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!

 

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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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A Night with the Lights – Part II

The mission was simple… to see and photograph the northern lights once again. I wanted to get to the most convenient place I knew which also had a low level of light pollution and faced the north. I decided to visit a summer cottage and take a boat from there to an island close by. Once I reached the island at about 5 p.m., I scouted the north-facing shore for possible photo and camping options. Things were looking good, and the shore had some awesome rocky puddles running along it. I found a place to put my tent, and found my main composition area for some photography. It was quiet, peaceful and a great way to start the evening.

Above: Scouting by boat for a photography/camping location. It can be difficult to choose and settle on a location sometimes since one often tends to ask a lot of ”What if?”, questions when it comes to creating an image. The other locations were great too, but I think that they will be useful for future use instead.

Above: A bad, but idea-giving photo of my nature hotel for the night.

The main photography location for the night was good, but I also had a few other backup plans as well (including a composition with two trees in it). Time was also now starting to run out, and the last thing I wanted to do was to be out there in the dark like some lost idiot scrambling for compositions. It can work, but I personally don’t enjoy rushing things that way. The sunset was coming soon. I took a moment to rest and enjoy it this time, as I usually plan to shoot around, or just after sunset. However, that didn’t stop me from taking a pic or two :). I couldn’t resist.

Above: What a sunset it was! Not a good composition, but I took a photo regardless. Too much fiery sky to resist.

Above: Shortly after sunset. I ended up taking this shot in the place that I had planned to use for my main northern lights photo, just so that I wouldn’t end up leaving without any decent shots from the trip. I actually quite like how it turned out, although the sunset was unfortunately a bit too much off to the left. Moving the composition was also not an option as there wasn’t anything else in the area that I found to be suitable.

After taking the photo shown above, I spent the rest of the night waiting in my tent, drifting in and out of sleep in anticipation of my potential sky-bound guest. I sent my alarm for 2 a.m.-one hour before the northern lights were expected to show. Regular check ups were in order via the front of my tent (AKA ”tentavision”.), and to much of my delight the guest had decided to arrive early (around 1.30 a.m.). It was time to get shooting!

Above: The picture above was actually a ”Plan B photo”, but I enjoy it more than the one I had set up to be my main photo. It almost seems like the trees were enjoying the view as much as I was. I think of the big tree as a parent along with the smaller child tree. A memorable moment for sure.

Above: This was when the aurora seemed to be at its most active, twisting and flying around wildly in the sky. The position of it at this time wasn’t suitable for any of my planned compositions, so I just took a simple shot of the sky. The northern lights weren’t as active as they were the second time I saw them, but it was nevertheless still amazing as always!

Above: This was the photo that I had planned for as my main photo for the night. I’m quite happy with it, but I still prefer the one with the trees in it. By now it was already around 3.30 a.m., and I was starting to get tired regardless of the amount of coffee I drank. I stuck around for a couple more hours in hopes of getting more good shots, but it seemed as though the show was over and it was time to leave this island and head back to the summer cottage.

Above: One more photo to show the last of the aurora. The visibility continued to dip as the sun began to rise.

The rest of the morning involved taking an amazingly surreal boat trip in the dark back to the summer cottage. I was way too tired to take photos of this journey back, but it was a good way to end the trip. I eventually arrived back at around 5.30 a.m., and went straight to bed. I think that the short trip was worth it and I recommend that others take the time to go and watch the northern lights from time to time (or include it as part of a holiday somewhere up north). It really removes one from the bubble of daily life and can give one the indescribable feeling of connecting with something greater than ourselves. Nature and its therapeutic quality has been good to me once again, and the pictures are a special bonus. I hope that you enjoyed them.

Anyways, have a great autumn and remember the keep an eye on the weather! I think that the next show could be on the 26th/27th of September, so go have a walk and a look to the north :). See you out there!

 

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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.

 

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