Home studio

Last year, as a member of the photo-club of the university, I had access to a professional studio equiped with tons of backdrops, flashes and light modifiers… all things I had never seen before, and which opened a completely new field of possibilities. This sparked some interest towards portrait photography. I, the misanthrope, always happy to avoid the crowd, started to take pictures of people. I knew I wouldn’t be able to go to this place very long (Finland called, you know), so in addition to reading a lot about this topic, I bought an external flashlight that I put to good use in Bornholm. Still, I rarely use it.

On the other hand, I have also been experimenting with my two plastic white tigers, Iso and Lyhyt, shooting them in scenic locations. This kind of photography asks for more work than I have put into it yet, but I like it, maybe because it’s so different from what I usually produce. My mom offered me two elves (and a chandelier) when she stayed here in December, and ideas started to form inside my head.

I really started to work on them when I received my new gear. A Canon 7DII and a Canon 100-400mm II arrived on Friday, in the middle of a cloudy period. I wanted to try those marvels, but the ever-greyness outside stuck me home. So I transformed my dining room into a studio.

Please meet, from left to right, Lyhyt, Elmer and Puna.

234mm on a cropped sensor - f/5.0 - 1/10s - ISO640 - Manual mode

234mm on a cropped sensor – f/5.0 – 1/10s – ISO640 – Manual mode

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Kaisa Talo in black & white

Kaisa Talo is the Helsinki University Main Library. Located in the city center, inches from the Senate Square, it was opened in 2012, taking the spot of the shopping center Kaisa. The buiding houses the collection of the Faculties of Arts, Law, Theology, Behavioural and Social Sciences. It’s a relaxing place with an original architecture. Like any real library, it’s fairly silent… it looked like a pleasant place to study, and a friend of mine confirmed that.

On one side of the building, there’s this large U-shaped window, with balconies facing it from each floor, a bit like an old theater room. In the shot below, I tried to include both the street outside, with the tram tracks and the zebra crossings, and the students at the balconies, oblivious to the world rumbling outside their cage of glass and metal.
Composition was made tricky by my limited range; I wish I had a shorter focal length available for indoor shots, but for now, I do with what I have. The window let in a lot of light, so I didn’t have to use extreme settings for shutter speed and ISO, but I wish I had overexposed a bit, for I lack details in the dark areas, and bringing them up creates a lot of undesired noise (I shot in Aperture Priority mode).

18 mm on a cropped sensor - f/8.0 - 1/125s - ISO400

18 mm on a cropped sensor – f/8.0 – 1/125s – ISO400

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Sunrise in Sioskuru

Here are the first pictures from our trip to the north. That day, I woke up early for sunrise, nothing special about it. The weird thing is, many things have happened in my photographer life, but never, ever had I woken up TOO early for sunrise. After facing the wind for one and a half hour, I was frozen when the sun appeared at last. I welcomed my warm sleeping bag when I entered it again for a few more hours ^^

Here are three versions of the same shot. Which one do you prefer? Why?

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Atmosphere

May is almost there, and I have written only one article this month… what a shame!

Here is the second one, but it’s a very light one. In fact, I just wanted to show you two pictures I took in Hellerup one morning, three weeks ago. I had left my cosy bed early to see the sun rise over the ocean. Unfortunately, I got a flat tyre on the way to the sea, and when I finally arrived (by foot), the sun was hidden behind a thick curtain of clouds.
I had taken my tripod with me, so I experimented a bit with long exposure… well ok, it was not really long exposure, it was too bright for that and I didn’t have the needed filter. Let’s talk about longer exposure then, between 0.4 and 1.6 seconds.

hellerup

39 mm – f/32 – 1.6s – ISO100 – Manual mode

hellerup-3

18 mm – f/22 – 0.4s – ISO100 – Manual mode

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First snow

On Saturday, I went to Skåne, the southernmost part of Sweden. This was a bus tour organized by DOF, and aimed at birds of prey. Most of them come from the north during winter, but do not cross the Øresund Strait to Denmark.
From the first minutes there, the numbers of White-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), Common buzzard (Buteo buteo), Rough-legged buzzard (Buteo lagopus) and Red kite (Milvus milvus) were impressive: wherever you watched, there was a raptor either circling in the sky or roosting in a tree. This tour also brought me the first Whooper swans (Cygnus cygnus) of the year, and a Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) as a late highlight. Unfortunately, the day was rainy (and cold, but that was expected), and picture opportunities were basically non-existent.

Snow starting to fall as we were driving around Malmö, and it had become a true snowstorm when we arrived in Sjælor Station, in the south of Copenhagen. I had to ride home on my bike, but the snow did not stick to the ground yet, so the only real trouble was the snow hitting my face: it hurts more than rain! As the night went on, the city turned completely white, allowing me to take a few shots from the inside of my dormitory.

snow

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Pigeon

That’s it, I’m an inhabitant of Copenhagen, for at least one year. For the occasion, please enjoy this view of a Common wood pigeon (Columba palumbus) resting on a streelight, in the golden sunset light of Denmark.

pigeon

Clouds

For the days when I have no time to write a full-length article, I will try to publish a picture, or a few pictures on a single topic.  Let’s start with amazing clouds I spotted from my house, near Grenoble.

* * * * *

On the same day I went to Lac de Crop, the evening was quite cloudy. Some clouds looked like cotton, and they were so beautiful I thought they were worth a picture or two. I ended up with five of them.

I started developping this next picture.

clouds-6

When I applied the same settings to the other photographs, some unexpected features appeared, and I found the result delightful. Unfortunately, it did not really correspond to what I saw this day, so I also tried to work on the original pictures from scratch. Here is the outcome.

With preset

With preset

From scratch

From scratch

With preset

With preset

From scratch

From scratch

Which ones do you prefer? Don’t hesitate to develop your arguments, I’d love to hear them 😉

For the occasion, I also created a Cloud gallery on Flickr.

clouds