January 31, 2011

Walking on ice

This woman was walking her dog on lake ice and it gave a pretty nice silhoutte. It was ok but it just didn't have the kick in it. Then I just adjusted the curves in PS to really steep, and made all dark tones of the silhouette almost totally black. I just find the result kind of fun. At least it's different!

What do you think?

January 30, 2011

Skiing. Forcibly.

Cold. Snowing. Skis sinking a feet. This man was determined to go skiing. When I saw him he was just leaving and after a while he vanished to the horizon on lake ice. He's a real man. A tough guy. A Finn.

January 28, 2011


Yes. This is what we have in Finland. Wood.

Just drive through the whole country (way over 1000 kilometers) and you see nothing but forests. And forests. And forests. You get where I'm heading? FORESTS.

Come see for yourself!

January 27, 2011


Sunlight hitting snowy landscapes from a low angle creates interesting shapes and shadows.

Wasn't sure about the pole at first but longer I looked at this I felt it is a nice focal point.

January 26, 2011

Curtain of leaves

High contrasts of nature can make great feelings. In this the sunlight created a great mood, a curtain from leaves as the forest behind was totally black. I enhanced the feeling a little with a subtle blurred dark framing.

Some leaves just refuse to leave and stay in the tree over the whole winter.

January 25, 2011

Teddy & Santa

I guess this is supposed to be funny or just fun and refreshing but in the middle of the very dark nights we have, these Teddy and Santa looking at you from an old battleship is just very spooky and creepy.

What do you think?

January 24, 2011


Minimalism on fields filled with snow.

Some things you don't notice, even you might go by every day.

January 22, 2011


Square is a very interesting format. I feel it gives much more freedom in composition. As 3/4 or 2/3 format have many awkward focus spots, in square it's very hard to find any spots that would be impossible to handle. This is one reason I feel square is a very good format for beginners too.

Square's symmetry is also very appealing and therefore very good for symmetrical compositions and abstracts. I find it also very suitable for street photography, details and textures and for landscapes.

Some examples of square compositions:

Landscape. A tree at Vesijärvi Lake. Lahti, Finland.

Details. Symmetry.


And something else...

Now go and make a square!


January 21, 2011


The dipper looked kind of funny swimming with it's wings and diving. Pretty remarkable bird actually. They hunt for small prey by diving and hanging on to rocks in the bottom. Dippers see very well under water and can hold their breath for 30 seconds, which is quite unusual for such small birds.

Swimming dipper. ('cinclus cinclus' or koskikara in Finnish)


January 20, 2011

Last rays of the day

Sun was just hiding behind the horizon. It set extra-ordinary colors and glimmers in it's final moments.

Shot down from over 10 meter height from an observation tower.


January 19, 2011

Finnish country views

What a typical view in Finnish country side. Thousands and thousands of these old decaying structures going to waste. In a way it's a shame but they are great subjects for photography. And well... time for everything I guess. In Finland you really don't need to go searching these. Just go out - anywhere out of the city - and open your eyes.


January 18, 2011

Using surroundings as frames

Sure, you can always add frames. No news there. And sometimes the photo needs frames in the context to really work. A photo with a white background doesn't necessary go well with white wall for example. Or white web page. But be careful, use subtle tones and don't let the frame out-do the photo. White, black and natural white are sure choices.

Then you can use "natural" frames. Compose the photo with the surroundings as a frame. Windows are usually effective as well as doorways but you can use all other kind of things as a frame too. Fences, bushes or pretty much everything that you can shoot through. Natural frames create a certain mood and can separate your photo from the mass, turn an ordinary photo to an interesting composition.

Here's a window shot from last weekend.

This one is a little older photo but as you can see almost everything can be used as a frame. This is from a railway station and the frames are just two poles and the roof.

Now go out, be creative and find a natural frame!


January 17, 2011

Bench - Taking a different aspect

Sometimes you get good results just by taking an ordinary subject and viewing it from an out of the ordinary aspect. This bench was shot from over ten meters straight up. Sun gave a welcome addition to the image.


January 16, 2011

Hollola observation tower

Climbed to a tower in the area to see the views all over Hollola landscapes. It was about -20C but felt more like at least -30c at the top of the tower.

The observation tower is located around here on the hill in the area behind the church (Hollolan kirkko): Google Maps

You get nice and very Finnish views from that tower. I recommend.

And if you have some creativity and some tele lenses you might see something otherwise interesting too.

January 15, 2011


River of Kukkasjoki in cold and beautiful sunlight.  (-20C)

There was some fellow photographers admiring this view also. At least two dippers (Cinclus cinclus, or Koskikara in Finnish) were occupying this river. River bends are easy to walk and follow so this a good place to shoot dippers. Some local photographers already know the place but if you want to take a look, it's located here: Google Maps

And just for proof, this is one of those dippers.



Continuing the black and white theme...

January 14, 2011

January 12, 2011

Dogs on ice

If you like dogs, more photos of dogs worth watching here:

PhotoDogs Blog


Why should I go for black and white?

Why not?

Photography is about feelings and getting the viewer to focus on the important parts of the photo. The light and colors guide you but sometimes there is just too much. That could be the time to go monotone. Or if you don't have that much available light or you have the 'boring' cloudcast over you. As color photography usually looks best when you have a lot light available - put in black and white that light might be just what you need for the perfect mood.

Going black and white also teaches you to be a better photographer. Instead of using colors to lead you eye around the photo, you need to find a way to use the shapes and textures instead. This will actually help a lot with your color photography as well so it's a win/win situation.

Five tips for black and white photography:

- Shoot in color!
- Look for contrasts
- Look for patterns, textures and shapes. Remember, you don't have colors as your guide. ;)
- Use as low ISO as possible. This is what you usually do anyway but for black and white this is even more important. You get a lot more grounds to play with the tones in conversion phase. And if you want, you can always add noise. It's much harder to remove it.
- In post-processing, don't use 'desaturate' to make the photo black and white. Use channel mixer or Photoshop's dedicated black and white tool. That way you have more control over the tones. This is also why you need to shoot in color.

Sometimes the colors look very bland and the textures non-existent...

...but converted in black and white the image comes alive.

And last but not least some GREAT black and white photographers.

Nick Brandt
Xavi Fuentes
Ansel Adams

Now... Go shoot black and white!


January 09, 2011

Curious crow

So like the previous post said I was hunting for crows. But how it went was a different thing. Snow, white sky and quite a low light are a BAD combination with black birds. This day those birds wanted to stay very high up on the trees so that made it even harder. After hunting a while and with fingers going numb from the cold this is what I managed to get.

It's a good idea in a situation like this to set the exposure at least one stop over the camera defaults. Cameras tend to make white situations gray and dark and this also helps with the details on the dark birds. But as you can see in this situation there was no way for lighting those crows faces to get some impressions.

ISO 1800
1/500 (1 1/3 stop over exposed)
F5,6 @ 300mm

Welcome to Lahti, Finland

Snow snow snow.

I was hunting crows to shoot today (photo, not killing them). After stumping in the snow for an hour or so I started to think what people are doing right now. We are outdoor people even there is snow. On our thousands and thousands of lakes the snow is somewhat tighter than in the forests so you can walk on it quite well without sinking too much. So I went to the lake right next to our city.

First I came across this blue thing and wondered it for a while. Could be a tent of some sorts right? Not sure, seemed a little small for that.

Not far from that there was people skiing. Very popular ourdoor activity in Finland in winter. Here in Lahti we have excellent outdoor possibilities very near our city.

All were not skiing but some people were just walking on the lake even their legs sinked a feet. Some had their dogs with them for a run. Seems like they loved it like they had never done it before.

Walking, skiing... What do you do on lake and ice. Go ice fishing! Some people just can't get enough ice fishing and when the spring comes after few months there are people on ice even the shores have no ice. Crazy!

So... you can walk, ski, go fishing. Those possibilities are of course available everywhere in Lahti since we have skiing stadiums and very long skiing trails and hundreds of lakes only in this area. What else? There's possibility for downhill skiing just couple km/miles away. You can take a snowmobile and have fun on the lake or some forest trails. And you can go FAR if you want. Brave people can try ski jumping. Well... people usually go just to watch. ;)

This is what seems to be a hobby that is growing since I've seen these regularly recently. Paragliding! All the things people do!

Welcome to Lahti, Finland!

January 08, 2011