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Despite some inactivity in dA, things have proceeded for me in the field of photography. I completed the New York Institute of Photography Professional Photography course. And I have arranged my first photo exhibition: A Glimpse of Kenya

Organizing a photo exhibition has been on my to do list for pretty much forever. But life trundles on and time waits for no one, and I never managed to kick myself in the butt and get something done about it. The kick finally came, actually from my mother, and in about 1,5 weeks: hey presto, photo exhibition! The exhibition has generated a lot of interest, and I'm hoping it will help me move further into the area of photography where my heart lies.

I love animals and nature. I love learning about different cultures and hearing people's stories. I believe in helping the less fortunate and trying to do something about saving this planet. And I love photography and storytelling. I want to visually document the work that organizations do to better this world. I want to tell the stories in this world that deserve to be told. All of this through photography. After so many years of this passion of photography, I finally figured out what I want to do with it.
Well, I finally came to a phase in photography that I don't seem to be developing anymore. In fact, I seem to be making a lot of very basic mistakes and I'm worried that I'm regressing. So, I decided that it might be time to get outside help and enrolled in the New York Institute of Photography's Professional Photographer programme.

Since I've somehow managed to cram my calendar full to the brim, I haven't gotten off to a very good start with the programme. But the first three courses are done and as soon as I get the fourth one done then I can do my first test. Even better than that, though, is that I took the first photo for my first photo project. The theme of the photo is speed so I went to a roller derby bout and took the shot there. I'm actually rather happy with the result. Now I just have to take the other two photos, do the test and I'm on a roll, yay!
I recently came back from a trip to Beijing (as one might guess from the submitted photos) and I feel brilliant. Why? Largely because of the photos. For the first time in a looooong time, I felt really motivated and inspired to take photos and for the most part they turned out pretty damn good, even if I say so myself.

Feeling good, yes indeed. Hoping it lasts, hell yeah.
The year 2007 was awful in so many ways. This year hasn't been all that much better, but it doesn't hold a candle to last year. Practically everything in my life took a turn for the worse. Well, that's not entirely right, not so much a turn as started going down and plummeted at break-neck speed. I so never want to experience another year like that.

Things happened so fast, one thing after another. And not small puppy-sized things but big King Kong sized get-kicked-in-the-guts-type things. Since I've never been particularly good at talking about such stuff, I thought I might try to deal with it all through photography. I don't know if it'll work out, but no harm in trying. Beats not dealing with it and tormenting myself constantly with it all.

Here goes nothing...
I don't usually enter photography competitions for varying reasons. The two major reasons are perhaps

1) I'm not too enthusiastic about license issues stated in competitions
2) to me, photography is art, and art is always subjective, it's not about creating something that the masses fancy

And in all honesty, I haven't really come across a photography competition that has had a prize that's made it worth the effort. Until now.

Yes, I've taken part in Canon's The Assignment with a variation of "got milk.". It's called In Reverence of Milk and for some reason I can't get a link to it to work in this journal entry...

There are a few very good entrants in the Finnish competition, a few excellent ones when checking out other countries. But I'm hopeful of my possibilities. The semi-finalists (country specific winners) already are given quite nice prize alternatives, but the big win for the pan-European competition was just too delicious not to give the whole thing a try. The grand prize is, naturally, as the name hints, the dream photo assignment somewhere in the world with a pro.

Well, voting starts on Monday. The fact that the first round is based on a general vote isn't too encouraging. But I'm keeping my fingers crossed all the same.

Wish me luck!
I have so many ideas for photos I want to take, I can barely keep up with them. Most people tell me to write them down so I don't forget them. But I get bored with old ideas fast when I think of new ones. The sad part of all this is that I never seem to have the opporunity to realise any of these ideas.

It boils down to a lack of time, technical know how, and resources.

Time: nowadays, I don't even have time to meet my friends and see my family as much as I'd like to. Work is nearly drowning me, and when I get home, I'm so beat that I can hardly stay awake enough to watch TV. Of course, a lack of time is the mother of all excuses. If you really want to do something, you'll make the time for it. But there's always a price to pay, no such thing as a free lunch. Time spent on one thing is time away from another. And I miss my friends and family.

Technical know how: I love using the available light when taking photos. It's spectacular when you time a photo perfectly and get exactly the result you were hoping for without resorting to creating the situation artificially. Not that there's anything wrong with creating the circumstances, that's a tremendous skill and a huge part of photography. Like I said, I like to use the avaible circumstances. Unfortunately, that means that I haven't put too much effort into learning how to create the desired circumstances. And therefore, I'm lacking greatly the knowledge of how to build the environment I need to achieve the images in my mind.

Resource: I don't know any models, I don't know where I'd begin to look for the wardrobe I'd need, I don't know where I could get my hands on the equipment and props I'd need. Everyone has to start somewhere, but it just seems like such a herculean task to put the whole thing together when you have absolutely no contacts. Well, if I really, really wanted to create the photos, I'd find a way. I'm relatively creative and quite good at putting things together. At the same time, when you take into account the previous two points, it just seems like I would get in over my head faster than you could say "huh?".

Ah well, excuses, excuses. It'd be such a pity not to try at least. With good planning and a lot of patience, I'm sure I could pull it off. Just not now. I have too much on my plate as it is. Hopefully soon, though. They're good ideas, even if I say so myself.
I can sometimes be so damn kitsch, it makes me sick. What the hell was I thinking when I named my latest submission? I must've been drunk. Maybe I tend to take naming issues to an extreme, because in Finland, the promised land of engineers, people tend to have the least possible amount of imagination when naming photos. "Squirrel photo", "a nice place", "thundering sky", "a girl on the beach"; can you guess what's depicted in those photos?

Okay, before you get all antsy, I don't mean that every single photo in the world needs to be named some really artsy-fartsy. But it sometimes just gets to the point that I can't even be bothered checking a photo out if it's named something so obvious it makes you want to cry.

But I'll be the first to admit that I have a tendency to overdo it to the other extreme. Ah well, too late now. Maybe next time I'll try to be a bit more sensible.

update: I eventually changed the name of the photo, I had to, the previous name was simply too noxious in all its pretension.
Congratulations to Lordi on winning the Eurovision Song Contest!

And to all the Finns that whined about being represented by them and that Finland will be humiliated: in your face!!
The heart asks pleasure first,
And then, excuse from pain;
And then, those little anodynes
That deaden suffering;

And then, to go to sleep;
And then, if it should be
The will of its Inquisitor,
The liberty to die.
- Emily Dickinson

Why does that keep spinning in my mind? When I try to empty my thoughts, glimpses of the poem whisper to me and disappear before I manage to grasp at them. Round and round and round, it won't stop. Why am I all of a sudden so obsessed with this poem?

I think it finally happened, I'm going slightly mad. Next thing you know, I'll think I'm a daisy.
At the risk of sounding like a pompous cow, I am simply phenomenal. I'm brilliant, a true god among men.

Okay, now let's calm down and get real. The reason for my elation is that I, yet again, crawled out of my pit of eternal desperation and managed to take a load of good photos. The reason for my ecsatic elation is that the photos aren't simply good, they're fantastic.

I spent Easter in Paris with the intention to photograph a couple of cemeteries. I packed (or rather my husband did, I'm absolutely lousy at packing) a bunch load of black and white film, trundled off to France and hoped for the best. After some nail-biting anxiety, I finally got the photos back today from being developed, went through them, and did a little victory dance. Yeah, okay, it wasn't a "little" dance, it was a fanatic jig that could've awarded me a one-way ticket to the looneybin. The photos blew me away. Surely the shop had mixed my photos up with someone else's?

Needless to say, I'm happy. Again. For awhile. For now. It feels really good to succeed every now and again.

p.s. I apologize for the omg in the title, there's no excuse for it.
Oh crud, I'm going through one of "those" phases again. I seem incapable of producing a decent photo, which frustates me to no ends, and I can't help but wonder why I think I'm any good at photography. Despite knowing that it's a phase that I'll most probably shrug off at some point, it's just so damn infuriating.

Being *cough* slightly temperamental, I have a tendency of sending myself into fits of fury during these slumps. It's actually quite funny, I stomp around the house, punching the air and screaming profanities at whatever muses happen to be listening, until I completely exhaust myself and crumple onto the floor, utterly depressed, feeling like there is no joy left in life. There I lie, feeling both sorry for myself and entirely humiliated for having just acted like a 2 year old, until either one of my ferrets tries to climb up my trousers, thinking it found a mysterious new tunnel, or I get bored. And at some stage, I snap out of the rut, manage to take a photo I'm happy with, and life is full of sunshine again.

Yeah, life is rarely boring with me around, my tantrums have a pretty good entertainment value. Anyway, I'm currently in the über frustration mode, gearing up fast into tantrum mode. It'd be nice if I could skip that and go directly to the happy-happy-joy-joy mode of blissful photography. Ah well, what would life be without its ups and downs? Have to take the good with the bad, and all that nonsense. Yup, I feel a tantrum coming on...
I love my camera, but lately I've started to notice that it just doesn't give me the results I want. There's nothing wrong with it, but I would like a better camera. So, I put in an order for a Canon EOS 1V. Not, I might add, the easiest possible camera to find nowadays. It should arrive in about a week, and I'm so excited, I can hardly wait.

Being strangely sentimental towards inanimate objects, I also find myself slightly sad. My camera has served me well, and I've put it through more than it was designed to handle. And it still keeps on going. I'm sure I'll find plenty of use for it, even with the new camera, but I sort of feel like I'm saying goodbye to an old friend. After all, I know every little bump and curve on it. The little smooth circle under my forefinger. How the back doesn't close tightly anymore and has a little spring to it which I tend to play with when concentrating on finding an angle. The little cracks filled with sand. The wear on the grip. The scratch on the flash. When I think about it, I've probably spent more time with my camera than with many good friends.

Ah well, it's earned its retirement. To mismatch quotations; fare thee well, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
Yesterday I saw two pretty amazing solar effects in the morning and in the evening. I'm sure someone can explain their causes better than I can, so I'll just explain what I saw. It was about -18C, with a very sharp coldness in the air and a relatively clear sky.

The morning show took place at sunrise, which I saw while driving home. The sun had barely risen above the horizon and was a hazy blazing red. And from the sun rose a orangish red pillar of light, shooting into the sky. The sky was otherwise hazy and baby blue, as if the air had frozen into tiny dazzling ice particles. The pillar of light seemed to be almost solid, fiercely driving a hot red stream through the frozen air. It was jaw-droppingly remarkable, something that makes you drop to your knees, gaze on in awe, and forget about the rest of the world. Perhaps not the best possible situation to be driving in.

The evening show took place at sunset. Again, I was in the car, driving. The sun was slightly above the horizon, this time a bright, yellow ball of light. And around the sun was a delicate halo, most noticeabe at the sides, as there were wispy clouds forming above the horizon. The halo was pretty wide and didn't last very long, but was all the more spectacular, almost resembling a gigantic, pale lens flare. I know there've been several halo effects in Finland during the last couple of months or so, but this is the first time I've actually seen one.

Well, I was certainly impressed. But guess twice did I have my camera with me....
I don't friggin' believe it!! Where's a camera when you need it?! The one time you're offered a photo opportunity of a lifetime and your bloody camera's at home.

*insert brief pause as author runs around the apartment kicking, screaming and banging her head against every possible wall*

In the midst of a chilly, dull shopping Saturday at Helsinki city centre, there, surrounded by an astounded crowd, was a huge hawk munching happily away at a pigeon it had just captured. In the middle of one of the busiest streets! It eyed the growing mob suspiciously, obviously warning everyone to piss off and get there own freaking pigeon, if they value there fingers, while the braver dared inch closer desperately trying to take a photo with their mobile phones.

Now, I love nature and animals, but there are some things you just don't want to see, despite all the love and respect you have for creatures great and small. While everyone oohed and aahed the hawk, I couldn't peel my eyes off the current owner of the Columbian necktie; the rather plump pigeon that was being every so precisely gutted of all vital organs. There's an image I won't be forgetting anytime soon, camera or no camera...

Damn, I'm just so bummed for missing such a rare opportunity.
Strange situation, after suffering a spell of a serious lack of inspiration, I suddenly have a bundle load of photos I'd like to post here. I'm trying to be selective in what I submit and avoid having a gallery of 1001 photos. At times, I seem to have nothing worth posting, and, wham, suddenly I have too many. At the moment, I'm going through the wham phase.

Albeit, I'm not entirely happy with all of the photos I've posted, and might remove a couple. But I rather like the idea of being able to actually follow my development, if such is happening or going to happen. So, eventually, I'll probably end up with a gallery of 1001 photos, but that's something to worry about at a later stage. Currently, I'm just happy I got out of my brief rut and have succeeded in coming up with a few photos I'm satisfied with. As to which ones I'll submit, well, let's see what I'm still happy with tomorrow.
I love halloween. Unfortunately, Finns don't really celebrate it. When we moved to Finland, 20 years ago, no one had even heard of halloween. Finally, in the past few years, it's started to catch on, although it seems to be more aimed at kids than anything else. Nevertheless, on Saturday a couple of friends are throwing a halloween party and my outfit is totally kickass. Can't wait.

Until then, happy halloween!
I feel frustrated and uninspired. I get like this every once in awhile, when I haven't found anything worth photographing. Sometimes, I'd say, my hobbies tend to border on obsession and I seem to be getting into that phase, again, when taking a step back and finding something else to do might be a good idea.

It's a beautiful time of year, the trees are bursting with yellows, reds and greens, there's a gorgeous haziness in the air, and I just find it so mundane. I can't find anything interesting or worth my attention. And it's getting more and more irritating by the day. Calming down would help, but I'm just too frustrated, I feel like I could scream. Argh!
According to yesterday's news, the breathtakingly divine phenomenon of Aurora Borealis was supposed to be visible throughout Finland last night. Well, actually they said that it should be visible this week throughout Finland. So, I packed up the camera gear and camped out outside waiting for the show. And guess twice did it put on a performance. It's not exactly Warm Nights To Go here anymore, so you can just imagine the vast disappointment.

Last time I saw the northern lights I didn't have a camera with me. So, I've decided to not make that mistake twice. Albeit, the phenomenon isn't quite as fantastic this far south as it is further up. But it's still pretty striking. There might be another problem though. There's so much light pollution in Helsinki, I might not be able to get a decent shot. Maybe I should borrow someone's boat and go out to sea for better visibility... Oh well, let's see what happens. After last night, I'm not holding my breath.
Funny thing, I've always thought that my best photos are of people and in colour. Yet, now that I've been going through my photos, the ones I've mainly found worth submitting here are of objects. And the best out of them are black and white. Or maybe I just don't think my people photography has that certain something to make it special. I mean they're good photos, even though I say so myself, but I seem to find other photos better. Strange revelation, but we live and learn, now don't we?

One thing I thought I might mention, if anyone's interested. I don't like photoshopping my photos. I might crop a picture to better it, or autolevel it, but other than that, not my cup of tea. Personally, I'd rather be a better photographer, not a graphic designer. But that's just me.
Okay, so now I've joined DA. Um, then what.... I've never really been one for reading manuals, so, I guess I'll just learn how this place works as I go along. Can't be that hard, can it?

As for why I joined, well, I'd like comments on my photos to help me become a better photographer. And a friend, who is already a member, suggested joining DA. Here I am, hoping for the best. Drop a comment, drop a message, I'm off to find out how things work. Catch you later.