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...
While in Torino (Italy) for Christmas, we took an afternoon off and visited the Egyptian Museum, which has been recently remodelled and expanded. It's a mummies and sarcofagi galore. Don't miss it if you are in town!
Title says it all :)
We flew to Italy for Christmas, to join the family in Torino. It was a great time with lots of good food and heart-warming moments. Like, for instance, the small concert organized by my brother and his family.
They even sang in German for my wife. Pure cuteness! Of course, when I say "family" I mean the extended family, which also includes this adorable Boston-terrier-come-Tasmanian-devil, named Astrid ;)
Torino is beautiful as usual. Piazza San Carlo is always impressive in its vastness and geometrical perfection.
But there are other gems, outside of the city center. For instance, meet the Villa La Tesoriera, a place near the neighbourhood I grew up in. It was built in the 18th century and it is surrounded by a large parc. It's a good place for a Sunday stroll in springtime.
We had the time to visit the newly renovated Egyptian museum. After the museum in Cairo, this is the Egyptian archeological collection to see. The new structure is sleek, spacious, functional and very modern. However, the coziness of the old museum is gone. For instance, I miss the signature room with mummies and sarcofagi crammed all over the place they had in the old times.
On our last day, we went to Parco Europa, a parc on top of a hill with a spectacular lookout over the industrial part of the city. From there, on a clear day, you can almost touch the Alps surrounding Torino and you can spot some landmarks like the FIAT head quarters (Mirafiori) with its chimneys, the historical automobile factory of Lingotto (with the parabolic test track on the roof) and the red Olympic Arch connecting Lingotto to the colourful olympic village (legacy of the 2016 Winter Olympic Games).
Goodbye Torino, see you in Spring!
It's Christmas again. One of the best times of the year (in the western world, at least). We can have fun buying some presents for the people we love and we get the chance to get reunited with our families, including the relatives we don't see so often. And, as every year, we have the opportunity to set the stress aside and truly enjoy that warm feeling at the bottom of our hearts..
In front of the Domkyrka of Gothenburg (the cathedral), they organized a live nativity scene. Some characters were more convincing than others, I must say ;)
However, the dromedar was clearly the center of the attention. Its owner proudly accepted to pose for me. In case you wonder, he is the one on the left :)
I wish you all a lovely and relaxing Christmas.