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...







Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Pilgrimage to Fulltofta...


My son is practicing his driving skills so on weekends we try to find a destination we can aim for. After weeks of mixed winter weather; wet and cold, or snowing and cloudy, we finally got a break in the weather and headed for the nearby town of Hörby where the old church has a resident peregrine falcon during the winter. The word peregrine is French for "Pilgrim" because of the hood I believe, and what more fitting place for a pilgrim than on a church.

 I assumed a small town like Hörby with a population of 7,000 couldn't have such a large church, so I expected close-up shots of one of my favorite birds. But it seems the height of Swedish church towers has nothing to do with local population, and our friend the peregrine sat atop a 20 meter tower, making this a job for the big guns...

No sooner had we arrived then the peregrine took off at full speed. I expected her to target a duck from the flock on the river right beside the church, but instead she disappeared out of sight several hundred yards away, and then a few moments later was back on top of the tower with an adult blackbird in her talons.

While the peregrine made short work of her midmorning snack we set up the tripod about 50 meters away to get a reasonable angle and mounted the Canon 7D + 800/5.6 + 1.4 extender. As we dialed in the settings we filmed and photographed. Unfortunately I forgot my remote control, so it was nearly impossible to press the shutter release without shaking the camera. But we had enough time to test and retest and about the time we were ready Mrs. Peregrine was finished with her snack and launched herself from the roof of the church and I managed to get a couple of decent shots. Here at 1120mm f/11, 1/1000 sec, ISO1600.



I tried for a repeat visit two weeks later, hoping our peregrine living atop a bell tower kept regular mealtimes. But she was simply not home and after an hour of waiting and while doing some googling on Hörby I learned that the nearby church in Fulltofta from the 1100's was supposed to have fabulous ceiling paintings from the 1400's. It was a Sunday and I expected the church to be locked for the weekend if there wasn't a service going on, but it was worth a shot. And as luck would have it the church was open and the ceiling was a truly a work of art. I even had the place to myself long enough to set up my tripod and with my Canon 6D and Samyang 14mm take a series of photographs that capture some of the beauty...

Here using 20 images assembled into a panorama in Photoshop. One thing I have learned about photography inside old churches is that it's best done when the wheather is miserable. The darker the better so that the windows don't get too over-exposed, and the lighting is relatively even. Today's weather was almost bad enough.


There's no good way to capture the entire ceiling in a normal way, so this 180 degree shot will have to do.



Despite living in Southern Sweden for 27 years, no one has ever mentioned the beautiful church in Fulltofta and the fantastic ceiling. I have stood in line in other countries and paid too much for less interesting places. So do yourself a favour if you're in the neighborhood or have out of town visitors, make a pilgrimage to Fulltofta. Besides the church there is a fantastic nature area with hiking and beautiful landscapes along the Ringsjö lakes.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Candle for Paris

I started working on this blog entry on November 13; an attempt to catch up after too much work and too little time. But the tragic events of November 14th made it impossible to continue as intended. So I will simply share a few of my photos from our trip to Paris this summer, and offer my condolences and prayers to all those that have been touched by the violence...