The Whole Roll

The Whole Roll – Nikon FE2 and Rollei S400 – By Felix I Flores Rodriguez

January 22, 2023

The art of black and white photography is as old as the art itself. Color photography sometimes masks the true meaning of an image yet, on certain occasions, will distract or even rob the viewer of the moment’s essence. “Photography is a medium of formidable contradictions. It is both ridiculously easy and almost impossibly difficult”. (Edward Steichen). A painter gets a blank canvas for where to place their world vision. A writer gets a blank piece of paper on where to create their world. However, a photographer gets a complete picture and provides viewers a window into their world with their imagination, skills, and vision. “When one sees the residuum of greatness before one’s camera, one must recognize it in a flash.” (Yousuf Karsh).

I did not particularly appreciate writing until, one day, I did. Photography saved me and let me quiet the voices inside my head, the doubts, guilts, and regrets. However, writing gave me an avenue to share those emotions with others. I like to call them my extended friends; it is incredible that through this media, one can communicate with people worldwide. The world of photography has changed since I began my journey in 2010 from DSLR to mirrorless, and only God knows what’s next? Artificial intelligence? “The most important piece of equipment in your bag is your attitude,” (Joe McNally). Nonetheless, analog photography remains a mode that keeps bringing people in for a taste of the past and a way to slow things down in this fast-paced world.

This article series is called The Whole Roll, and is a simple concept. You must share a whole roll of film, every frame. The images should be taken with the same film in the same camera, and ideally one lens too. Sounds easy, right? However, once you go to a location and start to take photos, the light changes, and your eyes see different angles. But remember, you cannot use a different lens. Now the dilemma is to change the lens and abort the entire roll assignment, walk closer or further from the subject, or make a mental note and leave the topic for your next project.

My plan was travel to Germany for business and visit a great friend. I hoped to do two or even three rolls of film, and yes, this time will use my favorite film Lomography Berlin kino 400. I have so many ideas in my head but still only 36 opportunities to put it all together and hope all goes as planned. If not, changing the roll of film and trying again – it is not a race, but a destination. Well, things did change, and I did use the Berlin Kino 400, yet not for this assignment. For this, I used a roll of Rollei S400 and the Nikon FE2 with the Nikon 20mm f2.8 and Holla 62mm Orange filter. This was my first time using the film. I like it, I still have two more rolls at home and plan like to use them for a different project.

I visited the town of Coburg. I was stationed at Bamberg, Germany, for five years and never saw this town. I used this opportunity to spend an entire roll of film on a location I never visited. The town of Coburg is full of exciting buildings, objects, people, and statues that offer plenty of photographic opportunities. I guess better late than never. The results were 36 images that I will share with you all here.

The city of Coburg is located on the Itz river in the Upper Franconia region of Bavaria, Germany. It joined Bavaria by popular vote in 1920. Furthermore, Coburg is the home to one of Germany’s largest castles, Veste Coburg, a place where Martin Luther lives while translating the Bible into German. Also, the recently passed Queen Elizabeth has a connection to the town of Coburg, Germany. The meaning of the word Coburg is unclear and has ties to the meaning of cow borough. The city has a population of 41,500 and retains many historic buildings due to minimizing damage during World War II. Coburg’s coat of arms honors the town’s German patron, Saint Maurice, the Coburg Moor. St Maurice was an Egyptian Christian who rose through the ranks of the Roman army. The original coat of arms was restored in 1945 at the end of World War II. Today, the silhouette of the patron saint of the city of Coburg can be found mainly on maintenance hole covers and the city coat of arms. Coburg is referred to as “Europe’s Capital of Samba.”

Veste Coburg

Veste Coburg

Coburg city

Coburg city

Coburg city

Coburg city

Coburg city

Coburg city

Coburg city

Coburg city

Coburg city

Coburg city

DIE LUTHER KAPELLE

DIE LUTHER KAPELLE

Coburg City

Coburg City

German patron, Saint Maurice, the Coburg Moor

German patron, Saint Maurice, the Coburg Moor

German mailman

German mailman

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Albert Prinz Von Sachsen

Albert Prinz Von Sachsen

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City Drinking fountain

Coburg City Drinking fountain

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City

Coburg City Phone booth

Coburg City Phone booth

Veste Coburg

Veste Coburg

Veste Coburg

Veste Coburg

Veste Coburg

Veste Coburg

Veste Coburg

Veste Coburg

Veste Coburg

Veste Coburg

Veste Coburg

Veste Coburg

Veste Coburg

Veste Coburg

The art of photography can be as easy as breathing or as hard as climbing Mount Everest; it only depends on how you look at it. At times I cannot photograph anything, and at times photos appear in front of me at every corner. Furthermore, the transition to seeing in black and white or light and shadows took a long time to develop in my case. Also, as with everything else, it takes practice and the desire to improve one’s craft. My advice to anyone that wants to start photography as a hobby is to go out and take photos of anything that interests you, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Art is subjective and beautiful in its own right; stay safe and continue to photograph the world around you.

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    thorsten wulff
    January 22, 2023 at 10:34 am

    Excellent, dear Felix. I had no idea that there is marzipan bratwurst ;))

    • Reply
      Felix Flores Rodriguez
      January 22, 2023 at 10:40 am

      Thanks for your kind words. I used to live near this town and never knew the history behind this wonderful place.

  • Reply
    Hans-Peter Huser
    January 22, 2023 at 8:32 pm

    Ein Grundkurs in Belichtung und Entwicklung würde sicher helfen.

    • Reply
      Felix Flores Rodriguez
      January 22, 2023 at 8:37 pm

      Vielen Dank für Ihren Kommentar. Ich werde auf jeden Fall versuchen, mein Handwerk zu verbessern. Vielen Dank, dass Sie sich die Zeit genommen haben, auf diesen Mangel hinzuweisen.

      • Reply
        Philippe Renevey
        January 23, 2023 at 7:52 am

        To improve your photos, use a lens hood or shade the objective with your hand. It seems that some our your photos lack of contrast because oblique lights (outside the photo) hits the lens and produces flair.

        The other explanation is that you have underexposed some of your photos by error but normally FE2 is quite robust in finding correct exposure in non-critical situations.

        Otherwise I like very much the framing of some of the photos.

        • Reply
          Philippe Renevey
          January 23, 2023 at 8:41 am

          Sorry, native french speaker flair = flare ….

          • Felix Flores Rodriguez
            January 23, 2023 at 9:29 am

            Thanks so much for your help and support.

        • Reply
          Felix Flores Rodriguez
          January 23, 2023 at 9:28 am

          Hello
          Thanks for taking the time to read my post and providing insightful comments. I think that it was underexposed due to my Hoya orange filter. I will take your advice and place more emphasis on proper exposure next time I use the camera. Once again, thanks so much for the advice, and I can assure you that it is well-received and will be put into practice in my next shooting.

  • Reply
    Hans-Peter Huser
    January 22, 2023 at 8:45 pm

    I keep reminding myself (also for myself!!!) Robert Schumann: There is no end to learning. 🙂

    • Reply
      Felix Flores Rodriguez
      January 22, 2023 at 8:51 pm

      I agree there is no end to getting better. I love to put my photos out to receive constructive criticism. It comes at a time when everyone around you likes your photos. That is the time to reach out to another crow and see what they think about your craft. Furthermore, believe that analog photography is the best way to learn the photography craft because there are no second chances; you must get it right the first time thanks for taking the time to comment on my post.

  • Reply
    Castelli Daniel
    January 23, 2023 at 11:49 pm

    I sold off all my Nikon gear about 20+ years ago. I only kept my FE2 & the micro-Nikkor f/2.8 (55mm). It’s such a great camera.
    The overall look of your film may indicate a fogging incident. This may have occurred during a security check while passing through an airport x-ray machine. Newer x-ray machines will totally fog your film; older machines will damage film, especially if there were multiple passes.
    The scope of your photos show such varied architectural styles. I feel like I was walking with you as you made your photos. A good eye.
    Dan

    • Reply
      Felix Flores Rodriguez
      January 24, 2023 at 9:02 am

      Hello Daniel
      Indeed I live in Latvia, and these photos were taken in Germany. It is a problem to take film thru security because most officers do not want to do a manual check, and they force you to send the film thru the scanner, and they swear that it will not affect the film, but here we are, thanks for the kind words and for taking the time to read my article. I will fight harder to get security officers to do manual checks next time.

  • Reply
    Lee
    January 24, 2023 at 4:12 pm

    I simply think many of the images on this roll you shared with us were underexposed. How much work/effort was put into editing the scans you received form the lab that developed this film? I think you can do a lot to improve these flat, somewhat muddy scans with a bit of added exposure and contrast.

    • Reply
      Felix Flores Rodriguez
      January 24, 2023 at 4:45 pm

      Hello Lee
      Thanks for taking the time to provide me with your feedback. I agree the photos were underexposed. However, Daniel gave me another angle to look at, and it fit at least for this particular situation. I take full responsibility for the outcome of this shooting and will take all the advice and feedback that has been provided to me on this article to improve my film photography. Once again, for taking the time to read and deliver insightful feedback on my photos.

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