Photography Update 2020/2021

I’ve been away for a while. Life has changed for many of us during these times, and that includes my life too. Social media has also taken a huge backseat for me – not because I have nothing to like or to share, but just because I have and always will take breaks away from it. I enjoy the feedback and inspiration that comes from spending time on social media platforms, however it stops appealing to me when I start feeling like I have to use it to enjoy my life and my photography. Inspiration pops up in other offline forms and taking a break has brought along an introspection into my creative processes. I seem to have a problem with getting comfortable doing personal projects in a predictable manner over long periods of time, and turning off the usual ways of channeling inspiration in favour of others has often proven useful to me. Occasionally, I enjoy looking online at other artists work in order to spark ideas – other times I’ve found it useful to just pick up a random camera, walk out the door and see what happens – an exercise in creativity.

Above: Fun moment from last summer with one of my cameras. Photo by my aunt (Tana Tiilikainen).

Speaking of exercise, I spent a lot of time last autumn hiking and exploring Kontiolahti in the early mornings, often returning to the same spot in hopes of getting the right weather conditions for the shot. I managed to get some decent photos, and just being there in the swamp/near the water was incredible (found some kantarelli mushrooms too). I dabbled in some portrait photography last year, but I haven’t returned to it yet this year. I will do so when the time is right and hopefully I can still take photos of the people that I didn’t get around to doing last time.

Above: A few of my film cameras.

Film photography has also grabbed my interest to a greater degree in recent times. The old, vintage cameras are incredibly fun to use (when they work), and the many types of film available have been interesting to experiment with. I haven’t been able to get ahold of any professional-level film cameras since they are quite pricey these days, but those which I have found I have appreciated whole-heartedly. There is a real ”hands-on”, mechanical feel to using older gear, and despite the many failures on my part (and sometimes the cameras too), I’ve really grown to appreciate photography in a much deeper sense than before. That being said, I am someone who is generally drawn to old as well as new technologies, music, art etc.

Anyways, enough of my rambling. Here are some of the photos I’ve taken over the last year or so. Hope you enjoy 🙂

Above: Let’s start this off with a smile 🙂 Doris joined me last year for a fun and challenging photoshoot. It was fun in the sense that there were many laughs as well as a few interesting and varied backdrop locations within a relatively short distance. The challenge came in with the weather – harsh sunlight in the middle of the day made it tricky to work around the strong shadows, but we had a blast regardless and many of the photos turned out nicely. Doris was also well prepared and many thanks to her for making the trip.

Camera: Nikon D800 Lens: Nikon 60mm 2.8D Camera settings: 1/250, f5.6, ISO 50 Other: Off-camera flash, softbox Scanner/Software: Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

Above: Another one from the shoot with Doris.

Camera: Nikon D800 Lens: Nikon 18-35mm, 3.5-4.5G Camera settings: 1/250, f8, ISO 100 Other: Off-camera flash, softbox Scanner/Software: Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

You can find Doris here on Instagram.

Above: Last year I started a day job working for a small village outside of town. I made an effort to take my camera with me every day as occasionally some interesting weather would swing by. These photos were taken on the way to work on a misty morning. The grain works well in my opinion for the foggy photos.

Camera: Nikon FG-20 Lens: Nikon 50mm 1.8E Film: Ilford XP2 400 Scanner/Software: Epson V550, Siverfast 8, Epson Scan, Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

Above: What a moon! I was out fishing on the lake one summer night when this amazing sight appeared. I was lucky enough to have my 300mm lens with me and I managed to get a decent shot despite it being handheld with only a few options for composition. A rocking boat is not ideal…

Camera: Nikon D800 Lens: 300mm AF Nikon f4 ED Camera settings: 1/320, f4, ISO 1250 Scanner/Software: Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

Above: I gravitate in a nostalgic sense towards this photo. It symbolises summer for me in many ways – being out on the lakes fishing, exploring and just enjoying the rarity of baking under a toasty midnight sun. In terms of the conditions, there are a few things I think that would have made this photo better, but in the end it’s a photo that’s more to me about the moment and the memory than the ”wow”, factor.

Camera: Rolleicord IIe Film: Portra 400 Camera settings: Can’t remember Scanner/Software: Epson V550, Epson Scan/Silverfast 8, Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

Above: For many years my uncle had been pointing out a particular large rock to me. Its height was very near to the surface of the water, so we decided to have some fun and put a chair on the rock for him to fish from. I took this snap for fun and decided to keep the dust and scanning issues etc., in the photo.

Camera: Rolleiflex T Film: Ilford XP2 400 Camera settings: Sorry, my dog ate them Scanner/Software: Epson V550, Epson Scan/Silverfast 8, Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

You can find more of my uncle here on Instgra… just kidding, he doesn’t give a fuck.

Above: This image was cropped from a square format photo taken on one of my old film cameras. I was rowing a lot over the last summer and came across this tree that sat fairly far out on the lake. I wanted to capture it when the sun was going down and when the direct sunlight was only hitting the tree and the background. I tried waiting for the sunset to kick in and for the colours to become more subdued and golden, but by the time that stage came by the light was not singling out the tree anymore. I’m still happy with this shot despite the lack of the regular shades of sunset colours, and I’ve also learned to take more landscapes at times of the day other than sunrise or sunset. It was important for me that the tree was lit well in this pic.

Camera: Rolleiflex T Film: Portra 400 Camera settings: N/A Scanner/Software: Epson V550, Epson Scan/Silverfast 8, Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

Above: I was out in Kontiolahti on my way back from a shoot when I heard this swan calling out for its partner. I grabbed my 300mm lens and took a few photos of the swan on this misty pond. Eventually the second swan arrived and by that time I was happy enough with my day, so I decided to pack it up and leave.

Camera: Nikon D800 Film: 300mm AF Nikon f4 ED Camera settings: 1/320, f8, ISO 400 Scanner/Software: Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

Above: I’ve been to and photographed this jetty many times, but I just can’t help photographing it when I’m in the area. I had an excuse this time though – there was a nice sunrise going on and I’ve never tried it with film before 🙂

Camera: Rolleiflex T Film: Ektar 100 Camera settings: N/A Scanner/Software: Epson V550, Epson Scan/Silverfast 8, Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

Above: Same place as the previous pic but different morning. Felt it gave off an incredibly mysterious vibe so of course I had to do it.

Camera: Nikon D800 Lens: Nikon 18-35mm, 3.5-4.5G Camera settings: 1/250, f11, ISO 400 Scanner/Software: Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

Above: A rocky lake shore in Joensuu. I’ve done this style of photography for a long time and will probably continue to do it, if not only for the fact that I appreciate being near a lake and watching the sun go down.

Camera: Nikon D800 Lens: Nikon 18-35mm, 3.5-4.5G Camera settings: 1/2 sec, f16, ISO 50 Scanner/Software: Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

Above: I visited this swamp so many times last autumn in hopes of finding misty mornings. I got lucky a few times and it was a really awesome change for me since I’ve never done a lot of morning photography, especially at that location. These trees were really amazing to discover and to photograph – many similar looking ones mixed in with the occasional odd one – kind of like people. The cool colours of the fog mixed with the warm autumn tones of the foreground were a real treat for me. Also, I’ve learned that a lack of good boots leads to wet socks, as well as slushy sounds coming from the feet whenever movement occurs.

Camera: Rolleiflex T Film: Ektar 100 Camera settings: N/A Scanner/Software: Epson V550, Epson Scan/Silverfast 8, Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

Above: Another patch of trees that really stood out for me. I just found the lighting to be amazing, as well as the misty backdrop.

Camera: Rolleiflex T Film: Ektar 100 Camera settings: N/A Scanner/Software: Epson V550, Epson Scan/Silverfast 8, Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

Above: This photo doesn’t have the ”wow factor”, but it’s another that I quite like. I went really simple with the editing as I have started to do with a lot of my photos. There are some that I will edit a lot, and others that I feel don’t need it at all. This one needed subtlety, and I reckon the cool misty tones work better with it in that way.

Camera: Nikon D800 Lens: Nikon 135mm f2.8 Camera settings: 2,5 sec, f16, ISO 400 Scanner/Software: Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

Above: Greeeeeen! Damn it was green that day 🙂 This is the same swampy area as before but on a different day. I waited a long time until the direct sunlight only hit the trees in front and not in the background. Think it worked well and I’m always happy to get a shot that is unique in it’s own way, since I usually don’t have such strong greens in my photos.

Camera: Nikon D800 Lens: 300mm AF Nikon f4 ED Camera settings: 1/100, f7.1, ISO 1250 Scanner/Software: Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

Above: Another shot I decided to keep things simple in terms of editing. This scene caught my eye as I was really drawn towards the variety of colour, the mood and the character of the tree. Autumn is amazing here in Finland – so much to offer.

Camera: Nikon D800 Lens: 300mm AF Nikon f4 ED Camera settings: 1/100, f8, ISO 400 Scanner/Software: Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

Above: Similar story as above but cooler colours.

Camera: Nikon D800 Lens: 300mm AF Nikon f4 ED Camera settings: 1/125, f8, ISO 400 Scanner/Software: Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

Above: For the above shot, I spent years meticulously planning and racking my brain to finally pulling off this highly creative shot. No, just kidding, my film camera jammed and this is what happened. Was a surprisingly interesting mistake though 🙂

Camera: Rolleiflex T Film: Ektar 100 Camera settings: Oops Scanner/Software: Epson V550, Epson Scan/Silverfast 8, Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

Above: Photo of some roots. Not much more to say.

Camera: Polaroid Onestep + Film: Polaroid i-Type Camera settings: N/A Scanner/Software: Epson V550, Epson Scan/Silverfast 8, Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

Above: Last spring I found a patch of reeds nearby to where I live and decided to contact Rosa once again for a shoot. It was nice to get outside and shoot outdoors for a change.

Camera: Nikon D800 Lens: Nikon 60mm 2.8D (love this lens) Camera settings: 1/250, f8, ISO 50 Other: Off-camera flash, softbox Scanner/Software: Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

Above: Some film photos of Rosa shot in studio. Really enjoyed trying this out and hope to do more in the future.

Camera: Nikon FG-20 Lens: Nikon 50mm 1.8E Film: Ilford Pan F Plus 50 (Left photo), Ilford XP2 400 (Right photo) Scanner/Software: Epson V550, Siverfast 8, Epson Scan, Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

Above: The digital camera version. Edited the eyes etc.

Camera: Nikon D800 Lens: Nikon 60mm 2.8D Camera settings: 1/60th, f8, ISO 50 Other: Off-camera flash, softbox, light modifiers Scanner/Software: Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

Above: The Polaroid version. Wish I would have had black & white film for this one, but I still like it regardless.

Camera: Polaroid 636 Close Up Film: Polaroid 600 Camera settings: N/A Other: Off-camera flash, softbox, light modifiers Scanner/Software: Epson V550, Epson Scan/Silverfast 8, Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

Above: ”Submerged”. This is one of the photos/images that of course needed tons of editing. It was created in an interesting way – using my photos from my studio of Rosa and long stretches of material mixed with underwater GoPro shots of some fish I have taken many years ago (I knew they’d come in handy some day!). Other effects etc., were added in Photoshop.

Camera: Mixed Lens: Mixed Camera settings: Mixed Scanner/Software: Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

You can see more on Rosa Summanen here on Instagram.

Above: Joensuu town hall at night. Changes have been made around the park and marketplace so I decided to take a photo.

Camera: Nikon D800 Lens: Nikon 18-35mm, 3.5-4.5G Camera settings: 20 sec, f16, ISO 50 Scanner/Software: Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

Above: I went to Koli not too long ago and took a quick shot with my phone from one of the the few available places to explore (the paths were extremely slippery and covered in snow). I really hope to visit more often in the future so that I can spend more time photographing the area. It’s a truly incredible place to be and one of the few places in Finland that has a more elevated terrain (or at least I believe so).

Camera: Samsung something something phone

Above: Another quick shot from Koli, but using one of my old TLR film cameras. Really need to get back there to do more.

Camera: Yashica 635 Film: Ilford XP2 400 Camera settings: N/A Scanner/Software: Epson V550, Epson Scan/Silverfast 8, Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

So that’s it! For now at least. I hope you’ve all been keeping well through these times and are able to pursue your creative endeavours. I’m aiming to get back into photography more often so that I can learn and further develop my personal style of creativity.

P.S I will be doing some scouting/hiking/exploration for future projects etc., during the spring, so if you’re in the Joensuu area and have any suggestions for locations or are looking yourself for something to photograph, feel free to give me a shout 🙂

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

July 2019 – Photography

This summer has been a bit slow for me in terms of photography. Although the season has many unique and interesting weather conditions, I found myself staying up late for the midnight sunsets only a handful of times. July was definitely not my best month for photos, but it was still a blast to be outdoors and enjoy the heat, sauna and swimming. Autumn is around the corner and I have a feeling that it will inspire me once again to create some interesting images. Below are a few photos from July.

Above: I spent a fews days at the summer cottage again this year. This is a simple shot of the moon over the lake.

Above: Another of my favourite local island ”Voiluoto”, here in Joensuu.

Above: Summer is great for swimming. Another simple shot on a summer night.

Above: I was in Helsinki this July for a week or so, and finally decided to visit this monument dedicated to Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. If you visit this site, make sure to go underneath it and grab a shot. Interesting.

Above: A few Polaroid photos from around Joensuu using my SX-70.

Above: My portraits for the month 🙂 One of my family members recently got a dog, so I spent a bit of time in the yard with this little dude and snapped a few. I’m still editing a lot of photos from my previous shoots with Rosa Summanen, so I will probably add more of those to my website when they are ready.

 

That was it for July. I think that autumn will bring the weather conditions that I crave and I hope to get some great shots once again. Hope you all enjoy the rest of your summer and get some great photos!

 

See you out there at the lake!

 

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!

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!