Testissä Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM (osa 2, penkkarit ja vanhojentanssit)

Hiihtolomaviikkoa edeltävällä viikolla bloggasinkin hieman siitä, miten olen vuosien saatossa tallentanut lukiolaisten riemua penkkareissa ja vanhojentansseissa. Tänä vuonna tuohon hommaan tuli lisämielenkiintoa, koska testikäytössä oli edelleen Canonin todella vakuuttava laajakulmaobjektiivi, EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III.

Yleensä käytössäni on ollut penkkareita kuvatessani hieman pidemmälle ylettyvä objektiivi, nyt täyskennoisen Canon 6D:n kanssa peruslinssinä on Tamronin 24-70mm f/2.8. Myöskään 70mm ei ihan aina riitä taltioimaan riemukkaita lähikuvia, mutta koska sen pidemmälle minulla nyt vain ei yksinkertaisesti ole optiikkaa, sillä on menty.

Tällä kertaa kuvaamiseen omaa, uudenlaista viehätystä toi siis Canonilta testissä ollut laajakulma. Kieltämättä kävi mielessä, että olisi varmaan pitänyt ottaa kakkosrungoksi mukaan vanha 600D ja käyttää siinä 70mm:n putkea ja hyödyntää croppikerrointa, mutta no, oma tilanteeni on nyt sellainen, että tässä raskauden vaiheessa välttelen ylimääräisen painon kantelemista ympäriinsä. Niinpä mukana oli vain 6D sekä testiobjektiivi ja omassa peruskäytössä oleva Tamronin putki. Painoa tuli niistäkin jo ihan tarpeeksi! Eivät ole kumpikaan nimittäin mitään ihan heppoisia objektiiveja, vaan aika tukevia mötiköitä.

Tällaisia juttuja sain talteen vuoden 2017 Puolalanmäen lukion Abishow’sta, turkulaisista penkkariajoista ja Puolalanmäen lukion vanhojentansseista testiobjektiivilla…

IMG_7792-Edit

Puolalanmäen lukion abien Abishow 2017 (6D + testiobjektiivi tuottivat kohtalaista jälkeä myös hämärässä jumppasalissa)

IMG_7853

Puolalanmäen lukion yksi penkkarirekka Puolalanmäen lukion päärakennuksen edessä

IMG_7855

IMG_7864

Pientä panorointifiilistä mukaan

IMG_8005

Puolalanmäen lukion Wanhat 2017 aloittamassa päivätanssinäytöstä koulun jumppasalissa. Käsivaralla, ilman salamaa – edelleen 6D + testiobjektiivi saavat aikaan ihan kohtuullista jälkeä.

IMG_8098

IMG_8210

Logomossa kuvasin tanssien kenraaliharjoitukset. ISO-luvut huitelivat ihan käsittämättömissä sfääreissä, mutta pienellä kohinanpoistolla näistäkin sai ihan kelpoja kuvia.

IMG_8234-Edit

Tämä ruutu piti napata ihan vain testilinssin 16mm:n laajuutta demonstroimaan. Kahden lukion Wanhat + Logomon iso sali. Ei ihan huonot ulottuvuudet!

IMG_8244-Edit

Vielä näidenkin testien jälkeen olin enemmän kuin hyvin tyytyväinen 16-35mm:n toimintaan. Vähän kädet hakivat vielä tarkennusta, koska omassa vakio-objektiivissa renkaat ovat toisessa järjestyksessä, mutta muuten ei “ulkoisesti” ole mitään valitettavaa. Linssi tuntuu tukevalta, järeältä suorastaan, tarkennus toimii upeasti ja nopeasti… Kyllä tässä sellaista laatua oli tassuissa, että huhhei.

Seuraavassa postauksessa vielä muutama maisemaotos ja sen semmoista.

Posted in Photo gear, Reviews, Valokuvauksesta suomeksi | Leave a comment

Testissä Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM (osa 1, kirkkoarkkitehtuuri ja parvekemaisemat)

Sain Canonilta testattavaksi upouuden huippulaajakulmaobjektiivin. Hurjan iso kiitos siitä näin heti alkuun!

Olen nyt testaillut linssiä muutaman ruudun verran. Voin sanoa, että olen vaikuttunut jo nyt, vaikka kuvaustilanteet ovat toistaiseksi olleet aika rajatut. Testailu jatkuu myöhemmin tällä viikolla edellisen postauksen teeman mukaisesti penkkareilla ja wanhojentansseilla, sitten hiihtolomaviikolla toivottavasti vähän laajemmilla maisemakuvatesteillä.

EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM on päivitetty versio monille tutusta luottolinssistä – mutta minulle uusi tuttavuus. Jos totta puhutaan, minulla ei ole ollut varaa Canonin omiin objektiiveihin 50mm f/1.8 kiinteäpolttovälistä lukuunottamatta. Tämäkin testilinssi vaatisi minulta pientä säästöprojektia, että sen omiin varastoihin saisi, mutta jo nämä ensimmäiset ruudut puhuvat kyllä sen puolesta, että taitaa tämä likka aloittaa pennosten sivuun laittamisen aika lailla heti.

Kuvaan paljon haastavissa valo-olosuhteissa, kuten rock-keikoilla ja toisaalta pidän myös maisemakuvauksesta. Tämän objektiivin hämäräkuvausominaisuudet tuntuvat aika päteviltä, etenkin kun mielestäni Canonin 6D-runkokin on itsessään hyvä tällaisissa valo-olosuhteissa. Lisäksi laajakulman laajin 16mm:n kuvakulma on jokseenkin päräyttävä. Tähän asti laajin kuvakulma omissa valikoimissani on 24mm. Tässä on siis todellakin enemmän kuva-alaa!

Ensimmäiset testiruudut ovat Turun Tuomiokirkosta sekä ihan omalta parvekkeelta, kun bongasin auringonlaskun tienoilla taivaanrannasta helmiäispilviä (helmiäistä oli tosin näkyvissä niin vähän, että siitä ei paljon todisteita kuviin tallentunut, harmi). Näppärää, kun ei tarvitse kauas lähteä testailemaan.

Tällaista jälkeä tähän asti:

img_7728

img_7730

img_7735

img_7741-edit

img_7765-edit

Minusta näyttää aika hienolta. Ylläolevista arkkitehtuurikuvista vain alttarikuvaan olen tehnyt kohinanpoiston Lightroomin Dfine-pluginilla, muihin kirkkokuviin lisäsin vain vesileiman.

Tämän hetken ykkössuosikkipiirre linssissä? Uskomattoman kevyt, nopea ja tarkka tarkennus. Tykkään! Ja heti toisena tuo 16mm:n ääripää.

Nyt vain täytyy päästä testailemaan lisää!

In short for those who communicate in English:

Canon Finland gave me this incredibly good wide angle lens (EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM) for testing and so far I’m loving it. Only a few frames in, I’m totally impressed by how well the combo Canon 6D body + this lens is working in challenging light conditions (the shots from the Cathedral of Turku) and on the other hand, the widest 16mm angle is going to be lovely for not only architecture shots (the altar) but also landscapes, once I get a bit further out in nature (preferably to the seaside) than my own balcony. Not that I didn’t love the sunset + pearly clouds of today, the balcony just isn’t quite made for testing the widest angle when the widest frame is bound to have building walls / corners of roofs in it…

Oh, and I’m soooooo loving the fast and accurate focusing of this lens. Absolutely delightful!

Posted in Blogging, Photo gear, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hulinapäivät lukioissa – penkkarit, vanhojentanssit ja valokuvaus

Kylläpä on vierähtänyt aikaa edellisestä päivityksestä. Ihan liian kauan. Mutta nyt voisi taas yrittää herätellä henkiin tätä blogia, kun lähitulevaisuudessa on muutamiakin mielenkiintoisia blogimerkintäaiheita tiedossa. Viime vuosi on ollut sellaista hässäkkää uuden työpaikan, uuden kodin ja sen remontoinnin ynnä muiden muutosten kanssa, että kamerakin on ollut kädessä entistä vähemmän. Kyllä tämä tästä kuitenkin taas aktiivisuudeksi muuttuu, oman elämän aikataulujen muuttuessa aika merkittävästi.

Tällä kertaa blogimerkinnän teemaksi nousee kuitenkin tulevan viikon hulinameininki suomalaisissa lukioissa. Canon Suomi otti minuun yhteyttä FB-sivuni kautta ja pyysi minulta vinkkejä penkkaririehan ja wanhojentanssien kuvaamiseen. Siispä pengoin vähän vanhoja arkistojani ja kirjoittelin muutamia vinkkejä. Tässäpä niitä olisi, vähän laajemmin kuin Canonin FB-sivuilla pystytään julkaisemaan:

Tuleva viikko, viikko 7, on Suomen lukioissa jännittävää aikaa. Abiturientit suorittavat ylioppilaskirjoitusten kuuntelukokeita ja odottavat torstain penkkaririehoja. Lukion toisen vuosikurssin opiskelijat puolestaan valmistautuvat kuumeisesti nousemaan esille lukion vanhimpina opiskelijoina, vanhojentanssien pyörteissä. Ykköset odottavat näkevänsä niitä traditioita, jotka heitä odottavat seuraavina lukiovuosina ja me opettajat, no, me odotamme tuntevamme itsemme taas niin vanhoiksi, kun kuitenkin tuntuu siltä, ettei niistä omistakaan penkkareista vielä ihan niin kauan aikaa ole. No on niistä, ihan oikeasti, mutta tämähän vain kertoo siitä, miten vahvoja muistoja näistä traditioista muodostuu. Ja niitä muistoja on ihana virkistää valokuvia katsellen.

Olen päässyt todistamaan näitä lukiolaisen elämän juhlahetkiä jo yli kymmenen vuoden ajan ensin historianopettajan ja viimeisten vuosien aikana opinto-ohjaajan roolista. Opon rooliin on vuosien mittaan melko luontevasti liittynyt valokuvaajan rooli, koska sivutoimisena valokuvaajana kuljetan mielelläni Canon 6D:ni mukaan kaikkiin oman työpaikkani tapahtumiin taltioidakseni työ- ja kouluyhteisöni arkea sekä juhlaa. Penkkarit ja vanhojenpäivä ovat lukioiden vuosikalenterissa aivan poikkeuksellisen hieno parivaljakko. Joka vuosi nuorten iloa juuri käsillä olevasta hetkestä ja ylpeyttä omasta opinahjostaan on upeaa kuvata.

Jos siis sinun nuoresi tai ystäväsi tai kummilapsesi on tänä vuonna juhlimassa omia penkkareitaan tai tanssii vanhojentanssinsa, tässä muutamia vinkkejä tilanteiden ja muistojen taltioimiseen. Esimerkkikuvani on otettu vuosina 2014-2016 Salon lukiossa, jossa olin tuolloin töissä. (Terkkuja vain SaLun abeille & wanhoille noiden vuosien ajalta!)

Penkkarit

Jos mahdollista, käy jo koululla seuraamassa abien ohjelmaa. Kuvaa nuorten riemua, he poseeraavat mielellään ystäviensä kanssa. Et voi olla hymyilemättä itsekin.

img_5575

Nappaa kuvia myös asukokonaisuuksista. Useissa lukioissa penkkarit tarkoittavat naamiaisasuihin pukeutumista, mutta muutkin asut kertovat lukion traditioista ja hetkestä tarinoita, joita nuori haluaa muistella myöhemmin.

img_5618

Kun abit kipuavat rekkoihinsa ja lähtevät ajelulle heittelemään karkkeja, kuvaa rekkojen somistelakanat. Abit ovat nähneet niiden eteen valtavasti vaivaa ja ne sisältävät usein sisäpiirin vitsejä sekä viittauksia lukio-opintojen arkeen ja ajankohtaisiin populaarikulttuurin ilmiöihin. Todellisia muistojen kuva-albumiaarteita, siis!

img_5840

Yritä bongata rekan lavalta oma abisi kavereineen. Iloiset, namuja heittelevät nuoret ovat värikästä kuvattavaa. Älä kuitenkaan astu ajoradalle vaan käytä zoomia / teleobjektiivia päästäksesi lähelle kohdetta!

img_5879

Jos pakkasta on penkkaripäivänä paljon, muista huolehtia kuvauskalustostasi kunnolla, kun tulet takaisin sisätiloihin.

Vanhojentanssit (tai Wanhat)

Kuvaa jo nuoren valmistautumista kotona. Ideoita saa esimerkiksi Instagramista, seuraamalla dokumentaarisia hääkuvaajia. Yksityiskohdat näkyviin! Kampaus, mekon koristeet, kalvosinnapit, tanssikengät…

img_3073

img_5937

Vanhempien tanssiesitykset pidetään yleensä urheiluhalleissa tai liikuntasaleissa. Se tarkoittaa haastavia valo-olosuhteita. Varustaudu valovoimaisella optiikalla ja muista, että perussalama ei juuri jättisalia valaise. Opettele siis kamerasi asetukset ja esimerkiksi kevyen ylivalotuksen salat.

img_6018

img_6296

Lähes kaikissa lukioissa tanssitaan juhlava poloneesi. Se on usein kulkuemuotoinen sisääntulotanssi, jonka aikana ehdit vaikka vähän leikitellä. Pidennä valotusaikaa ja kokeile panorointia, kun värikkäät mekot vaeltavat ohitsesi. Saat tuloksena tanssi-impressionistisia otoksia! Muutenkin tanssiaismekkoja kuvatessa kannattaa muistaa, että joskus on ihan hyvä antaa liikkeen näkyä kankaissa. Pieni epäterävyys ei useinkaan haittaa, kun kuva on selvästi otettu tanssin aikana.

img_6970

Jos mahdollista, selvitä etukäteen nuorelta, millä puolella salia hänen tanssipaikkansa on. Usein muodostelmat pysyvät samankaltaisina läpi esityksen ja on harmillista, jos olet kamerasi kanssa väärällä puolella jumppasalia. Teleobjektiivista on apua, jos joudut kauas kohteestasi.

img_6077

Joskus hyvän kuvan nappaamiseen vaaditaan hieman koreografian seuraamista. Vanhat tanssit ovat usein “toisteisia”, joten seuraa esitystä säkeistön verran ja nappaa sitten parhaat poseeraukset.

img_6231

Muista kuitenkin sekä penkkareita että tansseja kuvatessasi myös itse katsoa välillä ympärillesi muutenkin kuin tähtäimen ja objektiivin läpi. Keskity nauttimaan nuorten ilosta. Et tarvitse tuhansia ruutuja muistikortille, vähempikin riittää, kun korvien välisellä muistikortilla on sisältöä! Ja hymyile nuorille, rohkaisevasti. Tanssiminen on jännä tilanne ja harva nuori muistaa hymyillä samaan aikaan kun laskee askelia… Aurinkoisesti hymyilevä kuvaaja auttaa heitäkin muistamaan suupielensä – ja sinä saat iloisempia kuvia!

img_5969img_6312

Hyviä hulinoita, parhaita penkkareita ja upeita tansseja kaikille!

(And to my English speaking readers – this post was a welcome breaker of a long silence. Canon Finland asked me to post a few tips on how to shoot two of the big events of a Finnish senior high school year. These images are from the last day of school of the seniors and the Dance of the Old Ones, or the day of the Old Ones, during which the juniors celebrate becoming the eldest students in school. Fun times – and great photo opportunities! But posted in Finnish, so that my Finnish readers can make the most of it.)

Posted in Event photography, Valokuvauksesta suomeksi | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hanami in Turku

Oh, how I love springtime. Especially cherry blossoms. There are precious few cherry trees in my home town, but every year I go and shoot a few frames of pink. Love, love, love!

IMG_0165-Edit

If I ever have a garden of my own, I will need to have some cherry trees.

Posted in Nature photography | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Learning from a master

Thanks to getting a huge work related project done this past week, it was nice to have a chance to concentrate on my photography properly for a full weekend. It’s been ages since I’ve had the luxury of creating something and challenging myself by learning new skills – or even taking the camera out for something more than an hour’s walk by the seaside.

Tuomas

Tuomas

Photography workshops by Tiina Puputti are always a super interesting opportunity to learn lighting and portraiture from a master. Tiina is definitely one of my Finnish photographer idols. Her technical skills are super impressive and her lessons are very useful for an amateur (and pro) photographer.

Tuomas

Tuomas

This weekend was all about portrait photography on location. Our location was the beautiful inn & manor in Tuorla, near Turku, in SW Finland. In quite varying conditions we shot both in- and outdoors – or at least some of us did. I shot all my workshop frames outdoors, in the all kinds of lighting & weather conditions we had. First it was cloudy (nice, even light, soft contrasts), then partly sunny (even light turning into hard, direct sunlight in a blink of an eye) and finally today, on Sunday, literally sun sun sun! I was super happy to be outdoors all day long, with my camera and some really nice people.

Taina

Taina

I shot the portraits of two models, a young man called Tuomas and a lady called Taina. I was quite happy with the results and the feedback I got from Tiina wasn’t all bad, either. There’s certainly room for improvement, there always is, but I’m really glad I had the chance to learn new stuff again.

Taina

Taina

Next thing on the list? Finally buying some flashes, tripods and umbrellas. Once I get that done, I want to start asking for people to come and model for me more often, so I can learn more about portrait photography. It isn’t yet my strong point, but I can make it one!

I’ve been so stressed out lately (well, the past year, certainly) that a weekend like this one was truly needed for some major recharging of my batteries. I’ve been missing photography and the fact that I’m now feeling happier than in ages, after just two days of shooting, tells me a lot. I need to do more of this stuff again. It’s good for me.

Posted in On location, Portrait photography, Workshop | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Frozen

Another year gone by and I’m still not doing very well with my blogging… Work seems to be draining me of extra creative energies – and most importantly, time. And that’s why things are pretty much in deep freeze over here. I should lower my own expectations of myself. I don’t need to write a long post, as long as I write.

In other words, I hope 2016 will bring you much happiness and warm & cuddly things.

Things quite unlike this frozen soap bubble I shot today, in -21C.

Posted in Blogging, Nature photography | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Thoughts of a newbie wedding photographer

I’m a wedding photographer newbie. Shot three weddings this past year. In other words, my experiences are very limited. But I’m beginning to enjoy the challenge, and look forward to maybe booking more weddings in the future.

But why do I want to do wedding photography?

It’s beautiful. I get to be there when memories are made. I get to be there and capture the moments the couple’s grandchildren will look at, years later.

Ida and Mouha - my first wedding shoot

Ida and Mouha – my first wedding shoot

It’s nerve wracking and challenging, but it forces me to constantly learn more and get better.

Karoliina and Pasi - my second wedding

Karoliina and Pasi – my second wedding shoot

Karoliina's bouquet

Karoliina’s bouquet

People in love are just so… Well, lovable. I just read a few days ago from somewhere (sorry, I forget where) that in order to be a good wedding photographer, you have to love love. And I do!

Pauliina and Mikko - my third wedding shoot

Pauliina and Mikko – my third wedding shoot

It’s all about the emotions and moments in a wedding. I love the challenge of trying to capture that one perfect look, the happy smile, the laughter of a child.

I don’t so much love the editing of the huge numbers of files afterwards, but since that’s also a part of the deal, I strive to get better and more fluent at it.

Pauliina and Mikko and the Turku Castle

Pauliina and Mikko and the Turku Castle

There are so many talented wedding photographers around that there’s always new and inspirational images to be seen online. Even from locations where I could shoot in the future. I love the way the best wedding photographers have a signature style, a clear sense of direction, meaning and creativity in their photos. I want to learn to be that good, too.

A wedding is a story. It’s not the whole love story, but it’s an important part of it. And that’s why wedding photography is also story telling, in visual form.

All you need is love – and when the time comes, a good wedding photographer. Maybe it could be me.

Posted in Wedding Photography | Tagged | 1 Comment

New Day Rising

I got myself involved in a project where we’re writing a digital textbook for guidance counseling studies in the Finnish senior high school level. Being an author with a seriously tight deadline has meant that I haven’t been shooting much of anything. Blogging even less…

But I’ve been listening to a damned fine new album by the fantastic Von Hertzen Brothers and I think I’m going to want to spend a few moments blogging about it (instead of working on the next chapter of the book). New Day Rising was released this past March in Europe and in the US & Canada and it’s super good!

Kie Von Hertzen

Kie Von Hertzen

This is the brothers’ sixth studio album and it’s definitely getting them a lot of praise. Well deserved praise, I’d like to add. With the help of producer Garth “GGGarth” Richardson and Randy Staub the brothers have created an album that definitely sounds like them, but perhaps in a bit more straight forward fashion. It doesn’t include all the songs we heard on the pre-listening gig last year (see my previous blog post about it here), which is a shame, but of course totally understandable. The raw material the brothers played on that Magnus’ Day gig was streamlined and pruned into what we now hear on New Day Rising.

Mikko Von Hertzen

Mikko Von Hertzen

The band has been labeled a prog rock band, and even though their previous albums may actually be more prog, there are still plenty of prog elements in the brothers’ music. Surprising hooks, complex rhythms & melodies and so on. I guess the simpler pop-rock songs like Hold Me Up are a sign of the Canadian producer’s influence, a sign of the brothers’ wild ideas being reined in a bit. On a gig in Turku Mikko (the lead vocals, the middle brother) actually told us that Hold Me Up is considered the “universal hit track” of the album. Sure, it’s perhaps one of the “easiest” songs of the new album, which still doesn’t mean it’s a simple one.

Von Hertzen Brothers, Klubi, Turku 18.4.2015

Von Hertzen Brothers, Klubi, Turku 18.4.2015

“Easy” and “simple” are never good words when trying to describe VHB’s music. What I’ve always loved about the band is that they never underestimate you, their listener. The music has layers upon layers of elements that demand you to concentrate on listening.

Jonne Von Hertzen

Jonne Von Hertzen

On this album, for instance, I find that the staggering work of Mikko Kaakkuriniemi on the drums demands attention. I’m blown away by some of the more complex tracks – the man is a machine! At the same time the brothers have added weight to some of the guitar & bass sounds, as well. And it all sums up to an album that is in part heavier than anything they’ve played before and on the other hand, in part just as quirky and / or serene as ever. The vocal harmonies are also just as smooth as before, which is fab, as that’s definitely one of the most enjoyable parts of VHB’s music.

IMG_4908My highlights for the album are, first of all, Trouble. Which is a song that reminds me a bit of Dream Theater (the opening of the track and some elements of the video) and a bit more of the Queens of the Stone Age song Someone’s in the Wolf. Haunting, eerie, alluring, powerful… I haven’t got enough of adjectives to describe how much I love this song. Definitely number one for me on this album. Check it out!

Other highlights? Well, I do love the quirkiness of Dreams, with lead vocals by Kie Von Hertzen. Seriously, how could I not love a song in which Kie promises to learn how to pole dance to spice things up? Priceless! (Plus the track just happens to have the easiest sing-along bits which have been great fun on the gigs.) Only downside to this particular song was when on the gig in Turku Mikko couldn’t manage the whistled parts, because he was smiling too much. We all got a huge giggle out of it, when he tried to whistle his little tune and failed miserably. And laughed at his own attempt. I think this will teach him a lesson – whistled parts don’t go well with VHB, because they’re just too happy on stage. But I’ll gladly skip any and all whistling in favor of the wide smiles and genuine happiness we all see on stage when the band performs. I’ve been reading the works of Sir Ken Robinson for my book project lately and using his terminology, I think it’s safe to say that the brothers have found their Element in music and their Tribe in VHB. Yeio!

IMG_4997Third highlight that deserves a special mention is the beautiful Hibernating Heart. Once again the brothers have created a song that sounds like it should be listened by the sea. I’m almost forced to hold back tears every time I hear this song, especially on gigs. There’s just something so touching about it. It’s the Down By The Sea or Separate Forevers of this album. Just lovely.

I’ve seen two of VHB’s New Day Rising Tour gigs. One in Helsinki, in the legendary venue Tavastia and the other here in my home town of Turku, in Klubi. Both gigs were excellent, but I have to say the Turku gig was the better of the two.

IMG_5062Tavastia’s gigs (out of which I saw the first one) were at the beginning of the Finnish tour and Turku’s turn was almost a month later, towards the end of the spring tour, before the band headed out to the UK and other parts of Europe. And the difference was noticeable. In Turku the band seemed more at ease with the songs and I guess the smaller venue made the experience more intense for us in the audience. Ok, I’ve got to say I was in the front row for the Turku gig (thanks to having a photo pass but the venue not having a photo pit) and quite a bit further back for the Tavastia one. In my experience the positive energy of the band is best observed from the front, instead of hanging around in the back rows.

IMG_5033I remember hearing Mikko ponder out loud on stage that perhaps they should pay more attention to their looks on gigs. They used to wear random (but cool) t-shirts and jeans, but on this tour someone has clearly made a design decision. For Mikko it means a white suit and for the whole band, white tech. White Sennheiser mics, white drums & keyboards etc. Very sleek.

The set lists for the gigs of this tour have been a delightful combination of all the new songs and some of the best and most beloved old ones. This results in almost 2-hour sets. I’m not complaining, at all. The more the better, that’s how I see it on VHB gigs.

IMG_4871To sum it all up, I’ve got to give the new album a full 10/10 on my personal scale, it’s just that good. And I’m darned, if I can’t see the band in the summer (they’re doing several Finnish rock festivals, I’m trying to get to go to Provinssirock to see them and Muse!), but live in hope that after the summer’s festival season there’s going to be a bit of an autumn tour… Pretty please, broz?

(Photos taken on the Turku gig, with the permission of the band’s manager Virpi Immonen. Many thanks for the photo pass!)

Posted in Music, Reviews, Rock photography | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Empowering photographs

Today I took what I hope is the first step on a road to combining my passion (photography) with my profession (counseling). I took part in an introductory course / lecture on a photo therapy method called Empowering Photography. The method has been developed by Miina Savolainen (Finnish art and social educator and photographer), and it’s basically a way to look at another human being in a respectful way, to help them feel appreciated and loved just the way they are. (Check her website for more info, I’m not going to go into detailed descriptions of the method here, not yet anyway. I’ve got a lot to process myself, first.)

I have been dreaming for a couple of years about taking a year-long course on this method and learn how I could use it in my work, both in a pedagogic and in some ways also a therapeutic way. I don’t know when I’ll have the money to attend the course, but I’m hoping it won’t be in too distant a future. In the meanwhile this one single day got me thinking about a lot of things. About a lot of things that have to do with how I view myself in photos (and in life!), about how photos have a strange and magical power over us – if we let them.

One of Miina’s most poignant comments was that a photographer does not really know what the subject will consider a good or empowering or healing or even meaningful picture of themselves. Usually it’s the photographer’s vision that is visible in the end result, not the subject’s. Whereas in this method, the photographer has to shake off all their own ideas of how a photo should look, and they should let the subject decide, let the person in front of the camera tell their story and guide the process. That way the person will be able to show how s/he sees his/her own personality.

Other people’s interpretations of a person may be so totally off that the person becomes almost invisible. With this method, the person gets the chance to change that. The photographer has to really listen and understand how the person in front of the camera wants to be seen. There’s a lot of respect, vulnerability, appreciation in the process.

It all feels so difficult to put in words… Perhaps I should’ve pondered about this a bit more before starting to type… I think I’ll need to get back to this, later. Especially since I’m also attending a short course on photo therapy this coming February here in Turku. I’ll probably have a LOT to say about all of this while I learn and process it all.

Anyway, there was a photoshoot about a year ago that I always thought I’d post about, but somehow it’s just slipped my mind. But now a few words (and pics) about it seem appropriate.

It was a shoot where I was the subject, not the photographer. Many of you may know that it’s not always easy to be in front of the camera, if you’re used to being the one hiding behind the lens. I had a bit of that going on, but since this was definitely a unique opportunity, I went for it.

I was offered the possibility of having my picture taken in a studio, by a pro photographer, in whatever style I wanted to. I would get two edited pics at a very reasonable price (and extra photos for a small extra fee, if I wanted to – well, I ended up wanting…) and yay! I had never had my picture taken in a studio, just for fun. It’s a whole different thing to be photographed for graduation or something, for an “official” portrait. This time I thought I wouldn’t want to be the “good girl” of those (dull) portraits.

I went and bought a Venetian mask that would go nicely with my purple velvet cape. Yeah, I’m a fantasy geek at heart, so I actually do own a full length velvet cape… I thought I’d like to have a bit of a dark mystery thing going on.

Photo by Timo Mäkipää.

Photo by Timo Mäkipää

Well, first of all, I do have to say it was incredibly fun to be in front of the camera. The photographer, Timo Mäkipää, had plenty of time for each of his subjects (there were a few of us ladies having our pics taken on that same day) and it was fun to not only pose but also observe him at his work.

Photo by Timo Mäkipää

Photo by Timo Mäkipää

And if there’s something I am willing to say about the pics is that they really were empowering. They were also hitting surprisingly close to their target, in the sense that just about 40 hours before they were taken, something really incredible had happened to me. Something that shook my world on a very personal level. And it still continues to shake, in a very positive way. The images now, in some sense, represent my confusion and perhaps a need to hide my emotions from the outside world for a while. The inner turmoil is visible to me in the pics, perhaps not to the outsider viewer.  Or what do you think?

Photo by Timo Mäkipää

Photo by Timo Mäkipää

The main point of the method of empowering photography is that you, as a subject, define how you want to be seen. What you choose to show to the world about you. And even though our little photoshoot a year ago (almost exactly – only a few weeks short of a year now) wasn’t a therapeutic session as such, it sure as heck gave each and every one of us women a moment in front of the camera, when we were heard and seen just the way we chose to. That’s a powerful gift a photographer can give a person.

Which then got me thinking about my own photography, my past and future clients… But that’s another post, I think. This has been a rambling mess already, no need to make it even worse!

Posted in Portrait photography, Thoughts on photography | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Crop of 2014

Once again I notice I have been a very lazy blogger. It was quite a topsy-turvy year, 2014. I didn’t shoot as much as before, but now that things are finally settling down in my life, I hope to have a bit more time for photography again. Not to even mention promoting my photography, ahem… (On a sidenote – I did activate my Instagram account this year, feel free to follow. I’m under the username “yavannie” and post rather random iPhone shots.)

What made me sit down and start typing today was the example of quite a few of my photographer friends. They’ve followed in the footsteps of Ansel Adams, who famously said: “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.”

I don’t think I can do this so that there’s one picture per month, but let’s see if there could be 12 per a year.

For January, I choose this, from my first photo walk of 2014. Simple, minimalistic, symmetric. Became surprisingly popular in Flickr (22,000+ views, I was rather stoked about it, as this was the first time a photo of mine got such huge numbers of viewers) and I sold a print of it, too.

Power Lines

Power Lines

For February there’s no contest, if a photo needs to be personally significant. As in “important to me”. It’s the first smile my nephew (born on 1st of Jan, 2014) gave me – he’s posing like a pro and melting his aunt’s heart. Technically, not a brilliant picture, but my gosh, ever so significant. (There would’ve been another shot that is even more significant, but since it wasn’t taken by me, it’s not included. Very good things happened to me in February!)

My charming nephew

My charming nephew

In March I was already shooting film with a lovely old Yashica-A. But since I made a whole separate post about those shots, I’ll pick a foggy (digital) favourite of mine for the third image.

Misty river

Misty river

April wasn’t much of a photo month for me, apparently. I can’t say there were any really significant shots that would deserve to be showcased. We’ll hop along and see if May helps – June definitely will.

I didn’t get to do as much of rock photography in 2014 as I would’ve liked. Sure, mostly it was because I simply didn’t have as much time for gigs as during 2013, but partly also because the online rock mag I write & shoot for (Stalker.cd) has other people covering gigs in Helsinki and I can’t always travel to Helsinki for a concert. No time, no money. That’s why May’s significant shot is from the album release gig of the excellent Brother Firetribe. They played their first gig after a long break and the guys were absolutely brilliant to watch and listen. Their positive energy filled the venue to the brim, it was awesome. My only regret was that my equipment isn’t always up to the task when forced to shoot from a distance. But still, this shot shows the enthusiasm of both the band and the audience. A fab evening with BFT, for sure. Here’s the review I wrote about the gig.

Brother Firetribe at Virgin Oil Co., Helsinki

Brother Firetribe at Virgin Oil Co., Helsinki

Ah, June. One of the best months of my life. Why? I spent half of it in Rome! The first time ever visiting the Eternal City – and I got to spend two weeks there, wow. It was overwhelming, awesome, incredible, fantastic. So much so that after my trip I couldn’t even go over my photos properly, I had totally OD’d on Rome. I still have the photo book (and blog post) to do… Hahah! Two significant shots from June. A quirky one and a lucky one. Love them both. They’re the best bits of Rome for me.

IMG_1360

Who wants straight lines anyway?

IMG_2267

Not all with wings can fly

In July I did get to shoot the DBTL rock festival in Turku and my very first wedding, which were both hugely significant to me in different ways. But I’m still going to go for a shot of some really beautiful noctilucent clouds I caught on a beautiful July night. It has a strong personal significance and I suppose it’s not too bad as a photograph, either. Heh.

Two hours after sunset

Two hours after sunset

August photo is of my nephew again. Sorry to be predictable, but he’s just been a perfect little model for his aunt to learn some infant photography. In available natural light. While he keeps crawling around. But mostly he’s just intensively observing me and the weird black object covering my face. Now, at one year old, he spots me with a camera and he just can’t take his eyes off it. He’s going to be a photographer – or a model, for sure! As for this shot, it’s uncharacteristically serious, but I just can’t get over his eyes. He’s so intent, so thoughtful, so present. I’m happy I caught this moment.

Serious

Serious

September was, once again, the month of morning mists and my second annual sunrise photoshoot trip to Mathildedal. I wrote a separate post about it, so suffice it to say here that I’m so going to do this again in 2015.

Mists of Mathildedal

Mists of Mathildedal

October. A very stressful month at work in 2014, but there was a balancing factor. Fall vacation. Which, quite unbelievably, I spent in Greece. Sailing in the Aegean Sea, island hopping in the Cyclades. I never thought I’d get to experience something like that. It was, without a doubt, one of the best weeks of my entire life. (And it deserves a separate post, I’ll get to it eventually, I’m sure.) I could pick several significant shots from that trip, it was hard not to get good shots when the surroundings were what they were. But out of all, I chose this one to be the significant shot. It’s from a day when we sailed from Mykonos to Finikas Bay. Or, well, sailed is an incorrect term here. It was flat out windless all day, so this leg of the trip was completely engine powered. My fellow crew member Wille (an experienced sailor, whereas I am a complete newbie) stood watching the still sea, I had to snap a shot. You know, sun setting, calm seas, silhouettes… I just love it.

Without wind

Without wind

In November I got the camera out twice. Which should tell you volumes of my November. It was dark, depressing and in no way photographically inspiring. Work was a hassle, I was tired all the time and hated the rainy blackness of it all. Blah. No significant shots of any importance. So, let’s move on to December.

December was significant in the sense that I got myself a new camera. In order to survive a wedding photo shoot in January (potentially just as wet and dark as in November…), I had to upgrade. Bring on a brand new Canon 6D + a Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. I need to sell a lot of prints and book plenty of shoots before they’re paid for, but in December I’ve been getting acquainted with my new gear. Which is why the significant shots aren’t photography master pieces as such, but significant steps technically speaking.

Nostalgy

Nostalgy

NYE in Helsinki

NYE in Helsinki

So there. My crop of 2014. I’m pleased with the year, even though I didn’t photograph as much as during the two previous years. However, this year included two amazing trips full of photo opportunities, my first wedding shoot, plenty of fun with film cameras and on a highly personal level – a man who patiently waited for me to catch some of these shots. And if that’s not a good year, I don’t know what is. Oh, wait. 2015 will be even better!

Posted in Blogging, Music, Nature photography, Portrait photography, Reviews, Rock photography, Travel photography, Year in review | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment