Saturday, May 31, 2014

Glittered around him, like a golden lake

The rainy weather has at least one benefit: the amount of pollen floating in air is kept in control. The photograph was taken in Vaakkoi on May 18th.

Summer vacation has started in schools, and the children are pleased about it, but my vacation is still a few weeks ahead. I have been looking at maps, for places to visit.

One interesting possibility is Kytäjä-Usmi wilderness in Hyvinkää. There are rocky hills, different types of swamps, and small lakes. And Gavia stellata was mentioned in the guide to the area.

I need to visit Hyvinkää in two weeks, and walking a few hours in Kytäjä-Usmi wilderness would be a nice side benefit. I don't know how crowded the place is, but there seems to be a lot of area for even big crowds to disappear into.

(Posting title is from the poem In the Wilderness by George Henry Boker.)

For the young earth still innocent of scars

So far this week I have got almost 11 hours of exercise, so it is probably good to take it easy during the weekend. On the other hand, nature provides a great deal of wonders to explore right now, and it may be that I just have to go for a walk.

Here are some flower photographs taken ten days ago.

(Posting title is from the poem The Flowers by Stéphane Mallarmé, translated by Henry Weinfield.)

Friday, May 30, 2014

The world as water-garden

I walked today for three hours and ten minutes in Nuuksio, in the forests and swamps northwest of lake Siikajärvi. It was very quiet, and I saw only one other person, he was riding a bicycle near the parking lot at Siikaranta.

It seems that I'm running into Gavia stellata everywhere. Earlier in May I saw a pair of the birds at a lake in Vaakkoi, confusing them first with Gavia arctica. Yesterday I saw a pair of Gavia stellata at lake Hepolampi in Luukki.

And today I saw a pair at lake Kolperinlampi in Nuuksio; there was also a young bird swimming with the two adults. The birds seemed almost playful, even though playful is not something I would attribute to Gavia stellata. Once in a while the birds seemed to be in conversation, making moaning sounds.

Summer is now in full bloom, with flowers everywhere. Mosquitoes are also active, and I have got quite a lot of bites, which itch, but one gets used to them during the summer.

Update: I had a look at the photographs from today in Aperture, and it turned out that the adult birds at lake Kolperinlampi had two young birds in the water with them. No wonder they seemed to be active and playful. The young ones were diving, and the adults were staying nearby.

The photographs were taken in Vaakkoi on May 24th.

(Posting title is from the poem Waterlily Fire by Muriel Rukeyser.)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Youngest green transfused in silver shining through

Here is a photograph of a butterfly, Gonepteryx rhamni.

I walked today for three hours in Luukki, starting from the parking place near lake Myllyjärvi, walking north three Ketunkorpi, and returning via Hauklampi. It rained a little bit, and I got a little bit wet, but it wasn't too cold.

I observed a pair of Gavia stellata at lake Hepolampi. They made some wailing sounds, and then they rested, floating on the water near a little island in the lake. This time I think I identified the species right, and in any case this lake should be too small for Gavia arctica to get airborne. But the birds were a bit too far away to be absolutely sure of the throat color.

Today I uploaded to Flickr photographs taken in Vaakkoi, and here is the photograph in which a pair of Gavia stellata is to be seen. I made a crop in which the throat color is clearly visible.

(Posting title is from the poem Love in the Valley by George Meredith.)

I bade my lover paint my portrait

Are these photographs "reverse selfies" or what? Anyway, they were taken in Sipoonkorpi National Park on May 17th.

The weather seems to be better than promised in earlier weather forecasts, +10 °C and only a little bit of rain promised for today. And tomorrow the temperature is rising to +15 °C. I have been looking at maps, planning long walks, but I'm not yet decided where to go. Recently I have visited Sipoonkorpi and Vaakkoi.

(Posting title is from the poem The Portrait by Edith Södergran, translated by Brooklyn Copeland.)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

If you look carefully

These photographs were taken in Sipoonkorpi National Park on May 17th.

I commuted by bicycle on three days this week, making the total 448 km in May. I felt rather tired today, maybe I'm getting the flu, or maybe it is due to lack of sleep.

The rest of the week is vacation. I'm planning to go for long walks. Tomorrow will be rainy and cold, +6 °C, but that is quite all right for a long walk, provided that one uses the right clothing.

I visited Vaakkoi twice in May, and observed a pair of Gavia arctica diving at a lake. Or I thought that they were Gavia arctica. I had some doubts the last time I visited Vaakkoi. When I compared the size of them to a pair of Branta canadensis nearby, they seemed so small. Today I finally had a look at the photographs I took, and using the Loupe tool in Aperture at 100% I realized that the throat is brown-red instead of black.

So, the birds were Gavia stellata, which I should have known. I discussed this with a friend who knows nature from birds to flowers and rocks to trees, and the advice was that I should have observed the shape of the bill to recognize the species.

I must admit once again that I'm a poor observer of nature. One explanation for this is that I'm wearing my old eyeglasses when walking in forests and swamps, to avoid making scratches to the new ones. The drawback is that the old eyeglasses are full of scratches and I don't see details especially well with them.

Also, I don't carry binoculars with me, and the LX5 is far from good in taking photographs of remote objects such as birds. The photographs of the birds were taken at 90 mm equiv., and at 100% magnification there were only a dozen pixels showing the red color in the throat. As nature photographs they are no good, but at least they allowed me to identify the bird species.

I should invest more effort in knowing what species I'm observing in nature. However, as a photographer I'm interested mainly in the landscape - the shapes, colors, and the underlying structure - not so much in the biological or geological details. Probably I'm missing a lot, recognizing the surface only. However, even though a photograph shows just the surface, I feel it can go deep.

(Posting title is from the poem Endangered Species by Phillip Carroll Morgan.)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

And I do nothing but sit in the present

On May 17th I walked for three hours in Sipoonkorpi, exploring Lindamorsmossen swamp. At the south end of the swamp there are giant's kettles, west of Brännbergen hill.

Sore muscles are still bothering a bit, especially in the shoulder area. The swimming I did during the warm weekend taxed the muscles.

Weather was cold today, at +7 °C, and it was raining a bit both in the morning and in the afternoon. But I commuted by bicycle anyway.

(Posting title is from the poem Giant Night by Anne Waldman.)

Monday, May 26, 2014

The makings of another summer

On May 16th I had a meeting in Seinäjoki. I traveled by train from Tikkurila, and it was good.

Today I had sore muscles, and the reason must be the swimming I did on Saturday and Sunday in a lake at Luukki. But the soreness didn't hinder commuting by bicycle, and the weather was excellent, +23 °C and sunny. However, it is now getting to be cooler. Tomorrow the temperature drops to +7 °C, and rain is promised.

(Posting title is from the poem At The River by Diane Fahey .)

Might as well be an empire

I didn't go for a walk on Sunday, feeling somewhat tired, and also busy with various chores.

But I did go swimming with my daughter, and on the way to the lake I voted in the European elections. I was unsure about who to vote almost to the last moment, but finally I just went and voted a candidate who should understand human beings, not just the bold and the beautiful.

The photograph was taken in Sea Life Helsinki on May 11th. Maybe an allegory about politics?

(Posting title is from the poem River Politics by Adam Vines.)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Remained determined to scorn symbolism

The weather forecast is promising hot weather for today, up to +30 °C. That is quite something, close to record warm for May.

I'm thinking about going for a walk, but the hot weather discourages from strenuous exercise. My favorite place for walking in warm weather is Vaakkoi, along the rocky hills between the lakes. The hills in Vaakkoi are so dry that there aren't a lot of trees to block the wind, and thus it feels cooler. Also, on the hills there are less biting insects than elsewhere.

I walked in Vaakkoi yesterday and also a week ago. A route wanders among five lakes, providing plenty of things to see.

On the other hand, one could also go swimming. These photographs were taken in Sea Life Helsinki two weeks ago.

(Posting title is from the poem Fish or Like Fish by Joel Brouwer.)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

But for the most part there was steady progress

It was warm today, up to +29 °C. I walked for two hours in Vaakkoi, visiting five lakes there. I checked what the pair of Gavia arctica are doing, but only one of them was visible, diving for food. Maybe the other was hatching eggs? This time the birds were keeping quiet, there were no loud wailing sounds like last weekend.

I noticed that there was on the other side of the small island also a pair of Branta canadensis, really big birds. One of them was sitting on land, and the other was standing nearby in water, keeping watch. There were a couple of boats on the shore of the lake, but I think that anyone would think twice approaching too close to the island.

When I came back from the walk my daughter wanted to go swimming. And so we did, for the first time this year. The water was warmer than I thought it would be, and we spent an hour swimming.

The photograph was taken in Sea Life Helsinki.

(Posting title is from the poem Goose by Richard Emil Braun.)

For this thing the body needs

Today is a warm day once again, +28 °C is promised in the forecast. It may be a bit too hot for a long walk, but going for a swim is tempting even though the water is still cold in the lakes. I have already got almost 8 hours of exercise this week, commuting by bicycle, and one rest day might be good to have.

The photographs were taken at Sea Life in Helsinki on May 11th.

(Posting title is from the poem In Celebration of My Uterus by Anne Sexton.)

Friday, May 23, 2014

There is a triple sight in blindness keen

I post this photograph here for the simple reason that Andreas Manessinger commented it on Flickr. The photograph was taken in the Sea Life aquarium in Helsinki on May 11th.

I commuted to work each day this week. Sometimes it happens that I get more and more tired towards the end of the week, but this week it was the opposite: I was feeling better and better when riding the bicycle.

Today I was the fastest I have ever been, even though I was obeying all the traffic signs and lights (even though some of them have been programmed really stupidly), and taking care when there were other people walking or riding the bicycle. During the winter the commute takes over 50 minutes, typically 55-60 minutes. Today it took 39 minutes in the morning ("downhill") and 41 minutes when returning home.

(Posting title is from the poem To Homer by John Keats.)

And there was no voice in her head

Yesterday I posted a night photograph, which I hadn't done for a while. This photograph is dark as well, but not because of night; this is the Sea Life aquarium in Helsinki, which I visited with the children on May 11th.

Yesterday I processed some photographs which were waiting on the computer. And I also took some photographs; an apple tree is blooming in the garden. In fact, my daughter wanted me to have a look at the tree, and it was exquisite at sunset. But you will have to wait to see how the photographs turned out, as I have once again 1000 photographs waiting for processing.

(Posting title is from the poem “I have been a stranger in a strange land” by Rita Dove.)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I walk the rainbow in the dark

The length of day is now 17 h 45 min here in Finland, and that is the main reason I haven't posted (or taken) night-time photographs in a while. But here is an exception, the photograph was taken in Vierumäki on May 8th.

I have commuted by bicycle every day this week, and it has been fine, even though we had rain yesterday. Today was warm, +25 °C, and for tomorrow the forecast promises +26 °C.

I have had interesting meetings this week, with people who have original ideas and appreciate discussion. Lack of sleep has bothered a bit, but luckily there are nights when I get 7-8 hours of sleep, and that helps a lot. Sleep is such an important thing which shouldn't be taken for granted.

I have over 1000 photographs waiting to be processed on the computer, but haven't had time to go through them. And then there is the fact that I really would like to take new photographs, but recently there hasn't been much possibility for that during the work week.

(Posting title is from a tribute by Frederick Seidel to Mu'allaqa by Imru'al-Qays.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

But in our hearts

I'm feeling somewhat blurry, even though the daily commute by bicycle helps to clear the head of excessive busyness. During April I got in 18 days 576 kilometers of riding the bicycle, but in May I'll get much less, because of travel and vacation days.

I'm not riding the bicycle other than when commuting, going from A to B. Walking in forests and swamps is my favorite kind of exercise, because it allows to take photographs, and the speed is just right. In fact, walking is to me a kind of meditation, not just a way of getting exercise.

However, I you would join me on a walk of 2-3 hours up and down the hills and across swamps and thickets of fallen trees in Sipoonkorpi National Park, you might think that it isn't too bad as exercise either.

It rained today, and thus here are rainy photographs, taken on May 8th in Helsinki.

(Posting title is from the poem Meditation on Statistical Method by J. V. Cunningham.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Like a busy footnote to its asterisk

The weather forecast for tomorrow promises rain, so here are two rainy photographs, taken in Helsinki on May 8th. I commuted by bicycle today, and so far I have got 256 km on the bicycle in May.

(Posting title is from the poem The Shires by John Fuller.)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Just you be you

There have been a lot of blurry work days during the previous weeks, and so it appears to be in the near future. I hope it eases up at some point, though.

Today was a warm day, temperature rising to +29 °C. I commuted by bicycle. There was a bit too much pollen in the air to my liking, but otherwise the conditions were perfect. And I even had tailwind of 6...9 m/s when returning home, and thus it was quick.

(Posting title is from the song Slow Down by Blur.)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Increase the loneliness

I walked today for two hours. I went to Vaakkoi and visited five lakes: Vaakkoi, Saaren-Musta, Iso Lehmälampi, Kämmenlampi and Väärä-Musta. It was sunny and warm, +24 °C. At one of the lakes I watched a pair of Gavia arctica, who were diving and making wailing sounds. Occasionally they crawled to land on a small island, where they probably have a nest. They were too far away to see what they were doing on land, and I didn't have binoculars with me.

The photograph was taken on May 8th in Vierumäki.

(Posting title is from the poem Seasons by John Haag.)

And the lure of the thing was to be at rest

It is getting warmer, today the forecast promises +23 °C, tomorrow +27 °C. Quite a difference, 10-15 degrees warmer than it has been recently.

This week I have got only 7 1/2 hours of exercise so far, but that is all right; the previous week I got over 12 hours of exercise. One should take it easy once in a while.

On the other hand, there are a great many interesting places where one could go for a walk, to see how spring proceeds. The lure of the wilderness is strong.

These photographs were taken in Vierumäki on May 8th and 9th.

(Posting title is from the poem Lambert Hutchins by Edgar Lee Masters.)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Of the light, the silence, and the water’s stillness

I walked today for three hours in Sipoonkorpi National Park. I started from the parking place at Bakunkärr, walked northwest through Sjöberget and Kurbergen hills to Tobbgropen, and continued from there west and northwest. I got quite far up north until I run into a rather big swamp which wasn't on the map any more.

At home I looked at a bigger map and noticed that the swamp was Lindamorsmossen. There was a path running through the swamp towards southwest and then south, and I followed this path until I was on the map again.

My target was a giant's kettle which was marked on the map, at the south end of the swamp which got narrower and narrower, until cliffs appeared on the west side. Here it took some time to find the giant't kettle, which was not on top of the cliff but at the bottom. There were two of them close together, and they were rather fine.

On the way back to the car I tried to follow a straight line with the compass, but there were cliffs to circle, and some of the swamps were flooded because of the rain we have had, and it took some time to get across the swmaps, even though I had tall rubber boots.

In the earlier visits inside the Sipoonkorpi National Park I didn't met anyone, but this time I met two men, both running fast with a map and a compass, wearing competition shirts and tights.

The photograph was taken in Vierumäki on May 9th.

(Posting title is from the poem Across the Bay by Donald Davie.)

The scent of burning wood holds

While walking past a lake in Vierumäki I noticed that two smoke saunas were being heated. The smell brought to mind good memories.

(Posting title is from the poem Smoke in Our Hair by Ofelia Zepeda.)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Everything that cannot be owned belongs now to us

I traveled today to Seinäjoki by train, which was fine. I like trains, they are a pleasant way to go from one place to another, and they also allow working via WLAN network.

The photograph was taken in Vierumäki on May 8th.

(Posting title is from the poem Frequency Modulation by Raymond McDaniel.)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

After the gossip one returns to grammar

I'll be traveling on Friday. These photographs were taken on May 8th at Vierumäki. The spring was less advanced than in the Helsinki region. There had been quite a lot of logging done in the forests, including clear cutting. And sand transport was going on.

(Posting title is from the poem Writing a Sand Thinking by Steve McCaffery.)

No matter what the weather, on earth

On May 8th and 9th I was at a meeting in Vierumäki, and there was a possibility to get a little orienteering practise. The landscape is rather fine, even though there are quite a lot of buildings and construction, and some of the forests have had clear cutting recently. I didn't get too badly lost.

(Posting title is from the poem The Sign-Post by Edward Thomas.)