Saturday, 23 March 2013

Tram #8

From Twilight Exposure

Nikon D90, AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED, 28mm, ISO 1600, f/5.0, 1/25 s.

In August I was lucky when returning from my regular pub: the tram was in the right place at the right time and this shot turned out to be nice though a kit lens is certainly not what one usually would like to have when it's dark.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Bird Competition: #20 Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)

From Birds 2013

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major), Nikon D90, AF-S DX VR Nikkor 55-300mm 4.5-5.6G ED, 300 mm, f/5.6, 1/500 s, ISO1600

Today was an interesting day in nature. A cold, crispy weather (-12 °C is not something we see every day in March in Helsinki) and sun was shining brightly. In a local wood I found a woodpecker, the only time I've been able to photograph this common bird when it's neither flying nor pecking a tree. So while this quite noisy and there are too few pixels per bird it was a nice experience.

Suddenly crows started to warn about something. I couldn't see anything and they calmed soon down. When I started to move a big bird which I was unable to identify flew away from a tree only five meters or so from me. The crows started the uproar again.

The sunday night was crowned by aurora borealis which I unfortunately missed by fifteen minutes or so. I found one spectacular image at Google+.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Excitement of Rarity

From Birds 2013

A mallard peforming Pugachev's Cobra? Nikon D90, AF-S DX VR Nikkor 55-300mm 4.5-5.6G ED, ISO200, 1/400 s, f/8.

Birders are after rarity which is not always a good thing. Animals are disturbed which can be fatal especially during the nesting time. The photographical downside is that we have a lots of pictures of rare species and few of common species.

Are common birds dull? By no means, no! There's hardly more common bird in Helsinki during Winter than mallard and I think they're fascinating birds. One can photograph them, study their behaviour and be sure that they don't care about you at all.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Bird Competition: #30 Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) and #31 Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)

From Birds 2013

A mute swan (Cygnus olor) and a common goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) meet, Helsinki, Finland. Nikon D90, AF-S DX VR Nikkor 55-300mm 4.5-5.6G ED, ISO200, 1/800 s, f/5.6.

Southern Helsinki has some areas where the sea is not frozen even in February and they offer an easy and quick way spot birds. Fifteen minutes in a bus, fifteen minutes shooting and back by the bus again. This time I spotted common mergansers, common goldeneyes, a pair of mute swans accompanied by a young whooper swan and of course, in a Finnish Winter, great and blue tits.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Affordable Quality Glass

February 20th

From Helsinki 2013

Linnunlaulu, Helsinki, Finland, Nikon D90, Nikkor AI 24 mm, 15 s, f/8, ISO200

"Affordable" and "quality" is a rare combination in photography. Cameras and lenses are precision instruments and as such things cannot be cheap. However, good glass lasts decades, so the second hand camera market is very much alive. Some of the used lenses are excellent and cheap.

From Twilight Exposure

My personal photographical precious is Nikkor AI 24 mm f/2.8. The AI-S version of this lens is still manufactured. So what good is a lens that doesn't autofocus and doesn't even meter on some Nikon bodies? Plenty. The lens is small, though heavy for it's size. The optical quality is excellent and the old-style manual focus is good for night photography. One can set the aperture to f/8 and focus to the infinity and the picture will be sharp. The modern AF-S lenses focus beyond the infinity so focusing them in very low light is not easy.

An old lens I bought from ebay at 100 euros (postage included) in some way performs better than the modern AF-S lens which costs twenty times as much.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Bird Competition: #28 Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa)

From Birds 2013

#28 Great grey owl (strix nebulosa), Nikon D90, Nikkor AF-S DX 55-300 mm, 240 mm f/5.3, 1/60 s, Kannelmäki, Helsinki, Finland, 2013

I've always been interested in trekking, nature and wildlife including birds but I wouldn't say they're a hobby to me. However, in January a long time friend of mine asked me if I'd like to have a competition with him. Which one would be able photograph most bird species in 2013? Neither of us is an active birder. The competition is not very serious and not even the real point. The fun and shooting is.

The rules are simple: a bird must be identifiable, alive and non-domesticated.

From Birds 2013

Nikon D90, Nikkor AF-S DX 55-300 mm, 280 mm f/5.6, 1/60 s, Kannelmäki, Helsinki, Finland, 2013

The owl is 28th bird species photograph this year. The owl attacked something in the snow immediately I shot the main picture.

Twilight Exposure

From Twilight Exposure

The Hands of Daibutsu, Kamakura, Japan 2007

I've always been fascinated by images and loved turning life into them whether my tool has been water colours, oil or a camera. Drawing and painting is a skill long lost due to neglect but in my twenties I got interested in photography and bought an Olympus OM-2N. However, shooting film was way too expensive a hobby for a student.

I bought my first DSLR, a Nikon D50, in 2005 and I currently shoot with the much better D90. The digital age has made photography affordable. My favourite photography genres are street, food and night photography. As a long time Linux user and programmer I'm also interested in the software used in photography and a self-written pile of Python is an important part of my workflow.

I pondered for a long time whether I should start a photography blog or post an occasional photography text to Äijäruokaa, the food blog. I concluded that I want to write about photography so often that food blog readears are probably not interested and that I want to write in English.

I will write about gear, linux photography software and, of course, I will post photographs.