And a new start with some new gear
So My last Blog was around the new year and talk about resolutions and parental leave. It feels like a lot have happened since then, both in the world ( Obviously!) but also in my own life and also when it comes to my photography.
The world when it comes to the strange reality we find ourselves in at this time, with the virus and the quarantine and all the problems that have come with them.
If i would have thought something like this would happen before Christmas or someone would have told me id have laughed it off thinking it was a trip of some sort. But here it is and we all try and adjust the best way we can both with life in general but also with our work( for those lucky to still have one). You really get perspective and like in similar situations in life where you are put through difficulties you think about what’s important and revaluate things around you, for good and for bad.
Before this mess i just got back from a great time with my son Julius, and had not been working for 3 months. I followed him and his development and loved every second of it.
I wanted to document as much as i could along the way and managed to get a lot of nice memories for the future. Especially now with everything going on, having those images and memories feels extra special. Whatever happens he and i will have those to share in better times ahead. I was also at some sort of new stage in my life when it came to my Photography where i had hit a wall( in good way) and realized what i loved to shoot and with what gear i wanted to shoot with.
A lot of Nikon Photographers were ”upgrading” to the mirrorless Z -system with the Z6 or Z7, but i never felt any allure when it came to those cameras. Not only do i think they are ugly( yes its true!) but i did not like the idea of an adapter to use all my great lenses with the Z cameras. Also i love the 2 camera bodies i have now, and the only ”upgrade” for me would be to get something similar to what i have or i will just keep shooting with them until they break down. I currently use a D4 and a Df body with all the lenses i really need. As a day to day camera i use my Leica Q-P and it goes with me everywhere i go.
So finally arriving at a point where i felt absolutely no GAS any longer ( i won’t go as far as to say its totally cured….but for now), and being very happy with what i had i started to spend more time planning what to actually shoot rather than gear to use for what i wanted to shoot. Felt great.
My focus started to shift towards my lighting equipment. I had used my Nikon Speedlights on location for years, and always felt somewhat limited but at the same time scared of taking the plunge into something more serious. For what i did the stuff i had was mostly sufficient. But i now felt to take my lighting to a higher level i needed to get something more powerful but still portable. I had heard so many great things about Godox and their system and i finally got around to starting to build my kit in that Ecosystem.
I think i might 2/3 on the way on that new journey but so far i am very happy i decided to make the change. I still have some of my Nikon Flashes as a backup, but my main flashes include the Ad400 and Ad200 and another smaller speed light in the V860ii. For those i have found the Aputure Lightdome mark 2 soft boxes which are great in every regard, great soft light and so very quick and easy to setup! Love them. I will try and make some reviews in the future as i sometimes do when i have used something for a long while and still think its great.
I have only used the Godox kit for about a month or so now and have not really got to test it out properly. I have taken some test shots together with my son and daughter in my small home studio and outside at one point.
I have found some new inspiration to learn new setup with lights and being more creative and will try and do some new projects ahead. if its something this quarantine brings its time to experiment with that among other things around the house. So not all bad!
Im lucky to have a full-time job besides my Photography and that makes me able to choose what i really like and not be stressed out when i miss out on assignments. A few of my booked weddings and other work has been canceled but at same time i have had requests of other more fun projects as well. So will try and post some of that in my blogg in the near future.
Also Spring is here soon, the light is better and the times ahead if health allows will hopefully be full of great fun photography outside.
Stay safe and keep shooting.
/Over and out..
So time to add a new entry to the blog. It is soon New years after all and a good time to think about what have transpired this year and maybe dream and look forward to the next year and what that will hold.
I am writing this just a few days before NY and it should be cold here now, at least if i compare to a time i always seem to go back to when i compare. Namely my childhood. Not sure why i do that, but i really enjoyed the white winters we had back then here north of Stockholm. I guess something has changed and maybe it has to do with climate change or just that ”cycle” those ”shady” people keep referring to …
I remember we had snow up to our windows and that we could use our sleds and our skies every day, we even took the skies to school or sleds as well some days.
This winter we had like 7 or 8 of these beautiful wintery days, so every time i tried going out to try and capture some of its beauty. Being on parental leave still i usually take a small walk with my son when he is asleep, and sometimes that is enough to take a few photos and hope for the best.
As always nowadays i bring my Leica Q-P everywhere, so that is always the weapon of choice especially when it comes to capturing these spontaneous ”nature snapshots” that i think the Q-P is great at doing. I think it renders the colors beautifully, and its usually sharp and crisp.
Thinking back now to the year that has been and trying to summarize it and get a grasp of everything that has happened is not always easy.
When it comes to my personal life, getting a son has of course affected everything and changed it for the second time in that regard. My other child being my daughter that is 10 now, making it a long time since i changed diapers and took care of a small person needing me and demanding all of my time and love. But that also means my passion for photography has got some new fuel to its fire as documenting everything from a birth to his first year has been amazing in every way.
When my son came i owned my first Q and i used that to document his birth and the months afterwards. For me it was perfect. But during the year i also changed gear a lot and i went back to Fuji as i have written in other blog entries in the past. And i have captured some great memories with that system as well. The X-T3 was great for filming as well and for stills i loved using the 16mm, the 56mm and the 90mm. All magnificent Fuji lenses.
As i also stated in an earlier entry i think that path was necessary to walk down to finally decide to go back to the Q again as my day to day documenting camera body.
I thought that the speed of the X-T3 would be a great addition especially when you would have a small boy running around at full speed, and it was a great idea, but the reason i got the Q the first time was to simplify things and not having two overlapping systems( as i also shoot Nikon) and adding more stress with having to choose between several systems and lenses every time heading out to take pictures.
So while the Fuji was one of the better camera bodies i have owned when it came to the technical aspects, i really missed the simplicity and inspiration the Q gave me and during the year i sold all my Fuji gear and bought the Q-P. That actually cured the most of the GAS i had i the past and i am very happy i made that choice in the end.
So the year has been a year of change on many levels, and i know from experience that those times are usually when you also develop the most. So while that is hard to see when you are in the middle of it and in that phase, i think and hope that is something i can look back on and take pleasure in that it changed and made me ”better” in some ways. Both as a photographer and a human being somehow.
It certainly made me think about the importance and meaning of things, also as a photographer and human being.
And when it comes to photography especially the importance of creating memories for our kids and creating a legacy that can be left behind. And photographs of our family is something that we can point to and be proud of in ways we might not be able to with our ”work” as a photographer in the same way.
Speaking of work i don’t work as often as i wish as a photographer, and being employed at a school as my full-time job and being a father of two makes the time to be able to put in the extra work almost impossible sometimes. But it also makes me able to choose between different work and only do what i like and say no to what does not inspire me or for some other reason does not make me want that assignment.
I managed to squeeze a few weddings in and also got some pictures publicized which was nice.
Even so i think now when my thoughts go to the time ahead and after NY, i think my own resolution for next year will be to get things in print and try to make books from my photography. Too many images lies on our hard drives and never see the ink on print in our lifetime. And that is a shame and a waste in my opinion. We live our life on social media and seem be ”satisfied” with that and to upload our work there.
So that will be one ( maybe that is enough, since we have such a hard time keeping those promises anyhow) resolution i am really going to try and keep next year. For me and my legacy and my children.
So back to present time, X-mas just passed by in a flash. and i managed to get some photography done and test some lighting in my small apartment which was great. I also added a new lens that i owned in the past ( the 85mm f1,4G) which i sometimes have felt i missed and especially inside the the 105 i usually take 70% of my portraiture with feels to long.
So now before making this the longest blogpost in the history of blogs i will just wish you a Merry Xmas and post a few X-mas pictures to get that holiday spirit up a notch.
/Over and out…
So, Autumn is here. Less light and more rain, a fact that makes for a worse platform for photography in general.
Here in Sweden less light is an understatement as the hours you can actually shoot in daylight disappears quite quickly and gets worse by every day closer to winter.
I love this first part of the season though, there is still some sunny days and the leaves are just starting to fall off or get that beautiful golden color. Also the air changes and just being out on those days that are still nice are just a treat. Beautiful.
I just wanted to start that off somehow and get into it right away before the moment is lost.
So i took the Nikon df and only the 105 f1,4 with me to town and brought my daughter to get some portraits on her but also get some feeling of that Autumn is here. I also included some shots i took from last week when she also accompanied me into town and i had the same setup ( Df, 105mm ).
We were quite lucky to get beautiful light and decent weather all day up until the last but where it actually started to rain a bit near the evening.
I quite recently bought the Nikon 105mm and must say its becoming my most used lens for serious portraits.
Just renders beautifully. Also being f1,4 you do not need much light to shoot and the 105mm focal length makes for some very creative shots in my opinion.
I will continue and post more on the blogg during Autumn for sure, so will be back with some more colorful images using different gear in the near future.
/Over and out..
So it has been a while since i wrote anything for my blogg,
so i thought this would be a good time since i did something i do not normally do when it comes to photography a few days ago.
I had read in a newspaper a year ago, about this deserted ”Ghost town” not too long from where i live. And i decided i would make it a trip during my vacation.
So this week i had some time over and packed my chosen gear in a small bag that would fit on my back since i was going there with bicycle. I choose my Fuji X-T2 for the job and i snuck in two lenses, the 16mm 1,4 and the 56mm 1,2. I thought both of them would serve most of my needs since the 16 would be the main lens taking most pictures i needed and the 56 as the backup if i needed to shoot any details or animals in the forest around the Town.
So off i went on my bike. The ride there was around 25 minutes, i had only the street named in the article as a starting point and knew i probably had some scouting to do before i found the buildings in the forest. In one picture in the paper i had seen that a house had been closer to a newer building in the background. So that made it a little easier since i started out from the street with those newer houses around.
The weather was great, it was a sunny day and my spirits were quite high setting out. Only thing i had my doubts about was if the weather really suited the mood i thought i wanted to create in the pictures.
This was as much a fun side project as anything serious so in my mind that was not anything to worry about when it came down to it. Whatever i got it would be a great experience and a good way of testing my equipment out which is always a good thing. Anything that inspires you to take your camera out is a good thing in my opinion.
I wandered around in the forest nearby the street i set out from and ended up going back and forth between the smaller paths in the forest, finding nothing.
I soon after found a couple of bikes that were left by the street and the edge of the forest. I followed the path from those bikes and soon found the kids with their mother. They were out picking blueberries and probably thought me an odd figure coming out from the same path as them and with my camera ready to shoot.
It was goo intuition following them though as i right after saw the roof of a structure in the woods just north of the kids and their mother. The first structure and ease around it was kind of a disappointment. A small partly destroyed yellow cabin with some old things randomly thrown around the cabin on the ground around it.
A foundation nearby told me that another building had been close to the cabin but was torched and not much was left to take any kind of pictures of.
I did not give up though but on intuition again started out from the cabin in another direction. That proved to be a success as i quite fast found yet another small but more intact cabin in yellow. An eerie feeling started creeping up inside me exploring the vicinity of that cabin. I started to see some more personal items like old shoes, stroller that was rusty and some other pieces of clothing.
I started to get images of the people living there, why they had left their things and the house and who they were. Questions that lead to more questions i did not have any answers to.
I also started to recall why i was there and got the X-T2 out and the 16mm lens. It was perfect for this kind of photography in my opinion. Small and light but still a very capable tool for pictures from outside but also for pictures inside the small and dark moody rooms in the cabins.
I shot a few frames then ended up going further along the forest paths deeper into the forest. I suddenly felt happy it was a bright sunny day, partly because i felt uneasy being there now in the first place but also because of how the pictures would have turned out. Some of the pictures inside the cabins would have been too dark and might not even have been possible without an external flash which i never brought one.
I found a few more houses strewn along the path. Different colors shapes and conditions . They became more intact though and had more interesting things to shoot so i was excited for that.
I found that the path was now also taken over totally by something living ( which was comforting in a weird way) even though the animals now living there were not the favorite of mine. Ants, bigger and and army of them. They seem to follow the path all the way now towards the small hill i ascended to get a better view of the area. I passed a small read house on that hill with a little mailbox outside. It must have been quite charming in its prime , but now it looked as somewhat of a mockery at the top of the hill, posing there with nothing but trash strewn around the building.
I had a look inside and passed it going towards the next hill that was even further up and a bit steeper.
The ants also followed that same path and i could never stop for long as the ants started crawling over my shoes at first sign of me stopping there to catch my breath and try to get a good look at the forest around me.
I found an old torn fence leading to a new area up on top of the hill. I went under and started walking into a new part of the forest up there where i had a good look to see if i could spot any more houses or anything else that was worth my interest.
I saw some trees nearby that really suited the rest of this scenery and that also gave me the ”creeps”. They were contorted and felt like some old vile spirit had taken control over them and now tried to guard the forest and the area around them from trespassers as myself.
From up there i suddenly saw something that piqued my interest.
It was a arg building down in a valley not too far down but in another direction than the rest of the houses i had seen. Was this part of the Ghost Town?
Only one way to find out. I started going downhill towards the larger structure. It was a red building with a few smaller buildings on the same property. I came closer and closer and could now see the yard around the structure clearly. It was eerily quiet. Here it was also much harder finding a clear path down to the buildings themselves as it was largely overgrown with weeds and smaller trees and high grass.
I tried going up on a few stones to get a better look inside the windows. It was indeed deserted houses, but much more intact and not as easy to see what was inside them. If something….or someone was still here these would be the houses they would be in. And i would have a harder time getting from here to civilisation if something happened.
Needless to say i was not too keen on jumping into that yard without having a better look from afar .
I was just about to leave and find abetter path when i disturbed something huge in the trees inside the garden. My heart raced and i had a hard time not just running in panic from the place.
I tried to stay calm though and stay still to see if i could get a look on what it was that had moved. I saw some kind of big animal, maybe a deer or an elk. I was hoping for the former as the bigger Elks are not something to mess about with.
Especially not if they had kids with them…
I went back the way i came, went all the way down the hill and past the other houses and tried to find a path from the other side that would lead me closer to the bigger red house i almost had got closer to.
I did. It was a bigger path and looked like something humans had made and it lead me to a gate that marked the outside of the house i had seen from the other side..
I stopped just outside, looking into the house and the yard, i saw the grass was trampled byt either something big or several larger animals…or humans. That uneasiness came back and i had a hard time deciding if it was really worth going inside the yard and the house..
I decided to go closer, first of all to see if that big animal was still here. I appeared it had got scared of me as well and left for now. That was a relief!
So i dared into the yard…got closer to the house. I saw a stump from a tree and slowly climbed up upon it.
” BAAAAAAAMM!” Something crashed inside the house with a large noise. My heart almost stopped, something was in there, and appeared moving now that i was close. i got chills and my heart was beating wildly now. I started down from the stump and moved fast backwards towards the gates to the yard.
I went outside, half running and half walking and then started running towards the bigger road outside in an as ”controlled” manner as i could without completely loosing face if i met someone from the houses that i now closed in on. I started to calm myself down and realized nothing followed me or was going to be able to catch up anyhow and started walking again.
I passed the neighborhoods i went past earlier and realized i was near my bike again. A feeling of calm and excitement came over me at the same time, and i was happy i went out today after all. Eager to get home and see what my camera held in store for me and for the excitement this day had given me. Sometimes venturing out can really be great, you never know what you will find or what opportunities you get to take some great photos. This si nothing i normally shoot or do, But it gave me an opportunity to tell a story with some of the pictures i got. Here are some of them, so enjoy. Both the photos but also the laugh at my expense, maybe after getting an image of me running in panic from that ”deserted” house. or was it deserted? Guess you will have to go there by yourselves to really know what was in there….;)
Over and out..
So, Autumn is here. Just thought i would make a quick entry about that and upload a few pictures that i took exploring the wonderful colors we all associate with Autumn.
To be honest, overall Autumn is not my favorite season here in Sweden. But the few days where the sun shines through the bleak autumn sky, it can be magic. And every year it makes me go out to capture it, even if just a few shots to make me feel i have done it so i can cross it off my list of things to do.
This particular day i had the family elsewhere so it was a good opportunity to go out for almost the whole day to find some good places and also just relax. The weather was definitely just as i wanted it to capture the colors.
I decided to go to a place called Bogesund which is located about 10 kilometers from where i live. There is an old castle there and also a lot of forest and some sea nearby that we usually visit during the summer.
But one of the best things besides having good locations to shoot is a cafe called the ”Parkvilla”. One of the better places around these parts if you are looking for homebaked bread and pies.
That it is located like 100 meters from a fairytale castle and the garden to match does not hurt either in my opinion.
So i sped down the serpentine roads of Waxholm nearby the place of my destination and passed a place i also think is very cool. It is a Bog that looks very eerie at night and pretty spectacular during daytime.
You can sense people in the old days had to stay clear of this area due to getting stuck or drown there in the bog.
So i parked just beside it and shot some frames before continuing to the Cafe where i would begin my expedition.
At the cafe it was unfortunately not deserted!
But considering the weather and time of day that was not so strange. I ordered a home baked apple pie with vanilla sause and a huge home baked cinnamon bun and sat there marveling at the view and feeling the sun on my face while i drank that fresh coffee. So a little slice of paradise there before traveling further.
Then i got going and walked around the castle and castle gardens. I have been there several times in the past so i did not really find anything that i had not seen before, but i just felt like i wanted to view it now in autumn to snap a few pictures before going to other places nearby. The forest around the castle consist of a lot of oak trees and birch trees. Beautiful in the Autumn. So done with the castle and its grounds i traveled further into the forest down to the sea where i found the sun started slowly to go down, creating probably the most beautiful scenery i had seen this autumn with the swans traveling the sea and the sun shining on the beautiful birch trees nearby the little beach. The kind of day you thank the higher powers for being alive and be allowed to witness something like that before your life is over. Great stuff indeed.
After strolling the beach getting those shots i wanted i walked to the car and started to go into the forest nearby because i spotted a hill not too far away where it looked like the sun just about reached the top.
At the top i managed to find a strange place where some trees had died in the middle of the hill. It looked so sad. But at same time very natural. The beauty of the yellow colored birch trees around surrounding the dead old grey tree. Almost like they were paying homage to its life.
I tried to capture that but i am not sure i did it justice to be honest. But here is another shot that i thought looked interesting. After climbing down i wnt to the car again and started to head home. I actually stopped by the Bog because i wanted to go a little closer through the woods. That proved to be a bit difficult but i managed to get pretty close without going down into the bog and becoming a zombie they would stumble upon in centuries later.
It looked like a cemetery for dead birch trees near the Bog and i got a few frames there before hurrying back to the care parked beside the road.Then i went back towards my home and i had one final stop in mind that i had seen from the road. An alley that would look very nice near sunset and the time proved perfect if not too perfect because i knew i only had like 30 minutes before the sun would disappear ! So i parked nearby a church there, set the tripod and took a few shots just before the sun went down. After that i felt like i had enough and with not much light left i felt i had been a good a good time to call it quits.
As i went back though fate had something else in mind. Like a few kilometers from my home , the fog started to roll in from all over and i realized this would not only become somewhat of a hazard to the cars driving but also be a pretty cool thing to document somehow before the last bit of light left the sky.
I Sped towards the Church in my hometown and the fog was all over now making it difficult to see much. I set the tripod and took a few atmospheric photos of the church and surroundings before giving up finally. I got back to the car and went to pick up my family that were patiently waiting at the translation a few kilometers away…
So that was my blog from this years Autumn. Done and filed!
A little fun sidenote from the trip was that during my excursion through the woods near the bog, i managed to pick up a few ticks. in the end though i felt it was worth it…just hope it was not carrying anything i will regret later!
Thank you, Over and out, Martin.