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  1. #1
    Marco B's Avatar
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    Midnight nightmare

    with a golden twist...

    Did some night time shooting last night in Amsterdam. Now I started close to the Dam square in the hart of the city, and planned to move on to the Nieuwmarkt market square later on to photograph a medieval defensive city gate, that used to be part of a now disappeared medieval city wall encircling Amsterdam until the great expansion of the city in the Golden Age (17th century). Later on, it became the cities Weigh House (De Waag), where goods were weighted for trade.

    Big mistake... Of course, with the tourist season going on, I expected people to be around, and that was not the problem.

    However, after carefully having set up my Tachihara 4x5 camera at about 23.45, I started noticing a disturbing amount of traffic. I had set up my camera on the opposite site of a small one-way road to get the best view. Now, cars were passing by every few seconds... taxis that is~!!

    I had lost my sense of time, and looking at my watch, I realized it was probably near to closing time at midnight for many bars around the square!

    Ever since deregulation of the taxi market some 5-10 years ago, there has been a expanding number of taxis in Amsterdam, all hunting for the same limited number of clients... especially tourists in the summer season.

    I probably saw some 80-100 taxis passing by in just twenty to thirty minutes or so, in between me trying to get a shot... some taxis turned up over 5 times... impossible, what a nightmare!... I needed to recap my camera (used a black notebook for that), every 5 seconds or so. The taxis came in waves, sometimes 5-10 taxis in a row.

    Don't know how the two shots I attempted turned out , may have to re-shoot at a better time...

    Anyway, for the golden twist... one taxi stopped and opened his window next to my camera, one of the immigrant taxi drivers now attempting to make a living in the taxi business. His Dutch wasn't to good, and I initially expected some superfluous remark about "Geeee, never seen that!", but I than heard him saying: "I have one too". Yes, sure!... but he than started asking me about where I got the film, and made some gestures indicating "sheet", meaning he really did seem to know what he was talking about. Finally gave him some names of shops he attempted to memorize while the growing line of taxis behind him started sounding their horns.

    So, next time you visit Amsterdam, don't be surprised you may end up in a taxi having a lively discussion about large format photography with some Middle East looking taxi driver!

    Marco
    Last edited by Marco B; 09-01-2010 at 05:06 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    My website

    "The nineteenth century began by believing that what was reasonable was true, and it wound up by believing that what it saw a photograph of, was true." - William M. Ivins Jr.

    "I don't know, maybe we should disinvent color, and we could just shoot Black & White." - David Burnett in 1978

    "Analog is chemistry + physics, digital is physics + math, which ones did you like most?"

  2. #2
    Toffle's Avatar
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    Been there, (well, not there per se, but in a very similar situation) with somewhat similar results.

    Just the other night, shooting some LF from a bridge in Elmira Ontario, some young kid drove by and a shouted out his car window, "hey, how old is that camera?" (the standard question from anyone who has never held anything but but digital) I replied that I guessed it to be 40-something. "Cool, the kid said, and before he sped away, waved a camera out his window, yelling, "this one's 55!"

    I've noticed (has anyone else?) that almost every time I go shooting with my 4x5 is an opportunity to post on the "When did you last promote film use" thread. People stop and ask tons of questions. Pull out a TLR and someone will tell you that their father/grandfather had one and it's just collecting dust, and "can you get film for it anymore?" People seem to respect equipment of an obvious age.

    Hopefully your cab driver will get put there and use his gear... another person keeping the analog dream alive... another customer for your local camera shops.

    Cheers,
    Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada

    Ansel Adams had the Zone System... I'm working on the points system. First I points it here, and then I points it there...

    http://tom-overton-images.weebly.com


  3. #3
    paulie's Avatar
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    haha i allways went out later in amsterdam, i prefered 2am + usually i cycled my calumet in a fiets tassen . i also found that a ballhead mounted on the back rack was great for my crown, bike makes a great tripod especially if you have a older bike with the decent stand.no longer live there, couldnt take the hassle of the apartment lettings market. returned to england 2 months ago.

    its in my blood though, cant imagine that il ever fall in love again like i did with amsterdam.

    lucky you, i too got annoyed with all the merc taxis, so expensive lol

    heres a selection of my attempts

    Click image for larger version. 

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  4. #4
    Marco B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulie View Post
    haha i allways went out later in amsterdam, i prefered 2am + usually i cycled my calumet in a fiets tassen . i also found that a ballhead mounted on the back rack was great for my crown, bike makes a great tripod especially if you have a older bike with the decent stand.
    ...
    heres a selection of my attempts

    Click image for larger version. 

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Size:	253.9 KB 
ID:	26491 Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	26492 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Untitled-1.jpg 
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ID:	26493
    Nice attempts!

    Although I do usually hire a bike when I visit Amsterdam (I live near Haarlem, and take the train to Amsterdam), made much easier with the introduction of the "public-transport bike" (OV-Fiets), I have never thought of using the back rack as a tripod. I do use it to transport my own real tripod though, carrying the rest of my 4x5 kit in a backpack and small camera bag.

    My own bike at home has some big cycling bags, so no lack of space to carry stuff.
    My website

    "The nineteenth century began by believing that what was reasonable was true, and it wound up by believing that what it saw a photograph of, was true." - William M. Ivins Jr.

    "I don't know, maybe we should disinvent color, and we could just shoot Black & White." - David Burnett in 1978

    "Analog is chemistry + physics, digital is physics + math, which ones did you like most?"

  5. #5
    fotopom's Avatar
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    Nice attempts Paulie, I'm inspired!

  6. #6

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    Great shots, especially the first two I think.

  7. #7

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    [A bit late, but anyway...:]

    Closing time at midnight??? In Amsterdam???
    Not even in the rest of the country. So why would that be in A'dam? Don't believe a word of it.
    Midnight is the time people begin to go to clubs.

  8. #8
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    Iv'e been to Amsterdam several times I really like the city, and I've stayed in a hotel in Dam Square Marco but shooting in that area at night you were lucky you didn't have a much worse nightmate.
    Ben

  9. #9
    Marco B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Q.G. View Post
    [A bit late, but anyway...:]

    Closing time at midnight??? In Amsterdam???
    Not even in the rest of the country. So why would that be in A'dam? Don't believe a word of it.
    Midnight is the time people begin to go to clubs.
    Not for the 40+ beer-belly bar regulars with a wife waiting for them to come home, that are probably the main source of income of the old dutch style "bruine cafe's" pubs circumventing the Nieuwmarkt square... It is not Ibiza

    Believe me, the taxis popped out of nowhere close to twelve... well, I guess a 20 euro taxi ride is still cheaper than the bill of first aid at a hospital for a hit by your wife's frying pan for making it to late
    Last edited by Marco B; 11-21-2010 at 03:25 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    My website

    "The nineteenth century began by believing that what was reasonable was true, and it wound up by believing that what it saw a photograph of, was true." - William M. Ivins Jr.

    "I don't know, maybe we should disinvent color, and we could just shoot Black & White." - David Burnett in 1978

    "Analog is chemistry + physics, digital is physics + math, which ones did you like most?"

  10. #10
    Toffle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco B View Post
    well, I guess a 20 euro taxi ride is still cheaper than the bill of first aid at a hospital for a hit by your wife's frying pan for making it to late
    Totally off-topic...

    I must have the best wife in the world... let me rephrase that... I do have the best wife in the world... (ok, she's gone now ) I'm only ever out on my own once or twice a year, and one of those times is usually the cast party for some community theatre I do in another city about an hour's drive away. We have agreed that I will stay out as late as necessary, including spending the night on a couch somewhere, rather than risk a drunk driving charge. I usually just stop after a couple of drinks and wait a few hours before attempting the drive, but because the party doesn't start until the curtain falls on the closing performance, it is a late, late night. So, thanks, hon... I really appreciate it.

    Cheers,
    Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada

    Ansel Adams had the Zone System... I'm working on the points system. First I points it here, and then I points it there...

    http://tom-overton-images.weebly.com




 

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