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March 2019 – Photography

March. Yeah, March was quite snowy. I spent more time indoors developing my portrait photography than being out in the snow. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, but I’m sure that when the lakes thaw and some water starts to show I’ll be back out there doing my usual business. I think that things are slowly starting to improve in the ”studio”, as well. I also got my hands on an old Polaroid in March, but there were unfortunately some problems with the camera so I will post photos from that as soon as it’s fixed. Anyways, here are a few photos from last month.

Above: A self portrait. The man behind the camera etc. I just wanted to take a simple photo of myself in the usual ”photography outfit”. My great grandfather bought this jacket for me many years ago. It’s a bit beat up, but has served me well in my ventures.

Above: Sometimes in winter when the snow is coming down and you’re outdoors in a wide open area, the landscape in the background can really seem to disappear. It almost gives one the feeling of living in a dream or walking through the clouds.

Above: Taken at the end of March, this photo show the city of Joensuu sitting along the river shortly after sunset. I want to take this photo again once the river has thawed, as I believe it will look better then with all the reflections in the water etc.

Above: There was one particular day in March when the snow was coming down like crazy and the wind was blowing like mad. This photo is from the centre of Joensuu of that day. Who needs fog when you have a ”mini-blizzard”, to create atmosphere in your images? 🙂

Above: This one was actually taken in summer, 2018. I wanted to show the similarities between the seasons here in Finland. No, not really. It’s another one from the stormy day. Too late now for April Fool’s jokes…

Above: Also on the above-mentioned day. For this photo I needed to find a tree to shelter myself while I took the shot. I found this really interesting tree in the distance and waited for someone to get into the frame before taking the shot. I must give credit this person for their awesome skiing skills, as the wind was really howling out there in the open. What a champ!

Above: An ugly puddle on a dirt road. I stopped and took a snapshot as I found the tree in the reflection to be of interest. Soon it will be full of leaves and the scenery will come to life again. Good times and late nights.

Above: Rosa has helped me a lot with starting my journey into portrait photography. I’m now able to start developing my own style and to start creating images that focus on my own personal perspective of the human being. I want to create art with this side of my photography, but also want to be able and equipped with the know-how to do commercial style work if necessary. There were more photos of Rosa that I took in March but I have not edited them yet, so they will be added at a later stage when they are ready.

Go check out Rosa (Rosa Summanen), via the link below:

— Instagram: Rosa Summanen —

Hope you all had a good March and enjoy the spring! Or as some of you like to call it with air quotes ”spring”.

See you out there 🙂

 

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!

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!