Portraits, Polaroids and a Bit of the Usual

This year started off with me heading into more unfamiliar territory in terms of my photographic/visual development. I started working more often with people than with lakes (turns out they are quite different), and bouncing ideas around with others has been great fun. Time spent learning new sides of photography takes time away from the already familiar landscapes, but I believe that I must continue to explore in order to grow and maximise my creative toolkit. The goal for the future is to strike a good balance of exploring the less familiar and striving to perfect the familiar.

Thank you to everyone that has been following, taking part in and appreciating my work. I hope to create some great images this year and I wish you all the best during these strange and difficult times. Below are some images from the first few months of this year.

PORTRAITS:

After deciding that I wanted to further explore portrait photography, I posted a notice on Facebook calling for collaborations. I was really surprised with the amount of interest that I received and I’m happy to keep moving forward with this.

Above: I was really glad to have Lauri on board for this project because of his great character. The image on the left was a quick Polaroid photo taken at the end of the shoot using studio strobes. The image on the right was created by shooting through a sheet of wet glass and then blending those images in Photoshop with other various images of Joensuu at night. A fun, interesting process that I will be using again in the future.

Above: This was my second idea for the shoot, and one that I am very happy with. Lauri was great at getting into the right vibe for this, and it all came together very nicely in the end. I have used this technique before, shooting firstly the base image and then adding the smoke later in post production. I generally take photos of burning incense and composite them into the image accordingly. Even though I’m against smoking, I can’t help but acknowledge its visual impact and additional story-telling qualities that it brings to the plate.

– Lauri on Instagram

Above: Aila (model), & Lenore (makeup artist), were the first people that I chose to work with for these projects. The idea was to do something simple, subtle and to make use of hanging fabric in some way or another. I think that the theme suited Aila well and I’m really happy with how these turned out. Lenore did a great job with the hair and makeup – a whole other side of this world that I know little about but was appreciative of. Every detail counts, I believe.

The image on the left was the base idea, while the image on the right was secondary. I personally prefer the second due to the variety of shades and shapes in the cloth. The warmer tones on the model and cooler tones of the fabric help to separate the subject from the surroundings and to create a nice balance of colour throughout the image.

Above: Another image using the second idea. A small change of expression and overall colour makes a world of difference in my opinion. Almost as though the second version would be of someone you know, and the first one of a complete stranger.

– Aila on Instagram –

– Lenore on Instagram –

Above: Messing around with studio lights and a Polaroid camera. I believe it’s good to mess around as it could lead to greater ideas down the road.

Above: I decided to create a new profile picture by incorporating my photography and graphic design skills into the image. I came up with this as I thought it would accurately represent my new-found interest in Polaroid cameras, as well as strobe lights with coloured filters/gels attached. It’s most likely just a phase, but I’m going to run with it while it’s fresh and exciting.

Above: A random self portrait.

Above: Rosa is back again and did an awesome job with this one. This image pushed my skills in a very different direction and I really enjoyed creating it. It involved the use of many images and techniques. I will definitely do more of these heavily-edited images in order to develop my skills further, and perhaps I will also post a separate blog showcasing the process etc. Fun.

Above: Polaroids of Rosa using studio lights and a powerful hairdryer 🙂

– Rosa on Instagram –

Above: Iwona was great to work with and the shoot was very rewarding with many different options to choose from. The shoot started off traditionally with a more natural colour palette, but then it slowly developed into something really moody and mysterious. This image was my personal favourite.

Above: A few more of Iwona. The image on the left was my initial favourite, and was the first photo that I edited from the shoot. It ”pops”, more than the first image and many prefer this version. The image on the right lacks the mysteriousness in my opinion, but the arms being in the frame with slightly-reflective black table are nice additions.

Above: Yes, more Polaroids 🙂

– Iwona on Instagram –

LANDSCAPES, CITYSCAPES & OTHER:

I’ve had a slower start to this year in terms of landscape photography, but I believe it will pick up as the year progresses. The previous winter was not what I had expected, and although I made many plans to do wintery landscapes, I ultimately ended up being disappointed with the conditions after spending time on location. When this happens, I either leave or stick around and force myself to make the best of it. Sometimes it works (even ending up better than the original idea), and other times not so much. A bit of a gamble, but in my eyes it’s always better to go out anyways.

Above: An amazing moment as these stormy rain clouds drifted rapidly by during a sunset. I found a few rocky friends (as usual), and did my best to quickly get a composition together before the clouds passed.

Above: Another rocky sunset. Two images of the same place, but on different evenings. The icy layers in the water can either work by adding interest and seasonal context to and image, or they can be distracting and overwhelming to the eyes. Can be tricky, but at that point I was just happy to be outdoors. Conditions can make such a big difference.

Above: Took this one while waiting for the sunset. Amazing what interesting details one can find in the ice.

Above: A time-blended, spring cityscape of Joensuu. I really can’t get enough of the golden/blue-hour cityscapes from this river (Pielisjoki). During this time of the year (April), the evening sun hits the windows and creates some incredible lighting effects.

Above: Polaroids of Joensuu. I find the temperature to play a great role in the outcome of the images. The photo on the far left was taken in cold weather and placed directly into my pocket after exposure, which didn’t seem to sufficiently warm it. I like it though in some ways, and that’s just the thing about Polaroids – It’s risky and surprising, disappointing and rewarding (for me at least).

Above: One of the few local churches, glowing along the riverside during a blue hour. Although there is a possible lack in foreground interest, I found the clouds worked well in leading the eyes to the church. Taken on the way home from another shoot at the lake.

That was all for now! I’m still busy editing images from these various shoots and planning new ones as well. The current global situation will surely change my approach towards many projects, but I’m still going to make the best of it. Maybe it’s time to try still life, macro or some other indoor photography?

I hope that you all manage to make the best of these difficult times and find different ways to manage your creativity. One could take it as an opportunity to learn.

See you out there! Or maybe not for a while 🙂

Above: Extra image. My camera was taking photos as the wind blew the tripod over. Thankfully nothing broke. Fail -> win? Nah.

 

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

 

2019 – A Year of Photography

2019 was an experimental year for me and my photography. I tried to break away from the rocky shores (which didn’t always work), and force myself to take a vacation from my comfort zone. What I found was a place of mystery, full of new things to figure out and to learn from. I tried my hand at portrait photography, shooting with Polaroid cameras, longer focal lengths and finally got my hands on my first full frame camera. I don’t know if 2019 was better than 2018, but it was certainly full of new and rewarding experiences . Below are some photos of mine taken from last year.

LANDSCAPES

Above: I’ve taken many photos of this local treasure and don’t see myself stopping any time soon. So unique and so close to home.

Above: I really enjoyed the winter last year. These waves of untouched snow along the shores change in a unique manner throughout the season. I put myself in the picture to add a bit of the human element and extra interest to the scene.

Above: The journey and moment behind this picture was just as rewarding as the photo itself. Being alone on an island in the middle of nowhere at 3 am and watching the northern lights was a special moment for me from last year.

Above: Another highlight for me from last year. Probably one of the most difficult photoshoots I’ve ever done and also one of the luckiest shots I’ve ever taken. Getting two strikes of lighting within a single 30 second exposure and having them be in a compositionally suitable place had me smiling the whole way home. I was soaked, riddled with mosquito bites and happier than ever.

Above: I rarely do sunset photos during the summer due to the very late time of the sun setting, but occasionally I’ll go out in search of treating myself to one of these.

Above: Kontiolahti has some great places for foggy forest photos. I spent a great deal of time last year walking in the woods and hoping to expand on my photographic knowledge by trying longer focal lengths. It was a good experience to try something new, and it’s been good for me to fail in order to grow.

Above: I always get excited when the lakes start to thaw, since a huge amount of my photography makes use of reflections in the water.

Above: Another photo using a longer focal length on a foggy morning in Kontiolahti.

Above: I used two different lights to create this image. A camping lantern for the foreground and a powerful torch to light up the trees in the background. I hope to create more photos using this style in the future.

Above: A more heavily edited landscape from Joensuu.

Above: Another one with the northern lights.

Above: As winter approaches, one can find some interesting formations of ice along the shore. Couldn’t resist getting this one.

Above: An icy sunset near the end of 2019.

Above: One thing that I did quite frequently in 2019 was to add myself into the picture. I did this to add a bit more story to my images and I also think it makes the landscapes more personal in a way.

Above: I was out one night doing my usual rocky shore photography, but decided to change the plan and instead focus on photographing the moonrise. I really enjoyed the halo-like effect coming up from behind the treetops.

Above: This one was taken with a longer focal length from the top of a hill in Kontiolahti. I noticed a tree that stood out from everything else in the scene and decided to use it within the frame. The fact that it was misty and snowing at the same time also added some nice texture to the overall image.

CITYSCAPES

Above: 2019 wasn’t a year of cityscapes, but I’m fairly happy with this one. In this case I needed to do a five minute exposure to get the effect that I was looking for.

Above: Another one of Joensuu at night.

Above: The same place as the first one but from another angle and on a different night.

PORTRAITS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above: 2019 was also a year that I decided to start exploring flash and portrait photography. I did a lot of work with Rosa Summanen and am pleased with what was created. Many different ideas were used and I’m excited to try new ones in the future with a variety of people. You can follow Rosa here on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rosesummanen/

POLAROID

Above: Polaroid cameras can be fun, but also frustrating at times. For the most part though, I found the feedback of using the cameras quite addictive. When it works it’s rewarding and creative, but when it fails it feels cheap and gimmicky.

FOOD & PRODUCT

Above: I spent some time in 2019 working on food and product photography. I think that having a broader base of skills is important, so I wanted to introduce myself to this side of photography too.

OTHER

Above: Autumn is my favourite season of the year here in Finland. The colours never cease to impress.

Above: Birch on a dark and foggy autumn morning.

Above: An image from the forest floor.

 

Above: Sunset illuminating a branch.

Above: Another closeup.

Above: This was one hell of a snowy and winding morning. I took cover under a tree in order to capture this moment without having the lens covered in snow. The skier in the image must have been really determined that day 🙂

Above: A foggy scene from the local park.

Above: Another snowy image taken in the center of Joensuu on an incredibly snowy day.

Above: The local wolf mascot.

Above: Another fine art image created from various photos taken in Joensuu. Model: Rosa Summanen.

Above: When near a lake or big open space, the snow can sometimes completely conceal everything in the distance. It’s quite surreal at times.

Above: Another stormy photo. This was a crazy night for me.

Above: A springtime sunset in Joensuu.

Above: Getting creative while waiting for darkness.

Above: Cooling off after a shoot.

Above: Getting creative with led lights during twilight.

Above: A cold and misty morning in Joensuu, Finland.

Above: A more intimate scene with contrasting colours.

Above: Shapes of ice on a rocky shore.

That was it for 2019! This was a collection of my favourite images from the year. There were many days and nights when I was unsuccessful, but being out in nature or battling with a learning process in the studio was a reward within itself. I hope that you all had a great 2019 and I wish you all the best for 2020. Thank you all for the support and feedback.

See you out there and enjoy your year ahead!

 

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

 

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 🙂

 

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 🙂