December Snapshots

Snapshots from around Stockholm testing out my newly acquired Fuji 10-24mm F/4 Lens, so far very happy with it.  It is not possible to go out to shoot landscapes with only a small shoulder bag and my tripod!

Stockholm Stadshuset.

Stockholm Stadshuset.

The images are black and white mostly due to the lack of snow which makes everything pretty grey, in the winter.  Thankfully some snow did arrive just before Christmas so it was possible to head to Skogskyrkogården to practice some landscape shots.

Slussen.

Slussen.

However I’d been cleaning the sensors of my Fuji cameras and left the ISO set to 6400!  I didn’t notice this for most of the shot (d’oh!), once I corrected the issue it was after sunset so I mostly entertained myself with some long exposures of passers by.

Skogskyrkogården in the snow.

Skogskyrkogården in the snow.

Apologies to David for the selective colour, I just couldn’t help myself :p

Switching back to Fuji from Nikon

Fuji X-E2 & Nikon D700.

Fuji X-E2 & Nikon D700.

Five years ago when I first started taking photographs again I bought a Canon S95. A much more experienced friend had advised me that ‘the best camera is the one you have with you’ so I went with the S95 for its combination of raw format support, manual controls and pocketable size. I shot thousands of images with it over the next six months.

Then when visiting another friend I got to play with their Fuji X100 which one me over with its incredible colours, tack sharp 35mm equivalent lens and bokeh which I’d never experienced before! When I moved to Stockholm I was still shooting the X100, although I did wish for a wider 28mm lens and more reliable auto focusing.

Travelling to Antarctica on a photographic trip required me to change to Nikon DSLRs for weather sealing, reliable auto focus and interchangeable lens. The Nikon D700 was a revelation to me it felt like it could focus in near darkness instantly which was very welcome after the X100’s autofocus quirks! The wide angle Nikon 16-35mm F/4 lens quickly became my favourite lens too.

However the more I shot about town for my photography blog the more I felt my experience was being dictated by the practicalities of transport a DSLR and accessories around without a car. Even if I took a single lens I found most of my bag was filled with a DSLR and the bag was heavy which is never great if your going to walk all day exploring a new city!

During last December’s visit to Canada I got to see two different friends using Fuji X-Series cameras in place of their DSLRs. Their image quality didn’t seem to suffer and the amount of stuff they were lugging around was about a quarter of the size and weight of my gear. By the end of the trip I found myself buying a Fuji X-E2 with 18-55mm lens! I really enjoyed shooting with the electronic view finder: being able to see the live histogram cuts down the number of experimental shots required to find the correct exposure a lot.

I haven’t really looked back since acquiring the X-E2, it has rapidly became a matter of when not if I’d swap from Nikon back to Fuji. For someone who is primarily a urban and landscape photographer without out a car the smaller size, weight and cost of the Fuji system is ideal. I’ve yet to be in a situation where having my D700 would have improved the end result.

Obviously there are still situations where a DSLR is a better choice than a Fuji mostly for sports, wildlife or concert photography: where you need fast accurate autofocus, bomb proof weather sealing and high quality telephoto zoom lens.

With my upcoming trip to Hokkaido at the start of January I’ve decided to take the plunge and make the switch back to Fuji! I’m excited to see if the Fuji equivalent of my beloved 16-35mm F/4 Nikon lens is going to be produce as good results for me. My camera bag feels so light now and I finally have room for all my accessories in it too!

November Snapshot

Personally I don’t really notice the shorter days or darkness here in Stockholm as I grew up in Scotland and also lived in Vancouver where it would rain most of the winter.  November this year in Stockholm though has been pretty dark with cloudy skies most days meaning only a few hours of daylight were recorded the whole month!

After the rain.

After the rain.

There is only a single snap shot this month from Gamla Stan, when I happened to be walking home after some rain in the evening.  Gamla Stan in the evening after rain can be very pretty to photograph with the reflections on the cobblestone roads.

JSON Pretty Printer in Python

JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) is a very useful text based data format that is relatively compact, human readable and avoids the angle brackets tax of XML.  However to shrink JSON as much as possible for transmission without using compression it is not uncommon to strip out the whitespace from a JSON blob to make it more compact.  This is quite a reasonable approach but it does JSON harder to read for humans, fortunately reversing the striping is trivial using Python to ‘pretty print’ the JSON file.

"""Pretty print an JSON file into a human readable format."""
import json, argparse

# Use arg parse to make script a little bit more user friendly.
PARSER = argparse.ArgumentParser(description='JSON pretty printer script.')
PARSER.add_argument('infile',metavar='In', help='Input JSON file name.')
PARSER.add_argument('outfile',metavar='Out', help='Output JSON file name.')
ARGS = PARSER.parse_args()

# Read in input JSON file.
RAW = json.load( open(ARGS.infile, "r") )

# Pretty print JSON and write to output file.
PRETTY = json.dump( RAW, open(ARGS.outfile, "w"), sort_keys=True, indent=4, separators=(',', ': '))

The astute reader will realise that the interesting part of this script is the json.dump call and the rest of the script is simply there to make it easy to call from the command line!

October Snapshots

Autumn has arrived in Stockholm, the trees in Djurgården has started to change colour recently so I took a walk around Djurgårdsbrunnsviken with a friend to take some pictures of the colours.  Sadly the weather didn’t quite cooperate and we had overcast skies with low cloud.

Autumn across Djurgårdsbrunnsviken

Autumn across Djurgårdsbrunnsviken

There is a fairly active rowing club on Djurgårdsbrunnsviken, you can see them out practicing most weekends when the water isn’t frozen.

Rowing the cannel.

Rowing the cannel.

Haga Parken is another park to the North West of my home and the leaves have really turned colour there now and started falling.  People are out enjoying the last of the foliage before the long winter months begin.

Haga Parken I.

Haga Parken I.

There aren’t allot of evergreen trees in Stockholm, so once the trees loose their leaves it feels like there is no greenery until May when spring finally arrives in Stockholm!

Haga Parken II.

Haga Parken II.

 

One Life CD launch party

Photographs from the One Life CD launch party that I shot for my friend Eric, it was his wife Anissa Rose Haney’s CD that was getting release at Twang on Sodermalm in Stockholm.  It was an intimate gig to shoot and I used my D700 with 50mm F/1.8 prime lens for the photographs to cope with the low light downstairs.

Twang entrance.

EndlesslyCurious-Post-20141025-64

EndlesslyCurious-Post-20141025-105

EndlesslyCurious-Post-20141025-110

Shooting people is still not something I am very comfortable with but shooting performers from a crowd is less intimidating although it does have its own challenges like trying to predict the performance enough to get a good composure and also not annoying the audience with DSLR shutter noises..