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Monday, September 30, 2013

Wiener Fotomarathon 2013: Combining Polaroid And Digital Photography

Wiener Fotomarathon 2013 

by Gilbert Lechner

Combining Polaroid And Digital Photography

I participated in the Wiener Fotomarathon 2013. In short: 24 digital photos in 12 hours, about 1.800 participants, each photo has a different topic and the photos have to be shot in a given order.

Digital vs. analog 

What the heck has PolaWalk to do with digital you might ask yourself... In former times the photo marathon was a completely analog event and participants received a film with 24 pictures. These times are over but the organizers sticked to the number 24.

I of course used a Polaroid camera with film by „The ImpossibleProject“. But how can I hand in Polaroid pictures in a digital way? Well, in order to be able to participate I made digital photos of the Polaroids in a setting that is linked to the photos – which you will see later in the blog post.

 The first picture on the SD-Card had to include the participants number. Guess which one I had...

Since you have to take the photos in a certain order it helps to have a specific place or object that fits the topic in your mind. You have an average of half an hour for each photo, so it is quite obvious that you have to run – I guess that’s why they call it a photo marathon. Well, there is still the option of a half marathon, meaning you stop after the 12th photo and hand it in.
On the 14th of September, the day of this year's „Wiener Fotomarathon“ the weather was everything but good in the beginning. After having registered and receiving the topics (9 a.m.) for the marathon I tried to escape the venue as quickly as possible.

Breakfast & brainstorming

My plan was to brainstorm a bit before going to hunt down the best photos. None of my apps could show me a good place for brainstorming close by the venue. So I jumped on the subway to go to a café I have read about and wanted to try. By the way: My wish for next year would be to include a day ticket for public transport. The café was located in „Viertel2“, an area with a bunch of office buildings. Anyway, I was surprised to see that it was closed on the weekend. 

Then, it started drizzling. Damn. On my way through the urban ghost town I finally went for breakfast in a branch of a bakery chain which was situated in an underground station.
Even though I don't want to advertise this particular Viennese bakery chain, I have to admit that the „Pikantes Frühstück“ is a pretty good deal.

There we go!

I decided to prepare sandwiches with the Kornspitz, the ham and the cheese from the breakfast. I ordered an extra jam to guzzle the rest of the bread. Obviously there was no jam in a „pikant“ (meaning savory) breakfast.  It was a really good choice to prepare the snack, I can tell you. Later I was glad to have my Kornspitz with me.  From leaving the bakery shop until the evening I was constantly on the move.
For the upcoming 7 photos I had a clear vision and that was reason enough for me to finally get going. It was already after 10 o’clock. For some of the 24 photos I had absolutely no idea or at least not a good enough one. I brainstormed with friends and family via phone, SMS and Facebook about where to find good spots for the remaining subjects. All in all I rushed back and forth the city, took photos, ate my sandwich,... I spare you the details ;-)
Finally, here are the photos (the time of shooting and the respective topic in German are written on the photos + a loose English translation). Pictures say more then words:

1 Bunt/colorful

The graffiti on this picture can be found at the Donaukanal and was created during the Cash, Cans & Candy graffiti festival.

2 Drahtesel/bicycle

I found this old-fashioned bike at the WUK. The bike workshop was closed, so I had to take the photo from the outside.

(ab)gehoben/elevated or lifted

I took photos of hats lying on the hat rack of a car – for elevated and lifted at the same time. Thanks Caro and Carlo!

4 an der Ringstraße/at the ring street

The stony dude on the photo is a statute that is situated in front of the Austrian parliament which can be found on the ring street.

5 Das Abendteuer beginnt vor der Tür/the adventure starts right outside

On this picture you find the front door of a school.

6 Ich wohne in der Stadt/I live in the city

That's the view from my flat.

 7 Papier/paper

Paper that waits to be shredded.

8 unbekannt, aber sehenswert/unknown but worth seeing

The Jewish cemetery at Seegasse is really something unknown but well worth seeing.

9 flüssig/liquid

I had the idea for this on my way to the originally intended subject. In Vienna you say "flüssig" for being in funds.

10 im Zehnten.../in the tenth...

For this photo I went to the tenth... district.
To fabulous Tichy, one of Vienna's most loved ice cream places.

11 im Fokus/in focus

In the background of this picture you see my Polaroid SX-70 with auto-focus.

12 ICH BIN für alles bereit/I AM ready for everything

I was desperately looking for punks on Mariahilferstraße. It is nearly a miracle that it took me 10 minutes to find these lovely bunch.

13 Geradlinig/linearly

Frank ist a controversial Austro-Canadian hobby politician.

14 Typisch Wien(erisch)/typically Vienna/Viennese

In order to get the picture, I ordered a Coffee.

15 Augen zu und durch/close your eyes and let's go

The gateway for ambulance cars that are entering the general hospital.

16 aussergewöhnliche Architektur/exceptional architecture

You can't really see how special this building is on the Polaroid therefore check it out at „Griechengasse“.

17 Silhuetten/Silhuettes

I actually went to a station of the underground line 6 (it’s an elevated train for the most part) to see if the fence (designed by Otto Wagner) was a good subject. When I entered the station I knew I had to compose the lamps with the window as you can see in the picture.

 18 einmal anders/this time different

The sign on the house says „horse butcher and horse meat smoker".

19 stromlos/currentless

Currentless as in no electricity.

20 im Untergrund/underground

This wonderful couple can be found at the underground station Schottentor (Exit Hohenstaufengasse).

21 verbunden/connected

It was not intended to have the „BIPA“ sign in the picture... That's when I realized that Polaroid cameras have a hell of a parallax error – something I will mention in my upcoming walks ;-)

 22 Lichtermeer/sea of lights

As you might have guessed. Yes, it's a wall of LEDs.

23 genervt/annoyed

I know who to meet if I need somebody who is annoyed.

24 Abschied/farewell

This photo was still developeing when I started taking the final digital photos.

Running - out of time

All in all the Polaroid approach was quite stressful but fun. After taking the pictures I had to digitize them to hand them in. I really got under time pressure in the end because taking the digital photos took way longer than expected. I rushed to the collection point.
I ended my special and very long PolaWalk with dunking my contribution (in the form of a SD-Card) in one of the finisher-envelopes. It was seven to nine. Nine p.m. was the deadline. The 12 hours just flew by.
Although the main prize is really nice: a trip to northern Norway to see and capture the northern lights – I am NOT so much looking forward to winning it: My mother already notified me that she would like to come with me. No just kidding, if one of the organizers reads this – I would still thankfully take the trip ;-)
Hope to see you at the „Wiener Fotomarathon 2014“. Maybe we're gonna have a PolaMarathon Vienna one day, who knows? Time will tell.



PS: If you are interested in experiencing Vienna through the lens of a Polaroid camera, we would be very happy to have you in one of our tours. Please go to www.polawalk.com for dates and booking.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

What's New At PolaWalk #2

What's New At PolaWalk #2

by Thomas Preyer

Hi everyone,

today you'll get an update on what we've been up to since the last news post and what's coming up within the next couple of weeks. Let's start with what's coming up:

What's next?

PolaWalk Teaser-Video

Okay, that's not really about what's coming up, this is happening now! Thommy and Christine did a hell of a job on our first teaser video.

Christine and Thommy working on the teaser video

Watch it now and visit us on our YouTube channel to watch it again, and again, and again! We want to break the Miley Cyrus record for most views within the first 24 hours. Way to goooo! ;-) (EDIT: Admitted, we didn't break the record, BUT it was close. Still, watch the video! ;-) )

Did you like it? Please tell us what you think in the comments.

Camera Package & Lieblingsflohmarkt

We proudly present: The PolaWalk camera package!

The PolaWalk camera package

Carefully selected and tested classic Polaroid cameras, an informative quick guide to instant photography, a pack of new "The Impossible Project" color instant film and all of the above in our fashionable PolaWalk gym bag. Voilà - the PolaWalk camera package is born!

Awesome, you say, but where can I get it? Well, we'll have our booth (check out the picture from last week's Hafenbazar below) at the Lieblingsflohmarkt (28th of September) which this time takes place at the legendary Gartenbaukino. There we will also sell tickets to our tours and workshops - all at reduced rates. So stop by and have a chat with us and follow the link to join the Facebook Event.

PolaWalk booth at the Hafenbazar

If you can't visit us at the flea market, but are interested in getting your hands on that exclusive package, you can write us an email to office@polawalk.com

Polaroid Workshop Beginner

Our next workshop will take place on the 29th September at our office in the ninth district. The 29th is election day in Austria, so vote first and afterwards come to relax and learn cool stuff about instant photography with us. You'll be home just in time for the first projection.


As usual there will be free snacks and drinks - last time we had Gilbert's yummy apple strudel ;). There are still four places left at the time of writing, so get your ticket here. You can also join the Facebook event. The workshop is restricted to six attendees!

Urban Vienna Tour

In short: A Polaroid photo tour tailored to the needs of Vienna natives.

We'd like to show people from our hometown a new side of their city, apart from touristic landmarks, and therefore help them see, feel, explore and capture their surroundings.

Graffiti at the Donaukanal

A few keywords to describe the Urban Vienna Tour:

#young #urban #graffiti #streetart #design #contemporary

What have we been up to?

Let's now take a look at the past few weeks.

Madame Tussauds Tour  x  Impossible Project

As you might already know, we make the experience of visiting Madame Tussauds even better. Fact of the matter, making Polaroids of famous people like Albert Einstein and getting "creative" with all the wax figures is really fun. And doesn't it look even more realistic than a digital picture would? ;-)

Mug shot of Albert Einstein

In September we've teamed up with the lovely peeps from The Impossible Shop Vienna, but we visit Madame Tussauds with a group at least at four days a week. This tour is the perfect solution for rainy days and we can assure you, it's an activity that's a lot of fun and not only for tourists. ;-)

Want to give it a try? Find all the information about the tour and booking details on our website.

Best of Album - Flickr

We had quite a few awesome events so far, beside our launch event in July, we had the Polaroid Workshop Beginner at our new office in the ninth district. We also had the just mentioned Madame Tussauds Tour and a good number of our "classic" tours, the Polaroid Photo Tour Vienna. Therefore we created an album with the best pictures so far on our Flickr page. We are going to regularly update the  Best of album and add new pictures from our events.

Vacation Report by Thomas

You'd like to see some more cool Polaroids? Then you should take a look at what Thomas experienced during his vacation in the more rural regions of Austria.

In the Media

Last but not least, there were a few appearances by PolaWalk in various media outlets. Among them was a short, but nice piece in Austria's largest newspaper, the so called "Die Kronen Zeitung".

PolaWalk in "Die Kronen Zeitung"
Kathi from Travelettes wrote a great and well researched blog post on what she experienced on our tour.

That's it for today. Next week we will tell you about the Wiener Fotomarathon, where Gilbert brought a little analog into the digital event!

We hope to see you soon!

Your PolaWalk Team

Thomas & Gilbert

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Monday, September 2, 2013

A Polaroid Vacation in Austria

Vacation Report

by Thomas Preyer

What's better than a PolaWalk? Maybe a PolaVacation. Packing ones cameras, deciding on the films and bringing them on travels, is one of my favorite things about instant photography. I also like to write about it. When we went to Chile, Bolivia and Peru last year, I wrote a report for the Impossible Project's blog. You can read it here.

This time our travels took us not far from home. We stayed in Austria. Most of this one week long vacation we spent in the Salzkammergut region in Upper Austria and Salzburg. Normally I try to limit myself to only bring one (Polaroid) camera, but this time I took two Polaroid cameras with me. My Land 100 Automatic rangefinder camera, for packfilm and my SX-70 Model 2 for integral film.  You can hover over the pictures to see what film was used to take them.

Stuffed Squirrel at our residence in Bad Schallerbach
We started the week, due to bad weather, with a day at the Spa in Bad Schallerbach. The next day we went not on a PolaWalk but a PolaHike. ;-)

Climbing the steep 1691 metes high Traunstein was exhausting but very rewarding. All the way to the top you can see the beautiful Traunsee. All together it took us about 7 hours.

Helicopter delivery to the Gmunden lodge (Traunstein)

After that #polahike we needed some more relaxation. So we decided to take the 30 minute drive to the Attersee. There we spent two days, right next to the lake.

Ferry at the Attersee

The picturesque Attersee

Now we were kinda ready to use our stiff muscles again. We took the car up to the about 1200 meters high Postalm near Strobl. There we went on a 3 hour walk around the alp, including a break for delicious farmers made cheese and milk.
Young horse on the Postalm

Cows at the alp (Postalm)

Our next and last stop was at the small town of Bad Goisern, next to the Hallstätter See. From there we went to the UNESCO world heritage site of Hallstatt, where we visited the oldest salt mine in the world.

Because of the rather bad light conditions in the mine, I left the Polaroid camera in the car. But I took this fun picture that looks like we travelled at warp speed, while riding a so called Grubenhund, a mine car.

Hallstatt salt mine
Thank you for reading! If you have any questions or comments, we are happy to connect with you. Leave us a comment here or like us on Facebook, drop us a message at office@polawalk.com, tweet us here... Or just join one of our tours!

Your PolaWalk Team

Thomas & Gilbert