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.

paw-prints-in-the-snow

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” ❤
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Soaking Up The Beauty Of Early Winter Light

Hello my dearest friends and readers. I woke up at 04:30 this morning. As I sat on the toilet, eyes grainy with sleep, I thought that I would put on some coffee, do a blog post, and then go back to bed. Haha, I don’t know why I get these ideas when I am dead tired, but ever since I uploaded the photos I took yesterday to my computer I have been eager to share them. So I sat down with a cup of hot coffee and got to work. Ever since Wednesday I have felt under the weather, like I am getting sick, and everything takes a hundred times longer than usual, so just before seven o’clock I had only one photo left to save when this awful nausea hit me. I really slid down in my chair and couldn’t move, afraid I would throw up. I just stared at that save-box and thought just think up a name for the photo and save it, then go to bed.

I did and I slept till 11:00! And now I’m here again to photo bomb you. 😉

soft-winter-light-over-fields

I mentioned in my last post that I barely lifted my camera for the past few weeks. After my confession to Jay, talking with my friend, and telling you all about it, I felt light as a feather. It really is true what is said about sharing our burdens and relieving the weight of it. Yet this felt more like throwing it off completely and suddenly it seemed like the walls around me were torn down and I could run out in whichever direction I chose. It’s just incredible how we with our thoughts and perceptions can either create a suffocating prison for ourselves, or a vast wonderland of endless possibilities. And all it takes is a little honesty — with ourselves and others. Just wow. Don’t you think?

So yesterday I spent over two hours outside. First, I took Loke for a walk along our little road that leads toward the neighbours and our mailbox. Jay drove past me at one point to get Lilli from Lappi — she had stayed behind after school to play with some friends. I like having Loke with me, but he gets so impatient if I linger too long to take photos, and since he is still so young and doesn’t always stay by my side, I keep him on a leash. So very often I find myself consumed in taking a specific shot and suddenly my arm flies out when he decides we have been still for too long. I can get so irritated with him at those times, even if I understand how boring it must be for him to sniff around the same scents for too long. He knows when I am ready to move along, and instantly starts skipping in joy that we are finally leaving whatever little cramped space I squeezed myself into to get my photos. Haha

magical-light-over-our-house

more-soft-light-over-fields

I love how gentle the light is right now. It’s kind of perfect when I think about it, because when the snow comes, that light dances off the thousands of shimmering crystals covering the lands and I can’t imagine how blinding it would be if the sun stood as high in the sky as it does during summer. Although it can be blinding all the same — you can even get a tan! Which makes me think of what I have heard growing up, about depression hitting us so hard here in this part of the world during these darker months. Yet if I at any time felt weary, it was during spring and high summer. I wondered earlier this year if it’s because all my depots get depleted during the darker months, but then another blogger mentioned how hard and cold the light is in spring, and I have always been sensitive to strong light conditions. I get headaches, bone-weary, lose motivation — I feel like a zombie. But maybe it isn’t just that the light is too harsh. What if the fact that I am outside more during autumn and winter as opposed to spring and summer, and with the help of the reflection off the snow, it is enough anyway? Apparently we don’t get the vitamin D humans need up here in the Nordic countries, but what if we are evolved in such a way to either soak up the vitamin D easier, or maybe we just don’t need as much. And I have heard so many stories from others who suffer spring depression as well, so maybe it’s just a myth? I find this all so very interesting. What do you think?

tomte-marschall-torch-holder

We were at a birthday party recently, and afterwards we stopped by the shop to pick up some milk. Jay disappeared for a moment and when I finally saw him coming toward me, he had this quirky smile on his face and two of these tomtar in his arms. They have holders for marschaller, torch like candles that look like a really big tea light candle. Jay thought they would look great in the opening of the spruce hedge to our yard, and I agree. They look so adorable sitting there. ❤

jay-coming-to-talk

I actually went out twice yesterday. My fingers are so incredibly sensitive to cold and moisture these days, and they turn corpse-pale and I lose all sensation in them, so I can’t be out for too long at a time or it becomes extremely painful. Not all fingers are affected actually, only some. It’s so strange to see a couple of my fingers look so totally yellow-white next to the ones not affected, and it’s not the entire finger, either, only from the second or last joint down to the tip. My mother has the same problem.

Jay was away on a business trip a couple of weeks ago, and when he came home he had gotten me a new lens for my camera! It’s this amazing little lens; a 50mm with the smallest f-number at 1.8. I used that for all the photos in this post. But what I love the most about it are the beautiful close-ups it produces. Right behind Jay in the last photo, between those two buildings are a few red currant bushes, and when I first tested the lens I took a few photos of them at sunset. So the reason I went back outside was to get some more, because they just looked so beautiful and I only got a couple of good ones the first time. I’m still trying to get a hang of the focus on the new lens — it is a little trickier than I am used to.

red-currants-in-sunset-depth-of-field

magical-sunset-and-depth-of-field

dead-plant-in-magical-light

colourful-lichen-and-branches

I have also finally started collecting photos to put up on a page called Printler. It’s a Swedish-founded online photo print shop, and it’s for photographers as well. Best of all — they recently went international. I wrote them earlier this year to ask if I could sign up to sell my photos, and they told me that so long as I have a Swedish ID number, I can, which I have. But I wasn’t sure how it would work with taxes and in practice, since I live in Finland. They also told me then that they would launch outside of Sweden this autumn, so in the end I decided to wait. Meanwhile I considered the fact that as a non-professional photographer without a business registration number, you get 30% of the profits, as opposed to up to 50%. If I have understood it correctly. I thought about this for months, and now I have decided that I will sign up. I follow this wonderful blogger and photographer, Jonna Jinton, whom I know some of you also follow, and after having read how stressful and time consuming it can be to have a web shop and handle all packaging and postage yourself, I think that any reduced profit (if there even is any, considering I’d have to pay for the prints, postage and handling if I had my own web shop anyway) is more than worth my own peace of mind. Printler handles all of that. The only thing I have to do is take photos and upload them to my own personal gallery. That’s it. I think it’s a great option to start with.

jay-in-soft-light

soft-light-on-old-barn

After creeping around in the bushes to get my close-ups of the berries, I took a walk down behind the farm. I mentioned we had workers digging around in our fields to put down new electricity cables, and I think that, too, kept me from taking my beloved photo walks around the farm. I’m not as strict with requiring my privacy when I photograph these days, but it still felt awkward to have strangers driving and walking back and forth in our private safe haven. Especially with all the noise from the machines.

digger-on-the-road

muddy-trenches

pipe-for-wires

I was so shocked when I walked around the orange digger to find a huge trench cutting through our little road. It made me realise how long it has been since I last walked this way.

trailer-full-of-muck

But this digging is done by Jay and his father. Instead of paying hundreds of euros for labour to dig down the pipe through which the fiber cable for our new internet connection will go, Jay decided to do it himself. He and his father also know what lies beneath the earth around here, so they know precisely where it’s safe to dig and where not to. I don’t know if I mentioned that the workers cut through a cable that shut down electricity to parts of our farm, including the heating system that brings the hot water from the barn to our house. On a Friday afternoon. Luckily it wasn’t so cold then, and one of the workers managed to patch it up till we could get an electrician to repair it.

logs-and-magical-light

winter-apple-in-soft-light

The sun played peek-a-boo all of yesterday, so I am very glad I went out twice and stayed for so long. I got to capture so much beauty from the softness of these early winter evenings. In fact, it isn’t really only in the evening the light is like this — it is an all day blessing. From early morning till early sunset. Actual winter sunsets are something from another realm. I will make sure to capture some of those moments, too, and share with you. Especially when the frost or the snow stays from dawn till dusk.

maple-seed-pods-in-soft-winter-light

magical-bokeh-and-branches

magical-bokeh-and-spruce-branches

Now we have to get ready for town. Lilli is going to stay with her grandmother till tomorrow, which she reminded me of when I told her we are going into the forest this weekend to collect some things for Christmas decoration crafting. Haha I finished scraping off glue and sanded off some paint yesterday from the wooden panelling around the closet in our new bedroom. (Yes, I am still at it! Haha) I accidentally smeared green paint onto them when I painted the walls several weeks ago. So, hopefully, I will get the last painting job done tomorrow before Lilli comes back, and then I’ll get started on the guest room. Just as long as it all gets done before the 23rd of December, when my parents and my sister come over for Christmas! ❤

Haha, another long post! I will leave you now, though, and wish you a wonderful Friday and weekend. Many hugs and much, 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

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! ❤

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.

WideAngleCorrection

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.

WideAngleSkewed

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.

PickASmallWish

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. ❤

NoPhotoshop

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.)

AnotherToPonder

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):

MaybeThis

TheOtherChoice

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.

ReachToCreate

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.

CloverMoment

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.

FadedJuniperReflections

JuniperTones

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.

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

BellDrop

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

Regaining Balance

Hello, everyone. It’s been a while, now, and I get this feeling I update less and less often. After getting back from our holiday in Sweden, though, it was like something inside me deflated. A strange mixture of serene vibes and quiet emptiness.

Since our ferry home left early on Monday morning, and there is a 400-something kilometer drive from Ramvik to Stockholm, Lilli and I set out after midnight. My mother was crocheting a little bag for Lilli, and while she added the finishing touches, I took my camera out for some last light catching. The car was packed and we were ready to go, so I took a long, lazy stroll and stayed outside for a good hour.

SunsetRiverCape_sml
These old docks have all but crumbled into the depths of Ångermanälven, and they look so mystical in the dark.
DuskFlowerSorbet_sml

Lilli and I made a couple of stops along the way down to Stockholm. One to fill up the tank, and one to let Loke do his business before getting on the ferry. He simply refuses to go in those sand boxes they have placed on the walkways outside. Considering the amount of dogs leaving their waste in there, I don’t blame him.

We filled up fuel at this rest stop called Tönnebro. Next to it is a lake, and as we drove in I said to Lilli I just have to take a few photos first. So I did.

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I thought the gull would leave, but he watched me intently for a moment, then got back to gleaning his feathers.

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Absolutely gorgeous sunrise. And that mist. ❤ I would have taken more photos if we hadn’t been on a tight schedule.
My first full day home was back-to-business. I went into the fields to do some work and in the evening I took my camera outside but at first my heart just wasn’t in it. I actually had this ridiculous moment when setting up the tripod and mounting the camera; I didn’t tighten the screw and the camera fell forward, squashing my finger. It’s unbelievable how much they weigh! So I swore in such ways any elder would have told me black frogs were cascading out of my mouth. And then I plopped down on the forest floor and started crying. Not my brightest moment, I can tell you that. But I kept going–bleeding finger and all. I refused to accept defeat.

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First blueberries of the season!
That first day spent working, I decided I would go back to those fields out in the middle of the forest. Wild flowers of all kinds, and an abundance of them, lined the fields and the grassy roads, so yesterday before last light, Lilli and I took the 4WD for a spin. When we got there, someone had trimmed down the foliage and the visions I had for my photos were strewn out in dried and shriveled heaps all along the road. I was a little sad about it but I quickly got distracted by the beautiful shadows falling across the fields. And in the end I got many, many great shots.

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In the next two weeks to come we have some projects in the house that need finishing, so I may or may not be able to post very often still. But once that is done, I’ll be back with more regular updates, and lots of photos. Thank you so much for the support, everyone. And a happy, cozy Sunday to you all. ❤

 

A Spontaneous Road Trip

I got a call from one of my brothers on my second night here in Sweden. He told me he had Monday and Tuesday off work and wanted to go for a drive to Norway. I had no idea you were here, but Dad told me, so I thought you might like to come along. Since you love photography so much.

You know when someone asks you to go for spontaneous a drive–usually it doesn’t end up in a twenty-four hour, fifteen-hundred kilometer trip. Across country borders. With barely any sleep in that entire time. At least not in my experience. But that is exactly what happened. We started at 10 a.m. on Monday morning and we didn’t get back until 2 p.m. the following day. As we drove back through our Swedish forests, the past day and night felt like a distant dream. Like something I had honestly only imagined in my head. It was the strangest feeling. Luckily, in spite of my camera battery dying after seventeen photos, I got enough images as proof it was all wonderfully real.

I have spent pretty much all day, on and off, going through and editing these photos, and it honestly amazes me how good camera phones are. Of course there are things I cannot possibly do with them, like taking photos at night. They turn out grainy and look more like paintings than photographs, which was kind of cool.

I finished editing earlier, but my body isn’t fully recovered so I wasn’t going to do this post until tomorrow. As I lied in bed with my clothes on–I felt so ill I went straight to bed after the last photo was done–I thought I don’t have to write a novel about it. And you know what? I am going to let the photos speak for themselves. My brother and I didn’t speak much, either, while we drove. We were both so engrossed in the impressions this wondrous country continuously gave us. And I am so grateful to him for asking me along. This was above and beyond anything I could have imagined beforehand. So without more delay, I invite you along on this beautiful adventure.

On Our Way Through Sweden

 

Norway – First Impressions

FirstImpressions

FirstCloseUp

Agdenes – Along Trondheimsfjord

AgdenesTrondheimsfjorden_iPhone

AgdenesTrondheimsfjorden_Canon
Canon EOS 1100D & Tamron 90mm macro lens.

Agdenes – View Of The Ocean

AgdenesJumpingForJoy
My brother has stared at Google Maps satellite images, and to finally be out here made him jump for joy. Such a happy moment. / Canon EOS 1100D & Canon EFS 10-18mm lens.
AgdenesOceanSunset
Canon EOS 1100D & Canon EFS 10-18mm lens.
AgdenesFerryView
Canon EOS 1100D & Canon EFS 10-18mm lens.

 

Agdenes – Gravvikbukta

GravvikbuktaOceanRoad
Canon EOS 1100D & Canon EFS 10-18mm lens.
GravvikbuktaInnerRoad
Canon EOS 1100D & Canon EFS 10-18mm lens.
GravvikbuktaFjord
Goosebumps sped up and down my body as I stood here, choked up on tears and utterly overcome by this breathtaking beauty. / Canon EOS 1100D & Canon EFS 10-18mm lens.

 

When The Battery Dies

MistyMountains
As I set up for this photo, the camera flipped, then stopped working. I couldn’t even focus it. It was an incredibly long exposure and imagine my surprise when I uploaded these to the laptop to find this intact. / Canon EOS 1100D & Canon EFS 10-18mm lens.

 

Dawn Over Midnight Lands

DawnOverRidges

DawnOverReflections

DawnOverMidnight

 

Sunrise Reflections

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MeadowRoofs

MomentsToReflect

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MindWanderer

StillMirrors

 

Farewell, Norway

DeerNorwayFarewell

I will go back here. If not to these particular places, I will return with my Canon and capture more of Norway’s treasures. For now I am just so thankful to have gotten to experience these places.

If you want a daily photo and much less words, come join me on Instagram where I keep it short and sweet. 😉 I have also started to share spontaneous moments through Instagram Stories. Now I am just working up the courage to speak while at it. One step at a time, eh?

Thank you so much for reading, liking, and commenting. It means so much to me. ❤ See you soon!

An Evening At Turajärvi Lake

Hey, everyone! The sun is shining right through my window as I write, but luckily I have blinds. Today, Jay and I are going out to spend some time together just the two of us while Lilli is with her grandfather at the summer cottage. But I quickly wanted to share another excitement with you.

TestingTesting

Not too long ago I mentioned I went on a little trip to Sweden, back to my school, to personally accept a stipend I had been elected for. I still haven’t found a frame for it but I have made an investment. With a little extra sponsoring from Jay, I went into Rauma on Thursday and got that wide angle lens I told you about in my previous post. The kind lady gave me such a shock when she told me she would give it to me for a very generous discount. I am ever so grateful. I have been in there a few times now and they are always so helpful.

NewLensYay

While there, I also got a sensor cleaning kit. I spent almost two hours on Thursday night getting that sensor cleaned. I found this great walk-through online. First I vacuumed, dusted, wiped and cleaned the entire room before I sat down to get to work.

MoreDots
Look at all that DIRT.

I had to wipe it several times over before I counted five tiny spots and settled. My neck got incredibly sore since I was so tense during the entire process. I almost didn’t dare to breathe, haha. But it is now clean and I have learned something new!

Last night, after Lilli had left with her grandfather for the summer cottage, I packed my camera and went for a drive. I ended up at a lake not too far away from here. It is called Turajärvi and it was so gorgeous. I sat down in the sand with my camera and I couldn’t stop taking photos. It was a little like when my camera first arrived, almost six years ago now. I took photos of everything, from every possible angle. Last night I felt like a kid again, even with the sand in my clothes and shoes.

BeachTurajärvi
That sun was so warm. I felt like I had stepped into another realm. And I really, really wished I could have gone for a swim, which is something I haven’t felt for years.

I spent an hour on that beach, wandering around and taking photos, and I was lucky to have it all to myself for that hour before people arrived, but I was very thankful for that time all alone with my camera. And I am just so diliriously happy I couldn’t care less about the flares. I will figure that one out, too, in time. For now, I wish you all a lovely weekend. I’ll leave you with a few more photos. And thank you so, so much for the response on my latest post. It makes me so happy to see. ❤

Kotte

SunsetSticks

BranchesAndLeaves

SomeFlower

Focusing Through A Storm

This week’s photo challenge couldn’t have come at a better time. I have mentioned before how much I love these challenges because of how they light up my brain and make ideas whoosh on in. Yesterday I only got one idea, but sometimes that is all it takes. One spark. One shot. Every day life is full of let-downs but also opportunities, and what matters is which one you latch on to. The choices you make. The chances you take. We have to find and nurture that one glowing ember and keep on moving toward our goals, toward our dreams. Do it in spite of how everything else seems to be working against you.

 

DanceToTheSunset

Yesterday I felt like I stepped out onto a battlefield and into the wild storm of past ghosts and spectral voices with only a fragile whisper to challenge them, and I want to tell you about it. In honour of today’s post, I have left all photos unedited, except for the very last one in this post.

Two nights ago at sunset the light was so incredibly gorgeous. I shouted out to Jay and Lilli: Shoes on, let’s go, we’re going outside to jump around like crazy in the sunset! And we did. Except Jay kind of just stood there, while Lilli, Loke and I ran around like we had ants in our pants.

I had my camera set up and took so many photos. When I got inside, though, and uploaded them I wanted to cry. Noise noise noise. Grainy colours. That was all I could focus on.

DanceToTheSunset_Cropped

The lens I shoot with the most is the one that came with my camera, an EFS 18-55 mm–a rather basic lens. I was in to Rauma some time ago to inquire about wide angle lenses, which I have read are great for landscape photography. The lady in the shop confirmed this, let me try one, and told me this little 18-55 mm I have definitely won’t do the job.

This lens has been a trusty companion throughout all these years, though, and I haven’t ever been disappointed. Not until the night I uploaded those sunset photos. All of yesterday I was so bummed out about it. It has to be the lens, I said to Jay. I am doing everything right. I am following the instructions and I am getting the hang of ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and the light metering. It has to be the lens. Right?

Is it? Maybe I am just not good enough.

Around midnight, when the sun had climbed behind the horizon, the mist arrived. Yes! Woohoo! I took my macro lens, knowing it certainly isn’t ideal for landscape, and went outside for another round. I spent most of that time staring at a spider web to figure out how to capture it. Only the faintest breeze danced along with the mist, and while I couldn’t feel it, the spider web swaying ever so slightly was proof enough.

WebInTheMist

PowerlinesInTheMist
I chose to focus on these shots littered with dust speckles.

BirchInMist

I told Jay: That’s it. I’m done. Nothing good comes out of this. I didn’t even bother trying to remove the speckles because they are absolutely everywhere.

I didn’t let it go, though. Figuring out what the problem was so I could fix it compelled me to keep trying. I sat down yesterday to scour my photography book that I ordered a few weeks ago. Apparently, the sharpest and most vivid-coloured images are created at between f8 and f11. Because of the shape of the lenses. And I had used f22 as we danced to the sunset. So yesterday evening I forced myself to give it another try.

My heart really wasn’t in it but, as always, energy filled every fiber of my body once the trees gathered around.

CareToDance
Care to dance?

DanceWithATree

Something funny happened. There I was, running up and down our little forest road, dancing and jumping and curtseying in front of a tree, asking for a dance, and out of nowhere a neighbour came walking toward me with their dog. Good evening! You get to be in my photo shoot, I said. He laughed, and then I started talking to the dog. I was so shocked that I just kept babbling, and I can’t remember what I said or much of what he said. I do remember that their dog is about to have puppies and is going away for several weeks.

Besides achieving to be bitten by mosquitoes about fifty times and getting actual ants up my skirt, I felt nothing came out of that photo shoot. I couldn’t see anything else but what I was already looking for. Faults. I felt like I was met by failure at every turn.

But then an e-mail arrived–The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. Focus, it told me, and I read the post. All my woes were pushed aside as I got the idea to log in to my iCloud and look through my older photos, from almost two years ago.

RamvikOldSawMill
Ramvik’s old saw mill, about 30 kilometers from Härnösand, Sweden. It shut down in the 1950’s, or thereabouts. Autumn 2015.
MirroredLakeCopse
On my way to school one morning, I had to stop to take photos. Late autumn 2015.
MistAndFrost
This mist was enchanting.
MistyMountains
I stayed there for a long while, entranced by the spectacular play of light and colour across a frosty morning landscape.
SunriseFog
The mist got so thick I could hardly see as I drove on. But then the sun came through and I had to stop. Right in the middle of the road. Luckily, no other cars came. And all these photos were shot with my 18-55 mm lens.
BlurryBubbas
Loke isn’t in focus, but I love this shot. Shot with my Tamron 90mm macro lens.
OutOfFocusBubbas
Also with the Tamron macro lens.

 

 

One of the most important things I have learned so far on my journey has been to get to know and understand myself. One big part of me is my tendency to strive for perfection. It is a tough one, but I am trying to learn to see and use it as a great tool and asset instead of an obstacle. Weaving it together with my creativity and artistic sides when I also have a tendency to obsess, not let things go and go with the flow, however, is probably one of my biggest challenges. This is getting to the heart of it, this is where I break it or make it.

So far I have shared so many photos with you, majority taken with that 18-55 mm lens. Close-ups or landscapes. In all kinds of light and settings. So why did I suddenly lose my head over those sunset photos? Why could I not see how great they are? Well, I engaged the old me, focused on the mistakes, the faults, the failures. I didn’t see the whole picture, I didn’t remember I am on a journey. I expected too much of myself, too soon. In turn I missed out on all the things I did achieve. That I kept going in spite of feeling failure all the way down into my frozen toes. I didn’t give up–in spite of everything, I kept grabbing at opportunities.

Sometimes, even when we are convinced we are getting nowhere, deeper processes are at work. We need to trust in those, let go and cut ourselves some slack. I know it can seem impossible at times, but I dare to promise you that even when you cannot feel the wind it is there. Step back, look for signs. They are all around you, and within. And keep going, no matter what. You will get there.

MakeAWish
Arctic Starflower / Skogsstjärna / These are among the simplest yet most beautiful flowers I know.

 

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