Sunday, 17 May 2009

Helsinki Redux

Ian and Johan Ian and I returned to Finland to visit several EMS agencies interested in Siren. With the help of Johan Nyman, the Trade Commissioner at the Canadian Embassy, we had a very productive and useful visit. While most of the trip was the usual rush from meeting to meeting, we had some unplanned extra time at one of our stops in Kuopio, so the guys broke out the laptops to ‘do some work’. In reality, it was just an excuse for them to look at Johan’s magnificent bell.

I spent only 18 hours in Helsinki on my first visit. It was the middle of winter, the skies were overcast, and it was raining. My shots were bleak and dark, so my impression of the city was a somber one.

Helsinki Streets (2)

This time, I spent several warm, sunny spring days in the city. Helsinki is as far north as Yellowknife, so mornings start quite early in the spring. It was light at 3:00 a.m. and the sun peaked over the horizon around 5:00. It was almost impossible to take a dark and dreary shot this time around. Compare this shot of Tuomiokirkko, the Helsinki Lutheran Cathedral, taken on my last visit to the following shot taken on this trip just at sunrise.

Helsinki Church

Lutheran Church

I took the shot above from the Uspensky Russian Orthodox Cathedral, which is on a hill looking back at the Lutheran. The Orthodox church is much more ornate than the Lutheran, and the morning sun produced a nice, warm glow as it hit the bricks and the golden domes.

Orthodox Church

I also had enough time to meet Laura and Kirsi, classmates of mine from Pearson College. It was wonderful to see them again and to get caught up. While a lot of time has passed since I have seen either of them, I still continue to learn from both. The next time, I plan on spending more time with them taking a proper portrait, rather than a ‘gun and run’ shot.



Since I was doing quick portraits, I decided to also do a self-portrait. This one was taken at sunrise at the Orthodox church and I popped two quick flashes for fill. EDIT: another photographer pointed out my compromise composition was just that, a big compromise, so here is an updated composition:

Helsinki Portrait

For more on the composition choices, see the Flickr page here


Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Living in a Fog

Road to NowhereJet lag is pure PITA and there is not much you can do about it. Traveling east is much, much worse than traveling west. Oddly enough, it is the second night that hits me the worst. I'm usually so bagged from traveling that I sleep soundly the first night. It's the second night that I'm up all hours. I crash after supper probably because my body thinks its afternoon and time for a nap! Then I'm awake and raring to go at 1:00 a.m. until about 6:00.

I usually take advantage of this unplanned 'up' time to do a bit of work and some e-mails. Around 3:00 or 4:00, I head out do some shooting. Its usually a wonderful time to shoot and meet people. Morning people are usually quite talkative and I've meet some interesting people as they prepare to get their day underway.

Around 6:00 I'm back in the hotel in time for breakfast. About this time my body clock starts screaming 'time to go to sleep'! I'm then bagged for the rest of the day and a fog settles down around my brain until I can finally drop into bed after supper, only to repeat the cycle all over again, like some reoccurring nightmare as my body clock slowly shifts forward one hour each day.

On this trip I used some of the time to catch up on some older photos. I did an early morning session in Halifax during some heavy fog and got some interesting results.

Besides clouding your judgement, fog can produce some dramatic results visually in a photograph or a movie, as any avid fan of British mysteries knows. Here is a runner appearing out of no-where on their way up Citadel Hill.

When Suddenly, Out of the Fog Appeared...

It can also be quite beautiful and calming, as this shot of a gantry crane down at the waterfront shows.

Crane (1)

A short slideshow of all the shots from this shoot:

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Sadly, all the slide show options produce weirdly desaturated images and I am not sure why. Compare the shot of the crane in the fog on the blog to the same shot in the slide show you will see what I mean.