Don’t be afraid of the Selfie

Whenever you feel for it, make a selfie. But I think it’s a quite good idea to think, if you tend to do it very often. Not at least take a look back in time and make some thinking about what you see – except yourself.

Making selfies doesn’t mean that you need to share every one you make. You can save them for a rainy day ten years later.

Do you make selfies because you love yourself? Probably, why else would you make selfies. But what do you love about yourself? Love can come in many shapes.

It can belong to a moment of lust for life.

Selfies are images of your mind. Unaware of that you probably are the only one who can see you feel it.

Just a selfie on the surface of the sun. We need the sun. It makes the moon shine at night.

There are some features in the camera I have never used, like double exposure. Dynamic Tone, Partial colour, Miniature, Toy Camera and some other filters.

I was bored and asked myself – do you wanna have som stupid fun? Stretch your arms and shoot your selfie.

Some people hate selfies. Don’t bother their pain. I think selfies are good for you. It’s like talking to yourself, or having arguing monologues with yourself.

Selfies can be negative and selfies can be positive. Just like opposites of life. Selfies can make your world shrink or expand. Just like your lungs.

But either can exist without the other. To much of either creates dysfunction, more or less, sooner or later. Just like to much sugar or too little rain. Everything moves in cycles back and forth between the edges of the extremes. Trying to find the perfect balance – the dance of life.

Sometimes it happens that the balance fails and the dance gets fucked up and stuck at the edge. But life is self balancing by nature creating new ways of how to move.

Life wants to be free. Life like to change. Follow your life. Release your soul.

What I try to say – be aware of your selfietime and don’t take it too seriously. Use it wisely and foolish like a playful child. Dare to challenge yourself and make your flaws shine through.

Don’t make selfies to please others. Make selfies to please yourself. Nobody is probably interested in your selfies anyway.

So why do we care to share our selfies? Because that’s the point with selfies. We don’t care, we just want to share. Not need.

Time to inhale and blow your mind.

Fu*k this was a stupid post. But it was fun and satisfying making it for no other reason than just doing it. This is hardcore therapy.

And remember – Life is too important to be taken seriously (Oscar Wilde).

And if you don’t remember, selfies can be a nice document of your face when you were young(er).

Grow up man, buy yourself a hat! It didn’t work. So I bought a hat.

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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

My choice of camera

I’m happy with my choice of camera. It makes me pleasantly satisfied and inspired to make photos just by its presence, just looking at it and feel the camera in my hands. Actually just hang it around my neck and wear it, as an accessory, makes me happy.

It’s probably not just only because of the specific camera itself. But it sure help. I love the retro design, the size and the weight of it in my hands, the mechanical dials to control some of the most basic settings you probably want simple access to change quickly. And I really like to use the electronic viewfinder.

I could keep babbling on about everything I like about this camera, but it would feel more like idolize than real facts. After all it’s mostly more about feelings than facts what you think about a gizmo you bought and happen to like.

But it have flaws, like that I would prefer a more traditional “analog” lens feeling when used in manual focus mode. Though not a big thing to bother much about. It’s not needed that often and easy to find workarounds to deal with in other more effective ways. And X100T is missing an iso dial that the newer X100F have.

And as with almost all digital cameras. Heck of many settings in menus that always take time to learn and deal with quick and easy. The Q button is a nice and smart function however, making some things a whole lot more easy and effective to control (when you get familiar with the configuration and how to use it). I’m actually not the biggest fan of working with multifunctional buttons and settings in menus.

I also think that I would like to mount a thumb grip to get a more solid steady grip, even if the camera already feels very nice in my hand. But it can be even better I think. I have big hands.

In the beginning I actually was looking for an interchangeable camera system. But I quickly reminded myself of what I want and actually really need and don’t need. I have owned a couple of slr and a dslr system before. Always sooner or later ending up disturbed by the size, weight or the more complex nature in general.

I have learned and found the love of simplicity and the freedom of using my iPhone as only camera for some years now. And i asked myself when I was in my deep agony doubts about what camera to choose – Do I really need much more than a little more possibilities than that. No!

I wanted things as simple as possible, but not too simple or too cheap. Something solid with nice finish and building quality to rely upon. But most of all – something I with ease would consider to carry with me wherever whenever without hesitation. And then I always have had a vainly craving for an analog retro design. Cravings are indeed a really dangerous guide. But this have been an impossible craving to resist.

Actually I probably would have been just fine ok going on shooting with my iPhone. But after all, good enough or not. I had for some time been dreaming of owning a “real” camera agin. Something with little more control and little better possibilities. And the feeling of a camera. For me it’s an important emotional connection after all.

That it all ended up in a quite advanced and expensive Fuji X100T that is capable of more than enough in comparison of my needs may sound like a huge overkill. But so it went and happened to be. Life is strange and full of surprises. I simply fell in love with it.

Somehow I wanted a little more than just a little more than I thought that I needed. After all it feels good to have a camera you know is capable of to deliver a little more than you think that you need. Just in case. And then I like the fact that the X100T actually is a great piece of building quality worth to suffer the scary passage through my thin wallet. Although not that incredible exclusive and expensive, but definitely the most exclusive and expensive camera I have ever owned, yet.

And that can lead up to other unexpected reactions in your mindset. I’ll be back about that later.

 

Mölndals Bro and my first walkaround with my Fuji X100T

Yesterday I went out for my first walk around with my X100T to get to know it and get a glimpse of how my settings worked (good choice, today it rains and snow)). No major expectations but whatever than that and nothing more complicated than just a visit around the corner (almost) – Mölndals city, or “Mölndals bro” as we call it – but not bro as in brother. Bro means bridge in Swedish and is named so after the bridge that connects the two sides of the city that is split in by a highway and a railway. Not a very beautiful place to hang around, but it have its own interesting scores to experience and also serves as a public transport centre.

But the day started with breakfast at IKEA first. It’s my plan to bring my camera with me more often, without any other reason than because I can. That’s why I didn’t bought a big dslr system. This camera is so perfect in size and fits perfect in any of my pocket in my jackets. A little bit heavy compared to an ordinary compact although, but I like to feel some weight when I hold a camera. So thats no drawback.

And this is the legendary notorious sight from the Bridge. A really boring photo and a place, just as it is. It’s shot through a dirty glass shield so the original contrast went a bit low and got a bleached impression. So I had to tweak it a bit afterwards to get a little more fairly nice look at least. This is the only photo that needed some more editing to satisfaction. The rest was an almost perfect surprise of Wow! that didn’t needed much editing at all to give great satisfaction. Actually, probably very well enough without any.

I really adore the Fujis very well thought ot idea of film simulation modes, simulating classic analog film. The two modes I’m most interested to use (at the moment) is Monochrome and Classic Chrome (Well, monochrome is actually not a real film simulation mode). I have never been shooting monochrome digital straight out of the camera before. I have usually been shooting in colour and then done it black and white afterwards in the editing process. This works just fine of course and you can always regret if you wish it was in colour. And thats just one part of the idea to shoot in black and white direct – to force youre imagination to see and feelthe world in monochrome. Black and white is my native old fashion days of photography and really what I love most of all and something I want to revive. One other thing is that the sensor and processing in the Fuji cameras produces so wonderful quality straight out the camera that I personally see no reason to do more than necessary afterwards. So why. The b/w mode this camera is capable of to deliver is outstanding good and I’m overwhelmed how crisp and clear it is. My further settings in b/w for the moment is: Auto ISO up to 1600, Red filter, Sharpness +1, Highlights +2, Shadows +2, Noise reduction -2 and Dynamic range 100%.

But there will be colours too. It’s a matter of feeling for the moment either or. Especially now when I have this Classic Chrome mode. I absolutely love this film mode for colour and can’t really describe why and what. I read someone somewhere who described it very good “Classic Chrome don’t give you pictures as you see them, but as you want them to be”. I don’t remember the words exactly, but something like that. I’m not shure of what settings I want to use with classic chrome, but for the moment I go for: Auto WB (cameras today overall handle whitbalance very well enough to be set on auto), Auto ISO up to 1600, Sharpness 1, Highlights 0, Shadows +2, Noise reduction 0 and Dynamic range set at auto. In general I let the camera operate on full auto and go either shutterspeed, aperture or full manual when I need to.

 

Although the weather was very pleasent, with a low sun that made interesting light and everything. I was a bit disapointed – where was everybody? I had hoped for more crowds to blend into and practising my forthcomming ability to dare act comfortable in taking photos of people (I have a goal I want to develop in this genre). When there’s too few people around it becomes all to obvious what’s happening when you point with the camera. And that makes me feel uncomfortable in the situation. I’m not comfortable at all with that feeling. But, it felt for shure much better and more natural with this camera, after all, than with my old big chunky dslr. Not at least – more fun in every aspect. In the absence of crowds of humans to practice my mental skills on I took a small walk around to catch other thing. And tried some more easygoing shots with people in the viewfinder. It seems that I got my eys for reflections this day.

The inner city of Mölndal is in the middle of a huge change and is for the moment more of an enormous construction scene than a ordinary city. Mölndals inner city have never been very much of any impressive attractive range, quite boring in general and not much of interest to either shop or take a walk. Nothing bad about other humans but the city have been dominated by retirees and alcoholics. So the transformation is very welcome, and for the moment more fun to experience as it is right now than as it ever was.

 

 

My impression so far with my X100T is a big huge Wow! It produces unexpectedly amazing nice pictures right out of the camera. There’s not very much editing you need to do with the images back home to get satisfied. I rather never say never, but my plan is not to shoot in RAW again. And with results like this, why should I. Also if, then I could not be given the benefit of using the film simulation modes – raw is raw, original clean as the sensor see it. And more time in front of the the computer, that I don’t even have (well ok, I have but it’s so anoying slow that I see it as not having one). I know raw gives you more possibilities and quality to work with. But for me, working with jpegs from this camera is just more than fine and if you do as less mess as possibly with yor jpegs there’s almost no difference between raw and jpg from this camera. My goal is to keep the workflow as simple as possible and the need of things around at a minimum. For this and nowdays I only have an iPad and use Snapseed as my editor, and it works just great for me. Something I will try to keep, that less is more.

 

 

Welcome home X100T

So here it is now. My new camera. It was a very long time since I had a “real” camera. I’m actually a bit lost after been far away for a long time from the more high end of digital photography. Not the photography itself and the basic stuff, but the technical part with loads of configurations. Just to get familiar with the structure of menues is a challange of its own. Then knowing, or think what you think what settings to aim for. Today cameras are so intelligent that they need to be tamed before you can cooperate.

I’m not there yet. But I have tried to understand how I may need to do what I want. Or think what I want, I’m not really shure. But finaly I have done my settings and made some “Q” settings ready for action. The rest will come by experience. Right now I’m very curious at the Classic Chrome film simulation mode. And black and white. B/W is my original beginning where it all started in the early eighties. Although colour have been dominating the last 20 years. B/W is what I really love most deep inside my heart. I have plans to revive my black and white eyes.

So far and anyway – this camera feels like bulls eye for me. In time there will come photos from my little Fuji. But there will continue to be a mess of photos from any time and camera in the future in this blog.