Last night I took the car to a nearby parking just outside Järvafältet. I hade in mind to run with my GPS logger and as it has a map to be able to decide on the fly to go a longer or shorter route, take a short-cut or extend the running depending on the feeling.
Turns out the batteries however was depleted in it, although it looked like they where half-charged when I checked them at home so I left it in the car and started on a path I sometimes go by bike and I know fairly well.
It was a magical night, a bit of fog over the open fields, the road was a little soft after the rain but that was great for the legs after doing a tougher round on asphalt the other day and I ran through the wonderful farm at Rocksta where I could hear the horses in the stable and there where cows in the fields. The air was cool, around 16°C and it was just lovely being out in this wonderful weather.
During the whole run I met two people. One lady on a bike fairly close to the starting point, maybe 1.5 km in to the run and then on my way back around 5.5 km I met this guy who was lost on his bike trying to get back to Jakobsberg. I gave him a road description since I know this area pretty well by now and he thanked me.
During the whole run I stopped the clock twice, once to check my bearings when I tought I had gone the wrong way (I didn’t but I ran back and forth a few hundred meters off clock to check) and then when I gave the lost guy some directions.
The path is a little bit hilly, one bigger hill close to the beginning and then some smaller ones and longer stretches of uphill/downhill. I kept a great pace based on my heartbeat trying to never exceed 150 bpm instead work on my endurance today and it worked great I felt so good the entire time it was a shame to stop.
The sun was setting in the long slow way it does up in the north in the summer time, we have sunsets from about 19-21 with the light slowly fading away and although it was pretty dark when I got back to the car it was just lovely from start to end.
This path can easily be extended to 10 km or even 12 km just by slighly changing the route. I think I might go for the 12 km next time. I hope my friend Jenny joins me then.
Here in Sweden we still have remnants of the old norse celebrations of the four seasons. We have the Walpurgis or Valborg celebration in the spring time (great drinking time especially for the young people and students) then there is the midsummer celebration around the summer solstice in June (great drinking time for everyone) and so on. They autumn celebration has more or less died out though some people claim there is a remnant of it in the curious celebration of the Italian saint Lucia on December 13th and then of course there is Christmas by the end of December and just a couple of days from the midwinter solstice.
In Sweden, Walpurgis (Valborgsmässoafton or Valborg) is one of the de facto public holidays during the year. The forms of celebration in Sweden vary in different parts of the country and between different cities. Sir James George Frazer in The Golden Bough writes that ”The first of May is a great popular festival in the more midland and southern parts of Sweden. On the eve of the festival, huge bonfires, which should be lighted by striking two flints together, blaze on all the hills and knolls”. One of the main traditions in Sweden is to light large bonfires, a custom which is most firmly established in Svealand, and which began in Uppland during the 18th century. An older tradition from Southern Sweden was for the younger people to collect greenery and branches from the woods at twilight, which were used to adorn the houses of the village. The expected reward for this task is to be paid in eggs.
The tradition which is most widespread throughout the country is probably singing songs of spring. Most of the songs are from the 19th century and were spread by students’ spring festivities. The strongest and most traditional spring festivities are also found in the old university cities, like Uppsala and Lund where both current and graduated students gather at events that take up most of the day from early morning to late night on April 30, or ”sista april” (”The last day of April”) as it is called in Uppsala. There are also newer student traditions like the carnival parade, The Cortège, which has been held since 1909 by the students at Chalmers in Gothenburg.
Do you answer yest to one or more of these questions?
Do your indoor photographs come out red or yellow?
Do your winter photograph seems very blue?
Do you get weird colours in people’s faces when you shoot portraits in fluorescent light?
You need to learn more about white balance!
When you take photographs the camera records what it sees. This is a difference to our eyes where the eyes themselves and the brain actually processes what we see before we experience it. Light comes in many different aspects. It can be coloured light or it may be even distributed ”white light” across the spectrum. However the distribution across the spectrum can be uneven and the light is then said to have a certain ”color temperature”.
This temperature is measured in a scale called Kelvin, the same that physiscists use to talk about temperature. And when we speak about light temperature we are speaking about something that the phycisists call ”black body radiation”. The explanation for this phenomenon is somewhat complex and out of the scope here so let’s just say that when you heat something up enough it starts to emit light.
If you think about a piece of iron when it is heated enough the light from it is white almost with a blue streak. And when it cools off it becomes first yellow, then orange, then red and after that you can not see the color any more. So physicists talk about various colours as they are related to objects and what colour the radiate at different temperatures. Now we can relate temperature with colour.
Kelvin is not so different from degrees Celsius. There is however an offset of 273,15 (273 will do for us) degrees between the Kelvin scale and degrees Celsius. That is because Celsius has it’s zero point when water freezes (at sea level) and Kelvin has it’s zero point when there is a total absence of energy, the coldest there can be. This point is -273,15 °C so therefore room temperature is close to 300 K. Now, to see something glowing it is generally around 2000 K or more. Light from the sun at mid day can be estimated to have a light temperature of about 5 600 K.
In the evening and in the morning the tones go more pronounced red and yellow, the golden hours as they are called in photography takes place roughly one our after sunrise and one hour after sunset and they are great for nature photography. Light from a light bult is usually somewhere around 3 200 K giving a much more red-yellow light than the sun.
Indoor where we use electrical light the light radiated from these are much colder compared to the sun. Our brains adjust to this automatically but not our cameras necessarily. There is a control on the camera called White Balance. This control tells the camera what the temperature should be of the main light source in the picture and the camera will adjust the red-blue balance of the picture accordingly.
Today most cameras have automatic detection of white balance but this can sometimes be wildly wrong so it is always a good thing to try to learn to set this yourself. Most cameras today have several settings for white balance, here are some that are common on most cameras:
If you are photographing in RAW format you don’t need to worry about these, because you can always set them in your post processing of the pictures. But if you are shooting in JPEG format you should take care and try to get the white balance right from the beginning. If you fail to do this you may compensate a little bit in your post processing software (Google Picasa, Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, GIMP or the tool of your choice) but when you do that to a compressed picture such as a JPEG there will be artefacts introduced. Slight adjustments are okay but if you need to change it more than a few hundred Kelvin then you will notice you start getting strange things in your picture.
One example is the sudden appearance of bright blue pixels in dark or black areas. It does not look good.
At the same time there really is no need to fully compensate for white balance, sometimes the blueish or reddish tone can actually make the picture a very nice picture but if you are tired of having every picture you shoot indoor come out as yellow-orange then you need to find and adjust your cameras white balance setting.
It should be fairly obvious which setting goes where, after all the names says it all. At this point I want you to look up your camera’s manual and find the chapter on white balance. Take a few test shots with different settings and learn the difference between them.