A week in Savannah

Wormsloe. 85mm on full-frame. 1/100 sec, f/8, ISO 200

Last week I flew to the US for work. I went to a city I've never been before: Savannah, Georgia. With it's historic and well-preserved city centre (Historic District), a very warm climate (25 Celsius in November) and hospitable locals, it deserves well the title of "hostess city of the south". There are plenty of brickwork buildings and the most affluent houses are in Regency and Greek Revival styles (thank you Wikipedia!). Most residential houses have two stories, with a flight of stairs going from the sidewalk to the first floor. The neighbourhoods feel relaxed and peaceful, with dog owners strolling around and the occasional jogger passing by.

85mm on full-frame. 1/200 sec, f/4, ISO 1100

85mm on full-frame. 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1100

A main characteristic of the city is the abundance of trees and parks in the centre. The trees are majestic evergreen oaks that grow tall on the sides of many streets and often create complete arches over the roads.

Street in the Historic District. 85mm on full-frame. 1/200 sec, f/4, ISO 600 (panorama)

The branches are big and twisted, and often draped with Spanish moss. Their shade must be a relief for the locals in the hot and humid summers (expect 32 Celsius and 90% humidity in July and August). However, the hanging moss gives the trees a spooky, ghostly feeling, especially around Halloween time.

85mm on full-frame. 1/320 sec, f/4, ISO 100

85mm on full-frame. 1/200 sec, f/4, ISO 400

If you drive only 30 minutes to the east, you hit Tybee Island, a sandy costal island which is gaining increasing popularity in America. Savannah is more and more often the set of Hollywood movies (they were shooting one when I was there) and the costal area is also used for the beach scenes. It's easy to understand why. The expansive sandy beaches lined by dunes are beautiful and unspoiled. The locals seem to enjoy them too ;)

Chatting in the sun at Tybee Island. 85mm on full-frame. 1/1250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200

Last sunbath of the season? 85mm on full-frame. 1/2500 sec, f/4, ISO 100

The pier at Tybee Island. 85mm on full-frame. 8 sec, f/11, ISO 100 (6-stops ND filter)

The South in general, and Savannah in particular, deserve a visit. A good combination is Savannah (Georgia) + Charleston (South Carolina). It's only a 2 hours drive. Maybe next time...

Autumn at Delsjön

The path along the shoreline. 24mm on full frame. 2 sec, f/11, ISO 100. Panorama from 9 shots.

A sunny autumn afternoon means I feel like packing my gear and explore some location in search of a landscape shot. This time I went on my own and drove a short distance to the lake Delsjön (10 min from the city). It's quite late in the season and most of the leaves have fallen already. Still, interesting composition can be found... just crop out the tree tops... or include pine trees ;)

A sea of leaves, literally. 50mm on full frame. 1/125 sec, f/4, ISO 560

The moon rises over Delsjön. 24mm on full frame. 30 sec, f/8, ISO 200

Autumn at Surtesjön

The directions to the easy-to-hike path are hard to miss...

Before the daylight hours shrink down to ridiculous levels, we took the chance to go for a walk at a nearby lake. The lake of Surte is 20 min north of Gothenburg. It's part of a natural preservation area and has an easy-to-hike path that goes all around it. Of course, we did not find the easy-to-hike path right away, and ended up on the hard-to-climb trail in the slippery woods. Eventually, we found the right path... without breaking a leg. Although the weather was grey and cold, we really enjoyed the autumn colours (hey, cloudy skies are great for pictures... wink wink). The focus, this time, was on enjoying the walk rather than photographing. So, this post is rather short by necessity (translated: "for the sake of my own marital life, I refrained from taking a gazillion of pictures this time"). 

The lake shore. 24mm on a full-frame, 2 sec, f/16, ISO 100

Alone in the wind of life. 24mm, 0.4 sec, f/16, ISO 100. A stack of 9 shots was used to achieve the movement in the water and the tree (no time to screw on the necessary 6-stops ND filter). A single reference shot was used for the crispy foreground and the sky.

Frederiksborg Slot

Waiting for her lover. 50mm on full frame, 1/100 sec, f/2, ISO 800

The Frederiksborg Palace is located 40 min north of Copenaghen, or 20 min from the ferry station of Helsinggør, if you arrive from Sweden. It was built in the 17th century as residence for Christian IV king of Denmark. It sits at the edge of a pond and it's surrounded by gardens and a park. 

The facade of the palace. 24mm on full frame, 1/100 sec, f/8, ISO 400

With our usual luck, the rain did not stop for a minute while we were there. So, we skipped the park and stuck to the inside of the palace instead. In one word, it is beauuutiful. We started the visit from the chapel, where we got welcomed by a small choir. Listening to the songs was nice indeed, but the the best part of it was looking at the over enthusiastic, ever-smiling, theatrically gesturing director. A real character.

I am never sad. 50mm on full-frame, 1/100, f/2, ISO 800

The castle is a museum showing the period furniture, tapestries, paintings and rich decor that once adorned the residence and surrounded the life of the royal family. Probably because it was Saturday, the museum had hired two extras (a guy and a girl) who went around the palace in period costumes. They were keen on letting people photograph them, but me not being so interested in photography, I passed on that opportunity (not!). I "stalked" the female extra until I managed to take a non-posed picture of here while she was looking outside. It's my favourite shot from that day and you can see it at the top of this post! All in all, it was a humid yet funny day, which we concluded with an excellent dinner on the Danish coast.

The moat. 24mm on full frame, 0,3 sec, f/16, ISO 100

Summer time in Sweden

These are a few random memories from a quite chilly, yet very happy summer. The pictures have been taken between June and September...

Stockholm at sunset. 24mm on full-frame. 1/80 sec, f/8, ISO 100

Vasa museum. 24mm on full frame. 1/50 sec, f/5.6, ISO 6400

Mid-summer in Avesta. 1/125 sec, f/1, ISO 200

GKSS harbour in Långedrag. 140mm on full frame. 1/2000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 560

Volvo Museum. 50mm on full-frame. 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2500

Björkö. 24mm on full-frame. 1/160 sec, f/8, ISO 100

At home. 85mm on full frame. 1/125 sec, f/4, ISO200. +4 close-up filter.

Late September. 50mm on full-frame. 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400. Panorama from 2 shots.

Willys news Roselundbron. 50mm on full frame. 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1600

The harbour. 50mm on full-frame, 1/250 sec, f/11, ISO 200

The Baltic Sea

50mm on full-frame. 1/6000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100

The summer holiday began with a lovely stay at the Baltic Sea with my wife and her family. The German coast near to the Danish border offers a great combination of sandy beaches, dunes and great bike trails through the lush country side.

50mm on full-frame. 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100

The weather has been unstable and a couple of times we got very wet while out for excursions. However, sometimes bad weather (especially incoming storms) can make for good pictures :)

50mm on full-frame. 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100

One evening, however, the sky decided to co-operate and gave me a fantastic sunset. I took the chance and headed for the country. These are the results of that "golden hour".

85mm on full-frame. 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200

24mm on full-frame. 1/60 sec, f/11, ISO 100

85mm on full-frame. 1/100 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100

85mm on full-frame. 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400

In Malmö

The Turning Torso. 24mm on full-frame. 1/100 sec, f/8, ISO 100.

In June, on our way to the Baltic Sea, we made a stop in Malmö. We got "kissed" by the bad weather: rain and low temperature all the time (a recurring theme for the rest of the summer holiday...)

But we made the best out of it and enjoyed the city quite a lot. We will be back!

Leaves in the rain. 24mm on full-frame. 1/100 sec, f/4, ISO 140.

A weekend in Hamburg

24mm on full-frame. 1/60 sec, f/8, ISO 100

My wife and I spent a long weekend in Hamburg. A couple of friends from Hannover joined us and it was good fun. What I liked in particular about Hamburg is its mix of modern buildings and old brickwork constructions. And the water. It's river and canals everywhere. A great place to visit. The city has the third largest harbour of Europe. Pro tip: book a visit of the harbour with a bus. The tour is given in German only, but you will have the unique chance of entering the container harbour and watch the gigantic cranes load a super container ship. Impressive.

85mm on full frame. 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200

The city is bustling with construction works, as it is expanding rapidly. The so-called Hafen-City expansion is about to double the surface of the city centre. Remarkable. 

The old parts of the city are quite charming. Despite the rain, I liked our walk in the Speicherstadt, which (back in the days) used to host the warehouses for the goods offloaded from the ships.

Speicherstadt. 24mm on full frame. 1/100 sec, f/5, ISO 100. Composite from 5 shots.

Speicherstadt. 24mm on full frame. 1/100 sec, f/5, ISO 100. Composite from 5 shots.

The nightlife revolves around the Reeperbahn, the read-light district (hey, pretty normal, it's a harbour city!) which now also hosts many bars and clubs. It's also a popular place to go to with your friends to celebrate your bachelor/bachelorette party.

Reeperbhan. 24mm on full-frame. 1/100 sec, f/2.8, ISO 3200

Reeperbhan. 24mm on full frame. 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 3200

Reeperbhan. 24mm on full frame. 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 3200 (series of 9 pictures, stacked for noise reduction)

The Elbe river is the star of the city. The best view is from the bell tower of the Michel (= St. Michaelis church).

View of the Elbe river and the Burchardkai harbour. 24mm on full-frame. 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100

But to get up-close, you should catch one of the ferries that go from Landungsbrücken all the way up to the Elbstrand and back. Bring a Wegbier (a beer "for the road"), sit on the deck and enjoy the views. 

On the river, with view on the Elbphilarmonie. 24mm on full-frame. 1/160 sec, f/8, ISO 560

And of course, the tour of the city must include a visit of the Elbphilharmonie. It's construction stirred the waters quite a lot in the German public opinion, as the building took forever to build and the costs went through the roof. After the Berlin airport, this is the other topic Germans don't like to talk about :) The view I liked the most was from across the river, from the platform in front of the "König der Löwen" theatre (yes, they built a theatre that has been playing the Lion King... exclusively... non-stop... for the past 10 years! Must be the equivalent of "Cats", for Germans). Anyway, thank you Use for the ride over there and the private tour.

Elbphilharmonie. 85mm on full-frame. 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100

Feliz carnaval

Samba gives you wings. 50mm on full frame. 1/1250 sec, f/4, ISO 100

Believe it or not, in Sweden they have a carnival parade in May. Probably because it's too cold to go around (often half naked) in February/March. It's in Hammarkulle, in the outskirts of Gothenburg. According to Wikipedia, the carnival started in 1974 and soon got "adopted" by the Latin-American community. Today, they say it's the biggest carnival of Sweden... but don't get too excited. Expressions like "largest of Scandinavia" or "biggest of Sweden" are slightly over-used in Gothenburg as, allegedly, we have the biggest amusement park, the largest botanic garden, the biggest exhibition centre, the largest wedding fair, the biggest horse fair... I discovered the carnival in Hammarkulle thanks to a good photo friend who took me there (thx Gunnar!). Most of the latino communities are well represented and put up a great show with music, dances and fantastic costumes (there are no carriages, just a few Cuba-style old-timer cars). And the local samba school shows up in forces. From a photo perspective, the funniest part has been the "getting ready". Everybody was very relaxed and more then willing to pose for the may photographers (professional and amateurs). Also the police were very relaxed and let me stay in front of the fences without much trouble.

Wings can hurt. 50mm on full frame. 1/1600 sec, f/4, ISO 100

Wings in boots. 50mm on full frame. 1/4000 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100

Getting ready for the parade. 50mm on full frame. 1/1250 sec, f/4, ISO 100

Ready. 50mm on full frame. 1/1000, f/2.8, ISO 280

Street photography in Torino

Recently, I went back to my hometown (Torino!) for a series of family celebrations, including the 50th wedding anniversary of my parents. It was mostly family time, but one afternoon I also had the chance to hit the streets of the city center with my trusty 50mm lens. These are the results...

50mm on full frame. 1/320 sec, f/16, ISO 100

50mm on fun frame. 1/100 sec, f/4, ISO 100

50mm on fun frame. 1/320 sec, f/4, ISO 100

50mm on full frame, 1/80 sec, f/8, ISO 100

The picture in the picture

85mm on full frame, 1/3 sec, f/16, ISO 100

I'm trying to pay more attention to the details (picture above) rather than the grander scene (picture below). Sometimes it pays off, as I love the tighter photo of the water, above. 

These pictures have been taken at the Kvarn in Mölndal, an old industrial area from the late 1800's where the power of the water has been used for many years to run several manufacturing activities. In fact, Kvarn means mill in Swedish. The village around is very well preserved and worthy a visit.

24mm on full frame, 1/8 sec, f/16, ISO 100

A walk in Brännö

Waving yellow weeds. 50mm on full-frame. 6 sec, f/11, ISO 100, 10-stops ND filter.

The island of Brännö in the Southern Archipelago of Gothenburg is only 15 minutes by ferry from the place I live. Cars are not allowed there and people use funny three-wheeled mopeds to move things around. In 1935, the Swedes passed a new law that gave workers two weeks of vacation and the island became a popular place for Gothenburg residents to have a summer house (a.k.a."stuga"). It's still a popular place to go for a swim in summer. The island is connected via a small pedestrian bridge to Galterö, a small and uninhabited island that is now a natural reserve. In Galterö, we followed a circular hike of about 5 km, which often offers some lunar landscapes. The midday sun was not ideal for photography, but some black&white conversion made the results acceptable :) All the photographs below have been taken in Galterö with my trusty 24mm lens.

The rocky triangle. 24mm, 1/640, f/11, ISO 100

Cherchez la femme. 24mm, 1/320, f/8, ISO 100

Texture paradise. 24mm, 1/1000, f/8, ISO 100

Crossing the line. 24mm, 1/400, f/8, ISO 100

Street portraits

50mm on full-frame. 1/200, f/4, ISO 100

This weekend, the students of the Chalmers university organized the traditional Cortege procession. To get an idea, imagine a carnival parade with plenty of humour and fun. Quite remarkably, it has been organized every year since 1909. The students and alumni get together to celebrate their 'alma mater' and all wear the typical student hat (il looks a bit like the cap of a sea captain).

I took advantage of the relaxed and fun atmosphere to ask many participants to pose for my camera and they have been great sports.

50mm on full-frame. 1/250, f/5.6, ISO 100

But in the happy chaos all around, it was also easy to snap candid pictures.

50mm on full-frame. 1/200, f/5.6, ISO 200

That's it for now. It's "game over" until I'll find some more time to go shooting again (lately it's been more and more challenging). 

50mm on full-frame. 1/60, f/5.6, ISO 2800

Birds birds birds

Crane showing off. 400mm on full-frame, 1/1250, f/5.6, ISO 200

A friend suggested to go to Hornborgasjön, a lake located about 2h away from Gothenburg. He mentioned that it's a known spot for migrating cranes. I never shot birds before and don't have the right equipment. My longest lens is an 85mm, definitely not enough for the task. But he let me borrow his professional 70-200mm with a 2x extender and suggested the right camera settings. It was my first time with a long telephoto lens... and I loved it. The world is quite different through a 400mm glass! But capturing the flying birds is so darn difficult. These are some pictures I managed to keep in focus (by sheer luck, mostly).

Landing duck. 400mm on full-frame, 1/1600, f/5.6, ISO 180

Flying crane. 400mm on full-frame, 1/1600, f/5.6, ISO 220

Flying swan. 270mm on full-frame, 1/1250, f/5.6, ISO 180

Flying crane. 270mm on full-frame, 1/1600, f/5.6, ISO 400

390mm on full-frame, 1/1600, f/5.6, ISO 560

200mm on full-frame. 1/4000, f/5.0, ISO 280

A short walk in Björkö

Upside down. 85mm on full-frame. 1/125, f/8, ISO 100

Upside down. 85mm on full-frame. 1/125, f/8, ISO 100

Björkö is an island north of Gothenburg. It's connected to the mainland by a roll-on/roll-off ferry and it's only a 40' drive from my place. The island has a lot of nature and well-marked hikes, especially in the northern part. After parking the car, we went on a short stroll and we found this lovely, little pond. The lack of wind created a perfect opportunity to shoot reflections...

Göteborg from the deck of a ferry

Eriksberg. 85mm of full-frame, 1/200, f/8, ISO 280

We recently embarked on a Stena Line ferry traveling from Gothenburg to Kiel. The ferry is as tall as a building and the view from its deck is pretty spectacular. I took the chance of shooting a couple of panoramas from such a vantage point to capture the feeling of dominance over the city that you get from there.

This is the view towards the open sea. The ferry goes under the big bridge and it feels like you could almost touch it. Pretty cool (also temperature-wise).:

Älvsborgsbron (the bridge) and Klippan (on the left). 85mm of full-frame, 1/160, f/5.6, ISO 140

And this is the view upstream:

85mm of full-frame, 1/160, f/5.6, ISO 200

Joshua Radin live at Pustervik

Looking up. 85mm, 1/125, f1.4, ISO 6400. Panorama from three shots.

This week, Joshua Radin was in town and played at Pustervik. I was at his concert in Stockholm a couple of years back and it was great to watch him live again! He played a lot of old songs this time, to the great delight of my wife. She is a fan from the very beginning... I'm more of a late convert, I confess :)

We were both very tired from work (the gig was on a Tuesday), but we left the concert with our hearts and minds in a very good place. Thank you Joshua!

Entering the stage. 85mm, 1/125, f/1.4, ISO 6400

Singing with the crowd. 85mm, 1/125, f/3.5, ISO 6400

Dancing, playing and singing. 85mm, 1/125, f/4, ISO 3200 

In Donsö

Thee sheep with an escape plan. 24mm on full-frame. 1/80, f/5.6, ISO 100

We went for a stroll in Donsö, an island of the souther archipelago of Gothenburg. We looked for the "naturstig" (hiking trail) and at its very beginning we encountered this curious and social fellas. Am I the only one thinking these sheep have crazy eyes?

24mm on full-frame. 1/80, f/5.6, ISO 100

Window reflections

50mm on all frame. 1/250, f/4, ISO 100

50mm on all frame. 1/250, f/4, ISO 100

This weekend I was back in Copenhagen to visit my newly-born nephew (I met him for the first time!). On Saturday morning, the light was just great (if not a bit harsh) and the windows were reflecting the scarce activity of a few humans.

50mm on full frame. 1/160, f/8, ISO 100. Composite from three shots.

50mm on full frame. 1/160, f/8, ISO 100. Composite from three shots.