In this post I’d like to share the most exciting experience during my first 12 months in Stockholm – from February 2016 till January 2017. Not all the photos are made with a camera, a big part of them was taken with a smartphone. This post is not a comprehensive story about “How I spend my first year in Stockholm”, it’s about some stuff that was new to me, the things I experienced for the first time in both my personal life and my photography career.

 

 

This photo has nothing to do with Stockholm. It just presents me and my husband during our photo session in Kyiv, Ukraine, by Igor Shevchenko. That’s my favorite shot of us together made by a professional with a professional equipment, not with a smartphone as we usually do during our travels. On that day we had a special evening just for two of us, celebrating our marriage though it had been two months earlier. We hadn’t had any ceremony on the day we officially had become husband and wife so that January day was dedicated to ourselves. And it was in the middle of relocation process — packing stuff and finishing all the tasks in Kyiv. In less than two weeks we were supposed to move to Stockholm. My husband got a job offer, so why not to try living in another country?

 

 

February, 2016 – getting to know Stockholm and its citizens

 

And so that day came. On the 3rd of February we got on a plane to Stockholm. Our Ukrainian friends were with us, also relocating, but we don’t have a picture of us together unfortunately. Do I look happy or depressed (photo 1)? :D By the way, it's business class in a Ukrainian airlines plane. My husband thought we could afford it since we were still within the budget provided by his employer. Yeah that was a pleasant start of the journey :D

 

 

Since the reason of moving was my husband’s job, his company helped us with accommodation for the first several months. It wasn’t free but relatively cheap and it was located within 20 min walking distance of the office. We had the whole second (and the highest) floor in a house with three bedrooms and a big living room (photo 2). It was a shared apartment but for the first two months we had enjoyed living alone then two more guys moved in.

 

 

The area where we lived is called Danderyd — mostly private houses and cozy streets. Very quiet and peaceful. I felt in love with Swedish houses from the very first sight! (photo 3) And with the classic Swedish meatballs accompanied by lingonberries, too! (photo 4)

 

 

The first several weeks were the most difficult for us in Stockholm: waiting for ID cards to fulfil the urge of a modern person – Internet at home. Without an ID you can’t order any service in Sweden.

 

We spent our first weekend in Stockholm in … guess where? Hint: the place where you can get lost wondering through household stuff. Yep, IKEA. We bought some furniture and a mattress and a lot of small things to make our life easier. I should say I was impressed by a variety of products there.

 

Since I had some ongoing work from Ukraine I deeply needed internet so I couldn’t afford waiting for weeks to get it at home. I looked for coworking spaces and found a wonderful one called The Castle. Located right opposite to The Royal Palace of Stockholm where the Swedish royal family works, in The Old Town (Gamla Stan), with views over the water (photo 5).

 

I was very lucky to get in such a warm and inspiring place with friendly and supportive people. Majority of the inhabitants deal with creativity: painters, designers, photographers, writers, entrepreneurs, etc. I got to know so many amazing people. Almost after every lunch had a walk with Jonas (photo 6), he was my “table”-mate. We had been sitting next to each other for several months before he changed his job and left The Castle. I met Amalia who painted real art on t-shirts and bags and anything-on-earth (photo 7). Being surrounded by friendliness and inspiration I believed in myself more than ever before and it was a turning point in my personal and professional life. I decided to quit a software testing engineer career and concentrate on photography. I wanted to finally move from a passionate hobbyist to a professional. Still on my way but now much more experienced! :D

 

March, 2016 – launching my website, photo sessions in The Old Town, exploring Uppsala

 

March 2016 was an important month in my photography skills, both in terms of practice and business part. I launched my website I had dreamed about for a couple of years, with a real blog, yeah :D (photo 8). I also applied for business registration and the whole process took two months (!). That’s too long but it was the way it was.

 

 

Got my first clients and shot team portraits in Gamla Stan (photo 9).

 

 

Tried shooting with a tripod for the first time (photo 10). Did it together with Jonas (I mentioned above), thank you for the photo of me (photo 11). Got so cold afterwards that barely could walk into a warm place. 

 

 

During Easter we and our Ukrainian friends visited Uppsala, the city north of Stockholm with a long history (photo 12). I wrote a blog post about Uppsala thus it marked my blog’s launch.

 

 

April, 2016 – opening cycling season, party in The Castle, cherry blossom

 

In April 2016 I opened the cycling season when it was +7C. At that time, it was brave of me to do so, in Ukraine I usually started at +13 and still wasn’t comfortable with the temperature. But here in Stockholm the weather changes so slowly in spring. It seems like these +7C are forever till June. So I couldn’t wait longer, wanted to explore the world around me (photos 13, 14). I’m a big fan of cycling and there’s only one thing in the world I love more – it’s photography. Well, they both can make a perfect combo for a wonderful weekend.

 

 

Swedish nature is beyond any words. It’s simply everywhere. Small and large parks and forests, lakes, channels, green alleys. If your mind feels free as soon as you step into the wood, as soon you inhale the fresh air in the forest… you’ll understand what I mean :) (photos 15, 16)

 

 

April’s weather sometimes seemed to step from a magazine’s cover, or a wallpaper for an old version of Windows OS (photo 17), sometimes it was like a girl in her darkest mood (photo 18).

 

 

The same month my favorite “human” place in Stockholm, coworking space “The Castle”, celebrated its first year. I was more than happy to photograph the party (photo 19).

 

 

In the end of April tender cherry blossom attracted hundreds of people to the city center. It’s a beauty you better see with your own eyes. But I was disappointed that cherry blossom doesn’t smell. It’s like a chocolate candy without any taste. (photos 20, 21).

 

 

May, 2016 – business registration, more forest riding, panoramic view over Stockholm

 

On Friday, the 13th of May I finally got approval for business registration, was so happy.

 

May was perfect for exploring forests. Every single tree and bush were blooming and wrapping in a delighting scent of spring (photos 22-24).

 

 

Viewed Stockholm from over 81 m from the ground (photo 25). It was a temporary tower, named City Skyliner, in the center of Stockholm, in Kunsträgården park. It was constructed just for one month while Eurovision was held in Stockholm. I’d say the height is not impressive but still interesting.

 

 

Did a beautiful portrait session for a sunny Hui and got a picture of me also :D (photos 26, 27).

 

 

June, 2016 – Archipelago, Midsummer, hand-painted t-shirt, first hiking

 

June started with moving to another apartment in the southern part of the city. Then we had a short cruise around Stockholm Archipelago (photo 28). I love sightseeing on ships! We also visited our motherland where I was shooting a thematic love story organized by a talented Ukrainian photographer (photo 29). It was hot in Kyiv, up to +40C, we were nearly dying and couldn’t sleep well. After returning to Stockholm we went to Skansen to celebrate the second largest after Christmas Swedish holiday –  Midsummer (photo 30). As you may notice in the photo it’s cloudy and most of the people wear long sleeves. In the end of June, in summer, it’s Swedish summer, +10C yeah :D I do love Swedish weather :D At least you’re not totally sweating.

 

 

In June I also got a present from Amalia: she painted me a t-shirt (photos 31)! I was wearing it often in summer even on the day when a Ukrainian gang of 5 was hiking north of Stockholm (photo 32). I’d never thought I could go 20 km during one day. I’m not into sports really, but I managed, though the next day I stayed at home and felt a bit broken :D. By the way in the photo 33 I’m having a real Ukrainian lunch: salo (pig fat), rye bread, garlic and boiled potatoes.

 

33

 

July, 2016 – shooting events, exploring Stockholm, self portraits

 

July was super exciting in terms of events I’ve photographed: Stockholm Street Festival with unicycling and bubbles (photo 34), a heavy metal concert by Mustasch (loved them a lot!) (photo 35), Stockholm Pride Parade (photo 36), just to name a few.

 

 

Again many hours of cycling and walking to explore the city and the suburbs: graffiti gallery in an industrial district south of Stockholm (photo 37), climbing the rock in a botanical garden (photo 38), the first visit to The Woodland Cemetery, Skogskyrkogården (photo 39), which belongs to Unesco World Heritage, to the place where Alfred Nobel had experimented with dynamite (photo 40), Globen Arena on a sunny day (photo 41) and somewhere in the southern suburbs (photo 42).

 

 

In July I experimented with breakfasts, started every day with a smoothie during 5 weeks. Got to know some tasty recipes (photo 43), got to know some really unappetizing ones.

 

 

Another tasty experience was a StikkiNikki ice-cream, well-known in Stockholm (photo 44).

 

 

A lot of fun was to experiment with self-portraits (photo 45).

 

 

Congratulated my Ukrainian friends with a love story photo session (photo 46).

 

 

August, 2016 – Stockholm Zombie Walk, portrait photo session for a child, Sigtuna, Independence Day of Ukraine

 

The only event that was tricky to photograph was Stockholm Zombie Walk (photo 47). In the beginning I felt a bit sick to see a lot of “blood” everywhere though it was artificial but it looked so real!

 

 

A more pleasant photo session was for a cute 2-year-old (photo 48).

 

 

With my husband we did a short trip to Sigtuna, the former royal and commercial centre of Sweden, located close to Arlanda airport (photo 49).

 

 

Enjoying Stockholm’s views both in the city (photo 50, 51) and in the suburbs (photo 52).

 

 

On August 24 celebrated the Independence Day of Ukraine just in the middle of Stockholm. Ukrainians who lived in Stockholm gathered at Sergels Torg to sing national songs and to mingle (photo 53).

 

 

September, 2016 – new camera, trip to Lisbon

 

Me in the courtyard of Stockholm City Hall (Stadshuset). Green yeah! (photo 54).

 

 

In September I bought a new camera, thoroughly checked it at work during our vacation in Lisbon, Portugal. Beautiful city with an authentic soul (photos 55, 56). For the first time I watched a performance with dolphins (photo 57). I’m going to publish photo stories later.

 

 

October, 2016 – golden nature, portrait sessions

 

October brought golden autumn. Millions shades of yellow, orange and crimson (photos 58-63). 

 

 

Visited a lot of places for the first time: small and big parks (photos 64-66) and Drottningholm Palace (67-68).

 

 

Photography experiments were also performed on people, in the woods (photos 69, 70). None of them were damaged.

 

 

The end of October was pleasantly warm before the snowy November. One day I’ve even met all three autumn months together: green September, golden October and cold November (photo 71).

 

 

November, 2016 – Stockholm under snow, cemetery, TEDx

 

All Saints day was an interesting experience to have and participate both in the city (photo 72) and at The Woodland Cemetery, Skogskyrkogården (photos 73, 74), where millions of candles were lit.

 

 

The first real snow came to Stockholm in the beginning of November. It was the largest snowfall for over 100 years (photos 75-78).

 

 

I couldn’t even imagine that I’d photograph a TEDx event! It did happen and I enjoyed it so much though it was quite a challenge for me as a photographer (photos 79-81). 

 

 

December, 2016 – Stockholm Santa Run, Stockholm by night, Skansen

 

Snow in December decided to come right on the day when Stockholm Santa Run was held (photo 82)! It was super beautiful.

 

 

December is the darkest month in Sweden as well as it is the month of Christmas. I made a series of night Stockholm shots (photos 83-88).

 

 

On Christmas we visited Skansen, the open-air museum and zoo (photo 89).

 

 

January, 2017 – winter city, present from Stockholm Santa Run, metro stories

 

I started the 2017 year by going to the forest, visiting my favorite places – Kvarnholmen and Nackareservatet (photos 90, 91). Devoted one evening to capture Gamla Stan in the evening (photos 92, 93).

 

 

Visited The Drottningholm Palace for the second time to compare the view in white January and golden October (photo 94).

 

 

Captured pink sunset over the city (photo 95).

 

 

One of my photos of Stockholm Santa Run has been chosen as a winner and I got a present! It is a card, value of 500 SEK (~50 EUR), for an experience such as a spa day or a boat sightseeing or wine tasting or whatever (photos 96, 97).

 

 

New photography challenge was about Stockholm metro which is considered the longest art exhibition in the world (98-100). 

 

 

Conclusion

 

While writing the post I reflected a lot, lived through all those emotions I’d had again, came to a conclusion that I’m happy with everything that had happened to me during the 12 months. Many new acquaintances, many new places visited in Stockholm, started learning a new language (and talking and reading, finally), developing myself as a photographer, feeling more comfortable in a new environment. A lot of new experiences are waiting ahead so let them be!

 

As I’ve said before it’s not a comprehensive story of my 2016 year in Stockholm. I picked up the most important stuff for me that I wanted to share. If you have any questions or want to know more details about anything I wrote, please feel free to comment here or contact me in a way that’s comfortable for you.

 

Or maybe you want to share your story? Do you have any experience in changing your place of living? How is/was it?