Night photography at Vienna’s amazing amusement park – The Prater

This post is the first of a series of blog posts about shooting film in Vienna. We are Joe (@jb__shoots) and Christophe (@victoshot) – two students at Vienna University who fell in love with film photography in 2019/2020. We are friends and share a passion for showing the beauty of one of our favourite cities.

Our night photography journey started in July 2020, when we decided to head to the Prater to give CineStill 800t a shot. Getting our hands on this film at the time required us to sell two healthy kidneys and brought us to the brink of financial misery. All jokes aside, after arriving at the Prater, we quickly realised that it is the perfect location to shoot this type of film. The park is full of bright rides and artificial lights that are very unusual for Vienna.

More about the Prater: It is an amusement park North of the Danube in the 2. District, Leopoldstadt. On weekends, it is usually filled with diverse people of all ages and people who simply desire to enjoy themselves. While it was quite busy, people did not mind us and did their best not to ruin our shots. Even the ride operators were very friendly and open about taking pictures, which made for an overall great experience.

In terms of the gear, we went with a Leica M2 and a 50mm Summarit f/1.5, which we solely shot at f/8. We had to use an old and wobbly tripod, which quite frankly was a pain in the arse. We rated the film at 800 iso and did the metering with an app called “LUX”. Even for newbies like us who had never used a light meter and a rangefinder camera before, it was an enjoyable experience. Besides our low stamina due to our missing second kidney, nothing was getting in the way of our quest to capture the park’s vibes.

A picture of the arcades at night shot on CineStill 800T, Leica M2

Overall we were very surprised by the results as we had no real idea what we were doing. We even had to assign one of us with metering while the other one had to do the focusing, as neither one of us was a fully proficient photographer at that point. So, to all the new film photographers out there: don’t worry too much, Cinestill 800t is quite versatile!

Cheers, we can’t wait to share with you our next blog post!

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