Saturday, October 31, 2009

Late autumn in black and white

Autumn forest, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Decay, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Leaf forms, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Almost all leaves have fallen to ground from trees. It is becoming darker every day, both because days are getting shorter and because there is not much to reflect light. Here are three photographs from today, appropriately in black and white.

Types of photographers (and about visions)

Radial, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Curve, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Stump, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

TOP had recently an interesting (alhtough rambling) posting about photography:

I presented a diagram that looked something like this: [...] Where green was professional or commercial photography, orange was editorial photography or photojournalism, and blue was art photography and academic photography. A hand immediately shot up from the back of the room: "And what kind of photographer are you?" Without thinking, I replied, "I'm a writer."
I'm not a photographer in this sense either, just a person with a hobby, doing other things to earn a living. And I don't want to spoil my relation to photography with too much seriousness.

Speaking of seriousness, recently I read "The Prophet Muhammad: A Biography" by Barnaby Rogerson. It was a revealing book about the effect of visions. Compared to this, we all are amateurs. You don't need to own a camera (or even to be able to read and write) to make changes in the world.

Speaking of visions, Mark Hobson apparently doesn't like TOP much, "since it went to really focusing on gear." There is something here, but true to his style Hobson really underlines his point.

On the other hand, I can't help liking his photographs, although sometimes I have a nagging feeling of them being produced in an "industrial" process. Is there really something under the surface?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

An evening with no clouds

Forest line, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Finally we had a day (or at least an evening) with no clouds. It has been overcast for so long that it was almost like a new world when the blue of the sky was visible. And we had a nice sunset as well. A great day.

As I wrote here earlier, I won a company-wide photography competition (it is a small company...). And the price was excellent: a recent book about owls (in Finnish) by Heikki Willamo. It is a first-rate photography book (and not "industrial" in the way some nature photography books tend to be). Highly recommended.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wet autumn days and nights

Steps, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Walking blur, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Forest edge, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Yesterday the board of Ursa Astronomical Association visited the observatory at Artjärvi. It was an interesting trip, although we couldn't try to make any observations. It was raining, there was thick fog, and the sky was heavily clouded. And as the observatory is situated in a place where there are few lights anywhere, it was really dark.

In addition to one photograph taken yesterday at Artjärvi, here are two photographs from today. It was still clouded, foggy and raining, but at least I was able to go out before sunset.

One of the two photographs was taken with a long exposure while walking, and interesting way of taking photographs, although not many images succeed.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Plenty of colors (but soon no more)

Red, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Rose, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Today I took colorful photographs, of the few remaining leaves in bushes and trees. It was raining, and a thick cloud cover subdued the light - but the colors were bright. Yesterday I walked outside for almost three hours, today not so long, but it was nice being outside.

The two photographs shown here are once again in the square format. I'm still trying to learn to use it properly. Not easy.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Stumps (and a word on a photography competition)

Fallen, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Stump, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Here are two more photographs from today in the square format. I guess there are some possibilities with the format, but it is indeed challenging.

Some time ago I took part in a nature photography competition organized by the staff of our company. This week I learned that an image of mine had won. It was a photograph of icicles taken at the Ahvenkoski hydroelectric power plant.

I was surprised, as I'm not really into nature photography. Of course, landscape and nature are interesting for me, but I'm not taking "nature photographs", just photographs. In fact, some of the published nature photography is so "industrially made" that it doesn't interest me at all.

I posted the images here in January, the winning image is the last one. We went to visit the city of Kotka and there was plenty to see. In fact, some of the photographs from the visit look even nicer than I remembered.

Shooting square

Reeds, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Step, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Firmware version 2.1 for the Panasonic LX3 allows composing and shooting in the 1:1 aspect ratio. I saved this setting as one of the custom modes. This works really well, making it possible to compose on screen using the square format.

My other custom settings are variations of the same theme. One has adaptive sensitivity up to ISO 400 instead of fixed ISO 100. Another uses dynamic b&w film mode.

Today I used mostly the setting for 1:1 aspect ratio, to see whether it makes it easier to "see in square". And it may help, at least it was a novelty and interesting to try out. The images are smaller of course, about 7.5 megapixels, and you could get the same result by using the 4:3 ratio and cropping afterwards. But then it would be harder to learn seeing in this format.

Here are two examples of the square format. It does have some problems, not having a "natural" orientation. I think I'll do some experiments to see whether I can learn to use it more naturally.

I'm really learning to like the new firmware version, especially the ability to remember the zoom range and manual focus distance. Now the camera is even more easy to use, it works as a camera should.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wetness - let there be dry days

Rush color, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Park, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Tree curtain, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Here are three photographs taken today. It was wet once again, thickly clouded. Fortunately autumn leaf colors provide some refreshment for the eyes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bright colors of a wet night

Rainy, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Rainy lake, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Here are two photographs from today, taken at night after sunset. It was raining, which brought out the colors for the camera to capture.

Today it was once again a long day at work, although I managed to make a short walk outside before a late evening teleconference. Then it was not yet raining, but later it was. But it was dark even near noon, thick clouds hanging near the ground.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A night walk (and some words about LX3 firmware version 2.1)

Street view, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Fence, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Green and yellow, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Today I had a day with meetings and discussions one after another. Thus, I was able to go out for a walk only well after sunset. It was clouded as usual, but relatively warm, 7 °C. Here are three photographs taken during the walk.

I installed firmware version 2.1 on the Panasonic LX3 today. I didn't notice much difference with the color balance, but then getting it "right" is impossile when you have scenes like this with artificial light sources.

On the other hand, I immediately started to use the setting of remembering the zoom and manual focus position when starting up the camera. Extremely useful! There is a notice on the screen when you use this, but it goes away with the first press of the button, not too inconvenient.

Firmware version 2.1 does not bring dramatic improvements. The LX3 was and is an excellent camera, but some rough edges are being polished away by Panasonic. A good camera is becoming even better.

I couldn't test whether the camera focuses faster in the "wide" zoom position, as there was so little light awailable. I tend to use manual focusing with these night scenes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Disappearing light

Into the autumn forest, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Light and dark, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

It is that time of the year when it is dark when you wake up, and it soon gets dark when you get home from work. Soon it will be dark except for a few hours around noon. So it goes.

Here are two photographs from today. It was clouded, wet, and the ground was covered by leaves in the forest.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wet and muted - enjoying the grayness

Autumn landscape, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Leaf carpet, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Three birches, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Here are three photographs taken today. It was wet, raining a little bit almost all the time, but despite the clouds it wasn't too dark. The leaves are falling fast from the trees now, and some trees are almost bare already, ready for winter.

This is a nice time for photography, my favorite time, even better than spring. (Although I may think differently after the winter.) The barren trees show interesting shapes and structures, and the light is often beautiful.


Shoe, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Fence, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

The weather has been clouded for some time now, and it is very wet. Here are two photographs from yesterday, showing man-made stuff related to nature.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bright is beautiful - NOT!

Road, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Autumn apples, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Apples, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

66,666, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Here are some more photographs from today, taken when I realized that the clouded day and the muted autumn colors fit together beautifully. It was such a good day to be walking outside, especially after the sickness which hit me three days ago.

The last photograph was included simply because it happens to be 66,666th photograph taken with the LX3. Go, LX3, go!

Learning to love the muted colors

Stump, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Log, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

For a long time I waited for the bright autumn leaf colors to come out. But that did not happen this year. What we got instead were greenish and yellowish colors at most, usually it was a sort of brownish.

Today I suddenly realized that it is actually quite beautiful. There were thick clouds, and the sun invisible and rather weak already, but there was a nice feeling to the landscape, of waiting, perhaps a bit like dreaming. And that was something you could try to catch in a photograph.

And this reminded me of my favorite photographer - Sam Abell. Many of his images contain this kind of muted light - muted but beautiful. As Abell has written, photography is about seeing, and about making photographs, not taking them.

Thus, one lesson learned, again. Never try to take photographs because what you are trying to see may not be there. Instead, see.

Here are two photographs from today, which I feel are not too bad. At least I was not trying to picture something which was not there.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dark colors of the night

Lakeside, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Path near lake, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Sunset, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

The sickness which hit me day before yesterday abated today, and I managed to go out for a walk. I took again photographs at night, trying to re-learn some of the things from last winter.

The LX3 is excellent for this, but I'm debating whether I should buy a light tripod to complement my pocket-size minitripod. The problem with the minitripod is that it doesn't allow to optimize the viewpoint in the same way as a normal tripod would. But then it wouldn't be so easy to take the camera out for a walk, would it?

By the way, today is Blog Action day, theme being climate change. A worthy cause indeed!

And another point: Dpreview published their deep analysis of the Panasonic GF1, and highly recommended it was. But for me there is one big obstacle: no built-in image stabilization. Otherwise the combination of the 20 mm f/1.7 lens and the GF1 would be almost impossible to resist. But perhaps Olympus will get it right in the next micro-4/3 camera. (Pity about the usability problems with the E-P1.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Photography at night

Night landscape, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Stripes, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Lamp posts, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

I have started once again taking photographs well after sunset. There are challenges, especially related to color balance, but on the other hand, because there is simply not a single "right" color balance, one can be a little bit creative here. And the LX3 is rather good for images of this type, taken by using a mini-tripod with exposures in the 1-8 seconds range.

I'm currently in some kind of (stomach) flu, I hope it goes away soon. Here are three "night" photos from yesterday after sunset (which happens quite early now).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The sadness of leaves

Green and yellow, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Berry, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Autumn, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Here are two more images from last Sunday (and one from Monday). Sunday was such a nice day, cold in the morning, sunny during the afternoon.

Later we have had the first snow falling - but it melted away almost before hitting the ground. It was wet, windy and a bit dark outside.

In a way it is sad to see the leaves falling to ground and getting brown and rotten. But on the other hand, they have done their job, now it is the time for trees to prepare for winter. Next spring it is time for a new crop of leaves to come out and start working with the sun.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The leaf carpet

Log, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Leaves, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Here are two more photographs taken this morning, a bit different in style from the others. Green and brown were prominent in many places.

The hard sound of leaves falling

One red, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Light borders, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Roots, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

This morning the wind was still in the forest. I heard a sound like a bunch of people walking, but there was nobody else besides me in the forest. Then I realized that the sound was made by frozen leaves falling to the ground. It was a surprisinly loud sound, like twigs breaking under the foot.

During the night, the temperature dropped below -5 °C, and we had frost on the plants. But it soon melted away when the sun started to shine.

Here are three photographs from this morning. I may post more, as it was such a nice time for taking photographs.