West Pride and the Rainbow People : part 2

West Pride

 

If you fall into this first you may want to read/look at part one first, or after, which order doesn’t matter. You find part one here >>

The parade is on and now I really don’t know where to be. So I stayed and walked along the direction randomly. That felt best. Staying in one same spot would be a boring lineup of photos. And I wanted to feel more alive and dynamic involved.

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The only drawback since I was focused on the parade. Is that it’s a parade. It gets a little bit like an exhibition. Well, kind of just what it is, but it’s a whole lot more fun to flow around and participate more.

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Since it was an open parade I could walk around in the middle of it all if I wanted to. But I think it would be very confusing and maybe annoying for others. And then, where? The parade was about just as long as the distance – about 2km. So I was pleased with randomly changing direction and step in and out of the parade in between.

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This year was a record year with about 16.000 participating in the parade. Probably just as many along the way. That makes whole lot of people when you bake in the rest of everyone else doing other business in the city.

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Doing a huge thing like this, occupying the centre city streets completely is quite amazing. But this is Gothenburg, and we love to party in the streets. And Gothenburg have a very strong partnership with the HBTQ movement / LGBTQ .

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Next time I will either stay longer or come later. At this time, about four hours later I was really exhausted I began to feel a bit dizzy and empty in my head. Impression overload. Still a craving need to make more and just be in this expressive gathering.

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So many more shots I wished I could make, but somewhere you just have to choose what and where to be. Impossible to be everywhere you would like to be.

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I think I could have had a really nice time after the parade when the participants in the parade began to gathering at the “Rainbow Square” for more happenings. I spent some time walking around and thought – shit, More fun to shoot!

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But somewhere it have to end. And then came the rain.

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But what would Rainbows be without rain. Fortunately for the Rainbow people it was a short lived rain and I think they got a really nice evening and night at the end.

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Peace, Love and Soul

West Pride and the Rainbow People : part 1

West Pride

I have never made so many photos in one day ever. Oh my, that was fun, but awful many shots to edit and process. Nothing I regret however, I could easily have made twice more if I was faster in my head and had more time and the mental endurance.

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So many photos I want to share, so I had to split this into two posts. Even then there are some more photos left behind. You will find those and these on my flickr account – klick any photo and you’ll find the album.

This was a blown away day – so many impressions all over everywhere. Surrounded by happy open minded people from the rainbow. Think if the world could be more like this.

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I love those humans. Thankfully it seems to be more of them than you think. Not only the Pride ones, also people who stand by their side who choose peace, love and soul before hate and fear.

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This was actually first time I went away to be there and see this. For some reason. Probably because I usually used to avoid crowds. Simply don’t like be in high intensity crowds. The cure is a camera and street photography. This have changed my brain patterns radically.

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Pride might be one of the most perfect time for street photography. The circumstances makes it kind of natural making photos and being photographed. No one think it’s strange to be caught on film, probably the opposite and like to be made, even want.

I began the day in the mingle where everyone was gathering for the parade. I didn’t knew what to expect or where to be or go. No need to. It was impossible to not feel as you where just where you should be – wherever you where.

Then I slowly moved my way along the direction of the parade.

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And here ends part one – welcome to part two >>

 

StreetParty – Hela Dagen Lång 2017

 

Every year a big street party occurs in the streets of Andra and Tredje långgatan in Gothenburg, formerly called Andra Långdagen. This year it was actually cancelled due to permission and safety issues, which have been a shadow of this Event since the beginning 2005.

Basically it’s a kind of gathering of the people who lives here and those who run their business here. Inviting everyone and anybody from everywhere to participate in this street party.

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

This festival actually doesn’t have any official organisers or permission to arrange this happening. Still it keeps coming back. Only days after the announcement of this years cancelling it bounced back and resurfaced under a new name – Hela dagen lång (All Day Long). Now even more unofficial with no contact persons at all. As said – you can’t hold back such a strong force of love.

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

This is a really a strange concept that seems unstoppable, and the decision makers of the city seems to unofficial permits it to occur, well aware of probably impossible to do anything else but let it happen. And it works, unexpectedly well, beside same drawbacks as always that follows during festivals, with or without official permission. People behave as they are attracted to be.

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

The art of simplicity is probably one major reason behind the successful atmosphere. A self-centred balance between me and you and everybody else, and a soul in the centre of it all.

This laid back attitude really show off in this street gathering party. Everybody is welcome, performers and visitors. People of all kind flaneur the streets together. Sitting, standing or spontaneous dancing together. This relaxed atmosphere of joy is contagious. This is intensive mindfulness in action. This is made for people by the people.

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

The performance of the day was definitely this act, of what I don’t know much more about than the lead “screamer” and dog toy player is known as H.M. Hammarin. They were absolutely awesome in their own kind.

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

And here is a short video clip

Unfortunately I had not that much of time as I would like to. I could probably have stayed here for some more hours without any signs of tiredness. Which was quite unexpected for being me who very easily gets ridiculous exhausted in intensive crowds.

I wish I could stay all night and keep on making photos. A gold mine for a street photographer and so much more to shoot. And I would like to have been far more hustle in my shutter finger than I was.

See ya next year for sure. This time loaded with shutter speed and more time.

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Hela Dagen Lång Street Party Gothenburg 2017

Square of Split Identity

*uck continuity

I have been writing quite a lot about finding some kind of personal identity and continuity in my workflow. Something to rely upon as my style. For some days back in time now, I think I finally have found it.

I am not going to get stuck in any style at all. I have found that I actually don’t want to. Why? Because some people assume it’s important to find a style that identifies your personal style? Why?

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So be it, if it’s so it is to be

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I don’t *ucking care.

Sometimes I feel like this, sometimes like that. That’s my style. I will go on do what my intuition tells me to do with my photos. Two of almost same, same but different shots may feel like two different dimensions of space time. And I will treat them thereafter, just as I feel. Not what suits best in the name of continuity and consistency.

And I’m very happy and relieved with this insight of what I want. Finally I can let go and go on doing my thing without hesitation and stupid rules to follow. Of which I never felt satisfied in thinking that I need to have, because I haven’t found and seems to never do.

I may be lost. Ok, I am where lost is and this is how lost looks like, and I actually like to be lost. Lost is my home. Therefore I can impossible be lost, or fail to find where or what to be. As long as I follow my heart and soul – the only real home.

Stuck in patterns you need to repeat to meet others expectations? Time to break the laws of your captured mindset. Is your style really you. Or is it what others expect?

By the way

This is Frölunnda Torg – Frey grove square… (ok, that was a strange attempt of translation, impossible to translate). As you can see, no grove actually, not even a square. Frölunda is the name of this suburban district of Gothenburg and here you’ll find a huge shopping centre. Surrounded by large residential towers but also a lot of nice open activity and green space in between.

Got the idea to get here today. I don’t know why but I felt for going somewhere and this happened to be my choice of the day. But not for shopping.

At first quite boring mostly. And then it continued. I really never got into the mood today, more than some glimpses. But never anything that grabbed any withstanding mood.

It wasn’t anything about the place. It’s actually quite nice here with lots of scenes to work. For being so big as it is, it’s actually a surprisingly calm atmosphere here.

The fault was myself. I have had some issues lately with my motivation. I feel motivated but all of a sudden it fails me for no reason at all. I haven’t found out what’s wrong other than I still have some quite big problems with my mental endurance. Followed by hypersensitivity to headache.

But I will never give up. Somewhere deep inside me, my lust is always bigger than my shortcomings. Curiosity never killed the cat. Ha!

Hasta la vista

Dry Rain

The rain was pouring down today. Good. It haven’t been raining that much lately actually. Ok, maybe some yesterday and some the day before that. But not very much.

Yesterday my head was full of Chromebook, so there was no time left for photography. I mostly missed the rain. I had motivation for rain.

You must think – what’s wrong with me? Well, almost every shot I’ve made so far have been made in sunlight, or under a muddy grey sky at worst. I feel a need for a different view. Rain would be a nice companion and mood to be in.

Muddy was how I felt today. Almost like a hangover, but without the headache, fortunately. Still very off.

Yesterday I was awake to late and woke up to early. I’m actually on a short vacation this week. Doing nothing special at all but just because I can. However, I couldn’t re-sleep even if I felt not done yet.

Time actually doesn’t matter that much right now. Good for me.

During spring and summer and some time past into autumn, we almost always sleep with the window open in our bedroom. I love the sound of pouring rain and dripping drops. It’s mindful and reminds me of camping.

Rain kind of slows down the speed of life and makes you more sensitive to your own thoughts and feelings. My mind felt a balanced connection with the rain today.

But where is the rain? Do you see any rain on my photos? No, me neither.

I made myself prepared and then it suddenly disappeared when I walked to the bus. Even the clouds partly disappeared and the sun started to shine through. My sleepy brain started to feel numb and lost.

Where is my rain? I really needed that rain. The rain made me feel in harmony. This felt like a collision, smashing my head into the pavement. Suddenly the world became same as it ever was. I wanted it to be not the same as it ever is.

My motivation dropped, so I tried to create new connections with the world to make it fit my mind. It drained a lot of energy out of me to empower my inspiration. So I got really fucked up in my head and felt like a black hole at the end.

Back home I closed down the system and fell to sleep and dreamed about colourful horses who shouted – HeellooO! just like agent Cooper. Then everything was much better.

Reclaim the speed of life

Still not attracted to the big over humanised streets. I’m not in the mood for that kind of street photography at all for the moment. Not trying to force it to be liked either. Just waiting, doing other meanwhile. It will come when it comes.

I really like the mindful sleepy slow urban backstreet life behind the big scene of million faces. So much more satisfying. And so much better for my over sensitivity head being where life is going on in more natural speed.

Reclaim the speed of life.

Not many people here but few on the way back home or away. Some very few have found the peace in being here and seems to feel calm and satisfied. Sunbathing, just sitting on a bench, the balconies, taking care of their small green spots.

Beside some workers around, there’s probably not many visitors who doesn’t live here or happens to know someone in those hidden backstreets. I believe outsiders rarely take their path to places like these.

It’s actually sad. It’s really fascinating and exciting walking around totally unaware of what to be found, just a few blocks behind the common paths. Walking forward intuitively in any direction. Not that you probably will find anything fabulous fantastic behind any corner. But the excitement of never been there makes you curious.

It’s like being an adventure tourist beyond the mainstream. Nothing is served, no attractions to numb your lack of imagination, nothing superfluous, simply same but a different everyday life behind the scene that makes you think from different point of views. Giving you perspective and distance to yourself and your own life.

I often use to imagine – what if I lived here, that I do. Sometimes I use to imagine that I don’t live where I live. What do I see, what do I feel. It may sound stupid ridiculous, but I find it very pleasing and fun to imagine like this. Especially when I feel a boring mood. It’s like injecting new life.

In many ways my mindset on photography have started to change somewhat. It have been going on for some time now but I haven’t really understood what I feel. Today I think I have found it and what to do with it.

I’m not supposed to make photo walks – I’m supposed to get out and discover the simple world and make photography whenever my intuition feel a photography. Not going out to make some photos.

Same, same but different you may think. But for me this is a big difference. It’s more a relation to my camera as an imaginary friend with who I share my experience with. Not just a thing around my neck that make pictures.

But of course, a camera is a very good companion and a reason while moving around. It makes you see more and the moments you catch will never be alone in the depths of your own fading memory.

A sunny summer day that ended with some nice simple barbecue and ice cold beer in our simple little backyard garden. Somewhere behind the regular streets where others dwell and never see.

Lost and Found

Two of me had an argue about what to do. I wanted to get out and make photos. The other one of me wasn’t in the mood and wanted to just be lazy. All of a sudden I just took my camera and went away.

The other me got quite confused and the whole me was soon quite disoriented about what to do. Shit! My motivation just disappeared.

I walked through the train station. I kept on walking through the big chaos of “Nordstan”, a gigantic complex together with thousands of shopping horny people. Panic!

Tried more open space of crowds and took my head up the avenue. Fuck of shit. I began to feel sea sick.

My motivation was totally lost. I think I’m allergic to humans for the moment. At lest in crowds. All I feel is confusion and paralysed. It’s probably a cause of my insistent headache I have had lately (fuck migraine). It makes me ridiculous tired and I get exhausted by the most simple tasks. Especially when involved into heavy intensity of impressions.

I though I was in shape for this and just needed a little kick in my ass to tune in. But obviously not yet. I was hopeless tired now. I needed a quick fix and took my mind for a calming reset into a park.

In the middle of Gothenburg you’ll find a lot of green spaces. That’s nice. Trädgårdsföreningen – the Garden Society of Gothenburg, is a particular nice recreational space to visit when you feel fed up with the streets.

What a relief and slowly I began to feel small spots of intuitive inspiration in my mind to make some photos. But my other half was dead tired so I never really had the energy to stay focused. It takes two of me to stay clear and alert.

It felt better than ever to be back in same old Mölndal I see every day and I really enjoyed my time on the bridge while waiting for the bus to take me home.

Later on I made my time post processing my shots for the day. And I have decided to give VSCO a try (the app). All photos here are post processed in VSCO. The reason is not only about curiosity, I really like some of the filter settings VSCO offers. I have used VSCO from time to time before but when you get used to Snapseed it’s really hard to leave it.

One Big Annoying thing with VSCO so far is that it crached a couple of times during my post processing. I absolutely hate such behaviour.

I’ll be back with more about VSCO and what I think.

Backstage

I felt a bit anti social today. No attraction what so ever to hit the big rivers of bodies. And oh my so many there was of them out there today. Crazy

I already knew when I got onto the bus that I probably wouldn’t do my ordinary walkabout today. My intuition told me so. I made a try at the end of the trip and got fucked up in my head almost immediately. Sorry, but you fit better at distance in my world today.

I went backstage instead. Walked along the roads and pathways between the buildings in other directions. Places where I probably once in a lifetime have been before but don’t remember.

I used to live and be here and around occasionally once upon a time. A strange mixed feeling. But I think I kind of like it better now when I have distance to the crazy chaos of happiness, melancholy and depression back in the eighties. Today those memories of my life feels unreal, more like a strange movie.

Good and bad side by side instantly, live fast and die young – life is a crazy party and then you die. My future was no further away then the next second.

But I don’t regret a second. Not even things I regret and could have done different. After all, everything happens for a reason – the making of who you are.

I really enjoyed my walk in silence today. Watching people at distance, like a shadow of my past, a nostalgic ghost in the sunlight of the future.

So simple, yet so powerful way to achieve satisfaction. Just walking around with my camera catching moments of life through my mood of mind. No expectations whatsoever, no searching, no waiting, just feel and snap a shot along my way whenever my intuition told me to.

But along my way I eventually happened to walk upon one and later on a second person I wanted to make a street portrait of. They just was there in my way to be made.

The highlight of the day was probably my ego floating above my body and this woman who really liked being photographed and began to pose for me. Unfortunately I’m not very comfortable in this game play. I could probably go on shooting loads. She seemed to have no problems letting me do it. But I just made some few.

A lovely day backstage. For sure something I’ll do more of in the future. It felt so much more giving than bathing in the crowds collecting people on my memory card.

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

17.864 street steps at the end of April

Last day of April, and probably maybe the most spring feeling day so far. Nice day for a photo walk. Wherever guided by intuition. That’s how I like it best. Know what but don’t really what.

I have divided this into two posts. Same walk but part 2 contains more personal thoughts in general and thoughts about camera settings. So if in only for the photography, keep on and continue.

It went a quite long walk around the city of Gothenburg. It started with a distinct No! when I wanted to make shot of a cool elder couple. I haven’t got a no so far but I think it’s important to learn to deal with those moments. Getting a No – check \/

No mood killer. But a little later on when walking on a quite broad enough sidewalk for two, three, even four people. This woman just felt some craving need to bump me even if I was walking on the edge of the sidewalk. Then I got a short bad feeling in my head of this day.

Luckily things changed quite quickly to the better. First I decided to take command of who’s driving – I am. How do I want to feel – good. I met no more of this kind for the rest of this day. No no’s either.

Always one or more highlights (so far). And the one who made my day today was he who is featuring this post. So it feels good to call him “the poster boy”. Very nice and contagious positive guy. I really like those quick meetings and short chats with happy strangers.

The other one was the woman with the stroller. She actually asked me if I could make a snap of them with her smartphone. In return I asked if I could do it again with my camera. Fun short and uplifting meetings with totally strangers. I love it.

I tend to be a constantly walker. I once hade my thoughts if scouting interesting spots could be a better approach for me. But it seems not to be so. I get restless quite quickly or start daydreaming. None work very well for street photography. When walking you can at least channeling a restless mind. So walk on works best for me. And making street photography while daydreaming – I don’t think I have to say anything about that combination.

Walking is good for both your body and mind. So I walk. I work best that way.

I’m very changeable in my mind and as you may have seen I have been making a lot more street photography in colour lately. I haven’t thought so much about why. I just want to explore how to use colour I assume. And I have learned to begin like it more and more.

And sometimes I just like this straightforward simple ordinary look of a documented moment without too much need for artistic drama. And if I get a feeling to add a more moody look, colours sometimes work as an excellent extender to achieve it with even more impact than monochrome.

I can’t describe when, what or why. That’s just something I feel. Some photos just look and feel better in colour and vice verse (in my mind).

I care less nowadays about finding any style to identify me with. I feel no need to streamline my photography and I feel happily free to post process my photos as they come in mind without any glue to make them look alike.

I still prefer to make my monochrome straight from the camera and only convert those in colour when I feel that colours doesn’t add anything of interest. Sometimes monochrome just looks better.

But I think it’s good to learn to separate your imagination of seeing and thinking in monochrome versus colour. Therefore I prefer changing between colour and monochrome in camera rather than rely on that I can make it b/w later if.

That also make one decision less to care about instantly in the post process. Monochrome is monochrome and can never be in colour again. I always shoot jpeg if anyone have missed that.

I have never regret a monochrome shot. But I often find that a colour photography sometimes looks much better in monochrome afterwards.

Part two continues right here >>