These are a few random memories from a quite chilly, yet very happy summer. The pictures have been taken between June and September...
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.
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 :)
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".
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!
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.
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.
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.
The Elbe river is the star of the city. The best view is from the bell tower of the Michel (= St. Michaelis church).
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.
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.
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.
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...
No commentary is needed this time...
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.
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.
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.
But in the happy chaos all around, it was also easy to snap candid pictures.
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).
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).
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...
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).:
And this is the view upstream:
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!
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.
Step outside of the central station in Gothenburg and you will be presented with this cute little view over a canal. Crossing it (the way these girls are doing it) is not allowed... but it's too cool to resist.
I was testing some new gear: an awesome 50mm lens and a 10-stops ND filter (which I got as a present from my wife). This picture is a composite of one long exposure (80 seconds at f/16) to get the water and some shorter exposures (at 1/20 sec) to get the tram and the girls in the right position. I like the painterly feeling of the result.
This weekend, my wife and I went to our favourite cafe in the Northern Archipelago of Gothenburg. After a delicious slice of raspberry pie, we went for a short walk on the rocky coast of Hälsö island. The conditions weren't ideal for a walk (cold and cloudy) but quite interesting for photography. I took my 24mm with me, plus the tripod and my variable 1-to-8 stops ND filter.
I spent a weekend in Copenhagen. It was a lovely family time and a lot of walking through the city streets. I took only one lens with me (a prime, of course) and I focussed more on interacting with the friendly people that were with me, than photographing strangers and other things. But a city often gives you plenty of photo opportunities and it is sometimes hard to resist...
I don't have enough time for photography, lately. All I got is a couple of shots taken with my phone during a business trip in Hamburg, Germany...