2019 – A Year of Photography

2019 was an experimental year for me and my photography. I tried to break away from the rocky shores (which didn’t always work), and force myself to take a vacation from my comfort zone. What I found was a place of mystery, full of new things to figure out and to learn from. I tried my hand at portrait photography, shooting with Polaroid cameras, longer focal lengths and finally got my hands on my first full frame camera. I don’t know if 2019 was better than 2018, but it was certainly full of new and rewarding experiences . Below are some photos of mine taken from last year.

LANDSCAPES

Above: I’ve taken many photos of this local treasure and don’t see myself stopping any time soon. So unique and so close to home.

Above: I really enjoyed the winter last year. These waves of untouched snow along the shores change in a unique manner throughout the season. I put myself in the picture to add a bit of the human element and extra interest to the scene.

Above: The journey and moment behind this picture was just as rewarding as the photo itself. Being alone on an island in the middle of nowhere at 3 am and watching the northern lights was a special moment for me from last year.

Above: Another highlight for me from last year. Probably one of the most difficult photoshoots I’ve ever done and also one of the luckiest shots I’ve ever taken. Getting two strikes of lighting within a single 30 second exposure and having them be in a compositionally suitable place had me smiling the whole way home. I was soaked, riddled with mosquito bites and happier than ever.

Above: I rarely do sunset photos during the summer due to the very late time of the sun setting, but occasionally I’ll go out in search of treating myself to one of these.

Above: Kontiolahti has some great places for foggy forest photos. I spent a great deal of time last year walking in the woods and hoping to expand on my photographic knowledge by trying longer focal lengths. It was a good experience to try something new, and it’s been good for me to fail in order to grow.

Above: I always get excited when the lakes start to thaw, since a huge amount of my photography makes use of reflections in the water.

Above: Another photo using a longer focal length on a foggy morning in Kontiolahti.

Above: I used two different lights to create this image. A camping lantern for the foreground and a powerful torch to light up the trees in the background. I hope to create more photos using this style in the future.

Above: A more heavily edited landscape from Joensuu.

Above: Another one with the northern lights.

Above: As winter approaches, one can find some interesting formations of ice along the shore. Couldn’t resist getting this one.

Above: An icy sunset near the end of 2019.

Above: One thing that I did quite frequently in 2019 was to add myself into the picture. I did this to add a bit more story to my images and I also think it makes the landscapes more personal in a way.

Above: I was out one night doing my usual rocky shore photography, but decided to change the plan and instead focus on photographing the moonrise. I really enjoyed the halo-like effect coming up from behind the treetops.

Above: This one was taken with a longer focal length from the top of a hill in Kontiolahti. I noticed a tree that stood out from everything else in the scene and decided to use it within the frame. The fact that it was misty and snowing at the same time also added some nice texture to the overall image.

CITYSCAPES

Above: 2019 wasn’t a year of cityscapes, but I’m fairly happy with this one. In this case I needed to do a five minute exposure to get the effect that I was looking for.

Above: Another one of Joensuu at night.

Above: The same place as the first one but from another angle and on a different night.

PORTRAITS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above: 2019 was also a year that I decided to start exploring flash and portrait photography. I did a lot of work with Rosa Summanen and am pleased with what was created. Many different ideas were used and I’m excited to try new ones in the future with a variety of people. You can follow Rosa here on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rosesummanen/

POLAROID

Above: Polaroid cameras can be fun, but also frustrating at times. For the most part though, I found the feedback of using the cameras quite addictive. When it works it’s rewarding and creative, but when it fails it feels cheap and gimmicky.

FOOD & PRODUCT

Above: I spent some time in 2019 working on food and product photography. I think that having a broader base of skills is important, so I wanted to introduce myself to this side of photography too.

OTHER

Above: Autumn is my favourite season of the year here in Finland. The colours never cease to impress.

Above: Birch on a dark and foggy autumn morning.

Above: An image from the forest floor.

 

Above: Sunset illuminating a branch.

Above: Another closeup.

Above: This was one hell of a snowy and winding morning. I took cover under a tree in order to capture this moment without having the lens covered in snow. The skier in the image must have been really determined that day 🙂

Above: A foggy scene from the local park.

Above: Another snowy image taken in the center of Joensuu on an incredibly snowy day.

Above: The local wolf mascot.

Above: Another fine art image created from various photos taken in Joensuu. Model: Rosa Summanen.

Above: When near a lake or big open space, the snow can sometimes completely conceal everything in the distance. It’s quite surreal at times.

Above: Another stormy photo. This was a crazy night for me.

Above: A springtime sunset in Joensuu.

Above: Getting creative while waiting for darkness.

Above: Cooling off after a shoot.

Above: Getting creative with led lights during twilight.

Above: A cold and misty morning in Joensuu, Finland.

Above: A more intimate scene with contrasting colours.

Above: Shapes of ice on a rocky shore.

That was it for 2019! This was a collection of my favourite images from the year. There were many days and nights when I was unsuccessful, but being out in nature or battling with a learning process in the studio was a reward within itself. I hope that you all had a great 2019 and I wish you all the best for 2020. Thank you all for the support and feedback.

See you out there and enjoy your year ahead!

 

Enjoy this post? Feel free to contact me for projects, collaborations, or if you have any other queries:

 

September & October 2019 – Photography

For the past two months or so I’ve been trying something different, choosing longer focal lengths and exploring new places. This has taught me a few things and has been interesting, but I’m not sure yet if it fits my style of photography. I do however believe it’s good to try new things and that I will create some great images in the future with longer focal lengths once I find some more suitable locations. I spent a lot of time these last few months looking for unique-looking trees with some character to them. I found a few, but the conditions haven’t yet been best for the photos. Maybe next year 🙂 Anyways, below are some of my latest images.

Above: A moody scene of some birch on a misty morning. I took this photo purely because of the bright, yellow leaves and the almost mystic appearance of the moody and fading forest.

Settings: 1/50 at f8, ISO 400, 300mm.

Above: Another misty scene. This photo was shot from a fair distance away using a 300mm lens. I was looking for details alongside a hill of trees and found this one tree to stick out in an interesting way. I find the warmer colours of the tree to compliment the coldness of the fog.

Settings: 1/60 at f8, ISO 200, 300mm.

Above: Droplets on a leaf. I often forget that it’s good to sometimes just look down and see what interesting things are going on around my feet 🙂

Settings: 1/200 at f8, ISO 400, 60mm.

Above: A panorama of some fog and forest. The fog this year hasn’t been as thick as last year, so I wasn’t able to get the shots that I had planned for. I still quite enjoy this image and like its cinematic quality.

Settings: 1/15 at f8, ISO 100, 300mm.

Above: More birch. These are really amazing to photograph during the autumn and the colours really ”pop”.

Settings: 1/25 at f11, ISO 200, 135mm.

Above: The moon rising above some trees in Joensuu. The light had a really cool halo effect. Definitely not something that I usually shoot, but interesting nonetheless.

Settings: 30sec at f8, ISO 400, 18mm.

Above: I was on the top of a hill when I took this one. The snow was coming down like crazy, and if you look closely you can see it raining down. I set the shutter speed as to not overpower the scene with the snow, but to give it a more subtle and textural style. The mist in the scene was a nice bonus.

Settings: 1/6 at f13, ISO 50, 300mm.

Above: I can only take so many pictures of trees and other things before I return to a rocky lake shore. This is still one of my favourite things to photograph, and I hope to do some more of these as the winter approaches and the shores change and freeze over.

Settings: 30sec at f16, ISO 100, 20mm.

That was it for the last two months! Not nearly as good as last year, but I’m still glad that I got out there and tried some new things. I hope that you enjoy the rest of the autumn and the winter to come!

See you out there in the cold 🙂

 

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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!

Almost Autumn

With autumn being officially just a few days away, I’m keen to get out my gear and explore the shores. Last night’s sunset was mighty. Strong winds, dark clouds and bursts of sunlight all contributed to a show of nature that’s hard to forget. I sat on the shore for a couple of hours, waiting for the right moment and taking many shots to make sure I came home with something special. The scene as a photograph may be slightly too busy in my opinion, but I wanted to get everything in one shot. The leaves on the shore indicate the incoming of autumn, while the sky had it’s own show going on. The waves were also grabbing my attention, splashing against some rocks that I’ve seen many times before. It’s an eyeful, but it was all worth taking in. This image was taken around 7pm at Kalmoniemi, Joensuu.

EQUIPMENT AND CAMERA SETTINGS:

Camera: Nikon D7100

Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM

Other equipment: Tripod

Settings:

This image is a blend of exposures. One for the sky and one for the foreground.

Sky: 13mm, 1/15 second, f13, ISO 100

Foreground: 13mm, 0,5 seconds, f13, ISO 100

Edited with: Photoshop, Lightroom.