For more posts, see my main weblog, Veritas.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Here are some photos from my 34th birthday party this past Saturday.

There were about 18 people at the party, including friends I've known for years and friends I met only recently.

It's fun to see how my various friends interact.

I fixed hamburgers for the crowd, and the kitchen was one of the places where folks congregated.

I received some nice gifts from my friends. Here I am opening one of them.

Lotta looking cute as always.

Åsa and Patric.

Jay, Pamela & Xia.

Jens, with Anne & Carolina in the background.


Rodrigo, a friend I know from moutain-biking.

Matt & Lisa.

Each person brought something to drink and some sort of snack, so there was plenty of food and libations to go around.

Just in case, I also bought a few cases of beer, several botles of wine, and a case each of Coke & Red Bull. It was cold enough outside to keep the cold drinks on a table on the balcony. Here Jens & Lotta take a smoke break. Ack!

Zita came in a lovely Chinese outfit. She gave me a nice dinner plate on which she had hand-painted a lovely abstract star. Zita is an astronomer, and so she and I share an interest in astronomy.

Erik was there too, although I obviously don't have a very flattering phot of him. Smile, Erik!

Anne is a friend I met on a flight from Chicago to Copenhagen a few years ago when I missed my orignal flight to Stockholm due to bad weather. She is originally from Ohio, and like me, moved to Skandinavia for love and then ended up single again. She flew up from Denmark for my party. Thanks, Anne!

Lisa & Matt again.

Three of Rodrigo's friends showed up later in the evening, including these two cuties whose names I forget. Sorry, girls!

Erik & Lotta.

Rodrigo & friends.


Cheers right back at you!

Zita wanted to show me something, so she did some web surfing. What she showed me was this amazing photograph of Saturn, taken by the Cassini spacecraft.

Time to call it a night!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

After Saturday's ride, I went over to Matt's place to join him and Lisa for a bit of Matt's excellent lemon chicken on rice. Naturally, I broght my camera — something neither entirely unexpected nor entirely sanctioned by Matt, judging from his facial expression in this photo.

We ate, drank red wine, and made plans for the eveing. Matt's friend James had invited us to join him at a bar on Södermalm.

This particular bar, Ugglan, was located in the basement and had a gravel floor where several people could play boule. Matt and James played a game or two.

Matt must have one that round, because he played Jame's girlfriend Karin in the next.

After a couple of shots taken with the flash and my 18-70mm lens, I switched back to my favorie party lens, my trusty f/1.4 50mm. The downstairs area was illumnated by some hideous green flourescent bulbs, so that explains the odd cast to these photos.

Joining Jame and Karin was Stephen, an Austrialian photographer who's living in Stockholm. He and I chatted quite a bit about cameras and photography. He also told him about his photography business here in town.

James, me, Karin, Stephen & Matt. Lisa took the photo.


Karin & Stephen, watching the ping-pong game in progress.

In addition to the boule courts, there was a ping-pong table. Folks there were playing a sort of game in which everyone lines up around the table and moves clockwise around the table. When you get to the end, you take one strke at the ball. If you miss, you're out and the circle of players shrinks by one. When it gets down to 6 people, they're really moving quickly. When it's only 3 people, they're scrambling to make it around to the opposite side in time to return the ball. When it's only two people left, these two play 2 out of 3 standard ping-pong games to determine the winner. Then it starts over.

James playing.

Stephen borrowed my camera for a while, and took a few photos, including this nice one of Karin.

... and one of me.

I took this close-up of Lisa while she was engaged in spirited conversation. She uses her hands a lot when she speaks. In this photo and several others, a candle on the table illuminates the subject. The candle provided much more natural looking light than the harsh flourescents bulbs. The combination of orange candlelight and green artificial light makes for an interesting photo though.

The ping-pong table, with a circle of players.

I met these friendly girls from England. The are here in Stockholm just for five days of holiday, so I told them a few sights worth seeing.

Hi. mom!


Matt & Lisa.

After being eliminated from one of the ping-pong games, I chatted briefly with this friendly girl and her boyfriend. She's a photographer too. There are photographers everywhere!

She posed for this photo. Lovely!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Saturday evening, I went to the 2006 Stockholm Beer Festival. I stood in line but then realized that because I would be taking lots of photos with my camera, I could probably go through the V.I.P. & Press line instead.

The festival, actually called the Stockholm Beer and Whiskey Festival, was held in the same place as in years past, a big converted automobile factory in Nacka.

I walked in through the press line, stating truthfully that I was taking photos for my blog. Hey, my camera is finally beginning to pay for itself!

I met Daniel & Jenny there. Here, Daniel peruses the beer list of Slottskällans Bryggeriet from Uppsala.

Jenny usually prefers cider to beer, but that wasn't a problem; there were many other beverages there aside from just beer. I had an interesting Flädercider that came recommended by Daniel. It was sweet, tangy, and refreshing.


Of Slottskällan's assortment, I tried the Kloster, Roslager, and Pilsner. The Kloster was an interesting beer: strong, spicy, and unfiltered (cloudy).

These helpful folks at the Carlsberg stand served me a nice blonde beer from Carlsberg's new Jacobsen brand. Very nice!

The place was packed. It was a capacity crowd.

Live entertainment was provided throughout the evening.

After a while, it got too warm inside so went outside for some fresh air.

Outside, I met another photographer, and we exchanged notes. There was also this hot dog stand. Foods of many kinds were widely available.


By coincidence, I ran into some folks I know from salsa dancing, including my friend Inger.

More salsa-dancing friends.

I introduced my friends to one another; some of them had met at last year's birthday party.

The girl in the gray was someone I recognized, but I coulnd't put my finger on it.

Later on, I went up and chatted with her for while. I discovered that we knew each other from climbing. She is often at Klättercentret, and I have probably even posted some photos of her climbing!.

My salsa friends seemed to enjoy themselves.

Later in the evening, I bumped into some colleagues from IBM and some of their friends.

My colleague Jimmy (the one in the striped shirt) took a couple of nice photos of me.

Cheers again!

He also treated me to a bottle of this honey-flavored beer. Interesting!

Salsa friends one more.

And now here are a bunch of photos I took of random people enjoying themselves.

I chatted with these guys for a while. I believe the guy on the right is named Roger.

I liked this girl's tattoo.

For most of the indoor shots, I used a 50mm f/1.4 lens. What I like about this lens is that it's fast enough that I don't need a flash in most cases. Also, when I shoot at f/1.4, the background is very blurry, and I like this way this sets the subject out in the picture.

The narrow depth of field can be a problem though, especially if the subject is at an angle to the focal plane. Notice that in this photo, the right side of the beer tap is slightly out of focus. A deeper depth of field could be attained by tightening the aperture a bit (going up to f/2, say). But this would mean that the exposure would have to be longer to capture the same amount of light. It's a trade-off.

This woman's profile caught my eye.

Later, she introduced herself. Her name is Majida. Hi there!

In a room at one end of the hall, there was little restaurant area. There, a German oompah band was playing. When I walked in, they had just begun to perform the Tuba Polka — not an easy piece to play!

At the exit from the restaurant area was a chocolate seller.

While standing at the Oliver Twist bar sipping on a Samual Adams Boston Lager, I met a nice girl named Carro who had similar taste in beer.

Oliver Twist was offering many beers, including a whole assortment from America.

Carro introduced me to some of her friends.

One of them had a NIkon camera, so we chatted a bit about photography.

Decisions, decisions.

As you can see, most people in the photos are drinking out of similar glasses. One gets a commemorative Beer Fest glass with the price of admission.

More live music.

I'm not a big stout drinker, but I did like these taps.

Some of the flags flying over the Oliver Twist bar.

Sipping on my beer near the Oliver Twist bar, I also met these friendly folks.

I chatted politics with the girl on the right. I think her name is Veronica, but I must admit, my memory isn't 100% clear on this.

Considering the amount of alcohol flowing, I imagine there are lots of folks who don't remember much about last night. Some of the stands were quite well done. I didn't have any beers at this stand, but I did think it deserved a photo. Say cheese!

The best deal in the place was at the Discovery beer stand. There, for 40 kronor, you could get 40 cl of beer and a little pizza.

The pizzas were the little frozen ones that you can get at any supermarket, but these folks had something to make the pizza a bit more interesting: Tabasco sauce. I had two of these little pizzas, and put jalepeno Tabasco on them. Yummy!

I had a nice chat with this chap, but his name escapes me. I wish there were an easy way to annotate photos at the time they are taken.

I also chatted with these fellows for a while. They were super-friendly. In fact, everyone I met during the evening was very friendly. It's amazing how friendly Stockholmers can be when either 1) the sun is shining, or 2) they've had a few drinks. :)

More friendly people.

Even more live music.

"Who is that guy with the camera?"

This cutie favored your humble photographer with a smile.

Later I learned that I wasn't the only one who thought she was attractive. I saw the two girls with flowers and asked "What did you get the flowers for?" "Because we're cute," was the reply. Yep!

Bottoms up!

Speaking of cuties...

Whiskey sippers.

"No, that one's no good either. Take one more!"

I left the party only after they began asking folks to go. On my way out, I collected a bunch of the glasses folks had left behind on the various bars throughout the hall. I put them in a couple of cardboard boxes, and carried one under each arm.

Closing time.

Three of the glasses broke on the way home, but somehow I managed to keep thirty-four of them intact. Here they are freshly washed.

They're great for parties, which is convenient because my birthday party is just a few weeks away!