue all the way through to Klettenbergpark.

The second part of the hike was a mix of things: heat, green fields, public parks, duck ponds (well, just one, but the flow of writing kind of dictates a plural here) and suburban homes. We even passed by a former Roman gravesite, proving once more that in these parts you cannot escape the past, ever.

Because the Kölnpfad is supposed to not only go around the city but also showcase some of its more interesting, if hardly visited spaces, at some point we traipsed through a working – though not that day, it was the weekend – freight railway yard. We crossed under it, following what must once have been a car-filled dreary, graffiti’d street, and now was a a car-less dreary street towards our goal, our feet starting to get lighter and heavier both at the same time, as can only happen at the end of a long walk. The first stretch of the Kölnpfad was an interesting experience, a way to see a part of the city I’d made my home but wasn’t likely to see otherwise.

More even than my near daily walks after work looking for photographic opportunities in the actual city, this reminded me of my former life in Washington, D.C. There, especially during the days of the shutdown of 2013, I had often grabbed my “big gun” camera, the Minolta X-700 with its Motor drive attached and a 35-70mm standard zoom, and set out, down Capitol Hill and across the Capitol grounds to the National Mall, where I’d variously just walk past all the museums, drop by one (The National Gallery and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum being two of my favorites, while the all too predictable American History Museum and the architecturally fascinating but less fascinating than it could be Museum of the American Indian were usually ignored), meet a friend for yet another tour of the monuments, or just sit on a bench and enjoy the atmosphere.

I liked those walks, and I liked this one even though it had seemed too urban at times, and uncomfortably hot. When we went home, I resolved to complete the circle around the city. I haven’t yet begun making true on this. But something in me really wants to. So if anyone ever asks: What did you do while you lived in Cologne? I can say: “I walked around the town. All of it.”


As for the technical details: I’m realizing that, while I love the vibrant colors that come out of slide film quite naturally, and I adore the fact that there’s virtually no color correction needed after scanning, the downsides are apparent for my type of photography: no matter how well metered a scene is, there will often be a part that’s blown out or too dark – simply a fact of life with the limited exposure latitude of the technology and my workflow, scanning images with a consumer scanner. Sometimes this limitation can add to an image, especially if that image is carefully thought out and set up. But for walking around, I often prefer something a little more forgiving. The 200 speed drugstore film sadly is no more – at least in its cheap, easy to get form. Maybe I’ll need to switch to low ISO C41 film of another kind, Fuji C200 or Kodak Ektar or Portra 160. After this year of shooting all kinds of film in all kinds of situations, I will make a decision what to “standardize” on for most of my work, so there is a certain behavior I can expect from a film, and a workflow that does not need to be tweaked with every new roll.

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