Something Meaningful

In one of my very first posts when I started this blog, I wrote how I have always loved drawing. I also used to sing a lot, and when I was practicing Celine Dion-tunes my dad would yell from upstairs who is strangling the cat? (Even if we did not have one at that point in time, huh.) When I didn’t sing or draw I would find something else. I remember I got out my mother’s old painting books and colours and painted the landscapes I saw on the pages. I painted on cardboard boxes or the covers of drawing pads, since we couldn’t afford anything else.

LeafyWindow

Artsy things. Anything to do with creating something beautiful is something I have always loved doing. I asked myself in my journal a few days ago what it is I love so much about photography. I thought of when I studied to become a makeup artist in Australia, back in 2003. That was about the same thing. To capture beauty–there is so much of it in this world–and bring it forward. Anything that fascinates me–any subject, object or composition of several–colours, light, dark, angles–which to me holds a sense of wonder I want to capture. And interpret–translate into a medium with which I want to say, “This is how I see our world. Look how wonderful it is.”

TheOldSauna

And yesterday, as I came out of the barn after helping Jay with building some shelves, I looked at the piled tree trunks out there. Some of it is used to make wood chips, which we burn to heat up the house and our water. And some of it just sits there. I stood there and gazed at it all, wandered closer and suddenly I had an aspen trunk in my arms and carried it away to what used to be a horse wagon shed.

Wheelbarrel

These days we keep various tools and gardening equipment in that building. With that tool there, resting on the wheelbarrow, I removed the bark from the aspen. I told Jay about an idea I had, earlier that day, and he found a tool I could use. I don’t know the name of it, but it has been on this farm for at least a few generations.

It took me quite some time to peel the bark, and by the time I was done my entire body ached. The result was so worth it, though.

PeeledAspenTrunk

PeeledAspen

And today I got another trunk and peeled the bark off. A birch this time. The most fascinating patterns are hidden beneath the bark, and together with the scratch marks from the peeling tool, it looks incredible.

TreeTrunks

BirchBark

BirchUpClose

These piles of birch and aspen are now off-limits–they are now mine. I am going to create something out of it.

A couple of days ago Jay told me there will be no more saplings to plant this year. I have waited and waited so I can get out there again. But apparently this entire country has run out of saplings. I cannot even believe how that is possible. I talked to Jay about growing our own. Gather pine and spruce cones and just grow them ourselves. But we need thousands. That is a lot of work. Not to mention I have no idea where to keep them, especially over winter. I haven’t abandoned the idea just yet. I know nothing about growing trees, either, but the great thing about not knowing something is the opportunity you get to learn it.

FairytaleForest

In the meantime, I will be spending a lot of time working on those aspens and birches. Finland celebrates one hundred years this year, by the way, and for this there has been a drive to plant trees. I wondered if that was why we have run out, but Jay says it is because we are cutting down more forest than normally here and so we have to plant more than usual. Either way, my longing for planting trees has met a sad ending for now, but I can do something with a few of the ones we have taken that is more symbolic and meaningful than burning.

I am so incredibly exhausted I have to go to bed, but I felt I wanted to let you know why I am and will be a little absent. During the weekend I will pop in again to take part in the Weekly Photo Challenge, but for now I hope you have all had a great week so far and I wish you a wonderful weekend ahead. ❤

A Day On the Farm

Hey, everyone! I hope you are all off to a good start of the week. Here, the rain seems to finally be slowing down. For two weeks or so we were promised rain but none came. Yesterday, however, it arrived with a vengeance. It didn’t patter–it rumbled. All day it drummed our roof like a pro and gurgled in the rain pipes. An honest summer rock festival a la Nature. As for me, well, I did absolutely nothing. I was so restless last night and dazed at the same time. Over two hours passed before I fell asleep. It was one of those in-between days that passed and left me wondering if I had been awake at all.

Today I am back on track. I started the day by writing myself a To-Do List and got some housework out of the way. Loke sheds hair like an entire pack–ten packs–and five minutes later there are hairs everywhere. I swear he leaves hair with every step he takes. And he is even done shedding the winter coat. Not too long ago I was nearly in tears and decided for my own well-being to throw the vacuum cleaner into a corner, close the door and forget about it. I challenged myself to just live with it. I used to vacuum every day, sometimes more, but the closer attention I payed it the more obvious the mess became. My honey would sigh heavily and vacate the premises. I don’t blame him.

ButterBubbas
I’m a dog, I shed. Deal with it, boss.

Over the past few weeks I have had the camera with me a lot while working, but since I take so many photos and sometimes do a variety of different sessions in one day, I simply couldn’t share everything, even though I really want to. I would have to publish several posts a day and there aren’t enough hours for that. Editing alone can take anything from twenty minutes to several hours, depending on what vision I have for the images.

I mentioned earlier that we are forest owners, and I am currently awaiting more saplings so I can go out again and spend some full-days in the forest. Some of the wood we cut down we use to heat up the house and our own water. To do this, we have to put the timber through a cutter for the burner we have in a barn that used to house cows, pigs and horses. So a few weeks ago it was time to fill up the storage.

HeavyMachinery
One day I will learn to operate this, too, but for now my partner, Jay, gathers the timber from the forest.

While waiting, I played around with my macro lens a little, which I actually used to shoot all these photos with. Until I realised I had to get changed into my work clothes.

 

RunLottaRun
Run, Lotta, run!
TractorIncoming
Timber incoming.

Timberrr

The biggest pieces of timber are really heavy so I had no hope of getting those off the trailer. While Jay took care of those, I stuck to the small ones and operated the cutter. With the smaller pieces you can just let the timber go through, but with the thick trunks you have to continuously pause, reverse and forward until the whole thing is chewed up. Otherwise the cutter jams or the feeder gets clogged.

FeedThatCutter
I am constantly learning new things here and I love it. I have pushed a little for it, too, because I want to be able to step in whenever Jay’s father is unable to come here. The man is retired but after a lifetime as a farmer I can understand it has become a way of life, one you do not give up just because you have retired.
CutterOperator
And, of course, knowing we cut this wood together which keeps our taps running with hot water is a great feeling.
DustAhoy
I had to put the camera away after a while because the dust billowed like crazy and I didn’t want to risk even more dirt in my camera.

Since the sowing was done some weeks ago, we have been cleaning and greasing all the machines for storage until autumn. My job was to clean the cultivator, which I did last week. Jay had already gotten the worst of the mud off the big rollers, which made things much easier. I used a metal-bristled brush to get the rest off.

BrushingCultivatorRollers

BrushingCultivatorDiscs

BlowOffDust
I think half the dust landed on my glasses.

Jay and his father came driving past while I cleaned. They joked that I would be waxing it next. Haha Jay knows me well, of course, and my pedantic streak is the very reason I got the job. I did try to keep that in mind once I got the pressure washer out. This time of the year it isn’t uncommon for us to run out of water, especially if it doesn’t rain enough. But it sure was great fun!

WashingCultivator_BendAndAim

WashingCultivator_Crouching

Not one day is the other alike, and getting to move around and do so many different kind of things in one day is only one aspect I truly love about this work. And even if it changes in the future, right now I am having the time of my life, and the now is what counts. Yesterday I wasn’t a happy camper, but today, by sharing this with you I have counted so many things I am grateful for. If you could pick at least one thing in your life that you are grateful for, what would it be?

Thank you so much for reading and sharing your time with me. I wish you all a great remainder of this day. See you soon!

A Challenge And Creative Exposure

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

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

BlackAndWhite

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

MellowColours

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

Sepia-ish

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

CozyDreamyGlow

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

SomeKindOfVibrance

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

WarmAndRosy

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

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

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

 

Nature’s Order

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

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

BlushingWhisps
Just… Meh.

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

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

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

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

Blowball

An Evening Of Magic And Serenity

For days now I have wanted to share the absolutely wonderful and magical evening I spent up on Skule Mountain with my brother during my visit to Sweden last week. Last night I got started on editing the photos, but I have been so tired since I came back home to Finland that I had to go to bed. Even though I added a few extra days to my stay it still seemed like I ran out of time. I was in constant motion, and my head burst with ideas–so many places I wanted to visit. I knew that I will be going back later this summer, with Lilli and Loke, but something happens when I am back in Ångermanland, among the mountains, deep rivers and old forests. If I am not outside I keep being drawn to the windows, knowing what is out there, waiting.

My brother works in a flower and gardening boutique. On my first day back in Sweden I went to see him with my mother. I even bought a couple of plants that came back to Lappi with me. Later that day we went for a drive–my brother is getting his license and does practice driving with our mother. We were out for a few hours. I had some coffee and sandwiches with me and the original plan was to sit by a lake out toward Viksjö, about 20 kilometers inland from Härnösand–another truly beautiful place. When we arrived so did the winds, and massive clouds floated toward us, hiding the wandering sun. My brother listened to me gush about the views while we huddled inside the car and drank our coffee, and we ended up driving all over while he showed me some highlights he had discovered during his drives with our mother in the past few months. Eventually it was time to go back to the apartment and I asked my brother if he wanted to come with me to Skule Mountain that weekend. And of course he did.

among-mossy-rocks

They are currently doing a lot of landscaping and building at the foot of Skule Mountain, so when we arrived we weren’t sure where to put the car. One other car stood in the turning zone, though, so I parked there. And then we were on our way. We had already decided to take the Mountain Path, which is a 0,6 kilometer steep climb–and the shortest way up. Little did I remember my fear of heights. But my camera came out a few steps onto the path and my brother laughed as I crawled around on the ground to take some photos of the steep, rocky path disappearing into the forest.

forest-mountain-rock-path

We also took the same way back down, and it was just as challenging going up as it was coming down. In different but equally taxing measures. Even though the trek down went much faster. Going up we still had fairly good light, but on the way down, at nearly 11 p.m., the sun was making its final descent below the horizon. Luckily we are in the land of the midnight sun, so it doesn’t go far. The sun lingers behind the mountains, takes a few moments rest, then begins its ascent back into the sky.

 

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Possibly our climb up taking much longer than the one back down was not so much due to my loss of equilibrium, or clinging to the mountain and railings, but more due to my camera getting pointed in every which direction. Every five seconds. Haha But that is the thing with fear–I find something else to hold on to, something else to think of, to take my mind off that which threatens to swallow me whole. This trek was definitely a glorious moment of being louder than my fears. I threw them down the mountain and grabbed my camera instead.

Before continuing up the top we took a little detour half way, to finally visit the Bandit Cave (Rövargrottan in Swedish). Every time we went to visit our grandfather as kids, we would drive past on route E4 and peer up at the dark spot in Skule Mountain towering over the road. The name comes from stories of alleged bandits roaming these mountains–a long, long time ago. In reality the cave was probably hollowed out and carved by the ocean current and waves grinding rocks against the cliff side when the shoreline was above this level. It’s just so fascinating. Incredible.

skule-mountain-bandit-cave-rövargrottan

When we left the cave I aimed my camera one last time before securing it for the final climb up the top. I needed both hands and full focus. Otherwise, who knows, we might have still been there–my brother waiting while I ohh and ahh at every drop and angle catching my eye.

fishbone-beard-lichen

Scaling that wall, even though it is perfectly accessible and safe without climbing gear, took the breath out of me. So when we finally reached the top I planted myself on some rocks and we didn’t move for at least twenty to thirty minutes. And the view–my soul ached. I just marvelled. We had some cheese rings with us, which I was very glad I decided to as a last minute thing shove into the backpack before departure. As we sat there, I took out my phone and recorded a little clip for you all. (Best viewed in HD. And, yes, that crunching in the background is the sound of cheese rings. I wanted to add a nice instrumental piece instead but gave up. If you happen to have it, you can always turn the sound down and listen to Paul de Senneville’s Mariage d’Amour. I adore it, and it fits beautifully. Not Richard Clayderman’s version, though.)

skule-mountain-top-evening-view

Done with munching and drinking, conveniently we found toilets. The toilet itself was a non-flush version, with a large hole into whatever container collects human waste, but there was a sink, a tap with warm water, and soap. And the actual restroom itself was heated, which came in handy later. Additionally, if you see the roof there in the photo–that’s a Raststuga. A hiker’s resting cabin, which was also quite warm. It had a fireplace and wood for starting a fire. Behind me sits the Top Cabin, which is open during the day. They serve some light food, drinks, and (my favourite) waffles. With cream and strawberries. Yum. Next time I will be here before they close.

Our time here had only just begun. For the next few hours we trekked all over this mountain top while I took photos of every view I found. And considering you have a 360 degree view from up here, that is a lot. You just follow the top trail that takes you all the way around.

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skule-mountain-forest-gnarly-mossy-tree

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skule-mountain-top-view-ocean-vista

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My original plan was to stay up on Skule Mountain past sundown and wait for sunrise. As the sun sank lower, though, the cold crept in. By the time both my brother and I agreed we should start our climb back down my fingers and toes were completely numb. I was having trouble handling my camera, and when we took a moment in that hiker’s resting cabin, it felt like my fingertips caught fire.

But the views. That sun wandering lower and lower, so skillfully, so artfully painting the sky and clouds in pinks and lilacs. And the magical haze–like a glowing veil draping the breathtaking vistas in warmth. My heart was so full of emotion I felt I might burst.

skule-mountain-top-evening-glow

skule-mountain-sunset-haze-vista

Out of all the photos I took that day, these are my absolute favourites. I want them on our wall so I can look at them always.

We continued our journey around the top, and suddenly my brother started shouting from up ahead. You MUST come look at this! And he was right. There, on top of this mountain in a little dip nestled close to the edge was a tiny pond full of moss and water. And in it a rock stuck up. I rushed forward to set up my camera and asked my brother to pose so I could get the settings and the focus right. He also had to help me get onto the rock. When I finally sat there, though, and looked out over our gorgeous forest-dressed mountains and valleys I didn’t want to move. I could easily have stayed there and let that moss cover me, as well. At least, that was the feeling in that moment.

my-brother-on-a-rock-in-sunset-glow

me-on-a-rock-in-sunset-glow

It was with great reluctance I left this magical and mystical place, but the sun dipped lower and I wanted to capture the ocean view again in this light. We returned a little later, but not quite this far, so I could take some more photos just before the sun went into hiding.

skule-mountain-cloudy-sunset-ocean-vista

skule-mountain-orange-glow-sunset-vista

skule-mountain-peach-lilac-glow-sunset-vista

Thus, our time on Skuleberget came to an end and it was time to brave the mountain path, descend back to reality. Speaking of which, when I return with my daughter later this summer, we will come up with the lift and walk down another path that opens up officially this summer. Much more suitable for families.

skule-mountain-lift-evening-vista

I deliberately decided to share the entire trip in one post, even if I knew it would be very long. I simply couldn’t split it–I didn’t want to. So if you have read this far, I want to say how grateful I am to have gotten to share this magical evening with you, too. My brother fell asleep on the sofa after a cup of coffee (which we requested on our drive home–our mother had fresh coffee waiting for us when we arrived at the house). I stayed up and gazed at the photos, already dreaming of the next visit. The High Coast truly holds a piece of my heart, and I hope to one day be able to get a little summer cottage to which we can go from time to time, the whole family.

I wish you all a wonderful evening. Thank you so, so very much for reading. ❤ See you soon!

Morning Dew And Gold In Hand

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

Radiant Stalks

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

Brilliant Fields

Sunrise Field

Dreamy Fields

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

Passed Birch

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

 

Morning Dew Web

Webglow

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

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

I wish you all a wonderful day.

Wild Chervil Glory

Wild Chervil Dew

Apple Blossom Blooms

Morning Glory Blossom

My Bubbas – Loke

Good evening, everyone! I am a little late with the photo challenge this week, but there is no time like the present, right? I hope you all had fun with this one–I sure did. I shot in several different places, both in Sweden and here in Finland (and it is so so good to be home, honestly), before I settled.

A friend can mean and be many things. If I think about what or with whom I can simply share space with, well, a lot comes to mind. The forest, for one–a tree. I love trees. I can lean on it and just watch the world around me. Or I can close my eyes and merely breathe it all in.

I wanted to do a photo shoot with a very good friend of mine in Sweden, but after my climb up Skule mountain and spending five hours trekking all over the top to take photos, and after the way down (close to 11 p.m.), I hardly moved the next day. My muscles ached and my knees were like jelly.

While getting some photos of our old apple tree earlier this evening–the buds are just now blooming–my dog, Loke, kept watching me and gave a little whine from time to time, wanting to be part of the action. I had him clipped to the walking line so he wouldn’t rush around the legs of the tripod. I stopped and we watched each other. He had that hopeful look on his face: can I join you now? And so it was decided. My beautiful Loke. Ever eager, ever so loyal–until my partner starts digging around in the doggy treats, of course. Haha

I hope you are all having a great week so far. Until next time, then, I give you my bubbas, who turned three at the end of May.

Take care, and see you soon!

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Just like Ferdinand in that cartoon, who just wants to sniff the flowers. Except this is a rare moment for Loke. He was such a cooperative model in spite of wanting to take off, full speed. ❤

Juicy Blooms Radiate

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

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

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

Dandelions And Bees

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

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

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

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

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

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Dancing With Dust And Talking To A Dead Tree

Good morning, everyone! Another Weekly Photo Challenge from The Daily Post. Woohoo! Who is excited? I have seriously been full of excitement and anticipation. After looking up the definition of evanescent, I came to think of this tree in one of our forests. I got my images, and then ended up inspired on my way home and shot even more photos.

First, let me introduce you to Old Birch.

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This tree seems to be veiled in somewhat of a mystery. It may be a little obscure due to my editing choices, but the tree is actually dead. And it has been dead for quite some time. Decades? Who knows. I asked my partner what killed it and he says nobody knows. I asked when it died–nobody knows. One guess is a storm did it. Another, a disease. But it’s the only tree that is dead, so one would think a disease would have affected the trees around it. Come to think of it–the rest of the forest appears to be keeping its distance.

Regardless of this birch being dead it still stands. Over the years, my partner’s father has wanted to cut it down, since every time there has been a storm, branches come crashing to the ground, right across our road. Well, all the branches are gone now. And my partner has forbidden its destruction. It sits in a part of a forest that he wants to preserve as is. And, hey, if this tree has withstood storms when healthy ones around it have met their demise–that calls for some admiration. Or just fascination.

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How can a dead tree be worthy of so much attention, though? If you ask my partner, he will tell you he likes to look at it.

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It is definitely eye-catching, don’t you think? Look at all that fungus! (Tinder fungus–hoof fungus?)

My partner offered another theory, on how long ago it died. Since no one really seems to even know when, perhaps it wasn’t long ago at all. Once it died, though–that was when they noticed. Before that it was just another tree in a forest of hundreds upon hundreds. There is a saying, that you can’t see the forest for all the trees. Here it’s the other way around. They couldn’t see the tree for all the forest. Um. It sounded better in my head.

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After leaving Old Birch and walking home, I started second-guessing myself. How do I present a dead tree as evanescent? A protected tree, nonetheless. It isn’t going anywhere. I looked out over the fields, dust danced around my shoes in the sunset, and… Yes. I have it. Thank you, Old Birch.

I set up my tripod again and started dancing with the dust. Lilli and my partner should have seen me–they would have thought I had lost my mind. In their eyes I am reserved and calm, not one to exclaim emotion. Except for when I stub my toe or bang my knee. I curse, then I laugh.

My thoughts, then, on evanescent is this: However fleeting or fragile anything is, it can live on in our memories. And this is only one of the things I love so much about photography. We can capture a moment that might never, ever occur again–at least not exactly the same way–and immortallise it. Today, I immortallised myself realising it’s fun spinning around in the dust and watching it billow and dissipate in the wind. When inspiration strikes, of course, and after talking to a dead tree.

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