Spring Blanket

Southern Finland has about 50-75 cm of snow now. There is a crust half way down, from the warmer period this week, and then some fresh feather-like fluff on top. Quite nice for snow shoeing. It is amazing how bright it is now all of a sudden. Taking  photos on spring snow is a challenge. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if the photo is a color photo or a monochrome one, there is so little color out there during the day. Just white and black. And a dash of blue where there is a shadow on the snow. Even the sky is white most days.

There was a blizzard last night and there were absolutely no tracks or prints anywhere in the forest today. Untouched snow is almost like the sea. Glimmering in the sun. Carrying shadows on its surf.

This is the time that most Finns love. Time to enjoy both sun and the snow. The time that comes after the long darkness. The reward for waiting so patiently.

Happy Holidays!

Southern Finland is like a setting for a sci-fi film at the moment. It’s pitch dark and the rain does not seem to stop at all. I think I’ll travel north soon and try to find some snow. I have photo posts planned for a few days ahead but I will take a break from posting for some time around Christmas.

This year has been amazing. I had a chance to show my work in the design district in our capital city, two of my images made it to the semifinal in the Wildlife Photographer of the year competition, and I’ve been able to make quite a few large works of my images, and even sell some of them. I feel truly fortunate to have so many people follow my work daily, some 350 on Flickr, 1360 on Twitter, 5000 on Google+, 148 on Facebook and 40 here on WordPress. I’m most grateful for all of you – thank you so much for all the faves, +1’s, likes and retweets. It is a huge pleasure to have learned to know the works of so many talented artists on the social media that I follow daily. I have got many new and dear friends and due to your constant support I feel like I’ve grown as an artist myself. Thank you so much my dear friends – You inspire me! I hope you will have a chance to relax and enjoy the Christmas time!

Happy Holidays!

Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!

~Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers, 1836

Moment Before Sunset

There is an incomprehensible heat wave in Finland at the moment. It’s been only during the last few years that this has happened and people are still not prepared. There are hardly any houses with proper air-conditioning in this country, however, most people have started to purchase heat-pumps in their houses in the recent years.

When I was a kid we used to be able to swim in the sea only once or twice a year. By midsummer the ice had probably melted but still you’d have to be a very tough person to plunge in. I remember doing that once on a school trip in May, and the water was so cold I couldn’t breathe and I was sure I was going to die. I was quite a tomboy and I did it because I didn’t wat to lose face in front of the boys – at the age of 11 – but to tell you the truth it was sheer madness – something to remember for the rest of my life. In the mid 80s the summers were mild in Northern Finland. Now about a quarter of a century later Southern Finland has five months of house-sized snow piles and five months of heat wave. This year, during the first 10 days of June the day temperature has been around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which is very unusual.

As a teacher May is always a very stressful and busy time, and so it was this year also. I had to put all my energy in marking and grading and unfortunately I missed a lot of great art posts during that time. I’ve been trying to catch up now that my ten-week vacation has finally started. First I thought I could just take it easy and sleep endlessly, but it was only the first day of my vacation when I got email from a gallerist in Helsinki asking me to participate in group show in July. I haven’t done any marketing, so it came totally out of the blue, she had found me on this site which is my profile in the site of the Nature Photographers of Finland. The gallery is located in the center of the design district in Helsinki and I was told I could bring nine middle sized (50x80cm) images, so naturally I really have to take this opportunity even though I wasn’t prepared for it financially. Making prints that size on aluminum is quite costly. I’ve decided now that I will make only one such print per image, so that the ones that I make will be unique works of art.

The exhibition is called Moment Before Sunset and the gallery is called Galleria Ferin You can find it in downtown Helsinki (Yrjönkatu 11). There will also be works by Kaija Elo (watercolors), Ulla Repo (paintings), Riitta Keski-Panula Larsson (paintings), Anja Oasmaa (watercolors), Leena Tähtinen (watercolors), Krista Partti (watercolors) Heli Vilmi (photography) and Soile Iivonen (sculptures). All women as you probably noticed if you know Finnish first names. I tried to find some link for each artist, hopefully you’ll see at least some of their works in the links. I hope you will be able to visit the exhibition, the gallery is open Mon-Fri 11 am – 6 pm, Sat-Sun noon – 4 pm from July 12 to July 31. Helsinki is a beautiful city to visit in July. As you can see in the map, it’s surrounded by sea and there are ferries going to the near-by islands all day long.

Oh, and by the way, I have also opened a posterous site to post others’ works as well. Hope you enjoy the pictures I share there. Happy weekend! I think I need to plunge into the sea very soon…