Thursday, September 30, 2010

Green stuff

Vine, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Greetings from Leuven! I decided to make a short posting despite the sporadic network connection. Above you see a bit older photograph, but it fits the following, which is off-topic (and work-related) but I hope you don't mind.

I'm involved in organizing a free event, Workshop on Green and Environmental Computing, taking place in Helsinki (Espoo), Finland, on October 27-28, 2010. If you are interested in green stuff, or ICT stuff, and especially things like “ICT carbon footprint”, have a look. Or tell someone who might be interested. The weather in Finland at the end of October is not something anyone would brag about, so it will be easy to focus on the workshop topic and forget other things.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Traveling (at least trying to)

Maple leaf, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Leaf colors, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Fallen, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

You may still remember what happened in April this year when I traveled to Leuven. Icelandic ash happened. I'm traveling again the next few days - I hope no such thing strikes again. Lightning never strikes... But anyway, there will be a break in the postings here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Baby Mila in playhouse props - and a night at a pond

Pond night, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Pond night 2, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Today local media sources reported of a Finnish photographer who had made a two-book deal with the New York based publisher Balzer&Bray. (Read about it here in Finnish.) The books will be based on a popular photography blog titled Mila's Daydreams, in which Adele Enersen from Helsinki photographs her small baby-girl in various attires while she is taking daytime naps. Since June, two million people have visited the blog. The first book will appear in 2012.

I browsed the Mila's Daydreams blog and must admit it is very original and quite funny, in a positive kind of way. Also, it is at the opposite end of the spectrum from my photographs of twigs and mushroom, and I couldn't help thinking what the photographer's daughter will think about this when she is grown up. Also, there was an overload of baby images, and it is almost certain that I won't visit the blog any time soon.

To provide a contrast to the baby photographs, here are some taken at a pond yesterday after sunset. Quite a different feeling.

Update: I almost forgot: there is another review of the Panasonic LX5, quite a detailed (and positive) one at the Imaging Resource. Here is a quote: "I truly think it is one of the best cameras out there--for those who will take the time to learn its abilities and also take time with the images afterward. But usually those who ask "for the best camera" have no intention of taking time; they just want to point and shoot. [...] It's the loose mode dial, loose controls on the lens barrel, and white balance and color troubles that mostly make me want to steer inexperienced, minimally involved users from the LX5. I'd hate for them to stumble into these aspects and blame the camera. It's not the camera, it's just not quite made for them."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Night impression

Autumn colors, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

This photograph was taken handheld at ISO 200, f/2.8 and 1 second exposure (- 1 EV exposure compensation), using the maximum aperture of the LX3 at the 60 mm tele end. The wind generated some extra blur in addition to the camera shake. Even though the photograph is far from sharp, the result is not bad, in fact quite impressionistic.

Feels like autumn

Field, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Autumn colors, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Kind of red, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Fields, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

It is getting colder and - fortunately - not so wet any more. Maybe we will get some more autumn colors, at least cold nights and dry days are a good incentive for the trees.

Here are some autumn landscapes from Sunday. I'm not sure if I like any of them, all of them are a bit subdued. But perhaps that is a kind of attraction in itself?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mushrooms - an appreciation

Amanitas, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Mushrooms, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Mushrooms, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Amanita, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

We have a lot of mushrooms visible just now, so I think it is a good time to remember how vital mushrooms - and mycelium - are for living things. Mushrooms have a key role in the decomposition of plant material, keeping the ecosystem up and running.

Do you like blur?

Blur, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Blur, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Blur, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Blur, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Here is yet another take on our walk around lake Myllyjärvi. Or at least a different way of approaching the subject. Every so often I have experimented with deliberate motion blur, which seems to divide opinions. Some like it, some don't see much benefit in such trickery.

In any case, here is a short series of motion blur photographs, taken while walking in a forest at Myllyjärvi. Personally, I rather like the way the motion blur makes the photographs sort of impressionistic, a bit like paintings. But you have to take a lot of photographs to get one to come out right.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Around lake Myllyjärvi (take two)

Mushrooms, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Red, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Water, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Cranberry, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Needles, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Blueberry, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

I thought that I might try to make a different kind of "story" of our walk around the lake Myllyjärvi today, not in landscape photographs but in closeups. So here goes.

What do you think, which one is better? (As a photographic story.)

Around lake Myllyjärvi

Lake Myllyjärvi, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Lake, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Reeds, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Lake Myllyjärvi, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Fallen, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Colors, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

We walked today around the lake Myllyjärvi - once of the many with the same name, "mill lake" in English. We had a sunny day, and it was a pleasure to be out and walking.

I haven't posted many "real" landscape photographs for a while, so here is a story of landscapes. I might make a separate posting on another topic, have to see how it goes.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lake calmness

Shore, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Shore 2, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Reflect, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

This week has been a bit of a blur, things happening and piling on top of another. Finally I even managed to misspell e-mail addresses, causing some confusion, which required extra work to clear up.

It was nice to go for a walk with the wife around sunset, to a nearby lake, where the clouds were mirrored from the calm surface.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Stripes, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Stripes 2, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Colors, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

I was yesterday and today in a seminar discussing the future of the public sector in Finland, and this has caused a bit of hurry in doing other stuff. I guess that is appropriate given the amount of reduction in public sector resources during the last few years. (And more reductions are to come.)

I couldn't decide which of the "stripe" photographs was better, or even any good, so I decided to include both. How you feet about them?

And as a bonus, a photograph which is much more calm - taken late evening at about sunset.

Mushrooms and leaves

Mushrooms, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Leaves, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Amanitas, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

It has been so wet here in Finland that when the leaves fall off the trees they immediately turn brown. And no real good autumn colors either so far. But mushrooms thrive.

I haven't posted much work-related matters, but this is big for us. So, if you are interested in green ICT, datacenters, supercomputers etc., check out CSC establishing a data center in northern Finland: "... one of the world’s most eco-efficient data centers in Kajaani, on the site of the former paper mill of UPM in northern Finland. The datacenter will be built jointly by CSC and UPM, and it will provide a state-of-the-art environment for supercomputers, data storage, and other demanding IT systems." - This is a big thing for us, although of course things are currently still in the planning and negotiation stage. Have to see how it goes.

By the way, it is interesting that I haven't yet taken a photograph of a supercomputer, or a datacenter. I guess I have a different taste for subjects of photography than subjects of work.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dark and blurry

Wet leaves, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Streetside, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Lamp, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

It is getting dark here in Finland, earlier and earlier, especially on days like today when there is a thick cloud cover and lots of rain. I tried taking photographs handheld, but it was difficult, as the exposures were at about 0.5 seconds at ISO 200. And I'm not willing to raise sensitivity to ISO 400, as there starts to be too much noise in the LX3. And this brings up two topics.

Andreas "disturbed my peace" by pointing out that the LX5 samples at ISO 1600 are really good - but you need to use RAW and a good deal of post-processing to achieve this. And I don't even like to think about changing my simple jpeg workflow into another which deals with RAW files.

And unfortunately, when using jpeg, the LX5 doesn't seem to be much better than LX3.

When writing about this last point, it seems that I wrote a bit harshly, as there was a comment: "For me it seems like you love your LX3 so much that you're afraid it won't be "the best compact in the world" anymore. Stop looking at the LX5 as a menace, please."

Well, I guess what Andreas wrote about "disturbing my peace" does apply. On the other hand, I'm happy with the LX3. On the other hand, I do follow the news to see whether there will be better cameras available for my purposes. For now, the Canon S95 and the Panasonic LX5 seem to be competent alternatives to the LX3.

However, when the LX3 came out, it was a kind of game-changer - a small camera with a big soul (or at least a wide lens). Later (and in fact it took a suprising amount of time) Canon came out with the S90 and there was also the Samsung EX1/TL500. Nowadays it starts to get crowded in the "f/2.0 or better" advanced compact camera category.

And things are getting even better. Fujifilm announced the FinePix X100, which seems to promise a nostalgic experience with up-to-date specs. And also Olympus joins this trend of compact cameras with bigger sensors.

So, cameras are improving, or at least coming back to what was good about cameras in the 1970s or so. In fact, the X100 reminds me strongly of the Canonet QL 17 GIII, which was the first camera I was allowed to use. If I would buy a camera on the basis of how it looks, the X100 would probably be my choice number 1. However, Fujifilm has often erred in the details - such as the overall usability of a camera. I hope this is not the case here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Is it dangerous to have a camera with you always?

Vine, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

N, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Tricycle, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Autumn colors, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

I read an article on photography tips for the autumn (in Finnish here), containing among other things the advice "take a step closer to take a better photograph". Of course, if you follow this advice to the logical conclusion, you take only macro photographs. But otherwise, this is good advice, essentially the same as the classical "if the photograph is not good, you were not close enough".

However, what made me think twice was the suggestion that having a camera with you always is a bad thing. "If you always walk with a camera, you end up in a visual mode, and don't experience other things, such as the autumn smell and fresh wind, because your other senses are not working. Eyes, nose and ears are a good camera also."

I'm not sure whether this is true or not. I suspect it is. But I'm reluctant not to take a camera with me on the walks.

Update: Haven't yet had a look at these, but there are reviews of the Panasonic LX5 appearing. DCRP has one, and TrustedReviews another. At least the Canon S95 puts up a really good performance, so the LX5 is by no means the undisputed king of the hill.

And even the LX3 seems to keep up with the LX5, at least when comparing the jpeg results: "When it comes to image noise control, I have to say I'm a little bit disappointed. At 80 to 400 ISO the results are pretty much the same as the LX3, with excellent clarity and no noise at the lowest settings. However at 800 ISO upwards the results are surprisingly somewhat worse than the LX3, with a lot of noise and lost detail at 1600 ISO, while the new lower resolution 6400 and 12800 ISO settings produce very poor results."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A little bit of sunshine

Autumn colors, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Mushrooms, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Spiraea, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Today we get a little bit of sunshine in between clouds and rain. But this didn't do much to diminish the wetness. For the photography the rain isn't too bad - it brings out the colors - but for the photographer this is not so good - he is starting to feel subdued.