Stockholm in August

Picture of Nordens Ljus in Stockholm

We had our vacation near the end of August this year and decided to go to Stockholm for a few days. We moved from Sweden back to Estonia close to a year ago and it seemed like a good time to head back to see our friends and eat our favorite morotsmuffins.

Eva sitting on a staircase
Ivo checking his phone

The trip was incredible fun. The weather was very good (especially our first day in Stockholm) and we managed to go through most of the places we wanted to see. We’d seen most of the sights in Stockholm during the four years we’d lived in Västerås so we were more interested in the many lovely shops that we had started to miss. My favorite is the always fun Sci-Fi Bokhandeln, which is a bookstore dedicated to everything geeky.

We had arranged to meet a bunch of our friends in the evening at Mälarpaviljongen which is a lovely garden/bar/cafe/shop on the shore of Lake Mäleren. Part of the place was actually ON Lake Mälaren floating on barges connected by bridges. It was very lovely and everyone seemed to have fun.

View towards Lake Mälaren
The green queen flyer

After a few drinks we headed to a burger restaurant called Granly. The burgers were very tasty and we chatted until late in the evening when most had to take the bus to Västerås. We had a nice walk through Stockholm at night and stayed with our friend Mehmet, who had helped organize the evening.

All in all it was a great trip. Both me and Eva took many pictures with our phones and the Sony NEX 5n and enjoyed every minute.

It was quite sad to leave again as Sweden still has a special place in our hearts but the trip was definitely what we needed this summer. Thank you to all the friends who met us in Stockholm and we hope to see you all again soon.

Ivo looking at Hulk

Mastering Spotify

Although playlists are undoubtedly a very large part of listening to music today, I’m not a big fan of them. The idea of a bunch of songs arranged together by some specific genre or emotion makes sense but I tend to prefer listening to full albums. Very rarely do I want to listen to just one specific song from an artists.

Playlists are of course useful but every time I have started to make playlists in Spotify they turn out horrid. Sometimes my playlists only have a few songs in them as I forget to add new ones. Then there are some with a bunch of seemingly random songs and a few albums in there for good measure. Plus they are not built up in a way that makes sense – there is no logical transition from one song to the next. There is no thought put into which song should follow the other.

Discover Weekly in Spotify

The problem has started to annoy me more over the past few months. The Discover Weekly function is the crown jewel of Spotify and I have found more and more new music that I like using it. I also listen to the new releases every week just to see if there’s anything I find interesting.

The question then comes up, how do I remember these new finds. Again, I am more interested in the full albums than just the songs. Ideally I would like to have separate lists for albums that I can categorize by genre. It would be a grid of albums much like the new releases section that I could sort by name, date added etc. I actually sent Spotify this as a request but I am not holding my breath that they’ll actually add this any time soon.

A twitter conversation with Spotify
While waiting, I came up with a system that I hope will work for me. The idea is that I have separate album and song playlists in addition to a few temporary playlists. The song ones are standard – just lists of songs for Christmas or that I played at our wedding etc. The temporary ones are for songs that I find on Discover Weekly or elsewhere. Once a week or so, I will go over the temporary lists and see if I just like the song or the whole album. If I just like the song it will go into a random favorites list. If the album is good, I will add it to one of my album lists. This way I start each week with a clean temporary list to hold new music.

I categorize the album lists somewhat by genre or feeling. The important thing is that it makes sense to me. While the albums don’t show up in a nice grid, the list kind of works and at least allows me to find an album that interested me a few weeks ago quite quickly.

My profile on Spotify showing my playlists

All the album playlists I make will be public on my profile so if anyone is interested in my favorites in any given genre, you can follow them. Hopefully Spotify will make the dream of album playlists a reality but until then, I hope this method will help me listen to more varied and interesting new music. Too often I feel like listening to music for a few hours and don’t know what to put on…

Summer full of pictures

This summer has been quite full of photography for me. I thought about making a separate post for each photo shoot but ended deciding against it. Most of the pictures I took were not really for me but for the people themselves and are memories of special moments. I was just able to help them out by giving them a digital representation of those moments.

It’s been a lovely summer and I l earned a lot about photography. Each shoot has been different and given me new challenges but I also learned something about myself during the whole thing. I figured out that I don’t want to work as a photographer.

Every time I have taken pictures for others it has been great and I love hearing that the people liked the pictures but it has also been quite stressful. Photography is difficult work and I am nowhere near the level of a professional who can deliver a consistently good product. I feel like I am in over my head most of the time and while I know that’s what learning is like, I don’t want to learn how to become a professional photographer. I just like to take pictures – especially of people.

I feel that it’s time that I take a little step back and figure out where I should take this skill from here on out. I have a few shoots that I have already planned to do with friends for the rest of the summer and I am looking forward to them. After that, I won’t be taking on much more projects until I have figured out where I want to go with my photography and how I want to get there.

Thank you to all of my friends who have given me a chance to take photos of them and have helped me work on my craft.

Vaiko Eplik singing

Vaiko Eplik with a guitar
Portrait of a woman

Portrait of a woman

Woman from the back

Paar seljatagant

Ivo laboratorium

(Virtual) moving day

For a while now I have been wondering what to do about my website. Until today it had been up on Squarespace, which is nice but since my website is not creating me any revenue, it is just too expensive to keep. Due to this indecisiveness I have refrained from posting any new things so I wanted to get it settled.

One option was to just let the contract run up and not do anything. I have a bunch of social media sites, do I even need a website? After a while, I figured I do. Mostly because I really like to have control over my virtual presence and I love owning my own domain (I actually have a few).

The other idea was to move everything to another hosting site and just run the website on WordPress. This seemed like the logical step as I have a lot of experience with it and while one of my older sites ran on Joomla, I really disliked it. WordPress is almost a no-brainer these days.

I started to do research on moving my website from Squarespace to WordPress and found it to be a bit more complex than I had initially thought. I got a lot of help from this post and Squarespace does have a way to export everything however I ran against many strange things. Importing the images was a huge issue. I finally figured out that the problem was in the theme I installed.

The scariest part was moving the domain from Squarespace to zone.ee. Luckily I had no problems with that and once I had confirmed the move on both sides, the domain directed to the new site. The best thing about this is that all the old links still work, so I guess it went as good as it could have gone.

There are many things I will miss about the old website. The main homescreen with the laboratorium image… Plus the post editor was really, really good in Squarespace. Nonetheless… I went from around 11 euros per month to two so no complaints here.

Sirgi in Kadriorg

Sirgi was visiting Tallinn and we decided to use the sunny evening to do a little photoshoot in Kadriorg. I felt like going with film this time as it had been a long time since I shot on film. I chose Portra 400 (I had it at home – a lower ISO would have been better for the sunny weather) and used my trusty Olympus OM-1 with a 50 mm f1.8 lens. Eva came and helped with many of the poses and a reflector.

Working with analog photography is so much more difficult than digital. I feel like I am making a lot of progress taking pictures overall. Going back to film is a real slap in the face – you have still much to learn son. I was struggling with framing because of my glasses and more than once forgot to check the exposure meter. Even my focus was off on a few shots. I am so used to automatic exposure and a large LCD screen.

Regardless, Sirgi was a great model and we did still get some lovely shots. I especially love the final right one.



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