Thursday, April 29, 2010

A gray day in Helsinki

Helsinki view, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Cranes, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Lamp, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Today I was in a meeting in the center of Helsinki. It was clouded and rainy, but the view was good nevertheless. I took some hasty snapshots from the top of the hotel.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Exploring (snapshots)

Detail, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Rock, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Nailed, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Today was a sunny spring day. A little bit of green is visible, but not much yet. I took photographs in a snapshot fashion, shooting things which caught the eye, without thinking or careful framing.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Difficult and easy

Cut, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Flowering, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Blue anemone, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

For me, some topics are hard to catch in a photograph, although I'm attracted to them. Forest is one such thing - on the scale of more than one detail but less than a complete forest (when details become patterns).

Here is a series of three photographs, of which the first is a photograph of the kind I would like to have the skills to catch properly. The second and third are "easy", more or less picking a colorful detail and blurring the rest of the image. But how to cope with subjects of the first kind, that is the question.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dry grass, fresh flowers

Grass, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Blue anemone, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Hiding, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Nature is waking up, but some of it is still asleep. There are many things to discover with a camera.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Stuck, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Spring, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Leaf, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Spring is advancing, first leaves are opening up from buds. But there are still a lot of signs of the previous year, fallen leaves and even clumps of snow. Slowly but surely nature moves towards spring, even though there are occasional cold nights and cold days. For a photographer, this is a time of change, of things shifting daily.

Friday, April 23, 2010

700 kcal of very wet walking

Catkins, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Curve, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Wet, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Yesterday was a wet day, raining most of the time. I went for a walk, taking the Polar heart-rate monitor with me. In one hour, the walking consumed 700 kcal of energy, not bad at all. It was a very useful present from our company to the empoyees.

Also, I took some photographs. Rainy days are great, because the colors are more deep than when dry. And there were sights such big water drops sticking to catkins. Spring to come.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More about Nokia killing off the DSLR

Black and gray, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Reflect, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

I wrote yesterday about how Nokia intends to kill off the DSLR with their camera phones. I'm sceptical, because I think the comparison is misleading.

But at the same time, the claim is good marketing, especially in Finland where Nokia is considered with a kind of reverence, it being the ultimate example of a globally successful Finnish company. Comparing a camera phone to a DSLR makes the point: a good enough image quality in a pocketable package, and especially in the device which you most probably carry with you always. This reminds you of the bother of carrying a DSLR with you, compared for example with having - well - just your phone.

What the camera phone may kill is the compact camera, and the hobbyist DSLR. Of course, this very much depends on how easy it is to get reasonably good photographs with a camera phone. I have very bad experiences of this with the Nokia phones, but perhaps things are about to change. Maybe phones will be able to take good enough photographs without too much difficulty in operating the device.

But what about the DSLRs? I think the micro 4/3 cameras are an interesting direction, an (almost) pocketable version of the DSLR. That might convince a hobbyist to get one, instead of - well - instead of just using his/her camera phone. And then there are cameras like the LX3, which are small but have excellent controls for operating the camera. Small enough, good enough.

Update: I was linked to by TOP, generating a lot of extra visits. TOP also brought up an excellent write-up of future cameras by Thom.

Update 2: Nokia's stock price crashed -15% today, due to results which were below expectations. I guess Nokia has a lot of talking to do to restore faith in the company.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Waiting for the ash

Fields, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

While Nokia has yet to kill of the DSLRs, I'm happy with my LX3. Today was a fine bright spring day, although flight traffic is yet to return to normal. Some more Icelandic ash is apparently on the way to here. Well, at least it is quieter than normally, no airplanes flying over.

Can Nokia kill off the DSLR? - Quite a spin on the mobile phone

Spin, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

I listened today Nokia's Anssi Vanjoki giving a speech on the future of cameraphones at the SHOK Summit event in Helsinki. Vanjoki is Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Markets unit at Nokia, and he had a quite provocative message to tell.

According to Vanjoki, camera phones will in a couple of years kill off the DSLRs, providing the same image quality in a very small package. He promised 50 megapixel sensors and high-quality lenses in a package as small as the nail of the little finger. And also HD video will be available, to be shown on a monitor or tv attached to the camera phone. Vanjoki hinted towards a new kind of software providing unparalled photographic output from a mobile phone.

Vanjoki made several jokes, for example he pointed at the professional photographer who was taking photographs of him, and predicted that everyone will be able to take such photographs with their phones, no need for big lenses any more. He also had stories about Nokia's discussions with Kodak and Carl Zeiss in the 1990s - neither of the companies believed it possible (or useful) to have a camera in a phone.

Update: Further thoughts on the matter.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Floating but slowly returning to ground

Floating, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Log, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

After returning home after the long travel between Leuven and Helsinki, I'm starting to feel almost like normal. I have still a slight headache, and thoughts easily wander around, and there is some ache in the body, but it isn't too bad any more.

One or two good nights of sleeping wil probably fix things. Or so I hope. It is good to be back observing how spring proceeds.

My favorite sign of spring

Blue anemone, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Blue anemone, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Blue anemone, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

My favorite flower of the spring is the blue anemone - and they are now here. A delicate flower, color ranging from almost white to deep blue with occasional red mixed in. Here are three specimens taken today (as photographs, not cut of course).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Happy at home (after surviving the Icelandic ash)

Windows, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Windows, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Stockholm, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Sitting, sitting, and sitting - and looking through windows in vehicles. It took quite a while, but after 44 hours I arrived at home, tired but lucky. I have a headache, muscles are sore from the sitting, and there seems to be a continous music track of road noise under tyres in the ears. But happiness, that is what you get right now. Now, that is the word.

Here is an idea for those making t-shirts, the slogan "I survived the Icelandic ash". I would like one.

Traveling 1700 km in 17 hours by car (Antwerpen-Stockholm)

Ferry in Denmark, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Fence, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Denmark, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Windmills, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Our solution for the return to Finland depended on getting a hire car which you can leave in Stockholm, and driving fast enough so that we could catch the boat from Stockholm to Helsinki. We needed to be in Stockholm on Saturday at 5 pm.

There were many similarly affected on the road, for example a group who had hired a taxi from Budapest to Göteborg. Many had to pay thousands of euros for their travel. I have luckily a great boss - the CEO of our company - who came to fetch us in a car. (Maybe I should explain that of bit but maybe not.)

In any case, here are some images from the road, which started to blurry after driving through the night and the next day, 1700 km in all, in 17 hours, at the average speed of 100 km/h. Not much time for stopping except to get fuel for the car and passengers.

At times you felt extremely tired, but still it was hard to catch sleep in the car, at least I didn't. In the end it felt like fighting the windmills and winning.

I survived the Icelandic ash - from Leuven to Helsinki in 44 hours

Red vase, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Antwerpen, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Thanks to the vulcano Eyjafjallajökull erupting in Iceland on April 14th, I was stuck in Leuven, Belgium, with no return flight. All airports in Belgium and nearby were closed, and the same in FInland. It didn't look too bright, but perhaps things would clear up in short while. But what if not?

It took 44 hours to return to Helsinki, by taxi, train, car, ferry, and boat (and some walking). Although we found a solution, it wasn't an easy one, and at moments things looked dark indeed. But we managed to do it. And I feel good now, after saying hello to the wife and the kids.

I'll make yet another posting (or perhaps two), showing some snapshots of the landscape on the way from Leuven to Helsinki.

Falling into pieces in Leuven

Irish college, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Leuven, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

I went to a workshop organized at the Irish college in Leuven last Thursday. Almost immediately things started to fall into pieces, thanks to Icelandic ash, and it took quite a job to construct a solution for the return to Finland. I'll make another posting about that.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Black and white

Wall, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

I'll do a bit of traveling, so there will be a break in postings here. Thus, a second posting today. I haven't taken any b&w photographs for a while, but today I made some experiments. It is hard. Very hard.

Drying up

Clouds, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Poisonberries, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

First green, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

We have had warm and dry weather for quite a while, there is not much show left except in forests. But it seems that this will change, we might even get a little bit of snow. Today was anyway a bright day with blue sky visible.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Reliability of cameras

Spring, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Dry, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Sunset light, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

TOP points out to an analysis of Camera Failure Rates, giving interesting comparison of different manufacturers. Apparently Panasonic does very well in the "premium point and shoot cameras". I'm not sure to which category the LX3 belongs to, but it seems to be robust. Mine has now over 86,000 photographs taken, and no problems at all.

Here are three photographs taken today an hour or so before sunset. All are straight jpegs directly from the LX3. I'm more and more eliminating all post processing, trying to get it right at the shooting time.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Photographs of twigs

Icy, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Trees, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Ditch, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

There has been some funny (?) discussion going on between Paul Maxim and Mark Hobson. So I decided to go for twigs this time as a theme for photographs. It isn't a bad topic at all.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

What does the camera reveal?

Splash, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Floating, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Leaves, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

I just read a nice posting about seeing. When you take a phograph, you don't only look at the world - you look at yourself. And so a photograph reveals things about the photographer as well as about the world.

Here are some photographs taken today. Wet and dry. Spring is somewhere around the corner.