Blog - Photokina

Photokina Day 3
18th September 2014
We got out of the house right on time this morning...finally!! This time, we did hit the traffic jams going into Köln but, thankfully, it seemed to move pretty well so we weren't delayed too long.

Since we had pretty much seen all that we wanted the first two days, we decided to do a walk through several of the halls again, then check out some of the photo exhibitions.

We visited OnOne Software's booth and talked with Andy, who filled me in on what's new with the upcoming Photo Suite 9. They had a Photokina special at a reduced price, so we made sure to visit there and buy the upgrade, which will be out the end of October (just in time for my birthday!).

We visited the hall with the paper booths and found a few that we missed the first day and left with more samples. Since foot traffic had increased significantly, we had an ice cream, admired several of the exhibitions, then headed over to the Leica hall. Their photo exhibition was based on a music theme with many photos, past and present, of musicians. One photographer in particular who is no stranger to music - Bryan Adams - had the most poignant exhibit of all. He featured the "forgotten"...the veterans of war who have been injured. Some had lost arms, some had lost legs...some both. Some were in wheelchairs, some sitting in chairs, some standing. It was a stark reminder of what the troops endure while out on the front lines; many whose life will never be the same. It was amazing how comfortable they seemed to be in front of the camera - some smoking, some smiling. My first thought was that the world leaders should see this exhibition, that maybe it would make them think twice. But I know I was just dreaming.

As we left Photokina, we noted the date for the next one: Sept. 20-25, 2016.

Day 3's goodies. Notice that Wolf's stack on the right was just a bit higher than previous days...

All three days, not including umpteen hundred bags that we brought home. I think I brought home just a bit more than Wolf did...

Photokina Day 2
17th September 2014
After getting a late start yesterday, we made sure that all the cats were accounted for: the insiders in the house and the outsiders outside. We hit the road a bit earlier than yesterday but still later than what we wanted to.

This time, we did encounter a bit more of the traffic due to the construction sites around Köln but I can imagine that it still wasn't half as bad as what it could have been. We arrived about a half hour earlier than we did yesterday and started down the halls with all of the photo accessories. Sometimes it's the little things - like lens cap holders - that are nice to have...especially for someone who's lost a lens cap previously.

One thing that I couldn't leave without was a Blackrapid CrossShot. After trying it out, I realized how much more comfortable it was than my Sun Sniper strap.

Another accessory that caught my eye is by Go Wing, a Korean company. It is a contraption that looks like someone took two converters, glued them together and put them on a strap. It allows you to carry more than one lens comfortably at a time. For me, that was a given purchase. On hot days, I don't like to wear a vest, so Wolf follows around with a second lens. It's always a juggling act for him to take the lens cap off, hand me that lens while I hand him the one I've taken off the camera. Now, I can carry both and not worry about losing caps or dropping lenses. They are called "The Lens Flipper" in the US. I don't know if this item will take off, but I've tried it and, for me, it's quite useful.

We also stopped by the Op/Tech USA to check out their wares. We talked at length with Terry, the owner and left with camera raincoats. While I have one for both of my cameras, the ones offered by Op/Tech are easier to use and quicker to put on in a sudden frog drencher.

Although I told Wolf that I certainly wouldn't be bringing home so many brochures, I'm still glad that we brought the rolling case...I don't think he believed me (I didn't believe myself either). You can guess which stack is his and which is mine.

Photokina Day 1
16th September 2014
Since my husband occasionally travels through Köln, he knew that there is road construction going on and that there would be traffic jams. Wanting to avoid them, we were up extra early and ready to leave...until he asked me where one of our cats was. Knowing that he is usually up in the attic during that time of morning, there was no afterthought...until I thought to check the back yard before we left. There he sat on a stump. Crap! So, we spent a bit of time playing cat wranglers to get him back into the house. After that was accomplished, we hit the road.

Luckily, with us being later than what we would have been, we missed the morning traffic jam and sailed right into Köln and into the normal parking lot reserved for Photokina patrons. As the shuttle bus arrived, I started getting a bit excited about the three days ahead of us.

As the saying goes, "women love sales"...I'm no different. When one of my online photo stores sent out their newsletter with a limited time offer - Photokina tickets at 15€ instead of the usual 29€ - I snapped three up. Wolf being over 65, got the "senior discount" and paid even less at 12€ per day. So we decided to attend of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - the first three days - and to hopefully avoid the crowd.

First up, Epson. The booth was as large and set up like it was the previous Photokina with a number of the same printers. One portion of the booth focused on beamers and color management. We talked to a number of people there then made our way to the Epson gallery, where they were displaying photos of their Digigraphie partners...two of my photos from my hands collection included.

After talking with the lady who organizes it, we continued on to Canon and Nikon.

Both had decided to go the ecological route and not have catalogs on least Canon didn't. You were given a card that you could take to a terminal and use it to fill in your name and address, activating the card. You then used it like a credit card and swiped on black dots at whatever camera or printer stand you were at and it would enter your information to send you the catalogs. However, I didn't see anyone doing it...many depositing their cards in the trash on the way out.

Nikon, on the other hand, gave out cards with QR codes that allowed to you instantly download their catalogs or go onto their website (

By the time we left there, more than half of the day was gone so we visited the hall where the paper companies were located and talked with several of them, picking up samples and arranging to have samples sent.

Thank goodness we had a case on rollers as it was quite full when we left.
Countdown to Photokina 2014
12th September 2014
It's that time again! Köln will be under siege from photographic vendors peddling their wares to photographers from all over the world. It can be a madhouse at times with people steering you into their booths wanting to show you their latest and greatest...

And I get to be there!

From Tuesday, Sept. 16 until Sunday, Sept. 21, the messe will be abuzz with activity.

And, again this year, Epson will feature select photographers' photos in their gallery. Two of mine from my hands collection will be featured there so, if you're at Photokina, be sure to stop by and check out everyone's works!
Photokina 2012 Final Report
01st October 2012
As Dumbledore might say if he were a photo enthusiast: „Another Photokina...gone“

It was a smaller fair this year; a couple of the halls weren’t totally full, while one full hall was empty. Many booths were also noticeably smaller this year. And I also experienced a first this year: discounted tickets. The normally 45€ per day tickets were available through two of my regular photo suppliers for a heavily discounted price of 14€.

Among those I didn’t see this year: Nik Software, Naneu Pro Bags, Adobe, Bibble Labs, Topaz Labs, Jill-E Bags and Manfrotto. ACDSee was relegated from the large booth that they always had to a single non-manned work station in booth with other software suppliers.

In this year: actions cams, 24mp point and shoot cameras, 3D modeling set ups and instant cameras (move over Polaroid!)

Out: mat supplies, mat cutting machines, scrapbooking suppliers, and many photo book stands.

Hanging in there: darkroom equipment and supplies

To come: ball shaped tripod/beanbag (it held my Fuji S5pro, external battery pack and Sigma 105mm 2.8 lens) and eco-friendly lens wipes by Hoodman USA.

Always a pleasure so see: Greifvogelstation Hellenthal and their beautiful eagles and owls

My chuckle of the day: asking a salesman at a book stand if he had any books on IR photography and him asking what IR was.

There were more photo exhibitions this year, perhaps to help fill the empty space left by absent suppliers.

I have to say, though, the most moving photo exhibition that I saw was from the Japan Professional Photographers Society called "Ikiru" (We Survive) Post-Tsunami. The photos are not only documentary of what happened on March 11, 2011, but what happened after...the slow and painful process of finding out what happened to their loved ones, life in a temporary shelter and the slow recovery of their lives. The stories that the photos told were incredible and painful. I do hope that the exhibition is shown elsewhere outside of Photokina so that others can see not only what these people went through, but the way that they shared what little they had with strangers.

You can see the exhibition trailer, and read a bit about it here:

I enjoyed visiting the Awagami Inkjet Paper booth and seeing what new papers they had this year. They have a new German distributor: Rauch Papiere, Folien und Ideen ( I talked with one gentleman at the Awagami booth for a few minutes before his partner came over. Before I could say anything, she said that she remembered me from the last Photokina. She was right as I remember spending some time talking with her. Awagami has some wonderful handmade paper; definitely different than others on the market. I brought home a sample packet to try out. The gentleman at Rauch showed me several of their different papers. I picked out several favorites (among them a Silver Iridium Pearl) and am waiting on promised samples.

And, speaking of papers, Moab was there this year. They told me that they also have a German distributor: Life Foto ( I was able to bring home some paper samples of their Slickrock Metallic Pearl 260 and Lasal Dual Semigloss 330 papers.

Hahnemühle paper was also there with their usual info packed stand. They offered sample packages of their paper at 5€ each with the money being donated to a worthy wildlife cause. Kudos to them for doing it! They have several new papers which I look forward to trying out.

The usual big name camera manufacturers were there: Nikon, Canon, Hasselblad and the like. Only at Photokina can you do something that you may otherwise not be able to do: handle and try out a camera set up worth over $20,000.

There were less half-naked painted ladies there this year, although you could easily tell where they were by the hoard of men snapping away with their DSLR’s and cell phone cameras.

My personal highlight was seeing one of my photos hanging in the Epson booth as part of their Digigraphie gallery.

All in all, it was time well spent. Now comes the time of sorting through all the information and materials that I brought home and make my list to start ordering.

Mark your calendars for the next Photokina: Sept. 16-21, 2014.
A Good Deal on Photokina Tickets
21st July 2012
For those who plan on attending Photokina this year, Monochrom ( has a great deal on tickets. Instead of paying 29€ for a day ticket, if you purchase the tickets through Monochrom, you only pay 14€. They will send you a voucher through the mail which you can redeem through the Photokina store and download/print your ticket. They do, however, have a limit of two tickets per purchase. But, you can return to the store and make further purchases of two tickets…no limit there (and they don’t charge shipping).

It took only a couple of days for me to receive my vouchers in the mail and ten minutes to redeem them in Photokina’s store. I’ve downloaded the tickets and printed them out – I’m good to go!

Instead of paying for a two day and a single day ticket (I plan on attending three days) for a total of 76€, I paid only 42€. Not a bad savings, I’d say!