Home » Berlin Fotomarathon 2011: Part 3

Berlin Fotomarathon 2011: Part 3

After taking you through the ups and downs of capturing Photos 1-8 and 9-16 during last weekend’s Berlin Fotomarathon, here is my last post with our final photos of the competition…

Photo 17: The ballad of gracious living

Photo 17: The ballad of gracious living / Die Ballade vom angenehmen Leben by Brecht/Weill. I knew immediately that I wanted to take an ironic bent on this theme, and head straight for the bridge over the railroad tracks at Warschauer Straße where people seem to have a thing for smashing their beer and wine bottles.

Photo 18: Illusions

Photo 18: Illusions / Illusionen by Marlene Dietrich. This may be one of my favorite photos of the bunch, with the pink clouds reflected in the puddle, but the streamers to remind you of the illusion.  Somehow, it even makes me think of Marlene Dietrich.

Photo 19: Thing

Photo 19: Thing / Ding by Seeed. Hmm, yeah.  Thing.  I’m curious to see how others interpreted this particular theme.

Photo 20: Black to blue

Photo 20: Black to blue / Schwarz zu blau by Peter Fox. I was working pretty fast at this point — with precious minutes ticking away, I didn’t have too long to sit and ponder or set up my photos.  Rather, I was frantically scavenging the empty lots around the Astra Kulturhaus for any kind of inspiration possible.  As you can see, I went with the obvious on this one.

Photo 21: Somehow, somewhere, sometime

Photo 21: Somehow, somewhere, sometime / Irgendwie, irgendwo, irgendwann by Nena. With mein Schatz on his way to help set up for Photos 23 and 24, and the sun going down, I wandered up and down Kopernikusstraße repeating this song title under my breath.  Inspired by the unreliable nature of New York’s subway system, I thought a photo of the Metro schedule might be a nice match for the theme.

Photo 22: A midsummer night's dream

Photo 22: A midsummer night’s dream / Ein Sommernachtstraum by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. For this and the next photo, we have our friend to thank, who let us ransack his jewelry store for inspiration and use his light box.  Really, can you get any more midsummer’s night, dreamy, and magical than these? :)

Photo 23: Magic land

Photo 23: Magic land / Zauberland by Rio Reiser.

Photo 24: 25 hours a day

Photo 24: 25 hours a day / 25 Stunden am Tag by Die Ärtze. Okay, and to finish off the series, we wanted to leave the impression that music has been in the air and on the streets of Berlin over the last 23 photos.  Here we wanted to bring people back to our first photo, where the party began, and show that it’s still rocking on.  We threw an incredible amount of confetti around to get this shot, but it was totally worth it.

After we took this final shot, it was about 10:15pm — so, only about 45 minutes until we were supposed to be at the finish line at Görlitzer Park.  Now keep in mind that we still had to sort through the hundreds of photos that we took over the course of the day to select our final 24.  Because we were super short on time, we mostly went with our instincts and didn’t spend too long deliberating.   With our pulses racing, we dashed to the finish line in a cab (continuing to delete photos as we went) and made it perfectly on time — only to stand in a super long line (of course) in order to have the memory card checked and the photos downloaded.

All in all, a totally exhausting and exhilarating experience.  If I were to do it again (and that is still debatable at this point), I know what I would do differently.  For starters, I would limit the amount of time spent considering the overall motive.  Really, you only have about 30 minutes for each photo, max — and with travel time factored in, even less.  I would let myself go with my instincts a bit more instead of trying to plan it all out too carefully, and this would have given us more time to be creative on each individual photo.

Secondly, I would bring food with me.  It sounds trivial, but I’m serious.  I noticed that the pros at the meeting points had packed sandwiches and snacks, while I was left downing my Red Bull and eating breath mints.

And lastly, I would make better use of my tripod (an early birthday present from mein Schatz!) and the different light settings on my camera.  Under normal circumstances, I just photoshop everything afterwards, but since that wasn’t allowed in the competition, it would have served me well to pay a little more attention to the lighting conditions and changed the settings on my camera accordingly.  With all the hectic and stress and time pressure of the competition, this completely slipped off my radar.  Ah, well.

If you’re curious to check out some other takes on the themes, check out TQE, Digital Journeys, Luke Barrage’s blog, or for that matter, the entire Flickr Group!  Or, if you’d rather see all the photos at once, they will be displayed from July 23-24 in the Glashaus at the Arena Berlin, (Eichenstr. 4, 12435 Berlin), with an entrance fee of only 3 Euros.

So, what do you think?  Would you participate in something like this?  Or have you already?  Do tell!


  1. Michelle says:

    Wow, I am really impressed. The photos look great and I like how they are tied together. I can only imagine it was difficult under the time pressure. I participated in a photo scavenger hunt back in May and although not quite the same, the rules allowed for flexibility and awarded extra points for creativity. I usually just wait for moments to come to me when I get on a photo kick so all that ‘forced’ shooting was not so easy and was tired by the end of the day, although was much shorter than your day! Well done :-)

  2. Debi says:

    AMAZING! I really love photo 18 and 22!! So great. I would love to learn more about photography and something like this would be intense but totally fun! I can’t wait to check out the links!!

  3. Luke Burrage says:

    Hey, thanks for sharing your photos here, along with your story. I won’t make it to the exhibition, so this kind of blog posts is really great. I also wrote a blog post about my FotoMarathon experience, though it mainly outlined the reasons why I completely failed. I’m happy with the photos I did take though! Check it on my website, I think it’s the latest blog post.

    Luke B.

  4. Emily says:

    WOW!! I love photos 18, 21, and 22! I am so impressed at all the photos you took and finishing in the time frame! I think it would be interesting to participate in something like this but I would take your tip of bringing food along!!

  5. @Michelle: I think I had more of a scavenger hunt thing in mind when I signed up — but definitely liked how it pushed me to be creative on the fly, rather than simply waiting for inspiration to find me (which is my usual style). For now though, I’m happy to let inspiration find me on its own. :)
    @Debi: This kind of event definitely forced me out of my comfort zone, for sure!
    @Luke: I saw your post linked in TQE’s blog, and can totally relate! I just edited my post and added your blog in there.
    @Emily: Food is a must!

  6. Jen says:

    I so wanted to go this year, but have it on my list for next year. I think I’ll take your tips to heart! :-) Looks like you got some excellent shots despite the time pressure.

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