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Friday Slide Show: Melaten Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

19 September 2014

Photokina runs through Sunday in Cologne, Germany. But by now the story has mainly been told. The media are packing up and moving on, leaving the fair to the spectators who have been working all week.

In 2006, we made the trip, flying from San Francisco to Chicago and on to Frankfurt before taking high-speed rail from the airport directly to Cologne in time to catch Apple's demonstration of Aperture 1.5 one evening.

But before we rolled up our sleeves and got to work, publishing each day we were there, we took a stroll across the street from the hotel to the Friedhof Metalen or Melaten Cemetery.

It is nearly a neighborhood itself, walled off with iron entrance gates that almost beckon you into its cool, park-like lanes. The name, though, comes from the French malade for ill. It had been a home for lepers in the 12th century before it was transformed in 1767 into an orphanage and workhouse, which it remained until 1810.

That's when it became a cemetery.

At first it was only open to Catholics. Protestants were admitted in 1829. And by 1899 there was a Jewish section, too.

The air is different there. Fresh, restored by the trees, and cool, protected by their shade. It is an inviting place.

The art is stunning. Classical and contemporary. Stone, metal and mosaic.

We had a PowerShot A710 IS with us and snapped a few shots in Program mode. Low ISO (under 200) with very slow shutter speeds (1/20 second sometimes) with a wide open aperture. It was overcast, we remember, and dark. We should have been shooting at ISO 400.

That little PowerShot is not the equal of the iPhone 6 Plus that hit the streets today, but it did the job. Perhaps of all the digicam brands we've used over the years, our results have been most consistent with PowerShots. We can look back eight years, like we are now, and still enjoy the images.

We gave them a lot of attention in Lightroom 5. They were a bit oversaturated. Exposure was good, but we usually had to bring back the highlights and sometimes -- but not always -- open up the shadows. Then we sprinkled them with a dash of Clarity like Lidia Bastianich inevitably adding "just little bit of salt" to everything.

We've forgotten most of Photokina 2006 as, eight years from now, most of Photokina 2014 will be forgotten. But we haven't forgotten how we felt having traveled halfway across the world by plane and train and cab as we walked through Melaten and met the angels of Cologne.

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