Friday, October 23, 2009

Berlin Illuminiert

For the past 10 days or so has been the Festival of Lights in Berlin, and on Monday I went to check it out. Basically the idea is a bunch of Berlin landmarks are lit up with colorful lights, projections, or patterns. A friend lent me a lovely fancy Canon, a roll of film, and a tripod and we set out to see the sights. We started at Alex and the Fernsehturm, which was quite boring--just colored lights shining on it. Next we walked down towards the Berliner Dom. Along the way we wandered through the atrium at the Radisson which had some smaller light installations and light-based artworks for sale. They were unremarkable. Then we rounded the corner, and there was a lovely swirly color pattern on the back side of the Berliner Dom. With spotlights crisscrossing the sky, and all of it reflected in the Spree river below, it was a really beautiful sight.

Then we went around the front, and it was even better: a bright and colorful pattern all over the overwrought baroque surface of the building. We stood around there waiting for the different patterns and shooting pictures for a while, keeping warm with frequent pulls of brandy from our respective flasks. After shooting our fill of the Dom we continued down Unter den Linden and my favorite light effect: each individual tree was lit with a different color, creating a rainbow effect down the whole avenue. It was magical. And so simple! Just two bright lights at the base of each tree, pointed upwards, with different colored gels on them.

We continued to the Brandenberg Gate, which was kinda boring, just different colors changing, but we shot it anyway. The best view of it was from inside the park heading away towards the Reichstag--the illuminated columns were framed perfectly in between the black tree silhouettes. The Reichstag was, inexplicably, not lit up, and the lighting on the Hauptbahnhof (main train station) was pretty boring, so we called it a night. But it was fun! I hadn't shot manually in years. The film's not developed yet, but I'm excited to see how it turns out.
Bis bald,

PS. from saturday:

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