Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Commuter Photography; Making the Most of Short Nordic Winter Days...

I am fortunate to work in the beautiful Swedish city of Malmö, Sweden and to avoid the morning rush hour I generally try to get to the office by 7:15. During the fall and winter this means it's still dark, but this has the advantage of letting me do night time, blue hour and sunrise photography. And afternoons are quite similar, just 400 meters from the office we have the boardwalk and a fabulous view of the Öresund Bridge which makes a great subject in the setting sun.
I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of the cold and dark winters in Sweden, but this year they became a lot more enjoyable by taking advantage of the many photo-opps.

 The morning commute, the Malmö Harbor Lighthouse at sunrise

 A 400 meter dash from the office to the boardwalk to catch the setting sun on a windy winter's day...

 An unusually calm morning made for a nice blue hour shot of the old ship-building harbor.

 A small detour on another calm morning to catch the reflection of Malmöhus castle in its moat.

 The evening commute, the full moon rising behind Turning Torso, a stone's throw from where I work.
 Early morning blue hour photography of one of Malmö's most visited buildings "Turning Torso"

Morning commute street art, for much of December a miniature restaurant and accessories brought smiles to children and parents alike on their way to daycare, school or work.

Sunset on the boardwalk in Malmö's Västra Hamnen.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Super Moon November 2016

I love photographing the moon. I always keep track of full moons, just in case there is a photo opp, but in southern Sweden cloudy weather is the norm for most of the year, so I don't get too many memorable moon-shots. But this week was an exception to the rule. With all the hype from the newspapers, CNN, Facebook, I think the whole world knew there was a super moon in the making and as luck would have it a high pressure system was parked over southern Sweden promising us a week of clear skies and freezing weather.
D-Day for the super moon was Monday the 14th, but with the beautiful clear skies I got started earlier in the week. The full moon has its charm, but since the entire face of the moon is illuminated there are no shadows to add any detail, so a few days before a full moon provides a better chance to see the craters on the moon's surface.

On Wednesday Nov 9th, D-5 I was just warming up with my Canon 7D and 800mm lens...

And then on Friday Nov 11, D-3, while waiting in line at the Saluhallen market in Lund I had about 30 numbers ahead of me, so I stepped outside to catch the moon as it was just rising over the Krognoshus. I had to stand in the middle of the street and dodge a couple of city buses, but it was worth it. Taken with my Canon 6D and 100-400L.

Saturday Nov 12, D-2, we were invited to afternoon fika at 15:00, which was really not a good time since the moonrise was at 15:37 and I had other plans... So I discretely excused myself at 15:30 to step outside, force my way through 10 meters of trees, shrubs and undergrowth before landing on a farmers field to capture the moonrise, which would have been a little boring if a paraglider hadn't flown into my picture. Sometimes you get lucky... Taken with my Canon 6D + Canon 300/2.8+ 1.4 extender.

Sunday Nov. 13, D-1. I had long been imagining getting the moonrise behind Dalby Holy Cross Church since it sits atop a hill, but there were some clouds visible, so I had my doubts it was going to work, but again, luck was on my side. The moon rose and 5 minutes later disappeared into the clouds. Taken with my Canon 300/2.8 + 2X extender, I should have used a longer lens.

Monday Nov. 14, D-Day, and the weather outlook called for clear skies in the morning so I decided to shoot the moonset. Up at 5:00AM, no breakfast and a 30 minute drive to the Öresunds Bridge where I waited for the moon to get into position. A little too early, the bridge was still too dark, it would have been better tomorrow, but rain was in the forecast, so this was the only option. Shot at 800mm at 1/30th with the Canon 6D at iso 6400.

A good week as far as photography goes, the two last pictures were even published by Sydsvenskan, the local newspaper, and then a follow-up article the next day.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

For Lois

Psalm 139

For the choir director. A Psalm of David.

1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. 3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O LORD, You know it all.

 5 You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it.

7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there;

If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.

9 If I take the wings of the dawn,

if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,

10Even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,” 12Even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.

13 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.

14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You...

...23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; 24 and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Week in Sunsets...

This was one of those unusual weeks where every evening had an absolutely gorgeous sunset, (which was a small consolation for the miserable weather). Most of my colleagues at work were complaining about the cold and cloudy weather, but I mostly kept quiet, since I am a sucker for a sunset.

Unfortunately we don't live in a convenient location for shooting sunsets, and with the dismal weather my expectations were low. By the time I realized the sky is glowing red and orange it is too late to get anywhere for a shot. But on Wednesday I was prepared, sort of... Wednesdays we have interclub bicycle races and this weeks race (time-trial) was at the seashore in Barsebäck, and the race ends early enough to be able to catch the sunset (after we have had some fika)

But I almost missed it by drinking coffee and socializing. I final had to race off to find a decent subject for the sunset and as luck would have the ponies on the nearby meadow were perfectly set up and I grabbed my Canon 100-400 lens and tried a few different settings and exposures, here 1/200 at iso800 f/8:

Thursday I was ready, I had my camera in the car and the clouds looked promising, and although I had to pick up daughter Kristina returning home from a few days in Spain, she was easily bribed to join me for the sunset with a meal from McDonalds. Again a quick trip to a nearby shore with my 100-400 and waited for the sun to break through the clouds.
A couple on a dock made for a nice foreground in this first shot...

And likewise the sailboat was the perfect foreground a few minutes later.

I was off my game on both Friday and Saturday, even though I saw that the sunsets were fantastic. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But Sunday I was determined to make up for it with the Öresunds Bridge as the subject, this time armed with my Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro lens; 1/500 at f/5.6 iso200

The weatherman has promised summer weather this coming week, and while I appreciate the warmth, it sounds like there won't be the necessary clouds for a nice sunset. But we'll see, the weatherman has been wrong before...

Monday, June 27, 2016

Wait for the Midnight Hour...

As interesting as the ghost town of Bodie is during the day, it has an even more spectacular attraction after dark. Situated in the Sierra Nevada mountain range at an elevation of 8379 feet (2554 m), it's one of the few areas in California where you have little or no light pollution and thanks to the high elevation there is also no atmospheric distortion. The main event of the evening is the Milky Way, and the best time to photograph it in panorama is around 11:00pm, so we started by testing and fine-tuning our night photography skills on other buildings and celestial bodies...

This type of night time photography is best done with a full-frame sensor with as little noise as possible since we were frequently shooting at iso3200-6400 with 30 sec exposures at f/2.8. There are a couple of nights per summer where visitors are allowed to remain in the park until 10:00PM or so, but to stay even later you need a permit, and when all is said and done, the easiest way to get that permit is to join one of Jeff Sullivan's photo workshops.

The town church...

And the old store...

Even an abandoned truck looks amazing under the Milky Way!

Downtown Bodie...

The Old Mill...

An finally a 180 degree view of the Milky Way over the old mill. 10 shots stitched in Photoshop
It was close to 1:00AM as we headed back to the car, but we couldn't resist just one last shot of the church

Bodie Ghost Town, waiting for nightfall

This years USA trip included a few days in and around Yosemite. Since we have already visited Yosemite a few times, we were looking for something new on this trip, and as luck would have it we found an after dark photo workshop in Bodie ghost town, focusing on the Milky Way over Bodie. In the middle of summer this meant waiting until after 10PM to begin the nighttime photography, so between our arrival at 6:30PM  and then we had several hours to explore Bodie on our own and shoot in the setting sun...

Green Street...

Pews filled with ghosts...

Siding made out of tin cans...

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sunrise Otters...

High water and an abundance of bait fish provided fantastic photo opps of a female otter and her pups at Kristianstad Naturum Nature Center. For several weeks this winter the family returned several times a day to catch dozens of small fish before a crowd of spectators and photographers...