Archive for the ‘Press Photography’ Category

Oktoberfest – 24 hours to go!

Friday, September 21st, 2007

As I write this, it is just about 24 hours until Munich’s Lord Mayor, Christian Ude, will yell “O’Zapft is” again after having opened the first barrel of beer – a tradition that officially opens the Munich Oktoberfest. So I went to the fest this morning to see how far they actually are with the preparations. Now, most of the tents are almost ready, but the Theresienwiese is still vibrating with energy, as everybody is cleaning up and doing final adjustments. The tents look so clean and smell so new and fresh that you can hardly believe what is going to happen over the next 16 days, when people, smoke, beer, and food make a significant change. This, for example, is the Löwenbräu tent…

Mark Zanzig/zettpress

…complete with a lonesome hammer, some nails, some photographs (huh?) and brand new benches and tables. Over in the next tent, a lady puts on finishing touches to the main entrance sign, while a few meters down the street a shop owner is wondering which of the Lebkuchen souvenir hearts to put next into the shop, and where.

Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Mark Zanzig/zettpress

You also see the first people coming in a Tracht (albeit not many), like this gentleman who happily swings his briefcase. Starting tomorrow, it will become quite common to see people wearing the traditional clothes everywhere in the city. Of course, the majority of people will wear it on the festgrounds. If you are wondering what to wear for Oktoberfest, look here.

The weather forecast for the next few days is very good: Dry and sunny, with temperatures going up to 23 °C on Monday. Starting on Tuesday, the forecast predicts temperatures to drop to 10 to 13 °C, with occasional rain showers. But I suggest we cross that bridge when we come to it. :-) This morning the Bavaria statue looked like this, and I like to take this as a good sign – blue sky, sunshine, 20 °C. Perfect for Oktoberfest.

Mark Zanzig/zettpress

So all of you who are traveling to Munich or considering it, I wish you a good deal of beer and fun during Oktoberfest. Maybe our ways will cross on the Theresienwiese? I am one of the few guys carrying two Canon bodies and a backpack full of lenses. :-)


Why Concert Photo Restrictions Do Not Make Sense Any Longer

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

It was Petra’s birthday. I had purchased official tickets for the Norah Jones concert in Munich as a gift for her. I know she likes the music, a cool dark modern country and blues music. The tickets were expensive, and I was happy to just enjoy the evening as a concert visitor. We were excited.

As always, I was looking for some photo colleagues. However, upon entering the concert hall, Munich’s Olympiahalle, I did not see any. I would have expected to see at least one or two pros covering the concert. But then they appeared, in the break between warm-up session and main concert. They were shuffled in and told to stay in one corner in the back of the hall. I could spot Johannes Simon, a local PJ veteran working for GettyImages now, then Oliver Lang from AFP, and five or six others. When one of the photographers wanted to chat to the TV colleagues who had their equipment set up close to the sound engineers, he was told to go back to “his location in the corner” by a security guy. This did not make any sense to me as he did not try to take photos. In fact, nobody was taking any photos – the main lights were still on, the stage was still empty. No artist. No photos. No interest.

Then, at 9 pm sharp, the official concert began. The photographers were now guided to a location closer to the stage, and they were allowed to shoot for about 15 minutes, for about three or four songs. Then they were shuffled out of the concert hall again. And I wondered – does this make sense?

I was wondering, because hundreds of visitors were bringing their digital cameras. I’d say almost everyone had some kind of camera, if it was not a point-and-shoot camera, they at least carried a camera phone. People around me were shooting like crazy. Every few seconds a flash fired somewhere in the hall. One guy a few rows in front of me was apparently filming the whole concert with his P&S camera. A couple behind me was more focused on taking photos than on the concert itself. Yes, this tells you something about the quality of the concert, but it also tells you something about the sillyness of photo restrictions during concerts.

I could not resist and ask Petra for her camera phone (as I’ve just got an old Ericsson phone without camera). Well, I just could come up with this really really bad shot…

Norah Jones Munich
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

…from her old Siemens phone (with a mediocre 1.3 MP camera). But using a fairly decent 12 MP point-and-shoot (e.g. the new Sony Cybershot W200) I guess I could have achieved a quality suitable for newspaper standards, if not better. Throw in a seat closer to the stage, a tiny tripod, and a bit of post-processing, and you’ll get a couple of very good concert shots.

So, in my view, this whole “professional photographers may only take photos during the first 15 minutes of the concert” rule is utter nonsense these days. People (i.e. paying end customers) are taking the shots anyway. And they will increasingly blog about this, writing fan pages and concert reviews. They can not be hold back, unless you want to take away their phones and P&S cameras. But when this happens, people will not be attending concerts any longer. So this will not work. Concert agencies should actually be happy about the additional PR they get from this. They should allow photo cameras in order to improve their reach and to further increase the popularity of the artist. I agree that they should put restrictions on video cameras as this is were the real value of a concert lies: music, lights, emotion! A concert is a true multimedia experience; still photos hardly bring this across.

Ah, how was the concert, you ask? At 0.42 € per minute it was too expensive for my taste. The location (the Olympiahalle with seats) was not matching the music style which would have been much better in a smaller concert hall (e.g. Munich’s Muffathalle or Zenit). So the emotions were not really coming across to the audience. Unsurprisingly, Miss Jones left the stage at 10:25 pm, apparently a bit miffed at the lack of enthusiasm by the audience. Petra liked the concert, though. Which was the whole point of this excercise. :-)

Happy Birthday, Munich!

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

Each year in June, the City of Munich/Germany is celebrating a giant birthday party. Founded officially in 1158, the city is now in its 849th year. There is nothing too exciting about the event itself, though. You have some free music (with both rock bands and humptah bands playing) plus the usual assortment of stands offering food, drinks, and artwork. The visitors are mostly locals, with some tourists as well. At least some folk groups show up in historical frocks, but again nothing too exciting. The weather was quite beautiful, but I was not in the mood to do a lot of shooting.

I just hope it will be more exciting next year, when it is the “round” 850th birthday.

View across Odeonsplatz
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Historial Frocks and a Horse
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Humptah Band Playing on Marienplatz
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

More photos from Munich

Where The Hell Is Matt? In Munich!

Monday, June 18th, 2007

The other day I was spreading the word that Matt Harding was coming to Munich to do a bit of bad dancing at the Monopteros in the English Garden, this time with a twist: a group dance! And so, 32 co-dancers followed the call, traveled to Munich and danced with Matt.

Matt showed up at 2.45pm, joined by Melissa. He quickly gathered his fans (and soon to be co-stars), greeted every single one of them, explained the rules, registered the release forms, and took photos of each participant. One couple had even been traveling 400 kilometers from Wiesbaden to Munich, just to meet Matt and be on the video. Talk about passion!

Matt Harding greets Munich Dancers
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Then the long and exhausting search for a good shooting location began. Matt finally decided that the Monopteros itself (that’s the building in the back) would not be a good location for the dance. A better place would be the area just below the monument. So the whole group walked down there, and after a short rehearsal and some further arrangement of the group, the bad dancing started.

Matt Harding group dance in Munich
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Bad Group Dance in Munich
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Matt Harding Dance in Munich
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

This went on for about ten to fifteen minutes, with pauses, and as you can see on the photos – the whole group was having a fantastic time. Everybody is all smiling and laughing and enjoying the experience. Matt himself appeared also to be in a good mood, despite of the uncertainity of the weather (there had been heavy rain the evening before) and the fact that arranging the whole event apparently is hard work.

But being the friendly guy you have seen on the video, he did show the dancers the final take. He made clear, that there is no guarantee that the Munich piece will end up in the final cut (scheduled for release in summer 2008), but that did not at all matter to the group. The guys and girls were just enjoying their image on that small screen of the video camera.

Matt Harding Munich
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

The bad dance was re-done for a group of CO2 activists (I have my own view on the CO2 issue), and then Matt and Melissa kissed passionately to celebrate the good shooting! As I write this, they are probably on their way to their next stop: Warzaw, Poland. If you want to keep track of where Matt and Melissa are heading next, please feel free to visit their official website,

See also Matt’s interview with FHM online.

Ich brauch mal ne Umarmung!
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Matt Harding and Melissa
Mark Zanzig/zettpress