When You Nail It

Good morning! Yesterday was, as we say in Swedish, a canon of a day. En kanondag med kanonväder. Great weather, and I got so much done. I love those days, and I try to remind myself to keep them close and cherish them, be grateful. Life is so beautiful like that–the downers teach me to appreciate the days when things just come together even more. And vice versa. To acknowledge that these contrasts is what makes living such an adventure. If we can learn to appreciate each facet, every shade, then going through hardships takes on an entirely different meaning.

DanceToTheWind

Since we had such incredible sunshine and strong winds I managed to scale down our mountain of washing–mostly sheets and bedclothes–significantly. It dries in no time in weather like this. And the timing couldn’t have been better because last night brought showers of rain. It is only now letting up. In-between the loads, I managed to squeeze in a photo session on our back road. It seems I caught the perfect light because I didn’t really have to do any editing at all. I only did it because when the light is just perfect, when you nail those settings, then it is such a joy to play around with the images. Do you find that, too?

FreeFlow

When I was a little girl and visited my grandmother I would always get into her clothes. She was a hoarder, so she kept every single outfit she had ever bought since the 1950’s. Of course I wasn’t allowed into her closets but she would bring me clothes to try and then I would pose and strut around as she ooh‘d and ahh‘d. My grandmother had style. That classy, old Hollywood style. Of course she went with the times, too, but her hair rarely changed. She bleached her hair constantly up until a couple of years ago; slept with rollers and wore pearly combs to lift up the locks to frame her face. I loved, loved, loved looking at old photos from when she was younger, and she would always play Elvis Presley when we went for a drive.

MulledGauze
A while ago I learned about something called the Orton Effect, and I thought it suited this photo to get that old style feel to it.
If she had been alive today and seen me in this dress, I know exactly what she would have said. I can still hear her voice in my head, and I never, ever want to forget. Even though I have been plagued by low self-esteem and a poor body-image all my life, in her company I felt perfect just the way I was. I miss her fiercly. Memories are to be cherished, don’t you agree?

ThisIWonder

I got exactly 315 photos out of this shoot, and so many turned out great that I had a hard time picking just a few. The last ones, however, were out of focus, but there was one among them I really fell for anyway, so I will share that, too, before I go. Today I have business in town, so I am very glad we got that rain to cool down the air a little.

I wish you all a wonderful Tuesday. ❤

HazyMoments
Used the Orton Effect here, too, which kind of added to the already out-of-focus, but made it softer somehow.
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An Evening At Turajärvi Lake

Hey, everyone! The sun is shining right through my window as I write, but luckily I have blinds. Today, Jay and I are going out to spend some time together just the two of us while Lilli is with her grandfather at the summer cottage. But I quickly wanted to share another excitement with you.

TestingTesting

Not too long ago I mentioned I went on a little trip to Sweden, back to my school, to personally accept a stipend I had been elected for. I still haven’t found a frame for it but I have made an investment. With a little extra sponsoring from Jay, I went into Rauma on Thursday and got that wide angle lens I told you about in my previous post. The kind lady gave me such a shock when she told me she would give it to me for a very generous discount. I am ever so grateful. I have been in there a few times now and they are always so helpful.

NewLensYay

While there, I also got a sensor cleaning kit. I spent almost two hours on Thursday night getting that sensor cleaned. I found this great walk-through online. First I vacuumed, dusted, wiped and cleaned the entire room before I sat down to get to work.

MoreDots
Look at all that DIRT.

I had to wipe it several times over before I counted five tiny spots and settled. My neck got incredibly sore since I was so tense during the entire process. I almost didn’t dare to breathe, haha. But it is now clean and I have learned something new!

Last night, after Lilli had left with her grandfather for the summer cottage, I packed my camera and went for a drive. I ended up at a lake not too far away from here. It is called Turajärvi and it was so gorgeous. I sat down in the sand with my camera and I couldn’t stop taking photos. It was a little like when my camera first arrived, almost six years ago now. I took photos of everything, from every possible angle. Last night I felt like a kid again, even with the sand in my clothes and shoes.

BeachTurajärvi
That sun was so warm. I felt like I had stepped into another realm. And I really, really wished I could have gone for a swim, which is something I haven’t felt for years.

I spent an hour on that beach, wandering around and taking photos, and I was lucky to have it all to myself for that hour before people arrived, but I was very thankful for that time all alone with my camera. And I am just so diliriously happy I couldn’t care less about the flares. I will figure that one out, too, in time. For now, I wish you all a lovely weekend. I’ll leave you with a few more photos. And thank you so, so much for the response on my latest post. It makes me so happy to see. ❤

Kotte

SunsetSticks

BranchesAndLeaves

SomeFlower

A Challenge And Creative Exposure

Good morning, everyone! Once again I am here in the early hours of the morning with my eyes wide open. These summer nights really do mess up the inner clock, and it’s the same thing every year. Vibrant days, bright nights. It is like an endless kaleidoscope of shifting colours and lights. Mornings are like a dreamy haze, but I keep waiting for the mist which has yet to grace us with its mystical presence. The days are covered in a white film which leaves you blind as you step back inside, if only for a few seconds. And the evenings–these evenings simply glow.

Today I decided to practice getting more comfortable in front of the camera. I am too aware of that it’s there and end up thinking too much of what I want it to look like when I should just let go and feel. Sometimes that shows in my photos, and other times not. So out of the two hundred photos I took of myself today I have selected only a few.

BlackAndWhite

This isn’t actually so different from how nervous I was before I had to get up and do a presentation in front of the class back in school. I remember one of my teachers from Härnösand Folk High. Two other classmates and I had been on a seminar in Stockholm, and when we got back we were supposed to talk about our trip and the seminar in front of the class. I told my teacher about how I kept freaking out, I had no idea what to say, and I felt physically ill. He gave me some incredible advice that day which I have not forgotten since. He said (not in these exact words, perhaps): No one but you know what you are going to say, so no one will know if you mess up. And no one else but you can speak for you and how you perceive things.

MellowColours

In the end it all came down to being myself–daring to be myself. Not what I imagined was expected of me, not what I thought others wanted to hear. Just me and my words and my own experiences. Of course, afterwards I used to obsess excessively over what I had said and how that might have come across. Did I offend anyone? Did I say something that might have sounded odd or could have been perceived badly? Did I say too little? Too much? Did I sound awkward? Admittedly, that little voice of insecurity still pops up at times. These days, however, I am better equipped to let that voice be, to challenge its convictions. Also, I remind myself that we are billions of people on this planet–an unimaginably big place vibrant with cultures and beliefs, perceptions and opinions. We will always run into those who have lived very different lives than us, that are shaped by their own experiences and I believe more or less each and every one of us have our own truth. We are all on a journey to explore that truth. I see it the way I look at light and shadows falling across a rock on the ground. If I stand where the light shines, I only see that angle. I know a shadow falls behind the rock, but unless I move to look I cannot possibly know what is in the shade. And every movement around that rock will give me a different view. If I took a photo for every step it would show something new.

Sepia-ish

I believe it is just as simple with people. Simple, but I won’t claim it’s easy, because it’s not. I have chosen, though, to in the best of my ability always strive for acceptance of all these truths, whether I know them or understand them or don’t. And to remember I gain nothing from getting anxious or worried about what others may or may not think. And most importantly, different does not equal wrong, it is not its synonym. Different is just different.

CozyDreamyGlow

All throughout my time at Härnösand Folk High I challenged that voice–the many different voices of old perceptions, narrowed and bound. I stretched my limits. Sometimes I tried too hard, went too fast and was too eager when I noticed what a kick it was to break free. That, yes, I can do this. But I also had moments when I wanted to pull back into my safe cocoon. I did, too–in conjunction with that presentation of the seminar I was suffering from anemia, so it was easy to accept a sickness leave. I was gone from school for three weeks. I had taken those firsts steps, though, and suddenly sitting alone in my apartment and watching Netflix didn’t give me the escape I thought I had longed for, and I kept berating myself. I, who was diagnosed with social phobia, wanted to be back among my new classmates and teachers, even if I didn’t really know any of them yet. As I have come to wonder now later on is that perhaps I didn’t ever have a phobia, rather I was constantly running on empty by not knowing how to listen to my own needs. I need my own time, I know this now, but what I was missing, what I didn’t understand, was the balance between the two. What I didn’t know how to was to say no, to say I would rather sit at home today and read or write or whatever else I enjoyed doing on my own.

SomeKindOfVibrance

So. I am now going to challenge myself in front of my own camera. For a while now I have had some ideas for photo art projects. They came to me when I shot a severely underexposed photo, and while trying to fix it in Lightroom it ended up looking more like a painting than a photograph. It gave me the same feeling as the illustrations in the children’s books my grandmother used to have. Artists such as John Bauer and Elsa Beskow. Their pictures are so special. So magical. So imaginative and creative–the way only children’s stories and fairy tales can be. My grandmother also passed away in December last year which hit me incredibly hard, so I kind of want to do it partly to celebrate and honour all the ways she enriched my childhood. I miss her so much my heart can barely take it when I think too long about it.

WarmAndRosy

Another part is that I feel so immensely inspired and encouraged to keep following this endeavour by a wonderful Swedish artist, blogger and photographer who, amazingly, actually did an interpretation of a John Bauer illustration some years ago. I remember the first time I saw it, about two years ago now–my jaw dropped. I think I wrote a comment on how it made me think of this particular John Bauer picture–and later on I read that she, too, loves his art. And the story behind that image she created is just mindblowing. I can’t find words to describe how I felt. It transcends what I accept as reality–it is the kind of experience that makes you truly wonder how this universe works beyond what science can explain. Her name is Jonna Jinton, and if you haven’t already heard of her then I cannot urge you enough to visit her blog and have a look at her art.

It is one thing to do a yoga-ballet pose on top of a mountain, facing away from the camera, but another to convey a feeling that matches the visions I have for the art I want to create. It will require emotion and immersion, dedication and battling a lot of frustration and failures as I go along, I am sure. I have been afraid to do this, and I have thought that I should get better at photography first, better at editing and learn more about Photoshop before I even share my ideas. But earlier today as I wrote in my journal, I asked myself isn’t the process the very thing I wanted to share? The very reason I started the blog was because I figured out that waiting for the right time results in nothing but waiting.

So, once gain I will say that here I am, then. I am just going to go for it. And, as always, thank you so much for reading. It really means so much to me. ❤

 

Nature’s Order

It’s funny how these photo challenges trigger an explosion of ideas in my head. What is even more strange is that sometimes this overload of ideas I get–which happens quite often, to be honest with you, with or without a prompt or a challenge–creates what I am going to call The Bottleneck Effect. This time especially. Suddenly all I drew were blanks. Nothing came to me.

A couple of nights ago, when I had spent a lot of time editing photos, and went to refill my cup with coffee, I looked out the window and the sky burned pink. No. More like burning peaches and oranges. The clouds reflecting the sunset were a nice contrast of lilac and blue, and the clouds further away looked like blushing wisps. I ran outside with my camera and took a ton of different photos but in editing I just got frustrated. So much noise and generally just poor quality. Too much ISO? Too little? Shutter speed wrong? Or just not the right aperture for this time of the day. The light meter or what it is called showed me it was the correct exposure, so who knows? Safe to say, I wasn’t happy with it, but that is the learning experience. Some photos blow me away, and others are just meh. It just means I have more to learn.

BlushingWhisps
Just… Meh.

On my way back inside I walked past an ocean of Dandelion blowballs nestling on the side of the path up to the silo. I wondered what that sunset would look like through one of them but couldn’t get my tripod set up low enough to hold the camera still for me. On the other side of the path with a better angle stood one lone Dandelion blowball. And some of the seeds had already taken flight with the wind. But I still wanted that shot, so I set up the camera and tilted it on its side. I couldn’t find the focus, nor could the camera, so I took a few different shots and went back inside. By then I was exhausted and went to bed. The next morning I had forgotten about it.

As I write, it’s past 3 a.m. here in Finland and I just haven’t been able to sleep, even if I am so tired after spending a large portion of the day outside. I washed and oiled our cultivator so it could go into storage until autumn, and while doing it I took almost three hundred photos. It was so much fun, though. My partner thinks I am strange. The dirtier a job gets the happier I look. But, hey, have you operated pressure washer? It is fun, right? And that water spraying up into the air looks amazing.

So while I sat here going through photos I stumbled over that Dandelion blowball and looking at it I saw its charm, its character. Nature’s own order of things. That is what these blowballs are for–to be blown away, carried with the wind to create more Dandelions. And that was the Weekly Photo Challenge. Order. Or disorder. Mess. Not quite complete. Yet just as it should be and beautiful all the same. I love how nature creates these moments of reflection and contemplation. Without even saying a word. It reaches into my soul and I connect to some deeper part of myself. I find balance. Even when I might feel I am in complete chaos, nature helps me find my way back on solid ground.

I will try to get some sleep now. Lilli is at the summer cottage with her grandfather so I can make up for these hours with a sleep-in. I wish you all a good night. See you soon! ❤

Blowball

Morning Dew And Gold In Hand

Good morning, everyone! I woke up early this morning. I only needed to go to the toilet but then I saw the morning light carefully kissing our fields and going back to bed was no longer a priority. We have this saying in Swedish–morgonstund har guld i mund. Directly translated I think it would be something along the lines of the morning hour holds gold in its hand. (This mund sounds like mouth, but Wiktionary says differently. Who knows?) It basically means that he or she who rises early can accomplish much. For me this saying was literally true this morning. Everything was truly glowing. Golden and dreamy and so magical.

Radiant Stalks

I didn’t notice until I went back inside, but my fingers were stiff and numb with cold and my sneakers and socks were soaked by the dew I had been running through. I felt wonderful, though, and made some coffee before I went to settle by the computer to do some editing. And this is where I have been for the past hour and a half. Two cups of coffee later, I am finished with gathering the photos I want to share with you all. I ended up with so many. Haha.

Brilliant Fields

Sunrise Field

Dreamy Fields

Oh! Do you remember my post about the dead birch? As I stood there, shooting the fields it caught my eye. A few beams of light from the sun filtered through the pines next to it and it looked so magical.

Passed Birch

And there is something so very special about the morning dew. Soft and dreamy. Not so much when my shoes and socks are drenched, but I don’t mind. It was so worth it.

 

Morning Dew Web

Webglow

I walked along the edges of our fields for quite some time, marvelling at the spider webs. They are so pretty in the mornings. Or in the evening sun, when they look like spun gold.

Before I went back inside, it occurred to me that the edge of our garden where the old apple tree grows would probably be catching its first rays of sunlight. I hurried there after capturing some wild chervil (cow parsley). We call them hundkäx, which sounds like dog biscuit. When I was little I wondered who came up with that name because they looked nothing like dog biscuits to me. Maybe they tasted like them? I never tried to find out, though.

I wish you all a wonderful day.

Wild Chervil Glory

Wild Chervil Dew

Apple Blossom Blooms

Morning Glory Blossom

Juicy Blooms Radiate

I followed a prompt this morning and got lost in our garden. Lost in the brilliance of opportunity that spring still gives us. I will be going on a little trip soon–I hope the apple blossom on our beautiful old apple tree will wait for me. If not, at least I got to hang with the buds.

I wish you all a wonderful week. And see you soon!

JuicyBlooms_01

JuicyBlooms_02

JuicyBlooms_03

JuicyBlooms_04
This old apple tree is so, so beautiful–in bloom or not.

Dandelions And Bees

Hi, everyone! I hope you are all having a lovely Sunday. The sun keeps on gracing us with its presence and we just got back inside from grilling in the garden. I just love that crackling and sizzling accompanied by a symphony of bird song in the background.

Earlier, I was outside getting some shots of an information pamphlet but got distracted by bees collecting nectar from the dandelions. I have been reading that photography book, too, and diligently following the examples. The book is Understanding Exposure, by Bryan Peterson. It’s excellent, and I am so impressed by how easy it is to understand. I honestly feel I am making progress! And I can honestly say I have not used automatic settings, which I am kind of a little ridiculously proud of.

However… I found a lot of dirt speckles and a piece of hair stuck inside the lens I use the most, and I can’t for the life of me get it out. How much it affects the functionality of the lens or the quality of the photos I take, though, I wouldn’t know! Haha

And, seriously, I am so happy and thankful so many of you liked the post from the latest Weekly Photo Challenge. It made me all giddy. Here are a few of the photos I took earlier–with a little wild editing effects added in Lightroom.

Wishing you all a continued happy Sunday. See you soon!

PurpleChrome_Bee

BurnedDandelion

WhispyDream_Dandelion

Photography – A Beginner’s Journey

Good morning, everyone! Or, well, it was morning and then I took Loke for a walk and suddenly it was nearly lunch time. Whenever I decide to go exploring I end up losing track of time, especially if I have a camera with me. This time I brought my phone, though, because my camera has caught dust on the sensor again. After last night’s adventure down by the river, almost four hundred photos (and manual settings practice) later, I came home to find most of them in such poor quality I wanted to cry. Not only because of dust, though, but because I simply do not understand my camera yet.

Let me tell you a silly story. This is me in a nutshell–was me. After the hike with my daughter in 2015, I was super excited to see the results of the photos I took. A few photos I had taken of the sky while playing around with manual settings had dots in them. I assumed I had dust on my lens and cleaned it, took some photos, and… no go. Still those pesky dots. So I cleaned again and again, but it didn’t help. So I changed to the lens that came with my camera when I first bought it in 2011 or -12 and… still dots! I jumped online, looked around, a little sloppily I might add, because I was already in full-blown panic.

And then I gave up.

I honestly thought I had broken my camera somehow, or the lens, or both. The feeling was a hopeless and helpless one.

So here is the silly part, the me-in-a-nutshell part–I wanted but didn’t dare to take my gear to a photography shop to get it checked out because I was too afraid I would be laughed back out. That they would ask me how I managed to break it. That they would dismiss me as an amateur and tell me to find another hobby.

After that I lost heart. I would still take my camera with me–sometimes–but I had convinced myself I didn’t have what it takes. The joy I felt rarely returned. I stuck to the presets. Point and shoot. All the while berating myself for investing so much money in something I wasn’t qualified to use.

Even as I write this I want to shake my head at my former self. But I remember the journey still–from there to here. It’s so easy for me to look at all the ways my thinking patterns limited my entire life. I guess it both is and isn’t silly–do you know what I mean?

Tomorrow I am taking my camera to a photography shop in Rauma to get some help. I have bought a kit and read instructions on how to clean the sensor, and I have done so now on a few occasions, but I am in this for real now. And with my scatter-brain I need to see someone else do this in front of me, together with me, so I can learn.

The thing is, I want to take breathtaking photos. I want to create unforgettable images–transform the images and visions I have in my mind, in my soul into actual artwork. And I want them on my wall. Heck, I would love it if you wanted them on your wall, too. But, hey–one step at a time. First I have to want to put them on my wall, right?

In light of that (or lack thereof, hah), I am going to present you with some raw material from this learning experience of mine. These are but a few from my three-hour session by the river yesterday evening. Enjoy! And thank you so much for reading. See you soon!

Lapinjoki – Lappi River

A Shed In The Sunset

Unidentified Flying Objects

MehSunset

Attempting Spot Removal

…and other things!

EmbraceSunset_01

EmbraceSunset_02

Now You See Me

NowYouSeeMe
After a lot of editing.

Now You Don’t

Sort Of

NowYouDon't