When Words Hurt

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t overly sensitive to what others say. At times it has felt like that were even more true when others were the subject of criticism, but I later on realised that when I am on the receiving end, I bite down hard and try to pretend it doesn’t touch me. When in fact it cuts to the bone. I just take some time to react. Do you know what I mean? Like I don’t want to face it, or that I try to tell myself it doesn’t mean something is wrong with me — it is just this other person’s opinion of me or of what I do… or don’t do.

thoughtful-in-the-field

So many times in the past when I have found out an opinion about me that made me feel inadequate or that I wasn’t doing all that I should or not doing it well enough, I set it upon myself to do better. So much more than I had to. And it always resulted in abandoning my own dreams.

Some of us, it seems, are able to receive criticism and harsh words and they just roll off like water droplets on feathers. Whereas others, like myself, take them to heart and then try to do everything in our power to gain approval and praise. I should say, I used to.

holding-on-and-letting-go

After my breakdown back in 2014 — quitting my education, going down in hours at work, taking out sick-leave, only to resign and move to Sweden — I had had enough of being weak, being easily influenced, having no sense of self. I simply couldn’t handle even a regular day with regular moods. If I saw no smiles, if the tone of someone’s voice was anything other than light or even happy, I would break on the inside and take it as a personal failure. My entire purpose in life was to make sure everyone around me were content, and if they weren’t, it was my fault. I had to do better. I had to do more.

After years living like a bright flame on a candle, I burned down until there was nothing left to draw from.

But then I started working on it. I wanted to be strong and independent. To live a stable life in which words and criticism, others’ moods or bad days that are such a natural part of life wouldn’t unhinge me.

During this time, I came to understand I had, in fact, been strong. Incredibly much so. So much more stronger than I had to be. Over the years I had built up thick steel walls around myself and tamped down hard on those parts of me that had received so much criticism, weren’t appreciated or were misunderstood. But it was hard work, because I have also been surrounded by empathetic and understanding people. This resulted in a lot of switching back and forth. Walking around like a human mood and emotion barometer to get a reading. How do I act around this person? It was exhausting. Sometimes — and especially in my mid-to-later twenties — I couldn’t tell how I needed to be which caused so much confusion and ambivalence. I would start asking. What can I do? What do you need? Just tell me what I need to do.

letting-it-go-now

That a lifetime of this would go away in a couple of years isn’t something I have had any illusions of. I have consciously told myself it will take time and that I must let it. To force a behaviour that doesn’t come spontaneously is what nearly broke me, and the same goes for getting myself to where I want to be. Where I feel I am meant to be. For myself. Within myself. From the core.

So when I heard today that someone thought I should get a real job, those old, well-used cogs from decades of habitual use began to turn. I’ll start looking for a job. I’ll do whatever it takes. I know I can and I will just have to make it work. Somehow I will. I felt the shut-down. It took over my entire body. Like cold, liquid iron crawling over me and through me to protect me from those feelings of inadequacy. But that mechanism failed somehow and I felt so awful. Like all my emotions and my entire past came flooding over me. Yet I was oddly composed. I told Jay when we got back from Rauma, I am going outside to catch this light before the sun sets completely.

sleeping-fields

Instead of breaking on the inside, and instead of raving and justifying myself as I have in the past, my mind took me to these harvested fields and I had clung to that until we got back to our farm. Let it out. Express it. Let it go.

I used to be full of ideas once, and I couldn’t seem to even stop myself from letting that out in various ways. Some time before my breakdown, I lost all of it. I loved to draw, to craft, to write, to sing, to grab on to any creative outlet and just go for it. Until one day I couldn’t. I was empty. A hollow shell. Even if I felt so full of chaos I might crack open. Those times were my own personal Dark Ages. Music didn’t even move or uplift me as it once had.

Slowly — so very slowly — over the last two years, I have felt it returning. At times it has been like a wild thing crossing paths with a human out in the wilderness. It is curious, it wants to find out, but it isn’t entirely certain of this human. Is it dangerous? Is it a threat? But ever so carefully, it might come closer. And when it does, I get to feel and be that flaming passion to create. I love that. With all my heart and soul. Nothing else I have experienced this far in life leaves me so connected, so open and free as when I get to follow the ribbon of creativity.

watching-the-sky

As I lied there in the field, in-between running back and forth to my camera to press the shutter for another set of timed images (I haven’t gotten a new remote shutter yet), I looked up at the clouds. They were the deepest blue, fringed by illuminated light from the sun. The earth beneath me was cold and the air like chilled wings fluttering across the surface of my skin. I felt oddly warm though. A sense of peace came over me, and I forgot about what I had heard, didn’t get up to press the shutter — I stayed there, unmoving, and just watched the movements of the darks and light above me. I knew then that what had upset me so much to begin with is irrelevant. Words of others are theirs. It won’t change me just as I wouldn’t ever go out of my way again to try and change their opinion. It is entirely and fully outside of myself. Just a passing thing of no substance.

It isn’t what others say that matters, it’s what we do, isn’t it? Words are words and so flighty. They may hurt, but all I can do is to continue this path I have chosen. I know it will be difficult for some to see what I see — especially since this kind of work I do isn’t the traditional nine-to-five and doesn’t produce numbers in a bank account yet. Once it bears fruit that can be seen and touched, it will be accepted, I know that, but I can’t chase those results nor do I want to. I would frighten that beautiful and wild thing out into the wilderness again.

But I also know that what I do is good enough, you know? I cannot shake the sense I am on the right path. It is just a matter of time and I have to and want to be in the now to take it in. I will achieve what I have set out to do, but only if I nurture the connection to that which allows me to create. Belief. Trust. In myself and what I do.

running-in-the-fields

It is now Monday, and another week of opportunities has begun. I wish and hope with all my heart that you, too, dear friends and fellow folk believe in yourselves. Trust in that inner voice, even if it is just a whisper. Even whispers gain strength when moving closer.

Have a wonderful week. Much love. ❤

When Failure Leads To Discovery

Have you experienced that moment of failure that instead of leading to defeat spurs you onwards to try even harder? You set a goal for yourself, and even if you are met by dead ends at every turn, something wells up from deep inside and makes you dig your heels in. Isn’t it strange how sometimes falling down will leave you with such a sense of hopelessness you can’t find it in you to get back up, yet somehow, at other times, it is like a fire ignites within the deepest cavities of your being and you think oh, heck no. I don’t accept this.

Yesterday evening, I decided to go back to those lonely forest roads to make another attempt at finding my way to the lake. This time I asked Lilli if she would like to come along. She told me you know what my answer isOF COURSE! Loke tagged along, as well.

forest-fern-moss
55-250 mm
vibrant-fern-close-up
55-250 mm

Gravel roads lead through this area, and we met a tractor with a big load of timber on our way there. I had already thought that maybe these forests are plantations. Although not all of them seem to be actively harvested. But it would also explain why it’s such a desolate place. Maybe the forest owners have wanted to keep it that way? These are just my own wonderings; in all honesty, I don’t know all that much about how these things work. Still I find it interesting that wilderness exists right in the middle of clusters of towns and villages. And it all surrounds this lake. It seems almost a little mysterious.

 

sunset-through-spruce-branch
55-250 mm

 

We followed one of those forest machine-made paths and turned off a little before that brushy area I stopped at the first time. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the ground was covered in blueberry bushes, and they were so full of berries. I had given up on picking blueberries this season, but wow. They weren’t those little pearl-sized berries, either. They were enormous. And, of course, Loke decided it was an excellent place to have a poop. Haha In the end we had to return to the path when that whole blueberry field sat on a plateu, and the trees below it were so densely clustered I decided to search for another passage.

If I had followed that path the first time, and not stopped to stare at the thick brush of tall grass and raspberry bushes, I would have noticed it continued. So yesterday evening we wandered along that until I saw what were probably trails trampled up by deer or elk. Lilli, Loke and I followed in their steps, which lead us deeper and deeper into ghostly alleés of old and near bare-branched pines.

naked-spruce-branches
55-250 mm
forest-floor-spruce-foot-ferns
55-250 mm

What leads me to believe that this area has not been visited by any machines for a long time are the sizes of these trees, the thick and wild undergrowth, and the irrigation systems covered in green sheets of algea and tiny-leafed floating plants. A miniature landscape of moss and lichen flourished on the banks of these ditches. I have never seen anything like it. It didn’t occur to me to take photos of it because we were met by these at every turn, not even a hundred meters from the lake’s shore, and I became so disappointed I swore. Lilli said loudly MOM! Quit swearing so much.

In a last, stubborn attempt — we didn’t have too much left of daylight — I began to drag felled but thin pine logs which I threw across one of these irrigation ditches to create a bridge. They weren’t sturdy enough, though, and then Lilli started crying when I forbade her to cross. You didn’t even let me TRY! I pulled one of those traditional I am the adult and if I say they aren’t safe it is because they aren’t. I tried already! And she was wearing rubber boots which is not a good combination with slippery old wood.

The funny thing is that on our way back, I managed to lead us a different way than we came, and we got boxed in by these irrigation systems. So we had to jump. The one we crossed wasn’t as deep, nor wide and trecherous as those close to the lake.

rusty-old-tractor-cabin
55-250 mm / Lilli: I wonder what happened to the tyres?

Before getting back on the path, we stopped in a clearing when we saw an ancient, rusty tractor cabin. I took the opportunity to take some more photos while Lilli had a drink. I noticed then that I had forgotten to bring my 10-18 mm, so when I wanted to get some landscape photos, I pulled out the 18-55 mm that came with the camera. I haven’t used it since I bought the wide angle, and while I really was reminded in post-processing why I got the wide angle, I also realised that my photography truly has gotten better. So it isn’t entirely the lense’s fault. 😉

walking-among-pines-and-moss
18-55 mm / I kind of liked that I am blurred in a somewhat sharp setting.
moss-lichen-lingonberry-pines
18-55 mm
blurry-loke-among-moss-and-branches
18-55 mm / Loke rarely is still for more than a couple of seconds, and with the waning light and longer shutter speeds, it was a true challenge to capture him.
loke-in-the-forest
18-55 mm / But I did manage one! Lilli stood in front of him, talking, haha. 🙂
lilli-and-loke-in-the-forest
18-55 mm / Loke is in heaven when he has this many sticks and branches to play with. ❤
sunset-clouds-over-forest
18-55 mm

After this last shot we began our trek back to the car. My disappointment over not reaching the lake had completely settled and I was just so happy for this time with my daughter. As I write, she is most likely having candies and chilling with her grandfather in Rauma. Jay and I will go to get her tomorrow afternoon.

The lake still remains a mystery, but as I mentioned in the beginning, I am more determined now to reach its shores. There is another road that leads past it on the other side — a little further away, though — and I am going to explore what possibilities exist there next time. I do however believe I was meant to come this way first. If I hadn’t, and a clearer path indeed lies on the other side, I wouldn’t have ever discovered these old tree plantations to which I will return to take more photos of. I found them so incredibly beautiful in their ghostliness. Like old souls carrying secrets and wisdom from a time long gone. A kind of sadness clung to them, too, and I felt it as we made our way out of those alleés. I know I won’t be able to forget them.

autumn-aspen-leaves
55-250 mm
autumn-leaf-close-up
55-250 mm

By the time we got back to the car it was nearly dark, and we were all so ready to go home. I always get so tired after having been in the forest. I tried to explain it to Lilli once, because it isn’t the kind of sleepiness that makes me want to find a bed. Just so thoroughly content and relaxed. All that air and the smells of earth, recin — a sweet yet prickling freshness — and even the damp moss has its own charm. Oh, and the mushrooms. I absolutely love the smell of mushrooms. But. Lilli just gave me an odd look, wondering how I can be tired and not tired simultaneously.

I hope to be able to invite you to the next chapter of this search for those elusive shores soon. As I write this, Jay is getting the sauna ready, so I will wish you all a wonderful Saturday evening. Much love. ❤

Searching A Path And Meeting The Mist

Yesterday I went in search of that lake I have been wanting to visit. The wish to go has been with me for many days now, but the battery on our 4WD has been acting up — well, the battery is fine, but for some reason it keeps de-charging, even if we have bought a new one — so it went into the car shop. And when I looked at the lake I saw that the only road-like formations that lead anywhere close to the lake look like paths made by forest machines. But yesterday evening, after not being able to shake the incredible urge to go, I packed my camera gear and took the Volvo. I thought I’ll just go by foot.

I was so surprised when I followed the navigator on my phone and turned onto a gravel road just outside of Lappi town. After a few houses the forest completely enveloped me and there was nothing out there except a few fields here and there.

ThroughTheVeil
I edited this quite heavily to try and emphasise the feeling I had out there.

Once the lake showed up in the Google Maps app, I pulled onto a slab of bedrock by the side of the road and walked straight out into the forest.

The ground beneath my feet was almost bog-like in places, and I called up Jay to let him know where I was and to come look for me if I didn’t call back in fifteen minutes. I love how he knows I will be fine, even when I don’t — it took me over twenty minutes before I called him again and he hadn’t expected anything else. It occurred to me today that every once in a while wolves have been spotted around these parts, so I will keep that in mind for my next visit.

Even if deep, dense and dark forests are intimidating, I was more concerned about the waning daylight and stepping through the moss. I remember when we were little and how my father warned us kids about bogs and where not to step–deep, black pockets of water that will swallow anything or anyone. I have since then always heeded his words when coming across anything that remotely resembles a bog.

Have you tried to use Google Maps when navigating on foot? I find it a little iffy, like it can’t figure out my direction. Which makes sense, since we move so slowly compared to when in a car. According to the map, though, the lake wasn’t even one kilometer from where I parked my car, so I figured I can’t get lost. And I didn’t. I felt strangely guided by my feet which steered decisively in one direction. I did stick to the clearer areas and avoided the thick, black forest which appeared to consume the little light that was left.

spider-web-dusk
With the light metering showing me heavy underexposure I was amazed at how well this turned out.

I spotted water through some trees shortly after I found one of those forest-machine made tracks I had seen on the satellite images. At the same time I realised I would not be able to make it there and back before dark fell, so I turned around. The area between me and the swathes of water I spied was brushy and my instincts told me I would not find a safe passage through there. I decided I will return during the day to find a better path.

mystical-oats-in-mist

For a while now I have had this wish to take a photo where I am in a tarn. The problem has been my wild fear of black water. Mostly because of the unsettling feeling of what might hide in the dark olden depths of these woodland ponds.

I have a distinct memory from my childhood. We were out camping one summer — we drove around in the southeastern parts of Sweden, in Småland — and we stopped in a small town. There was this lake there rich with reed, and a jetty leading out some ways. I ran along it with my brothers and jumped, feet first, straight as an arrow and shot downwards just as lithely.

And I sank. And sank. Deep down into something so cold and frightening. I can’t even put into words the horror that gripped me when I struggled to kick myself loose of that chilly denseness that gripped my feet and legs. That was the last time I jumped into water with my feet first. I have been swimming since then, but I prefer the ocean. I did go swimming many years ago in the lake where Jay’s father built the summer cottage. Jay and I swam far out, and suddenly something cold and bristly wrapped around my feet and I screamed. I have never swam so fast as I did when I flailed my way back to the jetty. Since then, on the very few occasions I went back in, I made Jay keep me in his arms. But it has still been a few years. Maybe it’s silly, and I have rationalised that it was merely seaweed, but that old memory from my childhood became renewed — magnified somehow. Together with the heightened senses I gain when I am in water, I just can’t seem to get past that fear. I do try to challenge it when I can, but in certain situations it goes so deep that I end up giving in to it.

misty-fields

As I drove back home, I came through this field in the middle of the forest to see the mist weaving its way through the tree line and out across the oats. I find fog to be incredibly beautiful, always have. There is something very enchanting about it in the last light. Magical. Like the illustrations from the books I read as a child.

dansande-älvor
I never believed mist to be anything other than airborne water particles. I dreamed and imagined, even wrote stories of how they appeared when gateways between our world and another opened up. Like the atmosphere of the two meeting and the veil being revealed. A young girl who followed a ribbon into the night and ended up in another realm. / Book in photo: “Tomtebobarnen” by Elsa Beskow

After I got out of the car, I stood and watched these fascinating veils, and it looked like they were carried across the grain by invisible beings. An urge to walk into it took over and I strode ahead with a little smile on my face, like the years and years peeled back and fell onto the trail behind me. Something about my walk through the forest just minutes before had turned up the volume to something deeper, something older. Out here, I gain back my sight, my ability to hear and sense what busy, modern life seems to numb me to. Maybe it is all the technology that is the “magic”–the spell. And this — naked earth, naked nature–is clarity. I don’t know, and that is all right, but I think and wonder about it sometimes. More so these days than ever before.

stand-alone-in-the-mist

Whether or not those flowing wisps of white are more than just a natural phenomenon, no matter what my beliefs are, I marvel at the artfulness in it too. The mystical forms that take all kinds of shapes through the haze. I lost my remote shutter for my camera this Tuesday. I forgot I put it on the roof of the car when I got my tripod out for my forest walk, it just slipped my mind, and as I got onto the 80 km/h road on our way out of Rauma later, I heard a scratching noise of something sliding across the roof. In the rearview mirror I saw something black twirl through the air and shatter as it hit the asphalt behind us. Such a typical thing for me to do. And then I had recently, with a bit of luck, found my glasses which I dropped in the forest while taking photos, and didn’t realise until I was halfway back to the car. Can you imagine trying to find black glasses among moss, lingon-and-blueberry shrubbery? Lucky.

With longer exposure times pushing the button on the camera, even with it sitting on a tripod, can create camera shake and blur. I also believe I should have upped the ISO (light sensitivity — I kept it at 100). Either way I really wanted to show you these photos, especially the next one. I found it so eerie yet beautiful somehow. Those shapes in the mist, which are only flowers sticking up in the background or foreground, look like ghosts. Shadows from another time and place. And the flower itself that got blurred still speaks of peaceful solitude. Not very unlike my own feeling out there in the quietness. I wanted to take a self-portrait but couldn’t get the focus. Afterwards I thought it wouldn’t have mattered. If anything, I would have melted into the mist and appeared as just another ghostly spirit.

mystical-shapes-in-mist

I hope to return for another try to reach the lake soon, and during daylight. But the photo I want to take will require either morning or evening light, and I can’t wait too long if I am to get in the water. Soon the temperature will drop closer to zero, and I think it will be enough of a challenge to fight through my fear for those black depths, right? 🙂

Wishing you all a peaceful Wednesday. Much love. ❤

Rest’s Healing Powers

Hello everyone! I hope you are having a good week so far and that all is well with you. It wasn’t long ago I wrote about being overwhelmed and how it felt like I was getting nothing done. And I really have been so exhausted, but couldn’t seem to slow down all the same. So I really want to tell you about the amazing day I had yesterday and why.

autumn-leaf-colours

Isn’t it so strange how we carry around the solutions to our problems but sometimes it just seems like we are too scatter-brained to see it? Well, I am. Haha It was such a simple thing as going to bed earlier and getting eight hours of sleep. Can you imagine it? I’m willing to bet we have all been there, thinking in the back of our heads that I really need to go to bed earlier tonight. And then there we are, finding all kinds of things we have to get done before we feel we can turn in for the night with a clear conscience.

woman-autumn-garden

When I woke up yesterday morning my entire body felt lighter. The puffiness and darkness beneath my eyes had cleared a little, and I went through my morning routine of vacuuming on feathered steps. I even got my daughter up a little earlier so she had more time to get ready. All those things that prevent stress, I did without even thinking about it. So once I had my morning do’s out of the way, I took a shower and then stepped out into our garden with the camera. We have this beautiful line of shrubs next to the old main house (which is more like a museum now), and in autumn it is aflame with all those signifying season colours.

woman-autumn-portrait

Afterwards, Jay had a job for me. I had to drive the big trailer down to one of our fields so he could empty the harvester. It only took me two tries to reverse and turn the big beasts! I was so proud of myself and shared the process on Instagram Stories. So if you haven’t visited me there yet, some of them might still be up. I leave them there for the entire duration, which is twenty-four hours. If not, more will come as I get better and better at remembering to share my day.

rowan-woman-portrait
Aren’t these rowans just such a beautiful part of autumn? Do you have them where you live?
maple-woman-playful
I remember how much fun we used to have with these maple seed pods when we were kids. These were a little too raw still, but it stuck long enough to snap a photo. 😉

While editing photos, I started looking at the satellite captures on Google Maps to begin scouting for my photo project locations. Finland is the land of a thousand lakes and of course I ended up in the part with the least of them! We have lakes around here, but not those big ones, like out east. And Finns love their summer cottages by these lakes, so finding one that is unoccupied was tough. But I did find one not too far away, and as soon as I can, I will take our 4WD for a spin. No real roads lead close enough to the lake as far as I could tell from the map, so it will be an adventure. I will even take Loke with me, some coffee and spend as long out there as I can. I am so looking forward to it. If I can get connection out there, I will let you tag along through Instagram Stories. ❤

forest-road-spruce
I love this old spruce. It is incredibly tall.

Later in the afternoon, once Lilli and I got back from Rauma–she had her art school and I spent that time getting some groceries–I took the camera out again. This time I visited our little forest road to practice my self-portaits in combination with evening sun and backlight. I was quite disappointed with many of the self-portraits, but when I looked at them again this morning my self-critique had softened. It is a learning experience, and I still want to show you the process, which means sharing the whoopsies as well as the succesful photos.

forest-road-woman
I don’t know if it was the shutter speed, focus or unsuitable f-stop. And the disappointment was bigger since I thought to use the dead yet amazingly coloured juniper as natural filter (the flaming blur up in the right hand corner). Just have to keep trying. 😉
spruce-portrait-woman
Here you can see the juniper. And a lot of jitter on the parts of me in shadow. Which is basically everything, haha.
magical-forest-woman-portrait
I was very happy with and proud of this one. ❤

Last night would have been a perfect opportunity to practice that balance. To push pause, even if creativity and energy was way up there. But I got stuck on the road back to the house.

fireweed-dusk
Thanks to Polly Balitro and Jonna Jinton, I am growing an immense appreciation for fireweed. And last night at sundown, these wilting flowers looked like something from another world. Truly soulful. Like etheral spirits. I sat by the side of the road with my camera for what seemed like an age.
flower-blowball-dusk
Do any of you know the name of these?

I sat up till past midnight editing, and only got five hours of sleep, but I can’t say I regret it. In the past few days I have noticed the changes in nature, in the tones and colours. This absolutely magical light falls across the world at dusk and I cannot tear my eyes away. So I imagine my photos will change along with it, which is only natural, don’t you think? Change is all around us and within us. We can either fight it or embrace it. Looking at nature, I will walk into this change with arms wide open.

I wish you a beautiful day, friends and fine folk. Much love. ❤

wheat-field-dusk

Barley’s Beauty

I think most of us have seen a golden field of grain in the wind. Those magnificent waves rolling across hills in the setting sun. I don’t know about you, but it is among one of the most beautiful things I know. So much life. A soulful composition.

In my previous post I showed you some photos from my morning down by one of our barley fields. I can’t say exactly what it is about them that is so special. Maybe it’s those long whiskers covered in dew drops, the sun weaving through the trunks in the forest behind me, climbing above the tree tops. And then magic comes to life–a shimmer of gold and crystal light. Soft tones spoken among the sharp and jagged yet flowing structure.

I just love the artfulness in these fields. I hope you like it, too.

I wish you a lovely Sunday evening. Much love. ❤

structure-barley

structure-barley-daisies

structure-barley-daisy

structure-wheat
This is wheat, but I loved the contrast between the structure of it and the softness of the birch created by shallow depth of field. And that light. ❤

A Beginner’s Thoughts On Lenses

Good morning, everyone! I set my alarm for eight o’clock this morning since Lilli starts later on Wednesdays, but I woke up before seven and got out of bed. Once my eyes open my brain goes ding, and there is little point in staying since it takes me at least half an hour to go back to sleep. But, hey, I got the vacuuming done and put on a load of washing, and now I’m here with a cup of coffee.

In my previous post I mentioned I had been given a zoom lens to borrow from Jay’s godfather. I remember when I bought my Tamron macro lens back in 2015. I wanted a zoom lens but the prices on them. Wow. So I had a look around and stumbled over the Tamron lens. It has a static focal length of 90 mm, and wasn’t pricey at all–it was affordable for me on my student allowance, anyway. I figured it would give me a little of both worlds. And it’s great. Except for this purple-blue-ish aberration that shows up in strong light conditions–especially in backlight.

PurpleAberration
Taken with Tamron AF 90mm. See the purple? The image is a little over-exposed, too, but even with pulling down exposure and removing chromatic aberrations remains. So I have no idea what does it.

I get around this glitch by pulling down vibrance, which works well for me since I don’t like my images very saturated anyway. At least not that vibrant. And then I make up for the colour loss with filters and playing around with colour balance in Photoshop. I love the mellow tones, though, so it hasn’t been a problem so far.

Another thing I really like with my Tamron lens is that it doesn’t get lens flares all that easily. It does get them, they just aren’t that disturbing. Sometimes I think flares can add a nice touch to an image, but more often than not I don’t want them. My wide angle, however, I have come to wonder if it’s awfully sensitive to flares. I don’t know if that’s common with wide angles or if it’s just mine. I haven’t looked it up yet.

Speaking of flares. The zoom lens I got to borrow had quite soft flares. It’s a Canon EF-S 55-250 mm.

barley-sunflare
Taken with Canon EF-S 55-250mm. Just look at that shimmer of bugs! ❤

When I get outside with my camera I can take up to several hundred, but that evening I didn’t even get thirty shots before I went back inside. I had Loke with me to begin with, but since our neighbour across the fields has a female dog–and even though Loke is castrated now–he still is stuck in the habit of going deaf when he catches her scent. So I had to walk him back to the house and lost precious time. Only a corner of the barley field held that last golden light when I finally got down to it.

barley-depth-of-field
Canon EF-S 55-250mm.

What a lens, though. August light is much more gentle and warmer, and evening and dawn light is gentler, but even so I was struck by how soft the images were. These photos are lightly edited in Lightroom, and I added a warming filter in Photoshop. All in all a lot less editing than I usually do. I don’t know, but it feels like everything blends together much more smoothly. What do you think?

barley-foreground
Canon EF-S 55-250 mm.

Jay’s godfather doesn’t use this lens all that much, so I’m so incredibly grateful I get to borrow it. I still looked up Canon zoom lenses yesterday. I remembered only that they are expensive, but seeing the prices again–there is no way I would be able to afford my own any time soon. So I will make the most out of it.

glowing-treetops
Canon EF-S 55-250mm.

Confession time. I have been working myself up to actually getting started on these photo projects I have mentioned, but I still am nowhere close to it. I wanted to take my time to learn more, become accustomed and familiar with how my camera works and which settings are needed for what. I have also read about sharing projects, the details of them, and how it can jinx the getting-it-done part. I also seem to get stuck in the allocation of time management phase. Too much in my head, too many things I want to get done–that need to get done. Prioritising. So I end up running around like a chicken with its head cut off and instead feel like I get nothing done at all. Then I hit this oh for goodness sake DO something already. Do you recognise the feeling?

woman-on-road
Canon EF-S 55-250mm. Sidenote: I have been knitting like a maniac lately. Awesome stress relief. What do you think of my beanie and scarf? 😉

In my next post I’ll share some more on this and photos on a house project I set the goal to get done before autumn. Last weekend we had this end-of-summer celebration called Venetsialaiset. The Venetian Festival. It has been held as a tradition here in Finland for about a hundred years now, and it symbolises the end of the boat and summer cottage season. So in a way, we are now in autumn. And my house renovation goals kind of went partially to crap, haha. So as soon as I have posted this, I am getting stuck into it. Finally.

I hope you’re having a good day so far. Much love, and see you soon! ❤

Sauna Evening

Hello, everyone! I hope you are all off to a good start of the week. Friday last week, Lilli, Jay, Loke and I went to Panelia, which is about an half-hour drive from here. It’s where Jay’s mother grew up and where one of her brothers–who is also Jay’s godfather–lives with his wife. I have been there many times over the years and they are lovely people. Regardless, I still get funny when we go to meet with others. Nervous or anxious. And more often than not I have to battle with myself, remind myself that it will pass. Because it does get better. I get so irritated with myself for it, though. A few years ago I would end up staying home, so it has gotten much better, but the feeling–the knot of unease in my stomach–is awful. Do you ever feel like that?

barrel-sauna
The tynnyrisauna. Barrel sauna.

I imagine that going to sauna is one of the signifying habits of Finns. Did you know they even have competitions to see who can stay the longest? I think I only went to sauna a handful of times before I moved here, and as far as I can remember, the saunas I visited in Sweden weren’t this hot. My favourite is the sauna at the summer cottage; it’s milder somehow. All that said, when in Finland, sooner or later you acclimatise. Haha

girl-back

woman-selfie

We had the nicest evening in Panelia. The weather was beautiful, even though it got really cold once the sun set. Jay and his godfather went between the terrace and the barrel sauna for what seemed like hours. Lilli and I sat inside and talked to Jay’s godfather’s wife. She is from Sri Lanka and told me a lot about her family back home. She is the warmest, happiest person. I love just listening to people sharing their life stories–a good reminder for when I get anxious about leaving my home!

Once sauna was done, we grilled and talked in their warm kitchen.

Jay’s godfather is a photographer, and it was so nice to finally get to talk to him about photography. We looked at some of the photos I have taken, and I didn’t know what to do with myself when he gave me so many lovely words of praise. Face to face it becomes like rain on a sunny day, and all I could do was blink, smile, and nod. Haha

Jay’s godfather and I seem to share the same love for light, and he even gave me some ideas and shared a little “secret”. One I will have to try. In the end he offered me his zoom lens to borrow–a lens I have never tried! I was so excited about it and finally got to try it a little yesterday evening. I’ll show you a few of those photos in my next post.

girl-on-loveseat-swing
My beautiful Lilli. ❤

girl-hand-holding

Since I don’t really drink these days, I am the designated driver. On our way home, we had a police car behind us the entire way. Once upon a time I used to get so anxious I felt like peeing my pants in those situations, haha. And then, when we turned off onto the gravel road a couple of minutes from home, the police flashed their lights. Apparently I was driving too peacefully, which the kind policeman emphasised is a good thing. I got to blow for an alcohol test which obviously came out clear. 😉

Next time, I will try the barrel sauna, too. I couldn’t this time, due to delicate reasons, so I wandered around with my camera for a little while. Do you go to sauna where you live?

I wish you all a lovely day. Much love. ❤

Light The Gateway To Times Of Old

Light. This is my one true love and obsession, and I think many (if not all to some extent) photographers always have light in the back or forefront of their mind when they aim their lenses. Without it, what is there to capture? The presence of light, the strength and angle at which it hits the world around us is what decides what we see. How we see it. Take any scene or object and the light will dramatically affect and change the image reflected back at us.

AugustMagicalGateway

AugustMistyRoad

I drive and walk on these roads on a daily basis. Before I picked my camera back up, it didn’t really occur to me how different these very same fields, forests and the scenery they are a part of can look. At least I didn’t consider it on a conscious level.

AugustPineMagic

AugustPineGlow

I have these distinct memories from when I was younger. We lived in Helsingborg, which is on the western coast of Sweden. It was autumn and it had just rained. I walked along the pavement with my mother’s camera–I was on my way to a place where these big, old beeches grew. The clouds were grey in the sky above, it wasn’t daylight, not quite dark either, but the yellow-orange light from the street lanterns shimmered across the wet asfalt. A soft mist clung to the air around me and as I write I can feel it, smell the fallen leaves that sometimes stuck to my shoes when I wandered across a pile amassed by the wind. I even remember what clothes I wore. Black comfy pants, a blue, shiny jacket way too big for me, and those flat-bottom skater shoes. I think they were blue, too, and made out of leather.

And all this is connected to that sombre mood of one autumn evening from almost twenty years ago. That is how strongly that particular light permeates my entire being. I have throughout the years been thrown back to that day on many occasions. Every single time I encounter the same light conditions.

AugustForestHut

Low light, dimmed light, or those few stray pillars finding their way through crevices in obstructions–this stops time for me. Shadows blending with areas of light. It is like opening a book and reading the most captivating and mysterious story. I can’t tear my eyes away and my entire being is filled with wonder.

AugustPillarFields

AugustRowanGlow

I find all our four seasons very special and enchanting in their own way. This summer, however, as wonderful as it has been with warmth after our long winters, I have been getting exhausted by the long days and short nights. Light may be my muse, and even though it is so much softer during high summer than in other places in the world where I have lived, I still feel myself breathing out now that autumn is on its way. And with it I can feel my creativity returning.

AugustWebGlow

August can be very different. The air can feel like gods of old are breathing heat and moisture on your face. It can also be a soft and subtle warmth. But with the days growing shorter and the nights longer, there is respite. And the mornings and evenings seem to open gateways to other realms, older times.

AugustBirchGlow

AugustFlowerBokeh

Light’s magic is what moves me. Light–in the many forms it comes–is what ignites the connection to these beautiful and wondrous lands I live in.

Faded Memories

This past Thursday we went for a drive to an old house left to the touch of the elements for a long, long time. Jay’s great grandmother was born there and even though it is run down and falling apart, somehow I found it the most charming place I have visited in a long time.

SprucedUp

AppleTreeGardens

DogBisquitWindow

BeyondTheShrubs

DoorwayBlues

To get here we drove through the forest on a small road–you know the ones that basically have two tracks and grass growing in the middle?

ForestRoads

And all along this road sat only one other house. In better condition, but apart from the lawn around the house partially mowed it appeared uninhabited. The windows were boarded up. Perhaps to save them from being broken, like all the windows at Jay’s great grandmother’s childhood home are.

Jay told me about this place when I was in Sweden recently. He messaged me some photos and I knew instantly I wanted to see it for myself. I hope we will go back there again.

WhisperingRooms

FirePlaceMemories

ElementalRooms

CeramicsAndOvens

After we were done exploring, we went back to Jay’s uncle and his wife to have coffee. Jay’s uncle is actually a photographer himself and he took some great photos of Lilli during her naming ceremony, among other occasions.

It was a windy but beautiful evening, so I took the opportunity to walk around by myself after Jay’s uncle showed us his grape vines and green house. (I would love to get my very own green house where I can grow herbs and vegetables.)

ElementalShed

WindyOutside

WindyFocus

WindAcrossTheField

I have mentioned–a while ago now–that I love trees. My favourite tree is the aspen tree, and apparently it’s considered a pest around here. It spreads easily and isn’t worth much, according to Jay. Well, I think it is very beautiful–especially the ones with that signifying lichen growing on them. I think it is the only tree that gets them, but I don’t know why.

AspenLichen

BurnedLichenBranches

Road trips to remote places left to nature’s own laws are among my favourite things. And it was so nice to get to do one with Jay, too, since he usually isn’t up for it. He did seem to enjoy himself just as much as the rest of us, so maybe there will be more in the future. I hope so.

This post was in response to The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. Thank you so much for reading, and I wish you a lovely Sunday evening. ❤

Process And Reflections

Hello, everyone. I hope you are all having a good start on the week. On Thursday, Lilli goes back to school. To third grade. She is getting so big. For a nine-year-old she sure is tall. After this year I will probably have to start hiding my shoes. Although I guess I get what is coming to me, after all those years I borrowed my own mother’s shoes and raided her closet. Haha

We did some back-to-school shopping last week and I’m glad because we probably missed the rush of all those last minute shoppers (I’m usually one of them, dragging my feet to the very last moment since I really don’t like shopping.) It was kind of peaceful and quiet, though, which I, who don’t particularly enjoy walking around in shops unless I already know beforehand what is needed, appreciated.

WideAngleCorrection

Today I thought I would share a little more of my process. In the latest photo challenge I mentioned my disappointment over my wide angle lens, but even so I just want to add that I do also love it because of its characteristics. Once nature starts bursting with autumn vibrance, I will get started on a photo project I began planning earlier this summer. And if all goes according to how I have envisioned it, the wide angle will see a lot more action.

WideAngleSkewed

Earlier this summer I decided to utilise my Instagram account, in addition to the blog, to try and promote my photography and document my journey. I read a few articles about it, but in the end decided that I will just apply the same method as when I edit my photos. Trial and error. Play around and have fun with it. I don’t know about you, but I found all that reading strangled my will. All those what-not-to-do’s and 15 Mistakes Photographers Make On Instagram articles. (That title is just an example.) I am not saying it wasn’t good advice; I am sure it is, and I do take some to heart. But for me, who is working on not worrying about making mistakes, it prodded too many nerves and thoughts like oh my goodness I am going to look ridiculous and fail completely.

PickASmallWish

I posted this photo on Instagram before the weekend, and I nearly fell backwards when I later that day checked in to find the likes rolling in. There are some amazing artists and photographers out there who get thousands, but to me who usually gets them on average within the thirty to fifty bracket, seeing over a hundred, then two hundred, and three–I didn’t know what to do with myself. But not only the likes. The comments. So many sweet and kind words. And then the features on accounts I myself love browsing. I couldn’t stop smiling. I thought what’s happening? What made this fleeting moment captured beside our little road so special it moved so many? And then I thought I’m moving people. I managed to reach through and I’m connecting. You see what I see.

So now I want to share with you some photos from that particular walk and how I came to pick that one photo over many, many others I loved.

Let’s start with a no-Photoshop version. The end-result actually contains two different Lightroom edits, so I’m sharing one of them. ❤

NoPhotoshop

It’s kind of funny because what I wanted was to capture the daisy only. One lone daisy stood in a sea of fading clover, but I couldn’t get low enough with my camera on the tripod where it was, so instead I picked it up. Afterward, I put it behind my ear since it felt like such a shame to throw such a steadfast little flower away when it had managed to push up among all those clovers. (And then I lost it when I let down my ponytail.)

AnotherToPonder

The second funny thing is that when I got home and uploaded all the photos, I noticed the focus was slightly off, so the daisy itself is out of focus, and only some of the leaves and one tall weed in focus. And only just. So at first I wasn’t going to pick it. My first choices were between the following (also without Photoshop edits):

MaybeThis

TheOtherChoice

I kept returning to that first one, though. The one I eventually chose. So I named it Pick A Wish. All that I felt and wanted was captured in that one brief moment, perfect or imperfect, it didn’t matter. The feeling is what matters. And maybe that’s why it has become so loved. The perfect imperfection. The fleeting yet precious moments of life.

ReachToCreate

OneOfThoseMoments

When I think about it, the best photos I take are the spontaneous ones. The ones that happen when I am out walking and stumble upon a sudden wish. Motions captured in the process, and not the initial motive that made me put my shoes on and go outside in the first place.

I used to write stories once. Hundreds of thousands of words. I made up a fantasy world and even started creating languages within that world. I still have it all here on my laptop. I imagined I would maybe one day, years from now, finish it all and give it out to see if the rest of the world would find my own secret and magical lands worth becoming lost in. And somehow I ended up with the camera back in my hands. Not where I thought I would be, but I am writing. Writing and sharing the magic I encounter. Sometimes it really does feel like I am in another world–an entirely different realm. Which, truthfully, Finland is to me. Something inside comes to life when I wander these roads and forests, and I am so grateful I get to share it and connect with you.

CloverMoment

In all honesty, I can take a thousand photos in one week, and majority of them around our farm and in close by forests. Yet I rarely feel I have seen it all. Do you have a place like that? One that can be rediscovered over and over without you tiring of it? I really hope you do. So far, I cannot think of anything that brings greater peace and happiness than being grateful for what is right here. Right now.

FadedJuniperReflections

JuniperTones

If you don’t have such a place–if one didn’t come to mind–then take a moment and think on what could be such a place. To someone else who has lived in this little village all their life, or maybe to someone who passes by on the bigger road beyond the fields, it may not look like much. So that one little corner of our world might not seem very special at a glance, but if we slow down and let ourselves be, I would be willing to bet we all find that one piece of magic somewhere close.

HazeBerryDreams
A few straying rays from the setting sun through branches and leaves can turn into a glowing dream if you squint your eyes.
JustFoliage
Weeds and foliage can appear as a golden fantasy land in a light breeze at dusk.

I stopped on my way back to the house to capture these roadside weeds, and as I hunched down another lone flower caught my eye. Like a shimmering bell. It seemed to, just like me, soak up the last light of this wonderful August evening.

BellDrop

I wish each and every one of you a great week. Much love. ❤