The Meaning In The Journey

Good morning, dear friends and folk! When I got up this morning, Loke had left me a little present on the dining room floor. Sometimes, if I get up really early, he is still so tired that he doesn’t come to greet me, but if I myself hadn’t been so tired in spite of getting up later, I would have understood why there was no happy bubbas anywhere in sight to tell me good morning. He was very, very ashamed of his little accident.

For many days now I have meant to do a blog post, but as I sit here with my big cup of coffee and write, my mind is so hazy I can’t even remember all the things that have gotten in the way. And the photos, which I have wanted so badly to show you, didn’t get ready until last night. I can sit with photos for hours spread out over a few days, but I don’t think I so far have spent this much time on editing as I did with these. So today I thought I would be sharing a lot of photos. I had hundreds but managed to scale it down to about twenty. I am splitting them into two posts, though, since the words once again took me in another direction.

autumn-reflection-reed

I think I have mentioned that very often I like mellow colours and tones in my images. So it’s so rare that I touch vibrance and saturation on the colour bars in Lightroom. Other than to take it down, of course. Now that autumn is here, I realised this and subsequently how little I know of bringing out colour. Either I mess up the saturation so that it feels like everything is screaming at me, or if I want to make a specific colour pop, another suffers. Am I making any sense? And then I want to keep it true to the colour palette we see with our eyes, while still adding my feelings into it.

It’s difficult to look up tutorials; I basically just have to sit with the sliders until my heart does a little somersault and I know it’s right. No tutorial can tell me which settings are in tune with my emotions, nor any of these thousands of pre-sets for Lightroom I have noticed are around. Kind of like how no one can tell us what our purpose is — we have to figure that out for ourselves by searching within.

autumn-colours-on-branches

To have a purpose in life, as many have mentioned in books I have read over the years, is so important — if not the most important thing. Without it we seem to float through the motions as the days pass. I like to think of it as a compass by which to navigate. It gives us direction, and in any situation, if we have that, we will look at solutions that will keep us steady on our feet. When there is a fork in the road, it will give us a hint which one might be the right one to choose in order to stay true to our purpose. Our true self.

dew-frost-spruce-branches

All that said, I am not yet entirely certain of my purpose. Still I don’t think that is an uncommon thing, and especially not since I for so long have tried to dance to borrowed tunes and loaned ideals. I have wanted to appear to be on the right path, know what I want, do the right thing. Oh, those perceived expectations and notions. But I can honestly say that I am coming to be at peace with that it’s okay. We all do what we in any given moment think is right, don’t we? We go by what we know today and try to make the best of it. As we gain experience and ability to shift our perceptions, we move. I don’t know the right formula for it, but I do know all these paths — steps through failure and success — I have taken lead me to where I am today. Because I was meant to. Because I needed to.

To make mistakes, to realise a choice I made wasn’t the best but yet necessary is part of the journey I believe, and it is only recently I have been able to stop to release a breath and forgive myself for them. Some of them. Self-forgiveness is such a hard thing, don’t you think?

autumn-rowan-berries

Ever since I got up this morning I have been coughing and I still have this congested feeling in my chest. As I said, last night I finally finished editing all these photos, and first I thought I would have a date with Poldark — the newer British-American BBC series about a man in 18th century Cornwall who comes home from the war in America to find life quite changed. I love the music, the scenery, and the mood in it. But. Then I opened up a new draft and decided to eat my carrots with dip sauce and write instead. Just as I began, Jay came to tell me he needed my help outside. So I spent the remainder of my (very late) evening among rumbling machines and whooshing grain. The mist outside was so thick I could see the pillar so clearly when shining the flashlight out into the night. We both thought of what marvelous photos that could have produced, yet neither of us know how to photograph in complete darkness.

shimmering-web-branches

My job was to stand ready to run and shut hatches when the silo was full. Jay sat up close to the rafters and shouted down over the noise when it was time.

The grain dryer has been going day and night and we have used up so much fuel it’s insane. It has been so wet here, and before we transfer the grain to the silos the moisture has to go below a specific number. Jay showed me how to use the knifty meter and how to start the necessary machinery to get the grain moving in order to be able to take a sample.

It is like a maze out there, with all the stairs to the different levels and all the silos within the building, which has been expanded over the years to house more silos. I would bring my camera out there if it weren’t for all the dust. However, Jay just got a camera meant to withstand dirt and even water — he submerged it in a sink full of water and took a selfie! Haha. So I will see if I can borrow it and show you around.

autumn-forest-shimmer

As I walked around between one of the containers the grain goes through before entering another pipe system and to look up toward where Jay was, awaiting his signal, I had much room for thoughts. While I have to ask Jay to pace himself sometimes when I’m out working with him — he gets so excited about explaining and very often spices it up with storytelling — once it’s time for the actual work, I can be alone with my thoughts. I really love that about this part of farm work. Sure there is a lot of bureaucracy — rules and regulations to abide by — administrative work, and the general business side of it, but since I am actually not employed nor am I listed as a worker on this farm, there are aspects I never deal with. But I do want to learn and it is part of life on this farm. Jay’s mother did these things, too, even if she also had a job to go to.

autumn-light-lichen-wood-log

 

While I might not be sure yet of my purpose, I still have a feeling. It’s kind of like I can sense that compass, but with the daily challenges of my past and on the days I struggle extra hard, I sometimes think of it as fumbling through mist. I might catch glimpses of shapes and silhouettes, but then they move just out of reach to distinguish. They are there, though — I sense it. And that is what keeps me searching. Can you relate?

Before I go on to await my first practice session with driving the harvester, I would like to show you one more photo I forgot in my last post from my walk through the forest.

 

Since I have talked about it so much, I think you might remember my search for that forest lake? This isn’t that. But as I drove out of Lappi that day, after a few bends in the road I passed this little tarn. On my way back from the walk, I stopped here and took a few photos. Do you also remember how I said I felt I was meant to be met by failure to reach that lake on my first attempts? When I saw this little tarn, with only one little summer cottage to the left (outside the frame), I knew I had found my backup. If I can’t reach that lake in the forest, this will be the one. I was so amazed by how clear it was, which my editing doesn’t really show, haha. But how beautiful it is.

autumn-tarn-wonderland

There have been many times in the past I have been so focused on the search — the end destination — that I haven’t stopped to see what lies along the road. That day on my way home I first drove straight past the tarn, but then my foot eased off the excelerator. Something inside my chest tugged. I couldn’t leave it behind. I had to stop. So I reversed onto the shoulder and stepped out to truly take it in. Trees, bushes and tall grass stood in my way, but the shore was right there, I had but to step right through. So I did, and I sat down on the edge in the wet undergrowth. That was when I noticed the murky shadows of sea weed — so well defined in the clear water. A thrill of excitement and gutting fear went through me as I tried to imagine myself getting into that water. I honestly don’t know if I will be able to do it. But I am going to try, so long as I don’t let these colder days become my excuse not to.

It’s that feeling I have to cling to, those faint whispers of the child of creativity that so long ago stopped coming by to tap my shoulder, after too many times having been told not now. She is there, though. I sense her, and as someone said recently, as I shared briefly of these thoughts in a post on Instagram, you will dance again. I believe so. With all my heart. And this time, I will keep dancing until we both move as though I never stopped. As one.

Part of this journey are you, dear friends and readers. When I sit down to write and share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams, I feel I am connecting to that part of myself I have neglected. I may not update as regularly and often as I used to or as I like, but so very often during my day I think of things I want to tell you and show you. And when you share your own reflections, your own dreams and inner yearnings — that means so much to me. It strengthens my belief in that to give of ourselves, just as we are, is something to be treasured. It is treasured. So my deepest, heartfelt thanks for all your words. I read and cherish them and will answer as soon as I can.

I wish you all a wonderful weekend, and if all goes well, I’ll be able to finish the other post before next week starts.

Much love. ❤

Advertisements

Layered Perspective

Hey everyone! It feels like I haven’t participated in the Weekly Photo Challenge for ages, when in reality I skipped only one. They took that break, too, and to be honest, I did check out the challenge before this and just couldn’t figure out what to do. Even in the midst of creativity exists moments of fogginess.

For this week’s challenge, as I put together the images for my initial idea, another one struck me, and instead of getting torn between which one to choose, I decided to do both. By comparison to my usual posts, it’ll be much less of a photo bomb either way. Haha

layered-age-of-tree-stump-above

While on a photo walk yesterday, I wandered through a clearing, and at first I didn’t take much notice of these stumps. I had the 55-250 mm lens mounted, as well, and was searching for mushrooms and a spot where to take some self-portraits. On my way back, I switched to my wide angle (10-18 mm) to capture the forests around me for my next blog post. It’s funny that it never occurred to me to take photos directly from above. But then, when I remembered this week’s photo challenge, instantly my eyes scanned the clearing to finally stop on these stumps.

I was very little when I heard that these ring formations you see when a tree has been cut tell the story of their age. I didn’t count them, but if I make a wild guess — around sixty, maybe? What do you think?

layered-age-of-tree-stump-angle

I find it so fascinating how trees, unlike us, grow their skin layer by layer, instead of shedding the dead cells as new forms. But then they need all those fibres to drink and nourish them so that they may grow into the tall and magnificent pines they once were.

layered-aged-wood-and-lichen

Just like with driftwood, the longer the wood lies exposed to the elements’ able and artful hands, the more defined the texture in these signs of age becomes. And another life form might even make a home on its surface.

Very often in post-processing I play around with layers. I either merge one or more photos with different Lightroom edits, then use various blending options; or I use filters and other fun things in Photoshop to get the result I want. Or both. How much or little I do depends on the quality of the photo — as in, how well I managed to get the settings right as I shot them, haha. A good quality photo with sharp focus where it was intended and not too overexposed or underexposed is so much more gratifying to work with. But I would still say I can fix an underexposed photo better than an overexposed one where all the colours have been washed out. I am actually developing a habit of purposely shooting certain photos underexposed, too.

While editing the next photo below, I wanted to enhance the texture seen through the droplets, and it took me a few tries, but I was so happy and excited about the result I felt it would be so perfect for today’s challenge. Not only because of how the natural layer and magnifying effects of the water, but also because of how many different layers, filters, and other tweaks I worked with to enhance that texture.

non-layered-original-exposure-leaf
Original, unedited. / ISO 400, 250 mm, f7.1, 1/200 sec.

layered-photoshopped-exposure-leaf

Isn’t autumn just so beautiful? To walk through nature right now is both incredibly peaceful and invograting at the same time.

Have a most wonderful Thursday, dear friends and folk, and I’ll be back as soon as I can with more photos from yesterday’s walk. 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