Colors of October

Shot during the week here in Västra Hamnen mostly on an iPhone 7+ and a few times using a iPhone 6s with DJI’s Osmo Mobile gimbal stabilizer.


Autumn fashion shoot

Yesterday, I had a short fashion shoot for Pello Bello with my favorite model Tora in one of my favorite places here in Västra Hamnen, the small park with alleys of trees adjacent to Ribersborg Beach.

Now, what made the gig so unique and therefore noteworthy (blog worthy) is that I shot it entirely with the Leica Q. Man, the vibrancy coming out of that camera is astonishing. Very little color correction needed. Only a very few of the motion frames demanded a tad of High Pass sharpening. Most images were shot at 1/30s, f/2.8 and ISO 100.

Just as we finished yesterday’s shoot, it started pouring again. Like the summer, the autumn of 2017 will likely be remembered for its immense precipitation and downright dreary weather. In fact, the whole year seems to have been rainy with only a negligible amount of consecutive days with warm temperatures and sunshine. Which clearly feels like we’ve got some really bad karma going on here in southern Scandinavia… Or, at the very least we’re being meteorologically punished by whoever’s in charge. Especially when you consider how many months we have ahead of us with the usual DDR-esque winter weather.

On a lighter, more positive note, my morning Yoga routine and thrice weekly yoga class is certainly keeping me in shape. And recently, I’ve begun a journey into the world of Qi Gong. After so many years of running, working out in the gym and all kinds of group exercise classes, it feels really good to have found a new, less complicated way to create balance between body and mind. Un-complicating life is a mantra definitely worth pursuing.


MJ’S – Malmö’s Boutique Hotel

With at least a half dozen or so towering conference and business hotels having been established over the last few years, nobody can have missed Malmö’s ongoing hotel boom. But the latest addition to the city is something completely different. MJ’S opened last April and is not only the city’s only real boutique hotel. It’s also one of Skåne’s absolutely coolest hotspots. I stayed there last night and ate a most sumpteous meal as part of a recurring gig for my wife Charlotte’s popular Swedish hotel site, Hotell Addict. All shots taken handheld with the increasingly versatile Leica Q at an amazing 1/30s and ISO 1600. Minimal post work – just a few notches of noise reduction in LR/CC. I’m blown away by this camera.


Unveiled: Art at Kockum Fritid

Yesterday at our local sports center, Kockum Fritid, my latest art project was unveiled: five unique pieces printed on acrylic with motifs inspired by physical activities: Hockey/Skating, Squash/Badminton, Gym/Weightlifting, Group Classes and Swimming. The project was commissioned by Kockum Fritid and each piece was created from 30-50 single photographs from several sessions spread over a few years. View the collection here.


Smoothiness

Truth be told, nothing symbolizes my current life quest as much as the morning smoothies I assemble for the family. Much of the ingrediens I use have documented anti-inflammatory properties with ensuing health benefits. Not that each shake magically adds years to our lives, but over time, I am absolutely convinced that they can help decelerate environmentally and/or genetically provoked virulent processes.

On a social level, the recipe isn’t as easy to put together. Preemptively sieving projects and collaborations with high odds of being futile, as opposed to fertile – or, even deleterious, is still something I need to work on. From time to time, my penchant for creativity still camouflages – even effectively hides – the self-evident from me. And the unavoidable echo-chamber that derives from the fercency does the rest…until…KA-BOOM!

Back to the smoothie.

Here’s what went into this morning’s spontaneous amalgamation:
Cinnamon, Ginger, Turmeric, Beetroot, Coconut, Spinach, Coconut flakes, Sunflower seeds, Vanilla, Banana, Almonds, Needless to say, all ingrediens were organic. Much of it purchased at and shipped from Amazon UK.


Nominated: Publishing Prize 2017

My opera book, “We are Malmö Opera”, has been nominated for the 2017 Publishing Prize. On Monday, October 23, the esteemed jury will divulge the winner in the Coffee Table Book category in which the book is competing.

I sincerely think the book deserves to win because it focuses on hard-working, talented and passionate folks that don’t get nearly as much recognition as they ought to. In a perfect world, each curtain call would see the full production crew taking a bow or two.

If nothing else, I hope the book wins the hearts and minds of other photographers, journalists and publishers and inspires them to shed some light on other workplaces filled with unsung heroes.


Eyeconic

Thanks to my buddy and code warrior Yigit Telyakar, I’ve now got a much more mobile and tablet friendly way to showcase my photographic efforts. Check out the new “Eyeconic” category in the menu up top. The Jumbo Jet? Shot last year in an abandoned yard on the outskirts of the sprawling Asian city of angels, Bnngkok.


The Rose according to Q

Shot with the Leica Q’s macro mode which is easy to switch to via a short twist on the lens barrel. The ease of use makes the Q such a great go-to camera for those spur-of-the-moment shots. Whereas the iPhone would suffice, the Leica frame’s dynamic range and file size offer much more versaitility – should I eventually decide to incorporate a photo in a future montage.


Blade Runner Ran Amok

Last night, I saw the new Blade Runner 2049 – a  sequel to director Ridley Scott’s dystopian sci-fi classic from 1982. Both the original and sequel have characters based on a story by Philip K. Dick titled, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”.

Visually, I think director Denis Villeneuveis and his cinematographer Roger Deakins have done a fine job. You could literally print each individual frame and hang it on a wall as a piece of art. From that perspective, I was defiinetly impressed.

At 75, Harrison Ford is quite fit and his usual grumpy, sarcastic self. And though Ryan Gosling seems to have been cast for his ornamental value rather than an ability to add anything memorable or dazzling to the part (I know, I know, he’s playing a Replicant/Android), he at least doesn’t distract.

What does distract, however, is the new film’s convoluted storyline and a dozen or so loosely connected subplots. While the first film was set in a futuristic Los Angeles where a bounty hunter chases down rogue humanoids and ends up falling in love with one, the new tale is a mash-up of the Matrix, the Fifth Element, The Force Awakens and likely several other genre films director Denis Villeneuveis’ has on his personal top 10 favorite list.

Like the first film, Blade Runner 2049 will need to be re-seen – at least a couple of times. As it’s a major studio produced project, it will certainly have gone through a painful approval process – which inevitably contributed to the story being so unnecessarily perplexing. I’m guessing there’s a few petabytes of unseen footage from the film being stored on a hard drive somewhere. And though Mr Villeneuveis has already stated there will not be a “Director’s Cut”, you never know. Ten years ago, Ridley Scott’s edit of the original Blade Runner was released as what I and many other fans consider to be the best of several previous iterations.

My image above, shot from a helicopter on my way back from the Grand Canyon a few years ago, is only relevant in this context because it’s from Las Vegas which in addition to an apocalyptic L.A., is portrayed in an extremely dismal guise in Blade Runner 2049.


Turning Torso Timelapse

A timelapse video I shot the other day from Sky High Meetings on the 53rd floor of the skyscraper Turning Torso in Malmö Sweden. The Turning Torso was designed by Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava and is owned and operated by HSB Malmö.


Leica Q at La Boqueria

Not much of a candy eater these days, but the artificial coloring of this chewy confectionary at Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueriain market in the El Raval district of Barcelona was just too tempting not to get a shot of. Yes, I’m impressed with how versatile the Leica Q is. The sensor is super sensitive in lowlight conditions – which is great when you like me hesitate to push ISO beyond 100-200. I’ve shot a few times at ISO 3200 and if I didn’t have any alternative, I think I could make use of that setting too. Even more striking and noteworthy is how well the optical stabilization system performs at speeds that I’d previously never even consider working with.

Over the weekend in Spain, I shot quite a few frames of static objects at 1/30th of a second with perfect focus. There’s obviously some battery drain when using OIS, but I always carry plenty of extra batteries with me, so that’s not an issue. Focusing is fast too. Not as fast as my Canon 5Ds, but not that much slower. And at 10 frames per second, the Leica Q is actually twice as fast when shooting moving subjects.

I’m adjusting nicely to the 28 mm field of view. It’s an allround size that’s been great in Barcelona’s El Born neighborhood where there are mostly narrow alleys. As a first time Leica owner, I’m starting to understand some of the hype surrounding the brand. And I can definitely see how I could use the Q in professional circumstances.

El Cocinero in Barcelona

Pissorama in Barcelona

Shot this earlier today. I thoroughly enjoy visiting Barcelona. It’s a city we even would consider living in someday. Still, I’m unfortunately often reminded of a less positive reality here; the thick, pungent stench of both fresh and vintage urine that permeates Barcelona’s streets, alleys and boulevards. Sure, you get used to it after a while. But it’s nonetheless a really bad habit males have here – locals and visitors alike. And surely a few dogs.


Return to Catalonia

Back in Barcelona for yet another project (and a celebration). It’s actually the second visit to the capital of Catalonia this year and boy, is the difference in police presence huge. It’s both comforting and alarming simultaneously.

While most casual visitors share their sight-seeing experiences in large schweaty crowds, I’m letting myself get lost in the mostly authentic El Born (La Ribera) district. Purposely avoiding all the main drags and promenades and focusing on documenting street art.

The abundant graffiti scene is dumbfounding. So many street artists with so much to say and convey. Amazingly, most tags and imagery is applied to corrugated metal garage doors and shop window covers – leaving the city’s often beautifully designed and crafted doors, ports and gates alone.

While Sweden has already transitioned to mid autumn weather, it’s still summer here.

The Q? It’s performing excellently.


The Q Arrives

I’ve had my eye on the Leica Q ever since it was released in 2015. Just couldn’t discern if it would meet my needs for capable and reliable compact camera.

About a month ago, I saw the gray version that Leica released earlier this year somewhere online and fell in immeddiately in love with how it looked. I was initially a bit concerned about the relatively wide field of view. I’ve not used a camera with a 28mm fixed lens for a long time. I’ve been choosing my 35 mm f/1,4 for most work related shoots this past year – including for the vast majority of all portraits in my most recent book, We are Malmö Opera.

When the Leica Q arrived a couple of weeks ago, I decided to produce my very first unboxing video. I’ve never made one before, always considered them a little nerdy – ritualistically perverse, even. But the temptation was just too hard to ignore.  I wanted to share the experience of how meticulous thought-through and beautifully packaged the camera was when it arrived. Turned out that it was not very dissimilar from the way Apple presents its products. Question is, who’s been taking cues (pun intended) from who?


Fotobok Gbg 17

Can’t remember when I was in Gothenburg last. Seems like years ago. Anyhow, I’ve been invited by Fotobok Gbg 17 – a photo book focused weekend long event – produced by the Swedish Association of Professional Photographers (SFF) during the city’s annual book fair – to speak tomorrow afternoon about my latest book project, We are Malmö Opera.

Update: Despite the Neo Nazi rally (or, attempt thereof) and subsequent anti-fascist movement’s violence against a sea of well-prepared and appropriately geared-up police, my presentation went well and was positively received. I even heard that a few copies of the new book were sold shortly afterwards.


From Munthe’s Capri

Majestic view after an exquisite lunch on the island of Capri at Villa San Michael, the former home of Swedish-born physician, psychiatrist, philanthropist and animal lover, Axel Munthe.


Limoncello

From one of many small lemon gardens that are scattered throughout the city of Sorrento, along the Amalfi Coast in southern Italy.


Mesmerized by Clouds

Under the Storm

Specialty Coffee at Budhas Roastery

Experiencing something totally new is especially exciting and I’m the first to admit of being a junkie of almost anything that tickles my curiosity.

So, when the opportunity to gain some rudimentary insight and subsequently produce an article about the amazing story of a former Balinese DJ and his wife/partner running a popular specialty coffee café in the far north of Sweden arrived, I naturally jumped at the opportunity.

For about half a day, I hung around one of the country’s foremost experts on the subject, the Master Coffee Roaster, and long-time protector of the Coffee Galaxy’s Light Side, Budha Sutedja (pictured above) and his wife, Katarina Johansson at their extremely popular café in Lycksele, Lapland, Sweden.

During my short visit, Budha guided me gently through some of the fundamentals of the intricate – some would even say scientific – roasting process, all the while hammering in the importance of being mindful about the symbiosis of mouth and nose when reporting and recounting some of specialty coffee’s amazing plethora of flavors and smells.

Stay tuned for more on this percolating topic. 


10k Norrland Run: Umeå River

The weather here in Umeå is spectacular. Much warmer and dryer than in Malmö right now, I’m told. I headed out early this morning for what turned out to be a most refreshing and rejuvenating run along Umeåälven, a river that is approximately 400km long and is connected with smaller waterways and river veins that originate as far west as Norway.


Lycksele, Lapland

Short trip to Lycksele in the southern reaches of Lappland Province. First time here but I feel the same blissful calmness as when in Rikgränsen. Budhas Kafferosteri, Vindel River and the rapids of Vormforsen are included in my assignment to convey what I still think is one of the most beautiful and exotic regions in Scandinavia. I took the above shot last night after an excellent char and mash potato dinner at Hotell Lappland on the Umeå River, where I’m staying.


Today’s Wedding Anniversary

The 15 of August is special. Very special. It marks Charlotte’s and my wedding anniversary. We were married 19 years ago today at Brunnby Church between Arild’s chapel – where we got engaged exactly a year earlier – and where both Charlotte and our daughter Elle were baptized. Our wedding dinner was celebrated royally with about 100 good friends and relatives at Mölle by the Sea. A spectacularly joyous event, by any definition.

So here we are a year before celebrating our “Porcelain Anniversary. It’s long been clear to us how unique our relationship is. Fact is, we only have but a few friends who can honestly say the same about their marriage. Many seem to live together for convenience and seem almost to embrace every opportunity to quibble and fight.

Not that we haven’t seen our fair share of challenges along the way. But because our love grew out of genuine friendship and has always been based on respect for each other, we are able to shield ourselves from whatever obstacles life throws at us.

If you ask me, what characterizes our marriage most though, is that we always have fun together. That’s how it’s been since we met for the very first time back in 1996. In our lives, laughter is never far away, and although we don’t have the exact same sense of humor, we can always find common topics and situations that make us laugh hysterically. Fortunately, our amazing daughter Elle has inherited our ability to laugh at ourselves and the weird stuff that just seems to happen once in a while. That’s an magnificent inheritance, indeed.

Tonight, somewhere in Copenhagen, we’ll lift our Champagne glasses, smile at each other and rejoice for yet another great year together.


A Momentary Lapse of Time

Shot today, Sunday the 13th using an old iPhone 6s and my constant pocket companion, the ever-so versatile iPhone 7+.