An Easter Greeting

Good morning my dear readers. It’s Good Friday and the rest of the house is quiet apart from our freezer humming in the room next to me, and there is a subtle whoosh of water going through the radiators. I just settled in in front of my screen with a mocha coffee. For Christmas last year Jay and I got one of those one-cup coffee machines for ourselves, and ever since I have been almost addicted to using a shot of dark chocolate in my first cup of coffee every day. I have consciously been trying to reduce my caffeine intake, though, especially at night. Some days it works, some days not so well. I read that if you have trouble with your thyroid, caffeine is not good. A couple of regular sized cups a day is all right, but on average I drink way more than that so I thought I would try to cut down, at least until I know whether or not an underactive thyroid is what is causing my tiredness and anemia.

Before I write anything else I really want to say thank you all for the so, so lovely comments on my last post. I know I might be silly thinking this way, but somehow I always end up feeling that with having become so inactive on my blog, and taking forever to reply to comments, I somehow don’t deserve anyone’s attention. I have made friends over the years with whom I have lost contact because I am so terrible at keeping in touch. It’s hard to explain to someone I know why I get like that — it never has anything to do with that I don’t care for them or don’t value their friendship. After a while I feel so incredibly dumb for declining invites over and over, and somehow trying to explain why leaves me feeling like I fraud. I want to get better at this, though, because I do understand silence and avoidance only leaves the other person wondering and questioning if they are at fault. This happened just recently and it gave me a thorough shake and a kind of eye-opener. Any state of depression or exhaustion is a lonely place; I like to have my own space but this loneliness is so very different than choosing retreat when I just need to refuel. Instead of consciously craving to be alone I want closeness but can’t reach out. It’s like becoming trapped in my own misery. I drown in it. The shame takes over and makes that distance all the more difficult to cross. Can you recognise the feeling?

in-my-walking-clothes

To write down how I feel, and to try and paint a picture of what it’s like on the inside is somehow so much easier when I write a blog post. I really wonder why that is. Of course, the language is one factor — I may be able to speak Finnish well, and I have heard so many times how good I am at speaking the language, but it’s only in general conversation. I have no idea what words to use or how to converse about emotional topics in Finnish. Several years ago when I went to therapy, I got to speak with a therapist who knew Swedish. When that wasn’t an option I switched to English when I couldn’t express myself in Finnish. I have actually thought about this a lot lately, that maybe one side to how I am feeling is that I am a foreigner. I may have lived in Finland on and off for ten years now, but I can still feel totally alien. It is definitely my own fault — I have isolated myself out here on the farm and haven’t actively worked to seek a social life outside the family.

I could write so much more on this, but what I wanted (before I got carried away) was to show you that pot I painted, and to share some photos from the past week, and some from before that. The sun is getting warmer every day now and the snow is melting. I can’t tell you how absolutely divine it is to stand outside on the warmer days. Spring really is staking a claim on the earth now, and even though I have been outside so little this year, I still have many photos I haven’t shared with you yet. But first — the pot!

finished-result-of-painted-pot

close-up-of-painted-pot

I really am so happy with the results. I had many ideas on how to paint this pot, but after layering the colours I was so pleased with the texture I didn’t want to do anything else to it. It also reminded me of how much I really love working with my hands, and it has motivated me even further to fight this mind fog so I can do more. For example I have a big IKEA bag full of drift wood I brought with me to Finland last year (and even more in the garage, some up against a wall next to the office, and more in a cardboard box, haha) with which I had many plans and ideas. Some of you might remember the frame I made out of drift wood for a painting last year.

That the light (or lack thereof) can do so much to a person is something which fascinates me and leaves me in a sense of wonder. Some weeks back I sat and went through some photos. I had just come back inside from a walk around the old buildings here on the farm. It was just above zero but the snow dwindled silently and the wet flakes left me with a chill, so I didn’t linger too long. As I sat with these photos I noticed that instead of snow covering the evergreens, there were water droplets everywhere. A mixture of relief and giddiness surged through me and I almost started crying.

 

water-droplets-on-the-spruce-needles

retro-tones-and-dew

Since then we have had some really cold days, with temperatures of ten below zero or more, and others much warmer. One day we had six above. This time is almost holy to me. These fluctuations mark the end of winter and beginning of spring and it’s like every cell in my body comes alive to respond to it. At times it catches me off guard and I become so overwhelmed by the sensation tears fill my eyes. Do you experience similar things? Or is there something in particular that signifies end of winter or beginning of spring for you?

catkins

Another symbol of spring for me are the catkins. I noticed the first ones on a very cold day several weeks ago, and I was so surprised to see them there in a landscape still embedded in snow and wintry shimmer. That day was so magical, though, and I stayed outside longer than my hands could handle. The warmth of the sun on my face had me entranced. The song of birds created the most beautiful symphony mixed up with Loke’s and my own slow, crispy steps across glittering fields.

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me-soaking-up-the-sunlight

I am actually wearing my PJ pants in this photo above, haha. They have been the most comfy pants but I had to brave the shops and hunt down a new pair since the fabric has gotten so so thin. I suppose it doesn’t matter when only Jay, Lilli and Loke are around, but sometimes our kitchen or dining room becomes an office or conference area when there are meetings related to the farming business. I usually make myself scarce at those times, but I still imagine it looks odd for someone to walk around in PJ’s in the middle of the day. 😉 Especially extremely worn PJ’s. Haha

One evening when the sun stood low, I looked out toward the trees where our road leads off the farm. The most amazing light painted the tree trunks and branches in an almost fiery pink/red, and I rushed through the house to gather my camera and tripod. When I got outside, I switched direction and went for our lower fields instead, distracted by the colour in the sky. Ever since I have wanted to show you this ethereal sunset. By the time I was satisfied I had enough photos of it, the sun had dropped lower and the light was gone from the trees.

sunset-over-snowy-fields

Can you see the reflections on the snow? I was in complete awe as I stood there. It was cold but the sun still set rather quickly then, so I managed to get back inside before my fingers froze. It’s incredible how fast that changes now — how the sun’s descent slows down and graces us with these gorgeous colours for longer and longer with each day passing. I was here about a week before this photo was taken to capture the subtle grace of this late winter light. Then I found an icy wonderland behind our storage building and crept around with my tripod in the bushes to get some closeups until my hands were on fire with the cold.

icy-wonderland

icicle-magic-in-sunset

molten-ice

It was after these photos I was in so much pain I didn’t know what to do with myself. Regardless, I have to say they were worth it. With time it seems most pains subside, no matter how deeply they cut in the present, and it is in that transition I think it becomes easier to look beyond and see that even when we have been at our worst, when the nights were so dark, light was there. It kept us company. We were not alone — we never are truly alone.

icicles-on-the-roof-edge

Our house is waking up now, but before I leave I would like to wish you all a beautiful Easter, and show you a couple of photos of the flowers I bought. Getting those plants just made me want even more! 😀

lily-of-the-valley

daffodils

me-and-lily-of-the-valley
Lily of the Valley might be my absolute favourite flower

Once again, thank you all so much for the inspiration you truly give me. I am also so happy and grateful for the feedback you gave me after my request in my last post, and I have already taken some photos to share together with the story of my tattoo, so that might be up next! I would also like to take this opportunity to say that if you ever think of something you would like me to write about or to photograph don’t be shy to let me know. I will try to honour most requests. ❤

Much love, hugs and a happy Easter weekend!

my-tattoo
“Strength, Courage, Wisdom” ❤

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! ❤

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.