Saturday, 22 December 2012

SOLSTICE DAY IS HERE TO STAY!



















Yesterday was Winter Solstice Day, as if you did not know it already. I would have loved to bring you a picture of the sun at midday, but this proved impossible, for two reasons:

Firstly, my balcony is facing due North, so I would have to venture outside to get the shot. Secondly, to no one's surprise, the sun is usually not visible at all at this time of the year. And true to this tradition, the sky was covered all day yesterday, with snowflakes tumbling down in a lazy fashion, inviting us to stay home and prepare for the big party on 24 December.

So, instead, I chose to take a picture at midnight, to show you how the Northern Sky is shaping up here in Stockholm at the darkest day of the year. As you can see, it is not really black; street lights and other city lights in the center are being reflected by the cloudy sky, warranting a dark rosy shine to bless the snowy surroundings.

This year Solstice Day has received a lot of unwarranted attention. People unfamiliar with Mayan time reckoning have wrongly deduced that judgement day would fall on 21 December 2012. This is of course a bad misunderstanding of the Mayan way of counting years. In our Christian tradition, we count the years in centuries and millennia, whereas the Mayans counted them in batches of 400s. This year marks the turn of the latest four hundredth, just as we noted the turn of the latest millenium way back in year 2000. Festivities are in order rather than dreading a (presumedly) imminent end of the world!

Come to think of it, there has always been, and will always be, a dark longing among us humans for the world to end. In Christianity, Judgement Day was foreseen already for the year 1000, but every new generation born is looking forward to its own demise. The most recent example is provided by Harold Egbert Camping who predicted that 21 October 2011 would mean the end of us all, except for those saved by Christ on Judgement Day (21 May). I met a disciple of his at UC Berkeley in May 2010 and had some interesting discussions with this fiery man of sulphur and brimstone. His portrait can be seen here:



















I was astounded to meet this man again on the same spot two years later, in May 2012. His message was essentially unchanged. I was intrigued and asked him how on Earth he could proceed his proselyti-zing after having been proved wrong the first time around. He readily admitted that he had erred two years earlier, due to a miscalculation of the holy numbers in the Old Testament, but that he had corrected his mistake and now was convinced that Judgement Day would occur on 21 May 2013. So there is still hope for those of you who prefer the World to end, rather than Humanity to better its ways. 

For those of us, who nurture a more festive outlook for the next few days (and years), let me show you a nice view of Hammarby Sound, taken a few days ago; in fact, the last day when the sun was shining, before hiding itself behind a cover of fluffy snow flakes. 


















With this sunny view in mind, I am encouraged to wish you

A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR
MAY ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

SO IT IS BLIZZARD TIME NOW?

























Yes, indeed! This morning I was sleeping late, and rightly so. When I opened the balcony door, icicles polished my nose and huge swaths of snow blowed into the apartment, with the wind howling around the building.

Although I am not complaining about the view from my balcony, there is a drawback: the wrath of the weather gods is reaching me unhindered, getting up to speed across the Sound until it crashes onto my balcony. It has been snowing all night long, apparently, and the balconies opposite mine are getting their load of snow already.

I am not daring to step out into fresh air now, so let's take a quick shot through a side window. The perspective is a bit unusual, but I think you are getting the message. It is snowing massively now, at quarter past 9, and Hammarby Sound is barely visible in the build-up of snowy flakes. By squinting sharply with my eyes, I can just about glimpse the boats on the opposite quay. So let's enhance them a bit in Photoshop, that you can see them a wee bit clearer.

No idea to leave the apartment today, but I am well stocked with sustenance and have plenty of work to do at home. I recently learned how to make fine prints, with the pigment ink technique, out of my digital "negatives" and I am rather pleased with the results. So let us plan for producing some home made Xmas cards this year. I have to finish this blog now so that I can rush to my little "Lightroom" and get on with the good work!

Monday, 3 December 2012

ICE IS BACK ON HAMMARBY SOUND!

























When looking out from my balcony at 9AM this early morning after First Advent, my nose immediately froze over; winter had arrived with a vengeance. The first ice had already formed on the Sound, foreboding worse to come. Temperatures are lingering around the upper tens (on the minus scale).

Only a couple of days ago, it was still raining and relatively mild in the air. This lenience came to a crushing halt and the last weekend really reminded me of the previous two harsh winters we thought were an exception. Could it be that this year-end will be as demanding as the last one? Where have the mild Stockholm winters gone?

You may have noticed that there have not been any posts lately. I am sorry for that, but I was very occupied this year, first, with getting my book Fiat Lux! from the printer and, second, with letting my friends and the broad public know about its existence. With many presentations, in the US and Austria, as well as in Sweden behind me, I am glad to say that this has been a success. So there is some time yet again to tend to other business before year-end. 

This is all for now, I am afraid, but you may expect another post or two before we slide into New Year.