Sunday, 27 January 2008

Postcards from Stockholm

Moonrise over StockholmStockholm is pretty far north so the winter days are quite short. Today only had 7.5 hours of daylight, which compares to 9.5 Halifax received today (according to the Weather Underground) It seems Stockholm is a very safe city, ,as cities go, and I had no problems wandering around in the dark taking shots.

Stockholm has a lovely medieval flavour to it. It has been a long time since a war foisted destructiveness upon this city, so much of the old architecture remains intact. I particularly loved the soft muted colours on many of the older buildings. There are a lot of very warm colours, such as yellows and reds. I suspect this is a response to the short winter days.

Out for a Walk

As with much of Europe, churches here are high on the 'to see' list. While today we spend much of our resources building huge sports complexes, previous civilizations spent much of their time and effort building places of worship. I find it especially fascinating to wander through a medieval church, such as the Stockholm Cathedral. This interesting iron ball held an arrangement of candles, forsaking the usual alter.

Ball of Light

This church allowed the use of flashed, which is rare. Naturally I took the opportunity to play with my strobe by dragging the shutter to try and give Angela a bit of a halo while she was in church.

Angel's Halo


Saturday, 5 January 2008

Christmas 2007

Img0111Shortly after returning from Quebec City, Patricia and I went to St. John's for her friend Christine's 50th birthday party. I set up a "photo booth" for the guests and the house rule was "no drinks until you've taken your picture". I turned on the remote and hooked my camera up to my laptop so people could take their own shots and immediately see the results. I'm planning on printing a photo book for Christine to mark the anniversary. I found people reacted very differently when they were taking their own photo, instead of having someone take it for them.

Most people were more relaxed and clowned around more, like Ed:

Img0111 Img0109


It was a very late night (2:00 a.m. for me and 4:00 a.m. for Patricia), but I still managed to haul my but out of the sack for a morning run. I grabbed Patricia's Canon G7 and stuck it under my running shell. Since none of the sidewalks were ploughed (or salted), the only place to run (or walk, for that matter) was on the street. I didn't think there would be much traffic up Signal Hill, so that's where I went. The first rays to hit the North American continent were gorgeous (as usual) with a wonderful pink hue. I noticed Parks Canada had put a star on the side of Cabot Tower, which then stood out against the lightening sky.

On the way down, the sun had crested the top of the south hill and had set up a lovely cross light on a cemetery. The first thing that struck me was how wonderful the light was at setting up the texture on the headstones, all except for one that was at a right angle to the sun - it stood out brightly amongst the rest. Then I noticed that the headstones were all tall, thin pedestal types. Not like the "tombstone" modern type. Time has taken its toll and they were all tilted and irregular.

While we were in St. John's, we stopped by the Agnes Pratt nursing home to visit with my grandmother. She's 91 but is still all smiles!

She and her roommate were out sitting down. I suspect they were out watching the men go by. I guess somethings never change. We also stopped by my sister Bonnie's place to wish her and William Merry Christmas. William was playing around like the busy young boy he is. It was quite a challenge to get a couple of shots of him. The auto focus didn't quite have his energy level.

We didn't get to visit too many more people, as time was short. Back in Halifax in time for Christmas and before we took down the decorations and lights, I decided to try and shoot a mixed colour shot using the incandescent Christmas lights around our windows and a strobe inside the living room. Similar to the problem of subjects blinking when taking a group portrait, I had the problem of trying to line up faces in the squares formed by the mullens in the windows. Only two turned out.

It was -15C so I didn't really feel like taking too much time trying to capture the perfect composition! I put the photos in the Newfoundland 2007 set, which you can watch on a slides how here, or, since there are only a few of them, just visit my Flickr photo stream here.