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February 2019 – Photography

February marked the beginning of my journey into portrait photography. I spent a lot of my free time watching videos about lighting and shadows, trying to understand what I would need in order to start practicing. At the end of the month I bought myself a couple of softboxes and a strobe light. I figured that it would be a good idea to expand my skill base as a photographer, and having some extra lighting equipment could become handy in the future as I could also use it for product photography etc.

I have just started playing with basics and have only tried the lighting on myself at the moment. I will however also be looking for some poor sucke… I mean, people to help me develop my skills and techniques as I practice.

Below are a couple of images from my first venture into this field of photography. Not the best photos, but hopefully I can look back on these as a memory and will be able to take note of how I have progressed. If anyone has any tips or helpful advice they’d like to share, please feel free to send me a message.

Another cool thing that I managed to do was to get my hands on some old lenses. They were both fairly inexpensive and work great on my modern DSLR. I used the 50mm (from the early 80s), to create the portraits above.

Above: Nikon 50mm 1.8 Series E on the left, Nikkor 135mm 2.8 on the right.

Another cool (literally cool), moment from February was when I went out into the night to visit my favourite local mini-island ”Voiluoto”. The air was frosty and the treetops were snowy. I took the opportunity to use myself and my camping lantern to create an image out on the frozen lake, with the island in the background.

Above: ”FROSTY NIGHT”. Me sitting on the lake with Voiluoto in the background. My favourite image of the month.

Above: ”VISITOR”. Experimenting with light in the wait of the night.

Another image from February was from when I visited Kuopio for some business but had a little extra time to check out the Puijo tower. I have been there before but never with a camera in hand. The weather and time of day weren’t the best, but one can get some quite interesting shots from the tower. I enjoyed the big stretches of forest across the land, so I decided to take a pic.

Above: Treetops from above. Puijo tower, Kuopio.

I was also doing a photography assignment in Feb, and it included taking photos of food. I took this extra one for myself.

Above: Berries, yogurt, chocolate etc. Another nice thing about food photography is that you get to eat the stuff while you do the editing. You know, to give you a more in-depth connection to the project 😉

So that was the month. I haven’t done much landscape photography for a while now, but I’m still hoping to get some nice nature-based images as soon as the inspiration and right location are found. I’m am very happy to have new challenges ahead and hope to keep them coming. Photography has grown from a hobby into something that I crave to excel at. A lifelong journey of learning and producing images that I can hopefully look back on with a nostalgic smile.

Have you tried something new or want to try something new in photography? Feel free to swing me a text via social media (InstagramTwitterFacebook), and tell me about your photography. I’m always happy to meet new people in the field and to learn and chat about new ideas.

Otherwise, hope that you had a great February and see you out there in the snow! 🙂

January 2019 – Photography

The start of this year has been quite interesting for my photography. I’ve attempted some more heavily-edited fine art kind of stuff, as well as some more food and product photography. Unfortunately, many of my shoots this month have been unsuccessful, and I’ve often returned home feeling like some kind of lost ice man with a cold memory card full of ”meh”, photos in his pocket. Yes, the failures have scoffed many times at my attempts to create what I seek, but I know that in the end they are just showing me some well-needed tough love. I have however managed to get a few decent images, and being outdoors is always a pleasure for me. Below are some pictures from January 2019.

Above: The curves of snow are back this month! The sky was also quite amazing that day, the sun bursting through the clouds and creating a really interesting effect.

Above: Yup, soup. The cold has made it a favourite food choice for me this month, and I thought I’d work on my photography while I’m at it.

Above: ”The Hill”. Model: Rosa Summanen. This image is a composite and was really fun to make! There was so much grey, overcast sky in January, so it was great to get out and get creative with it 🙂 You can see more and follow Rosa Summanen here on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rosesummanen/.

Above: I love winter sunsets. The contrast between the hot sun and the frozen landscapes, the soothing colours and textured snow. The icy curves along the shore of this frozen lake were beautifully highlighted as the sun went down. Good times.

Above: Often, one doesn’t need much to get creative. I headed out to a local spot and experimented with some photos along the frozen lake shore. This time I brought along with me a camping lantern for a different mood.

Above: A calm and tranquil scene, featuring my favourite local island ”Voiluoto”. You can see more of my photos of this island here: https://jasontiilikainen.com/2019/01/25/voiluoto-the-island-that-keeps-on-giving/.

Above: A month or so ago, I bought myself a new headlamp. This particular one had a few different modes, including a mode where the light would be red. This was my last photo of the month, and was just a filler image idea I had while waiting for the sky to get darker.

So that was January. I’m really happy with the photos that worked out, and grateful to learn from the ones that didn’t. I’m a happy dude.

See you out in the snow!

Voiluoto – The Island That Keeps on Giving

I’ve been living here in Joensuu for just over 2 years now, and there’s one place that I just keep coming back to. ”Voiluoto”, is the name of this tiny island just off the shore of Kukkosensaari/Kalmoniemi. It is an easy walk from the centre of town to this place (maybe 20 minutes or so), and it will provide to its viewer with a host of photographic opportunities. I owe a lot to this little piece of land. It’s played a great part in my learning process as a photographer, and still to this day I am happy to show it off to the world through my photography. If you’re visiting or live in Joensuu, I highly recommend going there to photograph it. Below are some photos that I’ve taken of the island over the last couple years or so.

”BLUE ISLAND SCENE”. Joensuu, Finland.

Above: Using rocks along the shore as leading lines towards the island.

”SUNSET & ISLAND”. Joensuu, Finland.

Above: The sun was setting to the right of this image, illuminating the rocks along the shore and creating a pleasant range of colour in the sky.

”STORMY SHORE”. Joensuu, Finland.

Above: It was drizzling and the clouds were thick and moving quickly across the sky. A very moody day for sure.

”SNOWY LANDSCAPE”. Joensuu, Finland.

Above: An ice fisherman leaving his fishing spot near the island, with snow-covered rocks sitting in the foreground.

”LONELY ISLAND”. Joensuu, Finland.

Above: This was taken shortly before winter. The water was still and the sky was cloudy.

”SNOWY LAKE”. Joensuu, Finland.

Above: Amazing snow formations covering the lake during the beginning of winter. A frozen maze to entice the eyes.

”DRIFTWOOD AT SUNSET”. Joensuu, Finland.

Above: Something a bit different. Reeds sway in the wind and a piece of driftwood points to the island.

”CALM WATERS”. Joensuu, Finland.

Above: A panorama at sunset from a different angle.

”MISTY LAKE”. Joensuu, Finland.

Above: My most appreciated photo of Voiluoto. Big shout-outs to the duck who agreed to model for the shot.

”WINTER ICE”. Joensuu, Finland.

Above: These icy shapes change every day at this time of the year, making the foreground an interesting wildcard on any given visit.

”STAR TRAILS IN JOENSUU”. Joensuu, Finland.

Above: I froze during this shoot. I set my camera on a tripod over the frozen lake and waited for hours to get this image. Since then I have invested in better winter gear 🙂

”ROCKS AND SNOW”. Joensuu, Finland.

Above: Red rocks sit in the snow at sunset and lead the eye to the island.

”ENVY”. Joensuu, Finland.

Above: Green rocks! How could I not use them?

”TONES OF WINTER”. Joensuu, Finland.

Above: My latest photo of Voiluoto. Winter is in full force and so are its amazing tones.

So there you have it! Voiluoto is great to photograph if you’re a local or just visiting Joensuu. Middle of summer or winter, it always has something unique to offer. There are still countless ways to use this island in interesting ways, and I will explore more of those possibilities in the future. Hope you enjoyed these photos and please feel free to contact me if you’re visiting Joensuu and would like to know how to get there. It shouldn’t be missed!

 

P.S. If you have any knowledge about the history of the island or any other interesting info, please send me a message as I would be interested to find out more!

 

See you out there in the snow 🙂

 

 

2018 – A Year of Photography

2018 was an incredible year for photography. I learnt a lot and am forever grateful that I managed to spend so much time with nature. With each sunset, sunrise and starry night burnt brightly into memory, I will move forward with a goal to experience them all over again in 2019. Below are photos from each month in 2018.

January:

Above: As far as I can remember, January was a mixed month. It had its share of awesome winter sunsets, but there were many overcast days too. I also visited Tampere and managed to photograph some of the city.

February:

Above: In February, I started to focus on night skies. Star trails were something that I wanted to work on, and I spent many nights waiting for hours in very cold weather. The experience was worth it, and now I have a greater understanding for this kind of photography.

March:

Above: March was an experimental month. I bought an old Kodak Brownie camera at a local second hand store and got into using film. It was a side of photography that I had not explored since childhood. It was both fun and challenging. Don’t know when I’ll get into that again but it was definitely a good learning experience.

April:

Above: April had a nice variety of scenery. The lakes were thawing, and that created some really cool-looking shapes of ice to use as an interesting foreground element. I remember the crunching sound of the ice under my boots when walking on the shores.

May:

Above: In May, I visited a summer cottage and spent time with family. I good time and a change of scenery. ”Misty Lake”, was also taken in May. One of my more popular photos.

June:

Above: June was a month with sunny nights, swimming and sauna. I spent a lot of time again with family and exploring new areas. ”Midnight Full Moon”, was my most popular photo from this month.

July:

Above: July was a quiet month. I wasn’t feeling very inspired but still managed to get a few shots. ”Unwinding”, was definitely my favourite from this month. It was something different from my usual ”rock & water”, vibe. A lot of swimming and raining that month.

August:

Above: I visited Helsinki. Next time I visit I want to try some street or cityscape photography. There were also preparations for a light show at the Art Museum in Joensuu, and I grabbed a shot while they were doing the testing.

September:

Above: September, you cheeky bastard. This was a month that I will never forget. I saw the northern lights for the first time and worked a lot on photographing the Milky Way. Many nights were spent waiting by the fire for the dark after twilight. I also started to think more about cityscapes that month.

October:

Above: If September was a cheeky bastard, October would be his outright vulgar older brother. The aurora was back again that month, and it was an even more amazing experience seeing them for the second time. I also got a great chance to do some foggy cityscapes and woodland photography. Definitely my favourite and most memorable month of the year.

November:

Above: Not as good as the previous months, but still an interesting one. It’s always nice to see how the lakes freeze over and create interesting shapes along the shore. I should have definitely taken more photos that month, but the few that I got were decent enough.

December:

Above: December was a quiet end to the year. Only a few photos from the outdoors, since I spent more time on other types of photography. Hopefully next December will be better.

 

So that was my photography for 2018! I hope that my photos have been interesting to look at and give you an idea of what the Finnish nature is like. I also hope that I can bring some new and fresh ideas to the table and expand my knowledge even further in 2019. Enjoy your new year and thank you all for the support!  🙂

 

Above: See you out there in the snow 🙂 My first photo of 2019.

 

December 2018 – Photography

For me, December wasn’t a good month for landscape photography due to the almost constant overcast weather, but I did manage to practice my product photography and get out into the snow a few times regardless. This year was however incredible, and I’m sure I’ll make a separate post to cover that. I’m also hoping that the sky will clear as the weather gets colder in January, as I plan to take full advantage of the starry nights.

Hope that you all had a great festive season!

Below are some photos from December.

Above: As the lakes begin to freeze, plates of ice lay along the shores here in Joensuu. The sunset was a great bonus and came unexpectedly. The wait was worth it.

Above: I should have probably gone out more despite the grey skies, but I thought I’d take some time to improve on my item/product photography. These knives are awesome. Handmade locally.

Above: Another knife photo.

Above: Not the most exciting shot, but I just think that snowy treetops are ace.

That was it from December. Not much, but always better than nothing. Can’t wait to see what this new year brings, as I have much to experiment with and new ideas to try.

Have a good January!

November 2018 – Photography

November was okay for me in terms of photography. The weather was mostly grey, and I wasn’t able to get out as much as usual. It was however interesting to see the change in the landscapes as the temperature began to drop, slowly freezing the lake water and producing some interesting shapes of ice.

Above: My favourite place to shoot in Joensuu. Kuhasalo offers many interesting things to photograph, this island being one of them. This photo was taken on one of those typical overcast days.

Above: The shores have started to freeze, and when the sun is visible it can create a nice contrast between hot and cold.

Above: Ice formations over some rocks in the water.

Above: Curves of ice along the shores of Lake Pyhäselkä.

 

So that was it for this month. Nothing like October, but I’m hoping that we get some clearer skies here now in December. This transitional time when the water freezes up can be quite interesting, and I’m hoping to make the best of it.

 

Have a good December!

October 2018 – What a Month!

I was spoilt rotten by the weather in October. I gained some experience with woodland photography, got to see the northern lights for the second time and also managed to have the whole city of Joensuu to myself (not really, but at 4:30am it seems like it). The variety has been incredible, and although I enjoy the winter and its cold, textured snow, I can’t help but want this autumn to last just a little bit longer. Anyways, below are some photos from October. I’ve chosen to also put some new photos here too, as I have already posted some photos from this month in my older posts.

Above: Birch trees in the morning fog. I’ve started to really enjoy this kind of photography. The fog simplifies the scene by decreasing the amount of visibility, making it easier on the eyes and drawing focus to the subjects.

Above: Another tree in the morning fog. I’ve always found this tree to be interesting, but its surroundings have always been too distracting to produce a good photo of it. The fog took care of that for me and gave me a nice opportunity for a shot.

Above: Another tree that stood out for me. On this morning the fog wasn’t as prominent as in the previous photos, so the background is much more noticeable. I found the blueness from the background to work nicely with the orange colour of the leaves. Maybe I will try it again sometime under different circumstances.

Above: I tried adding a human element to this one. A little break was needed too.

Above: One of my typical sunset shots. It’s very hard to get me away from these, and autumn has had no shortage of dramatic skies.

Above: This was an amazing night and the second time that I had the pleasure of gazing upon the northern lights. You can read more about it and see more photos from that night over here.

Above: This photo was taken really early in the morning here in Joensuu. The city was quiet and the atmosphere was incredible. You can see more cityscapes from October over here.

Above: Nothing special, but just for memory’s sake.

Above: Fine art photo. Had some fun creating this and hope to get more creative with these in the future.

 

That’s all folks. Thanks for taking the time to check out these photos and hope you all have a great November. I’m excited to see what it brings.

 

P.S. Feel free to follow my work on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and drop me a message if you’d like to chat 🙂

A Night with the Lights

I’ve wanted to see the northern lights for as long as I’ve seen pictures of them, and last month I managed gaze upon the aurora for the first time, even getting a photo or two. Ever since then, I have been determined to witness them light up the skies once again, hypnotising all measly human beings that gather below.

The Trip:

Since it was a nice Sunday afternoon, I decided to take a cycle from Joensuu to Kontiolahti. I left at around 16:00 in order to get there before sunset so that I could think about how and where to compose my shot. There was this amazing little place on the lake with a single tree standing alone amongst some rocks. I had been there once before, but I thought that this could be a suitable place for the night. I set up my camera and took a few test shots. Then I waited.

By the time the sunset was ending, I could already see hints of aurora in the sky (at around 19:00). I knew that I could be in for a treat. I let time do its thing, and at around 20:30 I phoned a relative who was waiting for the show in Joensuu to find out if they could see it too. We had both seen some aurora, but it was still calm. We finished our chat, hung up the phone, then I looked up at the sky and immediately it started. It was mind-blowing. Aurora stretched far across the sky from one side to the other. Below are some photos from around 19:09 to 20:35.

Above: A hint of aurora at 19:09.

Above: Aurora at 20:14.

Above: Aurora at around 20:30.

Around: Aurora at around 20:35.

At around 21:30, many other people and photographers started showing up, eager to enjoy the show. The previous lights had faded, but they could return at any moment. Everyone and their grandma’s cousin were looking at the sky, setting up their camera or just relaxing under the glow. I knew it was an excitement shared by all. I took a few more photos from that area and then decided to explore some more.

While exploring the area with a torch in hand, I managed to lose a glove in the dark. A minor setback, but well worth the trouble. Below is a photo from the second shoot.

Above: Aurora at 22:25, and someone arriving late to the party.

After all of this, I decided to start making my way home. It was getting late but I just couldn’t help stopping along the way to take more photos. Below are some from the way back.

Above: Aurora at around 23:00.

Above: Aurora at 23:41.

Above: Aurora at 0:19. Close to Lidl in Pilkko, Joensuu.

I eventually got home at 01:00 with a memory card full of photos, one cold hand and a satisfied smile on my face. It was a great night, and hopefully the lights will return again soon to tilt our necks and please our eyes. It’s been great to see all the pictures from all over the country, both north and south.

What I’ve Learned:

Keeping an eye on the forecast is a must. I use apps like My Aurora Forecast (for aurora predictions), and Clear Outside (for checking cloud cover etc.). Both work fine but obviously aren’t always completely accurate. Reading about the kp index is a must as well. Once you know when it could occur, it’s only a matter of finding a suitable location for viewing. It’s best to face north, be away from light pollution (city areas), and wear enough warm clothing to keep yourself feeling warm and patient. I sometimes take a flask of hot water for tea as well as some food for the gullet when I’m out for long periods of time.

Technique:

I’m still getting the hang of this, since this was only my second time photographing aurora, but I’ve found the settings to be similar to the ones used in astrophotography. For most of these photos I just focused on infinity. With others I took two photos, one focused on the foreground and the other on infinity. I then blended them together in Photoshop. I mostly left the aperture wide open, which was f3.5 in my case. The shutter speed is going to vary depending on your camera and lens, but I tried to keep it under 15 seconds. Keeping the shutter speed short is going to prevent stars from trailing in your photos. Personally I’m not always fussy with that, but I like to get them pin-sharp if possible. My ISO stayed between 800 and 1600. I used a Nikon D7100 (crop sensor) with a Sigma 10-20mm, as well as a tripod. Anyways, feel free to drop me some hints if you have any 🙂

Hope to see you all out there next time!

Local Cityscapes – Part 1 (Joensuu, Finland)

Autumn is an amazing time for photographing nature and landscapes. The colours are amazing and the sunsets aren’t to late at night, but I’ve decided to also set some time aside and do some local cityscapes here in Joensuu. I’ve been focusing on one area in particular, trying different angles and using different conditions to see what I can come up with. With different times of day and weather conditions, the results can vary quite drastically. Below are some of the results of my ”experimentations”.

Above: These pictures show some of the various stages of the day, all at the same place. Once you know what kind of photo you’re looking for, you can get those results by knowing when to get to the location. Also, sometimes waiting an extra few minutes can grant you a more interesting image.

Above: This photo was taken after sunset and early in the blue hour. This place has some amazing reflections, but I think that some clouds would have improved the image. Photography is amazing in that it allows for endless possibilities. Another reason to get out and do it again!

Above: A foggy morning and a different angle. Scouting an area can provide many different options for you, and it’s just the right conditions that you have to wait for, not usually the composition. A duck or two can’t hurt either.

Above: Another foggy cityscape.

Above: This image is a blend of two images. One of them was taken at sunset, the other about an hour later. If you keep your composition the same as time goes by, you can get quite creative with blending in Photoshop.

Above: Sometimes waking up at 4:30am can give you some interesting results. On the morning that I took this photo, there was an incredible atmosphere. The fog was concealing the tallest building, and it glowed like something out of a gloomy comic book scene. I used the boats to create a leading line towards the focal point. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

Above: Just relaxing. Thought I’d try framing the building differently by using some more foreground elements etc.

That brings me to the end of this post. I definitely plan on doing a part two, as I’m still trying different angles in different conditions. Stay tuned for more and thanks for popping in!

Onkilampi

Onkilampi is awesome. I’ve visited this place three times now, but this last time was definitely my favourite. This pond (seems like a lake to me), or ”lampi”, is located slightly northeast of Joensuu’s city centre, maybe around 6km away. It has it’s own beach as well as a few jetties. One of these jetties has some nice character to it. It looks old and is a bit worn out, like its had to entertain maybe people. Here are two photos of the jetty from my recent trip to Onkilampi:

EQUIPMENT AND CAMERA SETTINGS:

Camera: Nikon D7100

Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM

Other equipment: Tripod

Settings: 14mm, 30 seconds, f8, ISO 100

Edited with: Photoshop, Lightroom.

Other info: I used my flashlight to light the leaves in the foreground.

EQUIPMENT AND CAMERA SETTINGS:

Camera: Nikon D7100

Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM

Other equipment: Tripod, Hoya ND500 Filter

Settings: 13mm, 15 seconds, f8, ISO 100

Edited with: Photoshop, Lightroom.