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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Yousee 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. ❤
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.)
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):
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I wish each and every one of you a great week. Much love. ❤
Hello, everyone. I sat here this morning and looked outside my window. I looked at the dew still resting in the arms of branches, balancing on the tips of leaves on a small maple. Every once in a while the sun broke through the clouds and it was like a symphony of light and brilliance as the drops danced. A glitter of reflection. Nature is so generous like that. It doesn’t really matter where I am. I don’t have to travel to faraway lands, I do not need to gaze at the horizon and wish and wonder what adventures await me there.
A short moment, but a passing wind of light rain swept across the fields. How beautiful it is when rain falls as the sun watches and lights up every drop–thousands upon thousands–as they rush to the ground.
I sat in our kitchen yesterday morning for the longest time. The house so silent, resting now in summer. As the cold sets in, the wooden timber in the walls creaks and cracks as it shifts and draws into itself to huddle against the northern winds. In spring, it’s the same, but instead it stretches after a long, hard winter, and finally exhales a breath of relief. It is still, possibly reveling in the warmth once more.
I sat there all alone for so long, but not once did I feel lonely. Just around the corner, Loke would stretch at times, sigh, and go back to sleep. The tick-tock of the clock, the hum of the refrigerator in tune with the birds chattering amongst themselves leaking through the walls. I could see the road from across the fields, but the sound of cars barely reaches over the distance. And most likely majority of the people were still in their beds or just waking up from Midsummer festivities.
It hit me, then, how much I adore these quiet moments. A slow morning when suddenly I just sync with everything around me. I took it all in and noted my gratefulness, listened to the scritch-scribble-sctrach as my pen followed the lines, danced along to this subtle morning symphony. I am happy. I am at peace. I feel content–right here, right now.
Later in the day, once the rain let up, I took my camera and walked along the road that leads from our house. I don’t know exactly how long the road is, but I walked along between a hundred and two hundred meters of it and found so many treasures.
In the evening, while marvelling at this simple beauty nestling just outside our door, I read a post on Instagram by one of the many amazing photographers I follow there. Forrest Winants Smith / @lostintheforest. He asked what gets us outside? What makes us appreciate the outdoors? I have mentioned this before, in Shaped By Thousands Of Years. I said, then, that these fields of ours, while beautiful in their own way, could not compare to the mountain vistas of the High Coast. The thing is, though, that they can–this is our beloved nature, too. The same magic rests here.
The spirit of nature isn’t exclusive to towering mountain ranges and sloping valleys, nor does it hide in only specific places. Nature is everywhere, and its wisdom speaks to my soul wherever I may be. Whenever. I just have to stop and listen and it will open me up to all the aspects. Along this little roadside I find perspective. In these simple treasures I find wonder.