New Year’s fireworks over Stockholm

This year was my second year in Stockholm for new year and I this time I was more prepared to photograph the proceedings. It was also a good chance to try out my newly acquired Fuji X-E2, which would also mean less equipment to haul with me to the pre-midnight meal.

Fireworks over Stockholm

The DICE office balcony is an ideal location to watch the new year fireworks over central Stockholm. The fireworks are mostly from individual personal displays as far as I know, so they tend to start a bit earlier than midnight and be fairly chaotic! I think there are a couple of hotels running their own little shows too as there seems to be a few spots of organisation.

Otherwise it seems to be a case of turn up on the water side or park and set off your own fireworks! This seems to be sufficiently exciting that some people don’t manage to setup their fireworks correctly and a few semi-horizontal rockets will usually be witnessed streaking along the streets or over the water.

Fireworks over Stockholm

Something I’ve not seen else where is the tradition of releasing what look like oriental styled candle powered paper balloons to drift over the city. I can only theorise at the amount of ‘entertainment’ these balloons give the fire brigade as they come back to earth in random locations around town..

Retiring See Stockholm & hello 500px!

I have decided to retire my photo blog SeeStockholm.com, the main reason for is that I have many photographs from outside Stockholm (and Sweden) that I’d like to share. So I’ve made the decision to move to 500px for picture sharing where you can find me at 500px.com/EndlesslyCurious. This change also frees me from maintaining two wordpress sites at once, which was becoming a bit of a burden.

I’m contemplating how I can also have my photographs on this site too but right now I am going stick with just a 500px sidebar widget.

Edit:  Ten months later and I’ve deleted my 500px account, its a great site I just didn’t find myself engaging with it as much as sharing here or on Instagram.  Perhaps sharing on 500px was a bit too intimidating..

Knowing what you can control..

I find it useful to categorise sources of stress in the following ways as soon as I realise I am stressed:

  1. Things I can control e.g. preparing for a examination.
  2. Things I cannot control but can mitigate e.g. the weather.
  3. Things I can neither control or mitigate e.g. war.

This  helps me to focus on available courses of action or begin to mindfully relax if there is nothing I can do.  In the pas coming to the realisation I am effectively a spectator has been surprisingly calming, although not always in extreme cases.

This has been in part inspired by the serenity prayer of Reinhold Niebuhr which was made famous by the AA:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Knowing what you can change and letting go of the rest is indeed a powerful tool.

Listen, learn … then lead!

An interesting TED talk from four star General Stanley McChrystal about how the events following 9/11 lead to a new style of war and a requirement for a very different form of leadership of the widely distributed military response.

I think this is a worth while talk for any leader to watch and hear about how the General adapted in the face of change..

Deliberate learning

Sometimes its easy to forget that to keep developing a skill requires some deliberate action and planning. In our hectic lives it is easy to overlook and neglect our skill development. Often we don’t realise we’ve done this until someone that was previously less skilful than us appears to overtakes us overnight.  How to avoid  skill stagnation?

  • SCHEDULE – Dedicate time regularly to the study and practice. Go as far as to block of time in your calendar if your really busy.
  • PLAN – Know a small part of the skill you want to develop next and where to find out more about it e.g. books, internet or a skilled friend.
  • EXPLORE – Experiment with the skill to discover its limits and applications. Don’t stop as soon as you understand the basics, dig deeper for true mastery.

Its easy to think I want to get better at X but unless you set aside time, have a plan to improve and experiment it is very easy to stagnate your growth especially during busy periods.

Interesting podcasts

I am quite fond of listening to podcasts while doing repetitive tasks or walking to/from work as a means of keep up to date with subjects I am interested in.  I try to keep the number of podcasts I’m subscribed to low so I don’t end up with a huge backlog as I always finds that puts me off listening for some reason.

The Accidental Creative The Accidental Creative is focused on the creative process for people working under pressure to deliver creative solutions regularly, it is hosted by Todd Henry.  Topics range from generating ideas to delivering the product and business strategy discussions.  The book of the same name is also very much worth reading too.  Episodes tend to be between 10-25 minutes long.
Agile Weekly Agile Weekly is focused on discussing the agile development process, it is run by the crew at Integrum Tech.  It is a weekly discussion of topics relating to agile development, scrum and running software teams to deliver software on time and at quality.  Episodes tend to be around 15-30 minutes long.
The Candid Frame The Candid Frame is a series of interviews by Ibarionex R. Perello featuring a different photographer each week.  It is very interesting as Ibarionex interviews photographers for all photography disciplines and styles so there is plenty of variety of subject matter and photographic journeys.  Episodes tend to be around 30-60 minutes long.
Coastal Church Coastal Church’s podcast is the Sunday sermon from my old church in Vancouver by the Pastor David Koop, who I find to be an excellent preacher and always worth listening too.  Living thousands of kilometres from Vancouver its great that I can still keep up with my old church via the podcast.  Episodes tend to be 30-45 minutes long.
HanselMinutes Hanselminutes is a programming/technology focused podcast by Scott Hanselman which tends to cover allot of the latest technologies and trends in software development.  Although sometimes there are special issues on non-technology subjects (which tend to be equally interesting).  Episodes tend to be around 30-35 minutes long.

These days my podcast app of choice on iPhone and iPad is Downcast which I highly recommend.