Print shop, newsletter and Bearded reedlings

Hi everyone, I hope this article finds you well. Here in Finland, spring has started, with the snow melting and the first migratory birds coming back from the south (swans, geese, larks, pigeons…).

In this article:

  • my new print shop
  • a newsletter in the making
  • Bearded reedlings in wintry Helsinki
Bearded reedling (Panurus biarmicus), male
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Ruska 2020: Pyhä-Luosto

After Pallas-Ylläs and Kilpisjärvi, our autumn adventure in Lapland took us to Pyhä-Luosto National Park, further south and east, near Kemijärvi. I was eager to return after a single night spent there 3 years before, with friends from France. This time we had 4 nights, so plenty of time to explore more!

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Ruska 2020: Pallas-Ylläs

It was that time of the year, again. Temperatures going down, trees turning yellow, orange, red.

We didn’t have so many plans for this corona-year, so fortunately not much got canceled, but after 2 weeks in Vivien’s family in Hungary in August, we felt like we could do something inside Finland. Vivien had never been to Lapland, so we decided it would be our next destination.

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What’s in a pic: Common redshank

In my first What’s in a pic article (two years already, check it out here!), I described how I used noise reduction to enhance an image. I also presented other tools and techniques, and now that I read the article again, I find my old self quite… naive. A lot has changed in how I approach photography and post-processing, that’s for sure!

In today’s article, I explain the thought process behind the picture of a Common redshank (Tringa totanus) I took on Kylmäpihlaja. Please see my last piece here for more pictures of this beautiful place and its inhabitants.

It started with this shot. I liked the light, warm and soft, and the foreground elements coming from bushes positioned between me and the bird. I liked the background too, but I wanted it more blurred, less distinct.

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A Midsummer night’s dream

In this flurry of New Zealand-related articles, let’s take a break and go back in time, to the most beautiful country in the world: Finland.
These days, I’ve found myself missing this place. First came the northern light pictures all over social media, and then the autumn colors in the forest. It’s not that New Zealand is bad, but Finland… awww, there’s something special about that place.

In the beginning of July, I spent a weekend on Kylmäpihlaja. This small island, located out of Rauma, in the Bothnian Sea National Park, is home to a lighthouse, and birds. Lots of birds.
I had been there about a year before, with my friend Bjørn, but we had spent only a few hours on the island, in the middle of the day. The profusion of birdlife had made me want to spend more time there.

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Teno/Tana

I had a terrifying morning. It had started well, I had woken up early and had breakfast at the back of the car, the air was cold but the sun shone from time to time. It looked like a fine day.

Then I tried to walk away, and in doing so, lock the car. Except it didn’t work. I pressed the button on the key, times and again, but nothing happened. I thought the fresh night in the tent might have depleted the battery, but I had managed to unlock the car with no trouble. I didn’t understand.
Sunday morning, 6 o’clock, basically in the middle of nowhere. Oh, and I didn’t mention my phone’s battery was completely empty. Stay calm, Samuel.

Fortunately, the car was open, and I had access to the car’s manual. Said manual was only in Finnish, but with the illustrations I hoped to gather some knowledge. First, I managed to understand I could still start the car without battery in the key, by bringing the key close to the “start engine” button. Big “ouf” of relief, I was not stuck there. I wondered whether the local town would have the specific battery needed to power the key, but at least I could drive wherever needed.

My second fear was to be able to lock the car (miracles happen), but then be locked out on the key’s whim. So I dived into the manual again, and learnt how to unlock the car manually. I was still annoyed, but I wasn’t lost anymore. And then I removed the battery from the key, put it back… and it started to work properly again. “Have you tried to switch it off, and switch it on again?”

As it turned out, I had no other problem until the end of the trip, and quickly forgot the incident. But what a fright!

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Spring water

I had settled in Sulaoja, the entrance of the Kevo trail. This is quite a renowned path that winds its way along a canyon, but the status of the area, a “strict nature reserve”, comes with some limitations. One is not allowed to leave paths when they are visible (i.e. when snow doesn’t cover them), and in spring, until mid-June, the canyon is completely close to preserve the nature.

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