Mänty-Sketches #3

Most of the snow in this area had finally given in, accepted that it’s time for Spring to get into business and melted away. The conditions are about to get better and I start to get back into the business myself again and keep my blogs running again.

Before continuing with fresh material, it’s time to publish and put a lid on the Mänty Sketches Project, if only for the next few months.

Before I get caught up with writing, I’d rather present you the last few images for the project.

For more images from this series feel free to visit the gallery.

The Mänty Sketches #1

It is now two years ago that I launched a project, which I called the Winter Trees-Project, which is, as you have guessed already, about trees, well, in Winter time. The project did though not really progress much during that time. Truth to be told and good idea aside, nothing really happened.

When I initiated this small project I thought it to be a good idea, as

  • there are trees literally everywhere around here, and
  • I am not very comfortable photographing them, hence it would be a good project to develop my eye.

The Mänty, or Scots Pine, is probably one of the most common trees around here and once covered with freshly fallen snow, they often are exceptionally beautiful. The reddish colour of the trunk, the muted dark green of the leaves create a beautiful contrast with the fresh snow.

Back then though, my vision appeared to be not clear enough and the results weren’t really satisfying. It felt like, pardon the pun, I didn’t see the forest for the trees. During the last two years my eye and mind seemed to have been working in the back of my head and even though I wasn’t actively pursuing the project, my vision, or the idea, got clearer until it struck me and eventually started to see these images.

Now it’s merely an issue of waiting for the snow to fall, which for some reason this year hasn’t happened much, finding the right views or simply trees that have character.

Many of these images were taken during heavy snowfall which gave the images occasionally an impressionistic impression. Due to this I chose to entitle the series Mänty Sketches similar to my previous winter related series the Mountain Sketches.

The project is still in it’s infancy and more images will be added over the next few weeks and months in individual posts. A compilation, the best-of or portfolio if you will, you can find on the projects page.

My Best Of 2011 – The Photographs

Sometimes it is hard to believe that yet another year is soon about to be referred to as last-year and it’s that time of the year again to sit down and do a little recap, just like last year. This first post can be referred as the photo-edition.

In photographic terms it was a pretty successful year, even though many things and trips that I had planned didn’t quiet worked out the way I hoped for. As opposed to the previous years I had only limited time and possibilities for extended photographic journeys, yet I returned from most of these trips with successful compositions.

The two larger trips to Norway were symptomatic for this year: Successful in terms of produced images but not really in terms of execution and both ended much earlier than intended. Rather unfortunate, yet beneficial weather conditions and an drained car battery in Lapland come to mind. Still the images and the two projects which came out of these failed trips are amongst my all time favorites (at least so far).

Feel free to visit the Mountain Sketches, Falls and Poro in Motion projects to view some of these images within context.

Luckily not all trips turned out to have an unexpected twist and we had time for a road trip through the north and east of Finland in which I could contribute images to my Falls-Project and further explore the Finnish Lapland. Most of these images are still waiting to be processed though.

This year also was interesting since I started to work both technically and concept-wise a bit different from the previous years. For starters I definitely used my 70-200 what felt almost exclusively which led naturally for much different compositions. Getting a bit away from the usual ’wide-angle’ compositions presented itself as a welcome refresh to my work and opened up my eyes and compositions a bit.

Technical aspects aside, I started to think more in terms of projects, stories or series other than searching for the one image, and I have to say, this approach had a liberating effect to my work. Working, or better thinking more in creating a series of images, telling a story and creating a ”body of work turns out to be very inspiring. A first glance at works like this you can find in my articles An Evening At The Harbour, A Violin Teacher’s Room and Kiutököngas – A Series which are just the beginning with more to come in the future. Also the yet to be released “Winter-Trees” and “Lamp-Squirls” are very interesting, at least for me. But those will be out in the beginning of next year.

In an upcoming post I will reflect a bit more on behind-the-scenes-kind-of topics but until then here are my ten personal favourites from this year.

Just as last year this post will also contribute to Jim Goldstein’s Blog Project. Read more about the project on his blog


A Violin Teacher’s Room – A Photo Story

Summer, with all it’s landscape-photographic opportunities is but a distant memory and another winter is just around the corner. The days are significantly shorter and darker by now and finding time for some landscape photography is getting increasingly difficult. It’s just about time to think about some photographic projects to keep me a bit busy, and this could become one of them.

If you visit here from time to time you might have noticed me mentioning the acquisition of a Ricoh GXR, which is a very fine and small camera. I have made it a habit of carrying it with me almost all the time just to be prepared once something catches my eye – just as it was in this case.

A Violin Teacher’s Room

A few months ago I visited this room for the first time and the coziness of this, let’s call it, combination of workshop and teaching facility has appealed to me in an instant. The room simply has character something that in times like these, in which teaching facilities favour a clean and functional style, seems to be forgotten.

Many images were hidden in here and exploring the room in the soft autumn light coming in through the window had been a treat. But now feel free to explore the room yourself in this series.

It is always a pleasure to return into this room and I’m looking forward to explore similar cozy facilities like this one. That is, if I find them, but that of course is a totally different story.

Aside from being a not-landscape-ish post it’s also a rare post in which my profession and my passion collide. Aside an occasional Instagram or a random Tweet out of boredom during a break, I have kept my profession so far out of this blog.

An Evening At The Harbour

It appeared what to become a perfect sunset when I left home – clouds and sun just right for taking out the Big Stopper which I finally wanted to work with. I planned to visit a beautiful and romantic little fishing harbor in Kiviniemi, Finland and do some long exposures of the piers and boats with some nice light and capture the movement in the clouds.

As so often during this year my plans didn’t quite work out but new and different options offered themselves. By the time of my arrival the clouds spent their time in the sky just about everywhere, but not where I needed them.

It was obvious that my planned images will not work out and instead I simply took my Ricoh GXR and explored the buildings in the harbour and chose to photograph a series and try to tell a story about this place. Paired with a few long exposures using my 5D this turned out to be a very nice combination.

Harbours like these are easy to be found along the coast and this first post might become the beginning of new project or maybe series here on the blog.

I’m very satisfied with the outcome of the series and the quality of the Ricoh GXR is simply fantastic. Couldn’t be happier with the functionality and the handling of the camera. In fact I would like to see a few of it’s features in my 5D MkII.

Poro in Motion – A Project

It takes me less than an hour of drive to the north to pass the so-called pororaja (the reindeer-border) and depending on time of year more and more reindeers are appearing all over the place. Usually in front of the car.

Daring ( ;-) ) animals as they are and bred by humans they show no fear and seem to have the habit to happily feed next to the road or more commonly, to simply walk right in the middle of it.

Surely, not always, but often enough.

The Project

Inspired by a similar image I have had the idea for an image like this for now two years, and even though I pass reindeer ever so often, I never had the time to take a picture like this. During my trip to Ukonjärvi though I had finally the chance with the right conditions, the backdrop being right and even more important: I remembered!

Working with the panning technique I aimed to blur not only the background but the animals as well. It wasn’t my intention to keep the animals more or less sharp. I am more interested in the tones and shapes for this project. More like a sketch, or abstract painting.

Sounds much easier than it actually is, but some of the images turned out satisfying.

This is an ongoing project and I hope to add new images to it in the future.

The Korouoma Canyon

After driving through heavy rain we arrived in the Korouoma canyon late in the night and finally found some well deserved sleep. In the morning we started to explore the area and since neither of us has visited this location before, we weren’t at all sure what to expect. I knew that the Korouoma canyon is a popular place for ice-climbers during the winter season and naturally I expected to find a rather high and steep waterfall somewhere around here.

While the actual location which is used for ice-climbing didn’t quite work out photographically in this time of year (there was no water worth mentioning) this waterfall, which is located right in the beginning of the path down into the canyon, turned out to be rather nice to photograph.

Even though it was still early in the morning, the sun was already high up in the sky, but the dense forest did it’s best to diffuse the light just about right to make longer exposures easily possible. Additionally the waterfall was rather co-operative in that regard that the spray from the fall was rather mild, hence I was able to get close enough for some rather dramatic images.

I finally could put my much under-used polarizer to good use and reduced unwanted reflections and increase the overall impact of the scene.

These images are another addition to my Falls-Project. Read more about the project on this page.

Kiutäköngäs – A Series

It was only planned to be a little road-trip, but in the end the resulting images became part of my Falls-Project.

Our little road-trip leads us to our first destination in the east of Finland, a waterfall called Kiutägöngäs a bit north of Kuusaamo. I’m little familiar with the location as I have visited this waterfall, or more correctly rapid, once before now two years ago. During that visit I had a good chance to explore the scenery and then focused more on wider views.

Somehow though I didn’t had the feeling that I managed to capture the essence of the place and was not entirely satisfied with the outcome. This time the lack of light, switching to B&W and using a long lens inspired me to approach the torrent from a different angle.

Essentially this torrent is a wild river which caved its way through the hills and even though the rapid is rather large, it is though a narrow place and not necessarily easy to photograph.

Continue reading “Kiutäköngäs – A Series”