High on Atmosphere

Even if I like the summer better, winter has its own untouchable greatness. The only thing about winter that I don’t like is all those clothes all over your body. And stone cold fingers. You can’t really relax when making photography in the winter.

Well, ok. Actually maybe not really winter yet. But the signs are here. Two early mornings with a white layer of frost on the grass and the roofs.

Super clear blue sky and crisp air. Let’s follow the Invisible Rabbit

Coffee, then some more, and a walk with the dogs. Then a surprise attacked me with a spontaneous trail-run. Struck by some kind of subconscious inspiration.

A great start to a great morning. Capture and keep that great feeling. High on atmosphere, the perfect drug.

Shower and then out again. Nothing advanced but a happy head, shooting anything that comes in mind. Just a short visit to Mölndal by foot with a silly smile.

All kind of things felt awesome today. Not very much people in the streets photography although. Because on Sundays there are not very much people in the streets anyway. So I didn’t bother to hunt those humanoid moments very much.

But apparently, I caught more people than I remember when went through my shots back home. This was a little strange.

The whole walk was a bit strange actually. In a pleasant way. I was definitely walking around in my parallel universe today. Okay, I know, I’m obsessed by spacetime. But I can’t help it. That’s what Smikes do.

 

I love days like these. So simple and full of infinitude.

 

 

 

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REaDy pOrtal

On the Other side

the Other way

REaDy pOrtal

hOme I gO

a wOrmhOle is a bit like a black hOle Only different

time is awesOme : it makes us eXist

If you think that I have become a bit too much of strange lately. Don’t worry. This is normal. The only difference is how close it is below the visual surface. This is what my mind is made of. So nothing is actually strange, just more noticeable.

In the other dimension, I was just on my way home after an ordinary late evening at work. I like to flow through all the layers.

I have a need for art in my life, and I want to make it. Sometimes more. So I just do it, because it wants me to.

Fragments from the big bang
Insignificant details from the beginning of time
The unknown searching
For searchers of the unknown
Collecting Connecting
Trying to understand one and the other
Not knowing – nobody knows
8 Or always has but never understood and never will
The mysteries grow in the seeds of knowledge
The knowledge grow in the seeds of mysteries

O1ne < t

::..

 

 

 

the end always begin somewhere

Dead or Alive

Solitude moments
Snaps of life
Peaks and valleys

I have always had a crush for the mystical dimensions of life. True or false is of no concern. What matters is the art of imagination. I like to dope the science with fiction.

Expanding life beyond our ordinary perception.

It doesn’t have to be that very different from the everyday ordinary to imagine life beyond WYSIWYG.

Dead or Alive
It’s your choice
Everything lives
Only nothing is dead

I love things. You find stories everywhere. Some only spoken inside yourself.

Just objects, dead stuff, life of the living dead. Dead or Alive? You choose. Imagination is magic.

Just a walk through the old parts of my city – Kvarnby, the ancient trace of once upon a time. So close but far away from where you can buy instant manufactured happiness in a plastic bag.

I love those empty silent streets. Wherever they are.

 

 

Yeah, I know, I’m odd, probably nuts. It makes life more interesting, so the choice is easy. Wine helps to understand…

Mall Meditation / tw0

The mall meditation continues. In a way, it’s actually part three. The first began outside the mall, where my original plan was supposed to happen.

At shopping centers, I definitely feel uncomfortable in making photos of people. It’s a very unnatural place for street style photography. In general, people seem to react more skeptical when they suspect that you are making photos. Probably more my feelings than theirs. My problem.

Except when you find natural open spots and look like you just want to catch a nice view or an interesting object that happens to be there.

This was definitely not one of the greatest moments in the history of street photography. But I like what I got in its own way, as I usually do. No matter how vanishing small of insignificant importance. Every little moment is a piece of life as it occurred once in a lifetime in our spacetime with a unique little story hidden inside.

I’m not trying to defend my work. I just say what I think and what I believe strengthens your life with less is one of more and the rest of it all.

How did my mall meditation work? Beyond my expectations actually, in a strange odd way. The mall was packed with humans, impossible to ignore. Still, I found myself surprisingly calm inside. Like diving in a coral reef full of life.

I can’t remind me that I have ever managed to withstand such a pressure of impressions for so long time without feeling drained and exhausted. Tired on my way back home, of course, always (my circadian pattern is very curvy). But not that crazy tired as I usually become.

.

This is part three of two, part one, the third, is an outsider…

Hit the tag Kungsbacka and you’ll find the others

When it rains in Kungsbacka

Is it possible to meditate while walking around in a mall? You will get an idea about how it went in my next post.

I said “see ya” to my wife and daughter who went inside the big mall, while I headed to the small but nice little city center of Kungsbacka in the rain.

With my ridiculous beloved pink and white dotted umbrella.

 

This was kind of dead space. Seems that the habitats of this town don’t like rain very much. Ok, I actually like calmer and laid back places in general, but this was little too much of it.

Bad choice of day apparently. Those few I saw was either inside one of the very many cafes and restaurants or at the food store. I just wonder where they came from or where they went when done.

The citizens of Kungsbacka must love to get out to eat and drink. For such a small town you find a surprising amount of restaurants in every corner, side by side. I wonder if they use their kitchens.

So you probably have to eat to meet people here. At least when it rains.

The rain was moody anyway. And I actually got some nice observations during my short and simple walk about. Most of those insignificant everyday things and moments I see around me but most people never think that much about.

Fortunately, I happen to love those almost invisible insignificant moments in life. And I love making candid photographs of it. Some, many… would probably say boring about my point of view. Well. Life isn’t a Hollywood movie.

And when they find out it isn’t. They consume.

 

.

This is a part of part one and two of an ordinary day

Hit the tag Kungsbacka and you’ll find the others

Follow the invisible rabbit

Local walk to watch the day

One of the more warmer days today. Too hot in my ordinary shoes and flip flops are not made for long walks. So I put on my favorite shoes – my Vibram Fivefingers. Yay, that’s it. Feels like heaven also for my feet now.

Fivefingers

Ok, and now where to go? Follow the invisible rabbit.

Actually not very much happening anywhere this day in Mölndal. Sleepy slow. Days like these many people either take a trip to Gothenburg or the coastline, maybe one of the lakes or just hanging around in their garden or balcony.

I never bothered finding any specific reason what to shoot. Just anything and walk anywhere. Probably my favorite mood and way of making photos, not getting locked up inside thinking what and the need of must find something.

I like the idea of just get out and look around and crossbreed my thoughts with the view. No matter how well you know and many times you have seen your own little town. You will always find a new layer of thoughts upon the same old view, making it slightly different.

And you never know when something unexpected appears. Either inside your head or in front of you.

I love those simple laid back everyday adventures.

Live Today, Die Tomorrow

Live today, die tomorrow
Life is time, time is life
Life is changing, changing is time

Life between yesterday and tomorrow
A lifetime before tomorrow

Today we live as long there is time
Tomorrow we die as long as we live

Be there and don’t miss the road trip
Live today, die tomorrow

Born to be alive, not die

A walk, some shots, a meal, some coffee, some sleep. In the air. Looking at the sky, the sun and the passing clouds. Life unlimited as long as you are. The wind made a song of air in my head, whispering. This is what I heard, or felt, I’m not sure.

It will never be any better than you make it

It’s the most simple truth and fact. Boring is about nothing but making it so. Not the most fun may be true, but it will definitely never ever be more fun than you make it. Strangely it’s very easy to make it worse.

Where does happiness comes from?

All you need is to be aware and accept the rules of life and how life affects you. And how your own attitude to life affects yourself and your surrounding.

What goes around comes around.

Curiosity never killed the cat. It made it experienced and stronger. Failure is for pessimists. Optimists see it as a challenge to make it better. Boredom is for pessimists. Optimists see it as time to be mindful.

Either we find a solution, or we make a solution.

We need to be curious of what will happen next and what will happen if we do this or that. We need to love what we do, and not just do what we love.

We need to create our life.

My guardian angel in life is made of sarcasm, the good in the bad, mysteries, loads of cheap humour and inexhaustible curiosity. I like to cope to infiltrate the ordinary and make it mine.

Make my day

I’m bored from time to time, just like everybody else. I’m not immune to boredom. And I’m often restless. You won’t need what you don’t have to create and make things better than worse.

Don’t play dead to ignore life.

17.864 street steps at the end of April : part 2

Same day, same procedures as in last post. Too many photos in one post I thought and to many words. So I decided to divide them in two.

Just like I am from time to time.

Part one of this one in two post is here >> 

From now and then I can be more or less introvert from time to time. It changes very suddenly within any moment of time. But lasts no longer than just a few minutes up to some hours.

During these moments I feel no attraction what so ever to act very social or participate more than less needed to be present. This goes for my street photography as well. And when in this mood – I barely see the life around me. I don’t want to see and I’m not in the mood to make any photography of people at all.

It’s during those moment I begin to focus on other things instead. Shapes, structures, reflections, shadows and so. This is my basecamp and the origin of my photography.

I have found a quite nice collaboration between my two personalities when I’m out in the streets and how to make them both satisfied. Otherwise I’m generally actually the very shy guy, and I mean really shy.

Street photography have been the most effects way to deal with my shyness I ever experienced. This is practical in action therapy that really works.

My split confused mind and my restless changeability is probably a natural cause to how I deal with things.

Like that I have been fiddling a lot with my settings lately. I don’t like it, otherwise but nice way to get to know you well – my camera.

But I think it’s time to find my settings, and stay there. Most of my tweaking of how I want it at the end are made in the post process anyway. So I think I would like everything quite neutral from the beginning, just slightly tweaked.

Still I just had to try some new settings today after all. With a quite split decisions between just ok and naaa, or, maybe and… I’m already confused enough by nature so I don’t need more options. Hopefully this was my last attempt on trying to find something I really don’t know.

I didn’t like the settings I tried today. I’ll come back to what setting I prefer in a later post.

But what I do like, so far, is to use the back focus technique. This was a really nice discovery. Setting focus on manual locks out the function of focusing with half pressed shutter release. Instead you use the AEL/AFL button on the back when you want to refocus (the auto focus kicks in when you press). But pressing the shutter release halfway still works as auto exposure according to your P settings. If in any P mode.

This works much faster than letting the shutter release doing both. If you aim for smaller aperture and hitting within a particular zone of focus range, then this makes the shooting much more intuitively. Probably the closest you can get the feeling of traditional old school focus control.

Controlling the focus ring on the X100_  cameras in old style fashion feels quite awkward . It actually sucks, at least when shooting in the streets (in my opinion).

One more last note here about my settings for the day. According to me, dynamic range on auto was no big hit. It screwed up my flow in the post process and made to much difference between the shots depending on circumstances. I didn’t like that.

I prefer a more consistent result and adapt to the scene instead. You can always tweak the photo quite a lot in the post processing if you need, even with jpegs. I will let the dynamic range setting stay still at 100% 99% of my shooting.

I went back and forth in circles, eights and other directions until I came back where I started the day with a no. Terrible, but happily tired. My head felt like an empty hole. So it never was any end if the tour shots back home as I usually do. I just wanted to come home, drink ridiculous much coffee and take a nap.

Over and out – have a wonderful life
Mikael “Smike” Stenström

Migraine

Still hate it even if I know it’s totally useless. In some awkward ways it have probably made good things in the making of me. Like being humble to life and appreciate life for the most simple reasons.

But migraine is a cruel teacher and I don’t think the lessons are worth it at the end. The time you have to spend at migraine university steal incredible much time of your life.

There’s a reason why haven’t been so active in making street photography in the centre of it all. Where all the people walk around.

In periods I’m extremely sensitive to migraine and need to try to avoid more intensive impressions as much as possible. Sometimes I do it anyway, always ends in punishment. Sometimes worth it. But I prefer to avoid it. The pain and the nausea is ridiculous naughty.

I have my migraine killers. Luckily they do the job most of the time, sometimes they don’t. But even if the medicine work, it only kills the effect of the migraine. The cause is actually still active in the background.

Feeling better is unfortunately only temporarily when I’m in my worst periods of attacks.

In between you sometimes feel so exhausted and tired that you wish you could sleep for a days.

That’s hard when you almost shiver of abstinence in the need to be creative and want to create. So I create.

But not more than I need to make satisfaction. The crowded hordes of people in the streets won’t disappear. But I can. The streets can wait.

Be humble to your pain. To hate it won’t make it disappear- it makes it stronger. Be patience and wait, wait, wait. One day it will be good enough again. So use your freedom while you are free, even if it’s just for a moment before you fall again.

Fall seven times, rise eight.

Never let the disturbing distractions guide you. Aim for the open space between what stands in your way. Look for the openings and things that distract the bad, instead of being distracted by the bad. It’s the only way if you are surrounded by something that you cannot make disappear.

As this blog actually is a photography blog, a personal photography blog. Everything I write about also have connections to photography, in one or another way. Probably not obvious all the time, cause I also refer to life itself (from a personal view, not as a common truth). For me the philosophy of life and photography is very tight connected in my mindset.