Sunday, October 31, 2010

The meaning of a photograph

Branches, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Park, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

I have been looking at the small and beautiful book Staden / Kaupunki / La Ville / The City, which consists of photographs and poems by Pentti Sammallahti and Bo Carpelan. This book was nominated as the most beautiful book of the year 2006 in Finland.

Carpelan's poems are in Finnish, Swedish, English and French; Sammallahti's photographs are - well - Finnish, of the Helsinki city. Sammallahti is a master of the black and white landscape photography, with a unique style. He manages to find something extraordinary in his photographs, making them funny, sad, memorable.

I have occasionally tried my hand in b&w, for example in the book Summer in black and white squared, which has given me a feeling how hard it is to do it right. But Sammallahti makes it seem so effortless. Dogs, cats, people, trees, cars, buildings, all tell their story. And Carpelan's poems add another layer on top of the masterful photographs.

If you can find the book, have a look. Quite a story to be found there.


Autumn, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Oak leaf, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Yellow and brown, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Spots, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Grass, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Yesterday was a wet day; today things are drying up. For some reason I'm having problems in deciding which photographs are the best, so here are five samples for you to decide.

Mark Hobson has been posting a series on seeing, which I have found daunting to follow. On the other hand, I'm quite sure he has something profound and deep to say; but on the other hand, I have a nagging doubt that it is something you can not convey in words. What I do is not think too much of stuff like this. Instead, I take photographs.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lots of wet

Red barn, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Leaves, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Circular, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

One, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Pines, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Stump, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Wood, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Today I took quite a lot of photographs, and here are some of them, a short story in photographs. It was good to be out walking with the family. The slight drizzle seemed to scare away most people, but when you have the right clothes, weather rarely is a problem.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pockets of sunlight

Autumn, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Red, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Field, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Bright, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Uora commented yesterday: "I really enjoy following the seasons in Finland, but I am glad I do not live there :-) it really is dark!"

Maybe I should feel bad about presenting such a gloomy view of Finland to the world. But no, I think that having the dark season makes the bright time of the year that much brighter. Living somewhere with no real seasons would feel completely impossible to me.

However, it is not dark all the time here up north - there are sunny days, such as today, with little pockets of sunlight to enjoy.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Busy and dark

Crossing, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Field, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Lake, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

It has been a busy week, and will be. And also dark, except for a little bit of sunshine yesterday. I haven't managed to take many photographs, but here are some from today.

Length of day was today 9 hours 2 minutes. Tomorrow less, and less, and less...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mostly brown

Dry, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Brown, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Fireweed, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

After making a posting with a red theme, I realized that red was not the color of today. Brown is more like it, as you can see. Those bright colors we still have are disappearing fast.

FAQ (LX3 settings etc.)

Poster, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Window, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Poisonberry, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Red thing, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Here a two photographs from yesterday, when I had a meeting in Helsinki (quite late), and two from today when I managed to go for a walk before sunset. If you want to see a theme here, it might be Red - see the "red control" question below.

I got some questions by a Flickr user who has a Panasonic LX3. The questions are such that they get asked again and again, so here goes: my attempt at Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers).

1) Which film mode do you use the most? And did you modify your favorite film mode, by changing contrast, saturation, etc...?

I have several different settings stored in the custom modes. My most used setting (for color) uses standard film mode with everything at 0 except noise reduction (nr) at -2. The the second most used users (for b&w) dynamic b&w film mode. I have tweaked these settings lightly, and sometimes even forgotten I have done so, but now I tend to leave them as they are.

2) Do you shoot RAW often or mostly JPEG?

Never RAW, always JPEG. This is makes the workflow really simple: delete most (90-95%), store the rest.

3) Do you do any post-processing or is it mostly straight out of the camera?

I usually don't do post-processing at all. Occasionally I fix the exposure slightly, if I haven't got it absolutely correct in camera.

4) How have you gotten you Red's under control? I notice the camera tends to over saturate the Red's in most images? That is why I was trying Nostalgic.

I haven't had trouble with red - perhaps here in Finland we have so little of it that there is no problem of over saturation... Or then I just have grown used to the look of the images. I do think they look quite natural, similar to how the scene looked to the eye. Except, of course, in cases where there is artificial light with different light temperatures in the same image - then no camera can show the scene similar to the eye.

Also, the LCD of the LX3 does have a problem with red, it dominates the photograph all too much - but on the computer, this problem disappears.

5) Any other info or experiences with the LX3 would be appreciated.

Well, here is a list of my most useful accessories (besides a spare battery and plenty of memory cards) for the LX3: a 20 cm mini-tripod and a 3 inch screen protector, both cheap ones from Dealextreme. The mini-tripod cost something like 3 euro and the screen protector something like 1.20 (with postage). After two years of use, the screen protector peeled off the camera. I have ordered another from Dealextreme, this one cost 90 cents. The mini-tripod still works perfectly although the black paint is peeling off slightly.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Drops on rose

Rose, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Drops, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Red, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Rose bushes are beautiful during autumn, especially when they get red. And when it rains, you get a sparkling combination. This is the goodness of a clouded day.


Autumn, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Birch, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Garden, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Wall, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Autumn in now quite advanced, and although the last leaves are still hanging onto trees, their situation is bleak. Brown and grey are the dominating colors, with some relief from the evergreens. But there are isolated spots of color still occasionally in the gardens. We are waiting for snow, and marks for the snowploughs have been planted by the roadside.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Eyes crossed

Leaf, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Stuck, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Yellow, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

We went to see a 3D movie today, and I got a headache which seems to be sticking for a while. And the movie wasn't any good either. It may be a while until going to the movies again. I wonder how often people get a headache in 3D movies?

Here are some leaf photographs from today. Didn't have much interest in photography because of the headache.

Friday, October 22, 2010

... to night

Sunset, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Street, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Yard, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Autumn night, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Here is the second posting from today, photographs taken at about sunset, which however wasn't all that visible because of the cloud cover. Quite a change from the morning.

I had today the Sony NEX-5 in my hand, thanks to a colleague who demonstrated it. Really, really small. But the lens of course makes the camera much bigger. Somehow the body of the camera feels actually too small - some of the buttons are easy to press by mistake. However, these are things which you will learn to avoid when using the camera.

The NEX-5 is quite tempting, I must admit, except for the size of the lenses. I like to have a lens which can take closeup photographs, and with that kind of lens the combo becomes quite large to carry aroung.


Have a nice weekend!

From morning...

Impression, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Morning, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Rising, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Stripes, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

I'm making two postings today. First, some photographs from this morning, when we had a glorious sunrise, which however lasted only a couple of minutes. In the second posting, you will see the day from the other end.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Getting wet

Autumn, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Black, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Yellow, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Today was once again a clouded, rainy and dark day. Here are some photographs showing how it looks out there: wet.

I read with interest the LX5 review by DCR. The reviewers weren't quite satisfied with the camera - but that was mainly to do with video quality. They had two cameras to test and both had the same flaring problem. But that doesn't matter in still photography...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Embracing the darkness, not fighting it

Autumn, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Mushroom, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Turn, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Tail lights, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Yesterday I was tired and almost unwilling to go out to take photographs. Today I didn't feel much better, and the day was uninspiring - after several weeks of dry weather we are having plenty of rain and clouds. It was dark even at noon today.

But when I was walking in the rain, suddenly taking photographs felt good. I was seeing and learning. And that is all that matters.

I have had the same feeling every once in a while, and it is not an indicator that the photographs are any good. In fact, the photographs may be quite awful. But that is learning by failing. As they say, "Masters are masters at learning." And, "Living things grow."

What I did today was to try to adapt to the darkness, to see it.

Speaking of the darkness, did you see what Paul Lester did with the Canon S90 at ISO 3200? Quite a result, no noise which would feel disturbing (and what there is fits the subject). I'm not willing to press the LX3 to such limits - I stay below ISO 400 and when needed use a mini-tripod.