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!

 

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!

 

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.