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Running in the dark

Now when the Swedish wonderful summer is drawing closer to the autumn I need to share a real runner tip with everyone that wants to keep running in the woods even if there is a slight drizzle of rain or the darkness is hitting earlier than before. In not too long the darkness will descend upon us earlier and earlier and it is actually already starting to get really dark in the night.

So a light on the forehad and a cap to keep the light rain out of your face would not be a bad idea?

Well here it is.

49:- SEK at Clas Ohlson store

This is a proper cap in nice material with their logo on the side and which got 5 LED lights built into the cap rim that will show you the road in the darkness. It is powered by 2xCR2032 (wristwatch style) batteries and will light for many hours on the roads and in the woods while keeping your face dry (from rain).

And for the price, buy two!

The light switch is in the cap, easy to reach and hitten under the fabric. Turn it on and off as you please while never missing a stride!

Public Records Office II

I had the grand fortune to be able to re-visit the old public records building. I found when I came home from the first time that I had unfortunately missed many details that I remembered and I also did not find the basement with the elevator machine room and the attic where I think some nice pictures could be made.

Therefore – here is my re-visit to the Public Records Office here in Stockholm. If you have not seen the first article then you should read that one first.

Now you are welcome to follow me into this fantastic place. The building is bein re-made into a place for children, which I think will be really great – very Harry Potter-ish in many ways. So welcome into the magic world of designed offices from the 1880:s.

The Corner Stairs

Corner stairs again. This time the sun was shining right outside and I wanted to get a special effect from the light to show the relative strength of the sunlight. I think I got it where I wanted to. It looks like an H-bomb just went off outside...

Door handle

This is the lock and handle on the doors that separates the different archive rooms from eachother. They are built in very sturdy boiler plate stell to provide safety from fire. Most doors also have signs telling people to keep them closed to make it harder for a fire to spread through the archives.

Atlas Window

This is a detail from a window frame where the Swedish compandy ATLAS here in Stockholm can be made out.

The ventilator

An adjusteable ventilator. There are ventilation shafts within the walls of the building in some room to provide for fresh air to circulate.

Cartons

Some of the old binders and collectors remain, but they are empty. I wonder why they have been left here when everything has been removed from all of the other shelves. Perhaps as a reminder of what it might have once looked like when the shelves where full of these things...

Stairy Case II

A stair case leading down into the basement. We found this when we went exploring the darker and more dungeon-like parts of the archive and had to go back and get the camera and tripod. Was looking for the engine room for the elevator.

Single Light

This is the last level of the archive before we actually get to the attic of the building and it has a different design. Here there are no big windows letting light in and there is a large wooden cupboard at the end that used to hold some special volumes. I am guessing that not everyone had access to this part of the archive. Maybe here is where the dark secret magic books where kept?

Attic Wall and Roof

This is a part of the attic, the wall and the roof and concrete supports. I just liked the various textures here. It was really hot up here even if the temperature outside was not so high but the sunshine on the roof made it easy 30-35 degrees in here. Hot and dusty.

Water Expansion Cistern

I believe this is part of the heating system in the building, the expansion tank. As you can see it is designed in such a way that a small leak here would lead the water away over the floor to an outlet that would let it drain through the wall without harm. I don't think this part is being used any more, the wood looks old and cracked and not in use.

The Atomic Radiator

This radiator looks like something out of a Russian movie. Perhaps somethingt from the battleship "Potemkin" but in fact it is another type of radiator used to heat the building. This one is located in the attic of the public records building and the design is modular. It is apparently so that you can put more of these modules together if you need more heating power.

Attic

This place looks like something out of a computer game such as "Unreal" or similar. I am just expecting someone to enter with a rocket gun, circle strafing around me firing rockets high and low. A really strange feeling. Imagine what fun you might have with some paint ball gear around here... :-)

Attic Skylight

Here is another shot from the same room as in the previous picture.

Light play on the floor

Some nice patterns of light and shadow on the floor of one of the upper levels here.

ATLAS STOCKHOLM

This is the details on the base of one of the column radiators. Again it is the ATLAS company here in Stockholm that delivered these.

Decoration Detail

Details of the iron support pillars. These pillars are very nice and you find them pretty much everywhere in the third floor with the offices.

The Archivist's Room

The state archivist's office. This is the grand office in the building with doorways to the left and right to study rooms and secretary rooms. Two huge windows for letting the light in and a very nicely decorated ceiling designed in a way to provide a natural attenuation of sounds in the room. The electrical light is not typical for the times but added later, perhaps in the 1940s or so. The same for the radiators which is a much more modern type of radiators compared to the ones found in other places in the building. I really like this photograph myself, one of those I will always remember shooting. I have corrected lens distortion in photoshop and used three different exposures at 14 bit RAW before combining them to this image.

State Archivist's Office

The entrance to the archivists office. The offset in colour temperatures between the outside and the indoor lamp light is rather obvious here.

Archivator's Ceiling

The ceiling in the archivist's room. I was laid flat on my back when taking this photograph.

Staircase

I love these stairs that are build in several places in this building. They are also made by the ATLAS company and actually I saw one exactly like this in a coffee shop on Ringvägen close to Skanstull metro station when I went in there for a cup of coffee a couple of days ago. I did not ask if they had put their stair case in or where they got it from but the design was exactly like this one although the rail was a little bit different I think.

ATLAS-STOCKHOLM

A close-up shot of the stairs of the stair case in the previous picture. Complete with the company name.

RIKSARKIVET - TEVIKRASKIR

This is the window above the entrance to the building with that yellow light that seems to be always shining. You can see the letters RIKSARKIVET but mirrored.

Arch

A painted arch above the doorway on the third floor of the building. These paintings are pretty much everywhere in the "nicer" part of the building.

Elevator Machine Room

This is the entrance to the machine room for the elevator in the building. Originally the building had no electricity but then it also seems to be proud over that it was the first public bulding in Sweden that did have an electrical elevator. I am not sure when it was installed but they installed it in a separate room with a boiler plate steel door in order to be able to contain any electrical fire that might result from it.

Elevator Machine

The elevator engine, drum and controller. I believe the engine was modernized in the 1950s, it does not by far look as old as the rest of the machinery and probably the wire has been replaced as well. However the controlling mechanism seems to be original.

Elevator Machine

All these three pictures from the elevator machine room was taken in darkness shot with a hand-held flash light used to light paint the room into the right mood. I really like this technique.

The Corridor

Corridor in the basement.

Toilet Stalls

Three toilet stalls. On the middle one it says "Tryckeri" which means printing but there is also a second more litteral meaning in Swedish and it means "a place where something is pushed". Suiteable for a toilet. Lit by a key chain diode lamp and long exposure.

Courtyard Looking Out

Part of the court yard and gate into the back side of the public records building.

Gate

Just look at the iron works of this gate...

Window Drain

An interesting solution here. Especially in the winter time condensation on the windows was a common problem and the solution here was to catch the water before it could drip onto the floor and instead lead it onto the radiator where it would be evaporated. Nice solution!

The Public Records Building

Last saturday we set out about 11 hobby photographers to the old Public Records building here in Stockholm. It was my Flickr aquaintance Björn Sahlström who had been able to get access to the building and we entered it with camers, tripods, bags of lenses and other gear to have a good time. The building is fairly large so we quickly spread out and did not have to step on each other’s toes at all really.

Strolling through the empty halls that used to hold all the stat public records and books was a strange feeling, I had never been there, some of the others had been on a guided tour and quickly went to photograph what they knew to be well worth taking a look at.

This building is called ”Riksarkivet” in Swedish and was built around 1880 with the intention of being able to withstand a fire. From the beginning the archive was only open during the light hours of the day because they did not want open flames or even electricity inside. Therefore it has huge windows to let enough light in for people to be able to work there with reasearch or book keeping tasks of various kinds.

Public Records Building

The facade of the wondeful building is made from a special type of engineering brick in red and black. The architecture is referred to as neo-renaissance. It was the building of the Swedish publick records from 1890 ca and forward into modern times when it was moved to a new building. This house has been empty since then and is a wonderful place to visit.

Entrance

This is the entrance of the old public records building here in Stockholm. It is a grand design and quite impressive when you are standing outside it. Notice the word "RIKSARKIVET" on top of the door? There is also a light on inside that shows through the stained glass window.

The famous Stairwell

The grand entrance is well known and famous!

Floor Stone

Floor

More Electricity

At first they did not want electricity in the building at all. That is why they went for such big beautiful windows. But in the end they still had problems with soot on the windows from the near by train track and decided that some electricity was okay for lights and reading lamps.

The Old Elevator

Elevator. Once no electricity at all because of the fire hazard but still this elevator was installed. The engine for it was compartmentalized in a fire proof encasing in the basement of the building. The elevator was delivered by a company called "Allmänna svenska elektriska aktiebolaget" which is today better known as ASEA - one of the biggest companies in Sweden...

Archive Room

Archive room. Notice the plastic skeleton someone has hung in the leftmost window?

Book Slide

The Book Slide or "bokstörten" as it is called in Swedish. This invention was added to the stair case in the days of the second world war. The idea being that should Sweden become attacked by an aggressor in the war, then the archives and books here could be loaded onto ships fast using this book slide to slide them down to the water front and then they could be sailed off to some secure location.

Another shot of the famous book slide, this time from beneath.

Elevator Floor Indicator

Elevator indicator indicating which floor the elevator is located at. The readings indicates "top floors 1-3" where the actual indicator is located on top floor 1 and then middle floor I guess some would call that the Mezzanine and then the two bottom floors in the building. Strange way to give names to the floors but since this was the first elevator installed in a public building in Sweden I guess they found a better way later on.

Hot water connections

Heating water details. The plumbing is quite cool here, craftmanship and artwork at the same time. I found myself having a bit of a problem with shooting details this time, something I need to work on I think because I came home with a lot of different rooms in my camera but not so many details and sometimes it is the details that really gives you the feeling for something. Or as the expression goes - the devil is in the details...

Column Radiator

Column radiator - these radiators are quite fantastic being a design from the 1880:s. They are hollow inside and the cold air at the floor level enters through the grates at the bottom, gets heated and rises to exit at the top creating a chimney effect that will circulate the air in the room to avoid moisture and dampness. Of course the outside also radiates heat and aids in the convection. And on top of that they are rather beautiful to look at in my opinion.

Archive Room

Another of the famous archive rooms. That's me up on the balustrade there using the camera self timer.

Reading Room Table

The reading room / study / board room. I love the details in this room, look at the drawers in the table for temporarily putting away what you are not reading at the moment and look at the lamps integrated in the design to cast a nice reading light over the table when the huge windows are not sufficient for the light in the winter time. Look at the balustrade around the whole room where you can walk around it. This is one of the most fascinating rooms in this building.

Lamp

An attic light - I found this light in the attic and it seems a more modern design than many other lights, perhaps something put in in the seventies or eighties when these spaces where being used. I liked the radiosity of light on the beams and so I managed to make three separate exposures and combine them for this photograph which is a proper HDR photo.

Light on the floor

The light on the floor again on one of the upper levels in the building. The huge windows served the purpose of providing enough light for working in the building before there was any electrical lights in here. Eventually the fear of fire subsided and electricity was installed and one of the reasons was that the windows was subjected to a lot of soot from the nearby railway where the steam engines went past hourly.

Stair Case Heater

The hallway - I love the stone floor and the way the radiator is integrated into the wall of the stairwell like this, it is a really good design. Notice how they left space at the top for the air to move freely creating that "chimney effect" in order to make the heater much more efficient than conventional radiators.

A Commode

The commode - one of the toilets with a good view out over the old town in Stockholm and wonderful light from the window. Notice the nice radiator from the heating system, all built in so you can't burn yourself on it even if it is really hot. The insulation was not that good so in the winter the heaters worked pretty hard to keep the moisture and dampness at bay.

Shelves

One of the archive rooms with the shelves intact. All the papers, books and everything else is long gone from this place but here the shelves remains. Probably most of the archive rooms looked like this with narrow paths between the shelves where librarians and intendents could find the acts, protocols and other things that was requested perhaps by the government.

Room with a View

A splendid view through one of the magnificient windows. This is in the same archive room as the last picture was taken, just looking out the window. I think I could live here :-)

Instructions

Details from the elevator. It reads: "Instruction. Make sure doors and gates are closed properly after you have entered or exited the elevator. Use the buttons accordingly to their markings and then allow the lift after it has started to stop by itself. Never open the gates when the elevator is running. People under the age of majority are not allowed to operate this elevator alone."

Reading Light

A reading light with a classic design. Since light bulbs caused lots of heat there is a kind of "stick" where you can grab and angle the light even if it is too hot to touch directly.

Decorated Ceiling

What can you say other than this magnificient roof is just splendidly preserved.

Reading Table

Here is the reading room or board roam again, this time with the camera facing the windows.

Learning from the masters

Bia and Bosse the SnakeA little while ago I found this excellent blog on Nikonians by Martin Turner. He writes about how the classic potratit painters worked and how we can improved our portrait photography by learning from these masters. He has written several very interesting blog posts on this subjects and I felt like commenting on them myself.

BellaIn his first post also titled ”Learning about portraits from the masters” he discusses the context of the portrait more than the actual technique to pain or photograph. A portrait is supposed to say something about the person being portrayed and therefore it is important to not lose context and pay some attention to the surroundings of the person, the positioning of the subject, any other props or objects in the picture should have meaning and add to the portrait and not detract from the person being potrayed. I think this is an important lesson and something that is easily forgotten.

DanielIn his second post he speaks about differential focus something that has been used by painters for a long time and photographers using a telephoto lens, wide open aperture and focusing as close as possible to re-create. Of course post processing can also be used to achive this and there are more than one way of doing nice differential focussing on a subject.

For a portrait we want the eyes to be sharp, then the mouth and the hair are also important — putting too much fuzziness on the hair makes things look strange and the eyes and mouth are what we as humans focus mostly on when we are viewing a portrait of someone else. An excellent example about this is the painting of a Genoese nobleman painted by Bernardo Strozzi in oil on canvas.

DSC_7002 The EyeAnother thing that he notices are also that backgrounds in paintins are almost always very dark. Almost to the point of being black but never completely black there is always some texture to them but in a very subtle way and the idea of isolating the person from the background is very evident.

Today in photography we often use light backgrounds, even white overexposed so called high key shots which usually means you put 4 times as much light on the background as you do on the subject. Makes it easy to cut out in photoshop and re-arrange in a different background but I get a feeling there is a reason that portrait painters never used such backgrounds.

DSC_1334He also talkes a lot about skin details and softening of the skin in portrait. This was done by painters also using selective focussing techniques when painting but this is also likely down to that our minds generally don’t remember much skin details, we focus on the areas around the eyes and mouth and we tent not to remember too much on other details.

The rest of the posts are also interesting but his number 2 post was the best one so far in my opinion.

You can find Martin Turners Nikonian blog here if you want to read more, and I hope you will because it is very interesting to read his articles!

Warm Light / Cold Light

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:

  • Automatic mode
  • Sunny
  • Shadow
  • Bulb light
  • Fluorescent light
  • Flash light

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.

Sun and Ice

Snow and Ice. Example of the colour of light at sunset.

Micro Ice Forest

Micro Ice ForestExample of mid day colour of light.

Icicle Icicle

A walk down by the lake today revealed some very nice icicles that has formed in the last couple of days of cold weather together with the moisture of the still open lake Mälaren.

Icicle Icicle

Icicle Icicle

Köp en tavla: ”Kvinna i Ljus”

Erbjuder nu en bild i form av kanvastavla till försäljning. Tavlan är av kanvasduk monterad på 14 mm ram och färdig att pryda väggen var som helst. Motivet kan ses nedan.

Fotot är förstås taget av undertecknad själv, varje tavla numreras (på baksidan) och signeras.

The Light

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Borgholm Castle, Öland

Borgholm Castle

Nikon D70s, Nikkor AF-S 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF, Adobe Lightroom

From the 12th century and forward the castle is standing close to the City of Borgholm and it is still one of the major attractions of northern Öland. A lovely place to stroll around and forget the modern life for a while.

Into the Light

The Light

Taken in Kallhäll, Järfälla. Nikon D70s, Nikkor AF 50/1.8D, Adobe Lightroom.

Where do you suppose she is going, where did she come from? A picture says more than a thousand words but sometimes a picture may just raise a thousant questions instead.

Some Portraits

Yesterday visiting some friends I brought my lightstand and umbrella and snapped a few portraits. It is incredible what a difference a few simple things can do to improve a photograph. It is all about the light.

One SB-600 into silver brolly camera left 35-45 degrees off center and about head height looking slightly down.

Jeanette

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