Friday, May 28, 2010

1000 postings - using a camera that looks both ways

Windows, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Wood, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

This is the 1000th posting at this blog, in a little bit less than two years. And - so they say - as the camera looks both ways, I must have revealed something about myself here. Or perhaps even learned a little bit of photography.

Since September 2008 I have taken over 93,000 photographs with my Panasonic LX3, quite a feat which I didn't aim for, it just happened. And I have written quite a few words to complement the photographs in the blog postings. On the average, I have taken about 100 photographs for each blog posting here, so only a small subset of the photographs survive this far.

Of course, I'm just a beginner compared to many others, such as Andreas Manessinger, who has well over 1300 postings as of this writing.

Originally I was planning to write a longer posting to celebrate the occasion, but what the hell, is 1000 any more special than, say 1587?

On the other hand, I can't help speculating about new cameras. There is a nice overview of the new Sony cameras, titled 24 Hours with Sony's NEX-3 & NEX-5. Based on the overview, it seems that these mirrorless cameras are quite nice, although there are user interface problems which spoil the fun in more demanding use. But I guess Sony may be able to improve the interface to the point when the cameras are tempting indeed.

One thing I didn't know about Sony cameras were the Sweep Panorama and Twilight Hand-held modes, both of which basically use a kind of stiching techology to generate either a much larger or a better-quality image. The Sweep Panorama mode joins in-camera up to 60 images while you slowly move the camera across the landscape. And in the Twilight Hand-held mode the camera captures six images in succession, layering the best parts into an optimized image file. These sound interesting technologies indeed, and probably will appear elsewhere.

But at least for now I'm very pleased with my LX3. It allows all kinds of experiments in photography. What I have learned is that there are endless paths to explore, and I feel that I know less about photography the more I take photographs. Of course, it would be bad the other way around, so no complaints.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Long days (dry or wet)

Oak, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Drops, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Close, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

The weather has been cooler recently, no longer above 25 °C, and we have both dry spells and wet days. But summer is here anyway.

Here are some photographs taken this week. It is nice to be outside whether the sun is shining or it is clouded and raining.

Length of day today: 18 hours 5 minutes. And it will get longer.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Apple tree, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Rhubarb, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Spiraea, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

It has been raining quite a lot, and more to come. Here are some photographs from today.

I finished reading W. G. Sebald's novel "The Rings of Saturn". Quite a book, different from almost anything else. Don't know whether it is in fact a novel, a collection of personal essays, or something else.

As the book contains mysterious black and white images, mostly photographs, perhaps I should have provided such photographs here as well. But nowadays I'm not at all interested in b&w photography, perhaps because of the spring.

In any case, the images and the text work brillantly together in Sebald's book. Recommended. Although there are some errors, such as claiming that Dutch elm disease is caused by virus when it is in fact a fungus. But perhaps the errors are part of the intention of the writer - that is, fiction.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Anthill, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Pond, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Blur, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Yesterday I was complaining about pollen and dust being carried by wind, and wished for rain. Well, we got plenty of water, filling up ditches and rivers, and carrying some earth with it.

Fortunately, there was a break in the rain during afternoon. Here are some photographs from Pitkäkoski, "Long rapids", a part of the Vantaanjoki river. Excellent place for a walk in nature.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

First apple bloom

Apple, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Rhubarb, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Garden, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Pollen on water, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

The first flowers of our apple tree are opening today. They may not be all perfect, but they are ours. There is plenty of things to look at in the garden - and in other gardens as well.

What is not so good is the phenomenal amount of pollen carried by winds. It falls on all surfaces and colors them. On water, it forms clumps and rafts. Perhaps there will be some rain which clears up the air.

Wall, painted

Paint work, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Shadow on wall, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Leaf forms, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Yesterday it took several hours to paint a wall. I'm not used to such work, so it was quite exhausting, but a pleasing task nevertheless, as you had immediate feedback of progress.

And our new garden looks good, there are endless things to discover. Soon, the apple tree will blossom. I'm waiting.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

From mouse ears to full leaves

Maple, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Rowan, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Bird cherry, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Only a few days ago, the leaves were newly unfolded (or "mouse ears", as we say in Finnish), and now they are full-sized. I don't remember this happening so fast ever, but then my memory (and I maybe everyone's) is quite short.

Actually, there is a saying in Finnish, "miesmuistiin" / "in a man's memory", referring to something only happening once in a lifetime. But - and this happens usually - then someone shows statistics or other evidence that this rare event happened previously only a few years ago. So short is "man's memory".

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My first apple tree

Apple, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

"You should plant a tree". I have now planted an apple tree, my first. It will soon blossom. Something to look forward to each day.

One thing to beware: Don't step into the garden - even just for a moment - when you are making food. Time flies there. It is easy to get burnt chicken curry instead of hot, if you are not careful.


Side, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Lighted, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Birch, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

"It is all about the light", some say. Here are three photographs in which I explored the evening light today. A pleasure.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Flowers and stones

Wood anemone, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Lewisia, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

5-10, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Against stone, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

The warmth (several days over 24 °C) has put a lot of speed to spring. Flowers are developing faster and faster, and the new leaves of trees are getting fast bigger. (By the way, is there a special word for "a newly unfolded leaf of a tree" in English, corresponding to the Finnish word "hiirenkorva", which means literally "mouse ear".)

I have taken walks on nearby forests, usually with one or two of our daughters, and worked in the garden every once in a while. It is looking good (the garden, and the nature). Warm weather is forecasted, with a little bit of rain, so it is going to be nice I guess. So far I'm not getting fed up with it being warm all the time.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Reflect, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Mouse, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Flowering, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Yesterday was a hot day, same today, well above 25 °C. More work in the garden, grilling some sausages etc. Also, going for a walk with our youngest daughter who seems to have no trouble with the heat. I'm quite tired, but not in an unpleasant way.

Friday, May 14, 2010

So tired

Clothesline, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Laundry, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Wood anemone, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Flowering, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

I'm extremely tired after working in the garden for the whole day. But it is nice feeling. And it has been pleasant to work alongside the wife, in the hot sunlight (27 °C or so), discussing how our new garden will look like.

Here is a story in photographs, starting from laundry in the morning and ending in a short walk in a nearby forest late in the evening. A good day.

Enjoying the spring

Flowering, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Coltsfoot, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Wheels, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Laundry, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

It has been sunny, although we got a little bit of rain during the night. A really nice time for enjoying the spring. Of course, there is also a lot of things to do. In the garden, at home. Getting some sunshine.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Busy-ness (and thoughts on Nokia, mirrorless cameras, Antti Hyry)

Red wall, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Helsinki street view, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Bug, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Sunlight, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

This has been a busy week, lots of things happening. Meetings at work, and at home we had some work done in the garden (cutting trees etc.).

Today I was in Helsinki early in the morning, and took some photographs while walking to a meeting. And when I was returning to home from work, there was an extreme case of a traffic jam. It two two hours to get home. (Usually it takes 30-45 minutes by car.)

Here are some random bits I thought at some point doing this busy week.

About Anssi Vanjoki's comments on camera phones killing off DSLRs: Vanjoki seems to be the strongest candidate for next CEO of Nokia, and the term "Vanjoking" seems to be taking off. He likes to provoke.

I haven't had time to look into the details of Sony's new mirrorless cameras NEX-5 and NEX-3, but they do seem promising. Of course, lens selection is really limited at the moment. But the cameras are small, and it seems that Sony has learned a lesson or two from the Olympus and Panasonic micro 4/3 cameras. Competition is heating up. But we need lenses - especially pancake lenses - and a good macro lens. Please, please.

A colleague in Germany (thanks, Jarno!) sent in some links about the Finnish author Antti Hyry, whom I have pondered here a couple of times. This information is in Finnish. First, a radio program at YLE Areena, which will be available for a few weeks, also available from abroad. And an interview of Hyry at Suomen Kuvalehti. Very short, very typical, entertaining in a Hyry-like way (you need to read between the lines).

Update: Canon news as well: SD 4000/IXUS 300 HS is a new premium compact with (some) manual controls. ISO 3200 (whatever that means) and 28-104 mm f/2.0 lens. May not be too bad at all. Well, and I was thinking just a while ago that there are no new interesting cameras, and now we do have some from Sony and Canon.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A walk in a deep, wet forest

Deep forest, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Young fir, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Wrap, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Marsh, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

In stream, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Sunken, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Today is Mother's Day, and to enjoy the spring, we went for a walk in the Pirttimäki forests, which are deep and wet and full of surprises. Here is a story of the walk, six photographs in all, showing what a wonderful place it is, full of things to discover, for the children to enjoy. (Provided you have rubber boots of course.)