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:

 

 

 

February 2019 – Photography

February marked the beginning of my journey into portrait photography. I spent a lot of my free time watching videos about lighting and shadows, trying to understand what I would need in order to start practicing. At the end of the month I bought myself a couple of softboxes and a strobe light. I figured that it would be a good idea to expand my skill base as a photographer, and having some extra lighting equipment could become handy in the future as I could also use it for product photography etc.

I have just started playing with basics and have only tried the lighting on myself at the moment. I will however also be looking for some poor sucke… I mean, people to help me develop my skills and techniques as I practice.

Below are a couple of images from my first venture into this field of photography. Not the best photos, but hopefully I can look back on these as a memory and will be able to take note of how I have progressed. If anyone has any tips or helpful advice they’d like to share, please feel free to send me a message.

Another cool thing that I managed to do was to get my hands on some old lenses. They were both fairly inexpensive and work great on my modern DSLR. I used the 50mm (from the early 80s), to create the portraits above.

Above: Nikon 50mm 1.8 Series E on the left, Nikkor 135mm 2.8 on the right.

Another cool (literally cool), moment from February was when I went out into the night to visit my favourite local mini-island ”Voiluoto”. The air was frosty and the treetops were snowy. I took the opportunity to use myself and my camping lantern to create an image out on the frozen lake, with the island in the background.

Above: ”FROSTY NIGHT”. Me sitting on the lake with Voiluoto in the background. My favourite image of the month.

Above: ”VISITOR”. Experimenting with light in the wait of the night.

Another image from February was from when I visited Kuopio for some business but had a little extra time to check out the Puijo tower. I have been there before but never with a camera in hand. The weather and time of day weren’t the best, but one can get some quite interesting shots from the tower. I enjoyed the big stretches of forest across the land, so I decided to take a pic.

Above: Treetops from above. Puijo tower, Kuopio.

I was also doing a photography assignment in Feb, and it included taking photos of food. I took this extra one for myself.

Above: Berries, yogurt, chocolate etc. Another nice thing about food photography is that you get to eat the stuff while you do the editing. You know, to give you a more in-depth connection to the project 😉

So that was the month. I haven’t done much landscape photography for a while now, but I’m still hoping to get some nice nature-based images as soon as the inspiration and right location are found. I’m am very happy to have new challenges ahead and hope to keep them coming. Photography has grown from a hobby into something that I crave to excel at. A lifelong journey of learning and producing images that I can hopefully look back on with a nostalgic smile.

Have you tried something new or want to try something new in photography? Feel free to swing me a text via social media (InstagramTwitterFacebook), and tell me about your photography. I’m always happy to meet new people in the field and to learn and chat about new ideas.

Otherwise, hope that you had a great February and see you out there in the snow! 🙂

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!

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.

 

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 🙂