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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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?

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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! ❤

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. ❤

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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.)

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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):

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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A few straying rays from the setting sun through branches and leaves can turn into a glowing dream if you squint your eyes.
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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.

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

Exploring Possibilities

Hey, everyone! I hope you are having a good Tuesday so far. I am ever so slowly getting organised for Lilli’s and my holiday in Sweden. There has been a lot of work around the farm lately–with the fields in particular–so I rescheduled and adjusted this trip many times before I could actually book our tickets for the ferry over. And now I have to make sure all my work is done before Thursday.

For the past couple of weeks I have been walking around our fields checking the growth and documenting any inconsistencies. I have a map with me, and my phone. For every thing I find worth noting, I have to mark it on the map with a code-ID, which I also have to add to the photo I take. I spent several hours clearing the memory on my phone since I very soon ran out of space. I had well over a thousand photos from the past couple of years and so many issues with iCloud and syncing. So in the end I just made a backup on my laptop and then deleted my entire phone and iCloud library of photos. There has to be an easier way around this, I’m sure, but I ran out of patience. Haha

Today I would like to share something with you that I have worked on for a few weeks now. I have been practicing and exploring the possibilities of Photoshop and working with layers, and it is so much fun. I love it so much. It seems there is no limit to what you can do and the possibilities appear endless to me. So this is something I will continue practicing a lot, so that I can shape my photographs into works of art.

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Eternity Fields

You might recognise the photo from a previous post. I combined it with another photo from my visit to Skule Mountain earlier this summer. I wanted to merge my two biggest loves as far as places go–the High Coast and our farm–and bring out the feeling I get when I am there. I could have kept going, but I read a quote somewhere a long time ago, by an artist whose name I cannot seem to remember. He or she basically said that there is no such thing as a finished painting. At some point you just have to decide to stop. Admittedly, I scrapped my first attempt and started over, due to some unfixable mistakes I made in the learning process. I do have to say I am very happy with it, though, even if I could do so much more, but I am letting it go now.

And below are the originals, sort of. The landscape photo I used in my artwork was a little more zoomed out than this one.

I wish you all a wonderful Tuesday and I’ll try to get my take on the latest photo challenge done before tomorrow. This upcoming photo challenge, whatever it may be, will take place while I’m in Sweden, so that will be very exciting.

See you soon!

Courage This Night

Hey! I actually made a deal with myself that for this Midsummer weekend, I would leave my computer alone and spend all weekend outside. No writing. No editing. No photography. There is nothing wrong with being passionate, but my brain has gone into overdrive. Just a couple of days ago, as I stood chopping rhubarb for homemade jam and pie, I started feeling so nauseous the entire world started spinning. I had to go lie down and fell asleep almost instantly.

For the past few weeks I have found it difficult going to sleep at night and then I wake up five to six hours later, ready to take on the day. As a result of falling behind on my rest I just keep getting more and more scatter-brained. I know these bright nights and long days are partially behind it, but it’s my tendency to become obsessively submerged in my passions that is the real culprit. So I said to myself take a step back and just be. Lilli went with her grandmother to spend the weekend, so I couldn’t have had a better opportunity to merely laze around and do absolutely nothing.

I took a blanket and a drink outside and lied on the lawn with Loke, and it was so wonderful to just be there. The sun warmed my skin even if we had a really cool summer day yesterday, and I listened to the wind and the swallows as they whooshed past above us. I even made the jam and the pie, which turned out absolutely delicious. But I forgot to leave my phone out of my reach. So while going through Happy Midsummer Eve wishes and photos on Instagram and Facebook–and squeezing my own in there–I started thinking about when this tradition started, and how did they celebrate it, say, a few hundred years ago?

As some of you may have noticed, I have a tattoo on my forearm. I got it my last semester at Härnösand Folk High, after almost twenty years of wanting to get one but never finding it was the right time. In it are Odin’s ravens, Huginn and Muninn; Yggdrasil; and Thor’s hammer. And in rune-inspired font are three words–strength, courage, and wisdom. This symbolises all things that are important to me. It also serves as a reminder how in the end I never gave up, even when I thought I had. So last night, just as the sun stood at its lowest, I threw on my warpaint and ran through the fields. I don’t know where it came from, but I just knew this was something I had to capture, something I had to do. And as I sat here by my computer, as I said I wouldn’t, editing the photos I took out there, Jay told me you’ve got guts, I’ll give you that.

I do. I have courage. I think I always had. I just wasn’t wise enough see I was the one holding me back, nor strong enough to break down the walls. So now I would like to share the vision that seized me last night and had me flying through the fields to capture.

Siezed

Familiar

Yonder

Stranger

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Healing, Soothing Sunshine

When I went to bed last night I basically ordered myself to stay in bed today. Time to get better, time to let my body recuperate. Morning came… and I tried. I really, honestly did. How could I stay in bed though when every single nerve ending was jittery with energy? Isn’t that a strange feeling? Have you experienced that? You know you’re sick, you feel it in your nose, in your throat, in your chest and joints. Yet, somehow, you are on your way out the door and into glorious sunshine.

And it didn’t end there. I raked one-quarter of the yard (which, granted, took me a few hours, because it’s a huge yard), cleaning up leaves left from autumn and a ridiculous amount of Loke’s poop.

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I stepped in it! (Who wants to show off dog poop, right? Well, me.)

I went outside an hour before lunch time, and then again just past 3 p.m., after taking my daughter to a friend’s place. I stayed there until I was done with my quarter. Almost till 6 p.m. Madness, right? My nose was running the entire time, but crazy as it seems, I feel so much better. All that fresh air, probably hundreds of sweeping movements with that rake, and a little play time with Loke in the pile I gathered–was the best medicine.

My guess is I will sleep like a log tonight. But first–more photos. I wish you all a lovely day (or evening/morning, depending on where in the world you are).

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I kept getting weird grid marks when I edited, so after playing around with all kinds of settings, I got myself an oil painting. It looks pretty neat.
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When I reached down to gather two armfuls of leaves Loke looked so hopeful that I couldn’t resist. I ended up spreading it out pretty nicely and had to rake it back in again, but Loke loved it.

 

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And the leaves loved my jumper. So do I. (Later this evening my daughter found leaves in my hair. Whoops?)

 

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Lots and lots of thank you kisses from an overjoyed dog.
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And that’s it. See you tomorrow, beautiful gardening gloves, you.