Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I’d love to be the silk-shimmer

My vacation is nearing the end, and I have been busy with various chores and things to do. Today I went to a shop to get new summer tires for my car. A pair of tires were finished. Two years ago I bough already one pair of new summer tires.

But there was a misshap at the shop, or actually two mishaps.

One of the bolts broke when a tire was being changed, and I need to go back to the shop to have a new bolt installed when the part arrives there. Also, the shop installed four new tires instead of two which I bought, and when I remarked about this, the shop de-installed the other new pair and put the old (but relatively new) pair of tires back. Well, this took some extra time, but at least I got also these tires balanced while the error was fixed.

Also, I'm currently in discussions with a seller of a MacBook battery that wasn't what I needed, cancelling the order. The seller promised to refund the money at Paypal, but so far I haven't seen any refund there. I'm discussing the topic further with the seller.

Also, I need to get my bicycle fixed, once again, and the car needs some repairs as well (not tire-related). I went today to a nearby garage, and the repairman was rather helpful, but he was booked until the end of next week, so this will also take some time. My car is now 13 years old, and I have been thinking about buying a new (or newer) one, but when I had a look at the financial reasoning, it isn't really worthwhile, as I'm using the car so little. The old one (with occasional repairs) should be ok for some years still.

The photographs are from the trip to Salla in Lapland, such ones which didn't get included in the photo book Climbing hills and fells: Vuokatinvaara and Sallatunturit. See the Scribd version or the Blurb version, if you haven't already.

Update: Oh well, I forgot that I tried making an ebook out of the photo book as well, to be viewed in the iPad. You can get the ebook version free of charge here, but Blurb insists on logging in to their store before you can get the ebook.

However, I don't think this version of the photo book is of great value, downloading the PDF version from Scribd is probably a better alternative. And paying extra to Blurb for making and publishing the ebook version wasn't really worth it, but at least I know now how this system works.

(Posting title is from the poem Hum for the Bolt by Jamaal May.)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Now such a feeling for the way they touch and shift

Here are some photographs which didn't make the cut into the photo book of the trip to Salla, Lapland, titled Climbing hills and fells: Vuokatinvaara and Sallatunturit. See the Scribd version or the Blurb version.

I wrote about the book-making project in five installments: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5.

In retrospect I should have paid more attention to what I was doing, but there was so much other things going on that my attention wasn't quite focused on the task. And thus I needed to iterate a bit more, which resulted in mistakes, which required extra work, etc. But in the end I'm rather pleased with the results, with the errors and all. It is a bit too simplistic as a book, the layout could have been much more creative, but I'm happy with it as it is now.

And having a printed book always feels good. Last year I didn't make any, so it was time to refresh the skills a bit.

(Posting title is from the poem Cut Out For It by Kay Ryan.)

Monday, July 29, 2013

The brain, remember, is not foolproof

Well, I'm almost done with the photo book. There are 72 pages, as I managed to cut eight pages from the initial version. Still too many pages, but I'm getting tired of going through the book again and again. The title of the book is Climbing hills and fells: Vuokatinvaara and Sallatunturit, which is not terribly original but may suffice.

Right now the iMac is hot while running PDF conversions using Ghostscript. This takes some time: a) compressing the 170 MB PDF file to about 18 MB, and b) rendering individual pages as images to be imported into Blurb BookSmart software as full-bleed pages. I did this already once, but spotted a mistake, so I'm redoing the conversion.

I'm thinking of printing the photo book as hardcover, using ImageWrap for the covers, and ProLine uncoated paper. This is somewhat more expensive than the basic softcover, but as I have put something like 10-15 hours to making the photo book, not to mention the effort of taking the photographs, I don't mind.

Another thing is that the trackpad of the five-year-old MacBook Pro is no longer working properly, it doesn't register the clicks as it used to. This is really really awkward when trying to do some writing etc. on the computer.

I did a lot of searches on the net, and finally it turned out that the culprit is the swollen battery, which lies below the trackpad, preventing it from working properly.

Then there was the question of buying a replacement battery. Searching the net, I found several shops selling relatively cheap replacements. And here I must - rather embarrasedly - report that I was apparently caught by a scammer, who had put up a shop looking like a real deal.

I made a payment through PayPal, and in the receipt there was mentioned someone called "lin feiyun" instead of the shop name. Only at this stage did I start to question whether I'm being swindled. The domain name of the shop is "", and I really should have been more careful. But maybe I can get this sorted out via Paypal. In any case, it seems that the battery type may also have been a wrong one, as the specs didn't quite match.

Well, I found another shop selling a battery looking like the real deal. This was more expensive, but at least I got a real confirmation of my order, and the shop seems to be working as it should.

The photographs above were taken while returning back home from Lapland.

Update: The photo book is ready, and I ordered a copy from Blurb, going all the way to hardcover, ImageWrap and Proline Pearl Photo version, which was rather expensive, but "made for use in high-end photo books" was just hard to resist. Usually Blurb has been rather fast in delivering the books, so it may be that it arrives before August 13 which was the estimated delivery date.

I uploaded the book to Scribd also, so it is available for viewing from two places:

(Note: I first uploaded to Scribd the original 170 MB PDF file instead of the Ghostscript-compressed 18 MB PDF file. I re-uploaded to Scribd and updated the link to the more compact version.)

Another thing is that the second shop from where I looked for a replacement battery for my MacBook send a message that the battery will be shipped today. Seems to be ok. Of the first shop I haven't got yet any response.

(Posting title is from the poem You Would Know by Marvin Bell.)

Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books

Yesterday I went to Vaakkoi with my daughter to pick blueberries. There is a very good place 25 minutes walk away from the parking place, and it seems that nobody goes that far away to pick blueberries. They were very sweet even though not specially big ones.

Also, yesterday I managed to get started with making a photo book of our trip to Lapland, without significant problems. The photographs above were taken during the trip.

I bought a new version of Pages from App Store, version 4.3, while I had 3.0, which has a bug where the deleted pages didn't disappear properly. That bug has been fixed in version 4.3, so the upgrade was well worth the price.

Pages works the same way as before so there was no learning curve. Well, except for the fact that saving files works now differently, and at first I modified an existing photo book when I should have duplicated it first and then started working on the file. Old habits die hard...

I imported the 439 photographs into a new library in Aperture, and working from there, divided the photographs into rough chapters, moving them when needed, and deleting those I didn't feel would make the cut. In the end I had 216 photographs left, divided into nine chapters plus front and back cover photographs.

After the organization work done in Aperture, I started making the rough typesetting in Pages, modifying the text styles and colors to fit what I'm aiming at. Next, I started selecting the cover photographs, chapter title photographs, and those photographs which could make the story in each chapter.

At this point I realized that there are certain types of photographs missing, such ones which help the story to go forward, and as originally I didn't plan on making a book out of the photographs from the trip, I didn't takes such photographs except by accident.

Currently the photo book has 80 pages of photographs in Pages. It is too much, I should cut it down to 64 or so, but I'm letting it rest for a while. But it is almost where I want it to be. A lot remains to be done still: writing text and captions, and fine-tuning the layout. Also some photographs need additional post-processing to work better in a printed book.

I noticed that Blurb has new options for making photo books, such as "pro" papers etc., which might be something to test out. Last time, in 2011, I used "lustre premium" paper, which was all right, but maybe this time I try "proline uncoated" paper, which looks interesting.

(Posting title is from the poem The Tables Turned by William Wordsworth.)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Paper eight paper eight or, paper eight ore white

I have now processed the photographs from the trip to Salla in Lapland. Next I should start planning how the photo book could look like. One of the questions is whether I should focus on the "wild" aspect of nature, and how much should I include the human factor, as there really isn't a completely wild environment any more, even in Lapland. So, what kind of dish should I be serving?

I was less strict about culling the photographs than I'm usually. I saved 439 photographs from the trip, which is 15 % of all, much more than my usual 5-10%. I thought that I should have some reserve material for the photo book, and some of the photographs which I would usually have deleted could work in a book even though not as individual photographs. I also preserved more duplicates than usually, slightly different views of the same subject, as I wasn't sure which one would work best in a book.

I have uploaded most of the photographs to Flickr, which I'm using as a backup service, in addition to the Time Machine backup I have on the iMac. I'm planning to use Aperture to make the original selection of photographs for the chapters of the book, and to explore what kind of book would be possible to get out of these photographs. For layout, I'm planning to use Pages, even though there nowadays are very good (easier and/or more professional) alternatives. And for a printed version I'm once again planning to use the BookSmart software from Blurb. I hope it works as well as it used to.

The process I'm planning to use is to some degree documented in the blog page on making photo books.

(Posting title is from the poem Yet Dish by Gertrude Stein.)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

In one eyeblink to the horizon

I have gone through 3/4 of the photographs from the trip to Lapland. But there is still a lot to do. I have almost concluded that it would be worthwhile to make a photo book out of these photographs, but the concept needs some planning still.

It would of course have been better to know in advance that there is a book to be made. Now the photographs don't really belong to a specific theme or fit especially well together.

Below you find screen captures of my work in progress, going through the photographs in Aperture, trying to select those which are the best or otherwise worth saving.

(Posting title is from the poem My Sad Self by Allen Ginsberg.)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Laundry of that lovely absurd summer we wanted so

While going through the photographs from the memory cards I realized there were some taken before the trip to Lapland. These were taken at Petikko on July 16th, the day before we started the journey northwards.

I'm thinking that perhaps I should make a photo book from the photographs from the trip to northern Finland, using the same process and format as in my SoFoBoMo photo books. It would require a bit of extra effort, but having a printed book in hand would be nice, and of course there would be an on-line (PDF etc.) version as well.

But what would be a good title for the book? "Up north and up hills - Vuokatinvaara and Sallatunturit" would be a possibility. Or just "Walking up hills in northern Finland". I think I would focus on the photographs taken while walking at the hills of Vuokatinvaara, and those taken at the hills of Sallatunturit. However, maybe the book could contain some of the other photographs from the trip as well, but I'm not sure how they would fit the theme.

I have so far gone through about 1/3 of the photographs, but there is still plenty to go through. After this phase I should be able to decide whether to try making a photo book or not.

(Posting title is from the poem O. by Robin Blaser.)

A kind of composition in blue and khaki

Here are some photographs from Vaakkoi, taken on July 11th. I'm somewhat busy on Friday, but at some point I hope to be able to go through the photographs taken on the week-long trip to Lapland and back. There are over 2500 photographs waiting for processing, and that will take some time.

Yesterday I went swimming with my daughter in the lake at Luukki. The water was cold after the week-long period of cool and clouded days, but the air temperature rose to +27 °C. Not bad for swimming.

Update: By the way, if you are interested in the wild berries in Finland, I wrote some answers to Martina's questions in a previous posting.

(Posting title is from the poem Study in Orange and White by Billy Collins.)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

It is summer where she’s photographed

... and some more photographs from Särkänniemi amusement park, from the Dolphinarium they have there. It was a long time ago we last went to see the dolphin show, and it was better than I remembered. And the children liked it a lot.

(Posting title is from the poem This Can’t Be Life by Dana Ward.)

There are so many factors engaging our attention!

Here is another installment of circus performances at Särkänniemi amusement park yesterday.

(Posting title is from the poem The Circus by Kenneth Koch.)

I think of the sense of fury in that road

We are back home from traveling. I drove the car for 2200 km, a bit less than I thought. And there are 2878 photographs to go through, which will take some time.

Here is a sample from yesterday which we spent at Särkänniemi amusement park at Tampere. On July 5th we visited Linnanmäki amusement park and spent seven hours there. This time we spent almost nine hours at Särkänniemi, mostly waiting in queues for rides and events to start, and walking around the area.

Standing and walking was a nice change from day before during which I rode the car for 780 km south from Salla in Lapland. I think I have gotten enough exercise during the vacation, as my weight is still going down. I have lost about 12 kg since two years ago. I need to lose 1 kg more and I'm at the normal range of BMI (Body Mass Index).

(Posting title is from the poem The Road by Herbert Morris.)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A thing known passes out of the mind into the muscles

Cloudberries, is there anything better to eat?

(Posting title is from the poem Kora in Hell: Improvisations XXII by William Carlos Williams.)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Part of your image was linked so closely to my desire

I visited two new lakes on July 10th, lake Tuhkuri and lake Kalatoin, while eating blueberries and some cloudberries. I did a search with these lake names, and found a research article titled "Timing of sexual reproduction in chydorid cladocerans (Anomopoda, Chydoridae) from nine lakes in southern Finland". Apparently these lakes at Vaakkoi are interesting subjects for research.

While on vacation here in Salla, Lapland, it has been really cool weather, but today it should start warming up. Nights have been down to +5 °C and day temperature +10...14 °C. We have spent time at the cottage by a lake near Sallatunturi fells, rowed a boat on the lake, and walked the paths nearby.

On Monday I walked 12 km, which took almost three hours, the longest walk so far. And even though I thought beforehand that mosquitoes would be a problem, they haven't been, I have got only one or two bites. The cold and windy weather may have slowed their activities. I haven't seen many insects otherwise either, except for ants which are busy indeed.

In the evening I went to the lake with my daughter in a rowing boat. The wind was a bit stronger than earlier, but with some care it was quite easy to row to the other end of the lake and back. We even circled the little island in the other end, going under the small walking bridge which connects it to the shore.

(Posting title is from the poem Forms of Politeness by Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge.)

Monday, July 22, 2013

And seeing it asleep, so fled away

There are a lot of blue beauties this summer, and they are perfect subjects for photographs. These were found in Vaakkoi on July 10th.

At Salla in Lapland I climbed on Sunday to the top of the bigger of the Salla hills with my daughters. We took it slow, had picnic up on top of the hill, and looked at the scenery and at the plants that grow up on the rocky hilltop.

There were more people than on Saturday visiting the hill, about ten people in all, which isn't that much when you consider how beautiful this place is. But Salla isn't quite so well-known, or so much advertised, as many other villages and resorts in Lapland.

I have taken about 2200 photographs so far during the trip, but I don't have tools to prepare postings with the photographs, so they have to wait until I'm back home.

(Posting title is from the poem On a Dream by John Keats.)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Wouldn’t she love this one

I took these photographs in Vaakkoi on July 10th, which was a rainy day. I ate a lot of blueberries, and explored parts of Vaakkoi where I had not been before.

Here follows some reporting from our trip in Lapland, where the landscape is much more sparse, and the short summer is moving towards autumn.

On Saturday morning I did some rowing with my daughter in a boat on the lake by the Salla hills. It was very quiet, only a little wind, and the rain had ceased by morning.

On Saturday evening I walked around in the forests between the two Salla hills, the small and the bigger one, and found a walking path to the top of the bigger one. And of course I walked up the path, to the top of the hill, where there is a small observation tower.

Lower down where the ground was wet there were a few mosquitoes, but for some reason they seemed to be of a less aggressive variety than what we have in the south, so they were not a problem.

It was very quiet on the path. When I returned back down I met one dog bringing two humans with him, and that was all. The path was in excellent condition. I had rubber boots on, but it would have been all right to use running shoes. All in all the walk took about 2 1/2 hours, plenty of exercise for one day.

(Posting title is from the poem Beech Forest by Stephen Sandy.)