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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August 2019 – Photography

This last August was alright for me in terms of my photography. The inspiration is coming back, and I think it has a lot to do with the change of weather and some new, fresh ideas coming to mind. I’ve found that the summer is great for spending time outdoors and for planning future compositions. Even though the weather hasn’t personally been ideal for me, I find it often pays off to do a bit of planning for future shoots. Anyways, here are some of my photos from August.

Above: Macro photography is not something that I’ve paid attention to in the past, but I figured that I might give it a try occasionally from now on. My photos usually focus on a larger area or subject, but I feel that it’s good to try news things with photography and to sometimes just leave the old comfort zone for a while. I think that landscape photography will always be my main passion, however I do also enjoy trying new things for both fun and the experience.

Above: I was walking home one evening and I came across this amazingly orange branch along the side of the road. The glow, detail and flow of the branch attracted me to it. Golden hour is a great time if you’re looking for small patches of light amongst your surroundings. The colour is usually great too.

Above: A misty morning here in Joensuu at my favourite local spot ”Kuhasalo”. The mist on this particular morning was great, but not thick enough for foggy forest photography etc. I think that the mist worked in this situation since the background is so far away. I’m hoping for some thicker fog to roll in soon :).

Above: ”Joen Yö”, is a special night for the locals here in Joensuu. In this photo, the recently-completed large wooden building was lit up with an interesting and creative lighting arrangement. I took the opportunity to create a cityscape photo from this celebratory night.

Above: Another one from a different night, but at a different angle and earlier time.

Above: Early morning sunrise in Joensuu.

Above: A few random Polaroid photos from August :). The one with the car was in Helsinki. Speed holes?

Above: My last photo from August. I went camping on some random island in hopes of capturing the northern lights once again. I was lucky enough to see them, but it was only at 2 or 3 a.m., so technically those images are for September :). I will also upload the aurora photos to a separate post. This sunset was however a reward in itself, and it was a great way to spend the last evening of the month. I think that next year I will be camping a lot more.

So that was it for August. I hope you all had a great summer and that you have an amazingly rewarding autumn! I don’t know about you, but I am really looking forward to the change of colour in the landscape, the moody weather and the starry/occasionally aurora-filled night skies. There should hopefully be some great photo opportunities ahead.

See you at the lake or in the forest!

 

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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!