Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Light and white

  Just to do something different, I decided it would be nice to try a hi-key type of shoot. Light and white. Krisi volunteered to model, which was nice and I appreciate it a lot. It was a fun shoot, she did a great job, even if my model guiding skills are still evolving and at the moment are close to zero. In my opinion hi-key is a bit easier than low-key. Just make everything white around you, and let the light flow. For this shoot I used only one speedlight shot through an white umbrella, and one silver reflector to the right. Simple but effective. Even if I still love somewhat more more dark toned images, it's still nice to make some airy light and bright images from time to time.

Sunday, November 27, 2016


  If I could choose where to shoot, it most certainly would be away from home. Maybe in an abandoned building or in a mysterious forest. But as much as I do love to shoot outside it can be a challenge sometimes to haul my self out there, you know because of laziness. One more thing is that if I have the privilege to work with someone who is willing to model, I just don't like the idea of him or her freezing to death. It's not that much of a problem during the spring, summer or fall, but the winter. So if the weather isn't fine enough just stay at home. It's so nice to work inside when it's warm and cozy. Good for me, good for the model and the equipment. So what would you have to have in mind when shooting portraits at home?
  I'm not lucky enough to live in a fancy place with lots of square meters. What's worse is that the ceiling is pretty low, you can stand and touch it with your hand without a ladder or chair. The ceiling is white as they tend to be often and the walls are painted light beige. Not too bad if you want to shoot images that require light, maybe some hi-key portraits. But how about some dark low-key stuff? Biggest issue would be the light bouncing from the ceiling and walls, and hitting things you don't want. So definitely a problem, but solvable problem.
  A large black piece of fabric will make a nice dark backdrop and kill some of that light that otherwise would reflect from the walls. The next thing would be to control your light. For the following images I used two different kinds of light modifiers, a home made grid which nicely directs the light to only one direction, and a flash bender, which allows you to direct the light and prevent light hitting for example the wall or ceiling or both.
  So in the end it's all about controlling the light. In a a large space it's obviously easier, but if you are working in a small room you still can manage. Fastest sync speed possible, stopped down f-number, inverse square law, light modifiers, all of these help you to have control over your light.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Lighting up the winter

  I'm on little vacation from nature photography it seems. Of course I'm already eagerly waiting the herp season 2017 to get off, but it will take a while until we are there. So what to do while waiting? Days are getting shorter and that means less light. Good time for some portraiture with some artificial lighting. You don't need to fancy equipment. One flash light may be enough, just as I wrote in my previous post. The rest is up to you. A model and some props. As a model for this shoot was chosen my lovely wife. She was the MUA as well. Clothes from her wardrobe. Some props hanging around were chosen as well... grandpas old alarm clock, a small hat hanging on the wall as a decoration, one free running cat, a snifter and some cheap brandy ( the idea was to use some red wine, but some moron drank it all.). Oh, and a fabric that's waiting to become a dress some day was used as a backdrop. Simple, right? Afterwards some PP. Tried to achieve some kind of a steampunk western look with the filters I used. For an half an hour shoot I'm pretty satisfied with results.


Monday, November 7, 2016

How many do you need?

  Obviously the essential form shaper in photography is light. We have the ambient light and then there is the artificial light. So often we tend to love the first, and to fear the second. It feels so safe to rely on the surrounding light. Just choose your aperture and shutter speed and go. But how about when the light surrounding us is not good or there just is too little of it? Of course we could always pump up our ISOs or use a slower shutter, but all this could introduce some other problems, like noise or unsharp subject. That's when the artificial light comes in handy. There's lots of options available, but my favorite is manual speedlights. They are cheap and easy to haul around where ever you go. So, how many lights do you really need for a shoot? I own a couple speedlight units. I carry them with me almost always and everywhere, and then I usually found my self using only one single. We are pretty satisfied with only one sun, so why wouldn't one speedlight do just as well? The only thing to remember is, get that thing off camera. No matter if you use a cable, optical or radio trigger... Get it off your camera! And learn to work with one light first, later it's easy to ad some more lights if you feel or have to. Here's a few portraits made with only on single off camera flash...


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Sauna shoot

  Shooting interiors is really not my favorite, but I couldn't resist when I was offered a chance to make a couple of photos of a recently renovated sauna in Helsinki, Finland. The real challenge in interior photography is the lines. When I made my first interior shots few years ago I tried to shoot from strange perspectives, and as you can guess the images looked distorted and strange. Later I learned that the best way to shoot is to try to keep the lines straight. Just try to avoid tilting your camera, unless you use a tilt shift lens. The good thing with architecture, buildings, rooms, etc. is that they tend to be very static subjects, so you don't need to hurry too much. Place the camera on a tripod, use long shutter speeds, try different variations in shutter speeds, apertures and composition. just take your time. Use ambient light, turn on the lights, ad some flash light.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Learning is fun

  Finished today my course for wedding photography at the Shaw academy. It's always a fun experience to learn, even if I already knew quite a lot of the things thought. What I really appreciated in this course was the pre-wedding part in the second lesson and what to consider when getting in contact with the client, some really useful stuff for me personally. Image analysis was good too. From time to time, when making portraits or group shots, I'm struggling with the posing or getting the group arranged, so some of the material in the course was really helpful. Here's a few B&W portraits from past weddings...


Monday, August 15, 2016


  If there's one place on this planet where I could spend more time, that would be the archipelago of Finland. Lots of things to photograph, but mostly the relaxing environment. It doesn't matter if the winds are blowing or the sea is dead calm, it's always a most relaxing thing to be there and just enjoy the surroundings, the nature, the creation. Almost missed the whole experience for this year. If you ever visit Finland, do not miss the fantastic archipelago. Here's a few pics from my last visit...

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sunflower field

  Yesterday evening we had promised to a friend of ours to drive her to water her garden plot just a little outside of the town. Just a perfect place for a little photo shoot, so I asked my wife if she could wear something else than the regular shorts and neon red sports t-shirt. Grabbed my gear and so we hit the road. While our friend was taking care of here vegetables, we moved a little further the road and found this tiny small crossroad kind of a place, from were a sunflower field started. At this point of the summer the sunflowers have seen their best days, but with the setting sun, and a few clouds they just made the perfect backdrop. Placed my lighting, made a few test shots and so we started. I wish we could have continued for a little longer, but due to an attack of some strange tiny and stingy insects I just decided to quit the shoot. Thanks to my models patience we still managed to make quite a few images. Here's a few...

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Trouble shooting

  On Saturday I attended a convention. The venue was an ice rink. When on my way to the bathroom, which were downstairs, I ended up to this almost abandoned looking small ice rink. Not really sure if they are still using it, but the place looked so abandoned. What a lovely place for a photo. Made a couple of clicks with my phone and left the place. What really bothered me was that it was really a perfect spot for a portrait. The next day I asked if my lovely wife would come with me downstairs for a small photo shoot, and she agreed. There we were in the middle of all that dust and probably some asbestos too, but the light at 8:25 am. was just perfect. Placed my model in a natural spotlight flooding in from a window and got ready for a shot. I was shooting on aperture priority mode, but somehow I just didn't nail the exposure. Gave a little compensation, -1... -2... and finally I was at -3, and still I got some heavily over exposed images. Of all the images I made, I managed to save one. Of course this bothered me a bit, I just wasn't sure why my camera was over exposing the images. Maybe it was a malfunction in my gear, but no. Then finally yesterday evening I realized what my problem was. A simple solution for a simple problem. I meter almost exclusively in spot metering mode. Usually when I lock the focus by pressing the shutter release button halfway, it also locks the exposure. In the camera menu you can choose what happens when you press the shutter release, will it lock the focus only or if it will lock both focus and exposure. Because of some strange reason I don't have a clue about, the shutter release only locked the focus and when I recomposed the image my exposure got wrong. One click in the menu, and now my exposure stays as I want it to be. Here's the one image I managed to save...


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Eye to eye with an adder

  I was almost disappointed, until today. Whole weekend and not a single snake, not even a grass snake. Then finally under a pile of logs, an adder was basking in the midday sun. Even if people are afraid of snakes, it's so obvious that these reptiles fear us more. Made a couple of pics from distance, but of course when I got closer, it slithered under the logs. I didn't want to give up immediately and I'm not afraid of workout, so I grabbed the first log from the pile, moved it away, continued to the next and so on. Finally after a few logs, the tiny little viper was caught and moved to a place were it could be photographed. When we were done, we decided to move the poor photo model to a safer place, faraway in the forest. Why? People don't like snakes, and the venomous ones are real outlaws, so sooner or later this girl would be a dead snake, if we would've left her where we found her. Here's two head shots of her and some other interesting stuff I saw this weekend.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

A short trip to Greece

  Had the chance to visit Greece for a few days. Our destination was the Halkidiki peninsula, and there the town of Ouranoupoli. Our main goal was nothing less than to relax and have a dip in the Mediterranean sea. Of course I packed all my camera gear with me as I was hoping to make a few images too. Sea is a good subject for photos as are the olive trees growing all over here and there, so I shot a few landscape images. Had cool little portrait session on the beach with a very atractive lady. And finally a few herp images. My coolest sightings for the trip was a juvenile eastern Montpelier snake, which despite saving its life, bit me. After three days searching I finally found an adult Caspian whip snake, with whom I had a nice photo shoot. And a big surprise was a European blind snake found under a rock. All in all, Greece is an awesome destination, and I wouldn't mind to go there some other time again.