Olden days - the 3rd quarter of 2007


This is what happens when months go by.

  • 12.9.2007 -It's so cuuuuute-

   What's so cute that you simply have to put five U's in the word? Ermm... *strumming* The new Fiat 500, but of course! Get it?! Five as in five hundr... red? No? Well, that's why you haven't got a website and I do! Okay, just kidding there, but hey, really, what's the catch?

I went to a Fiat's weekend car display with one tough question for the salespeople. Will the new 500 be imported to Finland, too, I asked. Not one of the car magazines had known or told it before and it had become an object of much speculation. Well, they said "a definite yes"! Woohoo, the dream of getting my first car, new and under 15'000 euros just re-ignited!

And to top it all, I continued pressing the subject and asked if the Fiat's diesel engine will make it here, too. There he seemed to hesitate a moment but said "probably" with a confident face. Think about it, man! 3,6 litres per 100 kilometres - that's got to be the best invention since yodelling, dude! Endless road trips spiced with tight serpentine roads and Norvegian landscape... Cameras, sleeping bags and, of course, the trusty Trangia in the backseat...

No stopping there, my friend, oh no! From Norway to Sweden, from there to Denmark and Germany, then... where... Poland, of course! Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary next, then Austria... We'd find the most dingy towns and cosiest rest spots. Now, wouldn't that be something? On the radio would Tom Waits sing how the Earth Died Screaming from behind the wall of whisky breath.

We'd have to see the shadiest of pubs, meet the most peculiar people. To scour for a deeper meaning for travelling without a cause. That's what we've got to do - soulsearching!

Would it be spectacular, seeing the Europe like that? Would it be too much for such a young soul? Bowie now takes the stage, shouting It Ain't Easy...

Back to reality, again. ;~)  I've got one question for you, too. I challenge all of you to see the tv-series Long Way Round where Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman (one of his buddies) travel around the world on their bikes. Then, ask yourself if you feel compelled to do something similar - well, okay, to a bit lesser extent, then. Yeah, me too.

David turns the record and starts singing Five Years. Man, he must be referring to the Fiat warranty... But how did he guess?

Well, what am I waiting for? ... Ermm... You're right... I forgot they haven't brought the car out just yet. :~)

PS: Photos are used strictly without permission as is my tradition. However, I will tell you that the beautiful black&white portrait of the old 500 at Gubbio, Italy was photographed by Mark Citret. I want to go there...

 

 

  • 2.9.2007 -Punch, kick & run-

   Tvuiiii, tvuiiii, tvuiiii, tvuiiii, extreme ways are back again! I mean, like KATWOOM!!! The Bourne Ultimatum... Uh, let me catch my breath first.

A week ago after watching an Ingmar Bergman film I felt I'd just seen something out of this world - something quite powerful and fulfilling inside a single film. Now, without making any comparisons between the two, I have to say that the old legends are not the only one capable of evoking such feelings. Robert Ludlum, the novelist, wrote down the character and starting point for the story of Jason Bourne in 1980. After that Doug Liman directed a film adaptation based on The Bourne Identity in 2002. I remember it as a time when I was hopelessly waiting for a decent James Bond movie... Let's face it, after Goldeneye the films simply sucked and even they knew it. Who cares? Jason Bourne, with his youthful, almost childish looks came forth and showed who's the man. Mind you that the man who plays the role, Matt Damon has a bit of roots in Finland, as his great-grandmother was Finnish. Doesn't hurt the image - he's my new MacGyver. :~)

Bourne movies have to be seen as a trilogy, as there's little charm to the story if individual films are taken out of the context. It's curious that it was the last part of the story that made me the fan I am today. The first two were, if not five star action movies, quite entertaining and certainly intense experiences. In the second part the director Paul Greengrass gave the film a distinct breath of credibility while still picking up the pace. He does the same in the last episode and takes it to a level even higher. One of the most catching storylines is built between the co-operation between Jason and Nicky, played by the ever so beautiful Julia Stiles. You'll want to sit tight right till the end just to see how the duo escapes the whole mess - if they do.

That's it. If it's not a piece of art as the world of movie critics see it - that's okay. Without hesitation I say it's damn near one of the best film trilogies I've seen - or series for that matter. Forget Kieslowski's 'Colours (actually, don't - it's just that I haven't seen them yet), The Bournes go right in the much honoured company of such trilogies as Star Wars (the real ones, episodes four to six, that is) and Indiana Jones. And that is saying something.

The Bournes as individual films - four stars, The Bourne trilogy - five stars.

The credit for the one extra star is partly due to the theme song which always abruptly cuts the films in the middle of the most striking moments - Extreme Ways by Moby. And yes, you simply have got to love that bald guy who seems so very out of place wherever he goes and makes the most memorable tunes people all over the world have ever heard. This week, the ending credits call for one name - Moby!


Love you Moby, love you Matt, love you Julia, love you Robert, love you Paul... And thank you.

 

 

  • 23.8.2007 -I'm so happy!-

   I just came from Hailuoto where we celebrated my birthday. Kaisa had reserved a cousy cottage and sauna near the beach at Marjaniemi. It was the perfect birthday present - thanks! :~)

It seems that Nikon also wanted to celebrate their 90th birthday on the same day! I was in for a surprise, I knew... You're not going to believe this... After lagging many many years in the pro camera markets while Canon lead the way Nikon has finally woken up. They now have a full frame camera - the Nikon D3! Woohoo! Yes, I know, that's huge news! It's the first time they've expressed any concrete sign of any kind of will to go for the big sensor, as they've up until now always cherished their DX size sensors (that's the good old 1.5x crop sensor - and just so you know, the full frame sensor will be called FX in Nikon cameras).

Only 12 megapixels, yes, but the purpose of the camera is to have staggering speed (9 fps at full frame and 11 fps in the 1.5x crop mode) and great low-light capabilities (I'll get to that later). The camera is, as Nikon themselves say, aimed at the sports and news photographers. The competition, namely the new Canon 1D MkIII (1.3x crop sensor) has 10 megapixels and 10fps, so only marginal differences.

Okay, but the great thing is that they announced the successor to D200, too! The D300, it is. (I've read that the D200 will remain in the lineup, though.) 12.3 megapixels, same auto-focusing system as found in the D3, 6 fps normally and 8 fps when the extra battery is used. 

Hmm, I was just wondering if you've noticed it too.. How ugly they both look, that is! The grey plateau under the shutter button is gone and the sleek lines of the viewfinder, too. It seems they've chosen to mimic the style they had years ago at least in the handle - just look at F100, for example. It's a matter of personal likings, of course... But I do love the new looks! Two round eyes behind the shutter button... so charming.

How about the competition, then? It is as if Canon knew they couldn't do much with their 40D and let the spotlight go right over to the D300... That leads me to believe they don't compete each other head to head anymore - if the 30D and D200 ever did. The announced prices are quite different: around 1300€ for the 40D and 2000€ for the D300. Maybe the companies have different style of giving the first list prices, but I would bet there will always be at least a 500€ gap. That's really not a small one. On the other hand, let's keep in mind that with 12 megapixels, 8 frames per second and absolutely the best auto-focusing system Nikon has ever produced, it gives even the 1D MkIII a tough rival - and hey, it's half the price.

One thing that really makes me interested is the claims of better sensitivity in the D3 (the D300 sensor should be of the same family, but I haven't heard about it's performance yet). I won't go into detail about either of the cameras - surely you can trust Dpreview.com to do it - but when I read "ISO 25'600", I can only scratch my head and grin. That's what larger photosites mean, basically, better light gathering and higher quality signal. Less noise also means more dynamic range, which is arguably one of the most important features in a camera. A Canon user and a seasoned expert, Rob Galbraith has written in his preview that Nikon claims 300% increase in dynamic range, which translates to around two stops - it could be slightly less or slightly more, depending on how Nikon have calculated and expressed the number.

But hey, I'm sure you'll get loads of more information on both cameras at Dpreview:
Preview on D3 at Dpreview.com
Preview on D300 at Dpreview.com

How does Nikon continue from this, that's quite a question... I'm pretty sure we'll see a high resolution version of the D3, maybe called the D3X, to compete with the 21 megapixel Canon 1Ds MkIII.

And a direct competitor against Canon 5D, oh please, Nikon! You've now showed us that full frame sensor doesn't have to drive the camera unit costs to ridiculous heights.

The new Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 just screams for an FX sen... !!! Say what - they released lenses, too? Correct! Also a 14-24 f/2.8 superwideangle zoom and three tele lenses, but who could afford them?

*sigh*  I will have to wait a couple more years... But right now, I'm imagining myself in some distant parts of Norway, thundering down the serpentine roads with my Triumph Scrambler, my Nikon D300FX (you know, the full frame D300 equivalent that doesn't exist), Nikkors 17-35mm, 24-70mm and MF 135 f/2.0 stuffed in the tank pocket. That's everything I would ever need... And Kaisa, Vilma (my cat) and perhaps a Trangia, with me. Hmm... I would have hard time persuading her to like motorcycles, though. And doing that is one thing - getting her to sit on the bench behind me when doing 80 kmph in the Scandinavian mountains is another!  ;~)

Tromså, here I come!
(just hang in there a couple of years...)

 

  • 20.8.2007 -Stop the Press!-

   Canon is here to save the day! There's been two camera announcements - the 1Ds MarkIII, which is the new flagship model and the 40D, which is the more interesting one when trying to keep a perspective on things and price tags. Dpreview.com is really the best site when you have questions about cameras and I won't hesitate to push you there:
Preview on 1Ds MkIII at Dpreview.com
Preview on 40D at Dpreview.com

I have little idea on how much the 40D will cost here in Finland, but the starting price will probably be around 1500€. Not bad. Certainly will drive D200 price down, when the new Canon picks up the pace.

Anyway, as much hype as there's bound to be, it would be costly to believe what the marketing people say. Forget all the ads you'll see - trust what's important, the real camera. Some features are more important than others, and here's what I think are the best developments in the 40D:

1)   Bigger viewfinder, now the same size as in Nikons D200 and D80 - that's golden!
2)   Interchangeable focusing screens, which now give you the chance to use a matte screen, which makes the viewfinder a bit dimmer, but manual focusing becomes much easier (with a clear screen, that's tough - been there done that)
3)   Shorter viewfinder blackout times, quieter and better damped mirror slap via motorized mirror mechanism
4)   More weatherproof as battery and card compartments are shielded, too
5)   All 9 autofocus points are now cross-type
6)   Smaller, 2.5 megapixel RAW files available, which will save a lot of disc space and be quite enough for small prints

...

287)   A step up from 8 megapixels to 10
288)   Dust removal system

There you have it! I wish I was a Canon 300D, 350D or 400D owner. I'd finally be able to justify a new camera body. And what a step up it would be... On the other hand, only three days and Nikon will introduce their D300. ;-)


And now the music I've been promising for too long! Jean Luc and a Triumph Scrambler... Enjoy!

Oh, and the photo of the golden photographer was taken by Kishore Murthy, I think... I've never been too good at crediting other people for their photos. :~)

 

  • 14.8.2007 -Where to begin?-

   I have lots to say, this week - although I'm quite sure I'm forgetting more than half. And I don't want to make a list of things, they're just silly. So let me start up the stream of consciousness! Vroooo - rrooooooooom!!!

Wait, no, that's the sound of a Triumph Scrambler! So what's that? Allow me to educate you. It is life as a true rebel sees it. Nothing much more and certainly nothing less. I went to see one with my own eyes a couple of weeks ago and tried to shoot it - that's photographers language meaning that I wanted to take photographs of it. But my camera was a SonyEricsson K750i, which more or less sucks (remember, I'm a photographer at heart and I demand satis... err... photos of good quality). I don't think those photo's compare to this. Now, isn't that a thing of beauty? Imagine Steve McQueen riding one... That's rebel rebel.

Talking about rebels, I feel like rebelling against something... Against the monopoly in mobile phones - Nokia. I demand sat... err... right, I demand SonyEricsson! Geesh, that W880i looks wonderful! That and a dark background theme with the face of Ichigo from Bleach - coloured in orange. Now, that's being original! You can almost hear the rebel yell, no? Hmm.. What colour would clash with orange.. Green! What's green... I know, Kristian Meurman! Never heard? Why, he's the Idols finalist, of course! He's got his website up and running - http://www.meurman.com! The sooner the better!

You see something weird in the photos? Me too... For some reason the photographer has decided on using perspective correction lenses or some such to create that effect. Weird, but I've got to admit the photos do have a distinct look to them, wouldn't you agree? Hey, while we're talking about photos, let me tell you something huge! I mean, GRAND!

Nikon is - at the moment I'll have to add the word 'probably' - coming along with an announcement on a new pro series DSLR... Yes, that's big news and you should be jumping on your chair! Rumours abound but let's stay calm. I can almost promise you we'll hear from them by the end of this month. My birthday is on 24th of August, so I'd be happy to take it as a nice present - thank you, Nikon! That's the teaser ad... 51 point auto focus and a 3 inch LCD. That's not particularly ground-shaking, but rather the talks about the introduction of the so called full frame sensor. That would be quite an evolution... Or should I say a step back in time? Anyway, I would welcome the news quite warmly. I'm hoping for a D200 class camera with a full frame sensor in two or three years time. That would be the last camera I would ever need. Ever. Period!

Talking about periods... A colleague of mine went on vacation and guess what? Yes, I'm to replace him for the next two weeks! That means 16-hour working days, which in turn could mean I won't be here to write my thoughts down. I'm taking this as a challenge as I haven't heard of anyone ever doing the same - doing two shifts at the same time for two weeks. It's quite daft, I know, but that's what rebel rebels do - stupid things.

Hey, come to think of it, what's the opposite of stupid? Wait, wait, I don't mean myself! Why'd you even think that... *blushes* I'm thinking more like Sherlock Holmes. Now, there's a genius.. What a coincidence that I so happened to draw a picture of him a year ago! Mind you that I haven't really been into drawing since I found out that I'm not very good at it, so I think one drawing a year is a pretty good pace. Well, it's not too classic a way to picture him, but I simply couldn't resist making that version! There it is, anyway. You see, he's clearly investigating the scene of crime.. See, right there, you can almost see the wild glint in his eyes? No? Ahh well... The paper and the fountain pen were not of the best quality.. And the train ride was a bit rough.. So...  ;~)

Just kidding! I actually like the little drawing which, by the way, I drew on the train from Oulu to Tampere, where we then boarded a plane to London, Stansted. So it brings a lot of memories, too.

It's getting late and I've already forgotten most of what I wanted to say so I'll call it a day. I'm glad you read this far, thanks!

PS: For the next piece of music, you'll have to wait until next week. Or the next.. :~)
 

 

  • 2.8.2007 -Ergo Proxy?-

   I just finished watching the series named Ergo Proxy, and... Well, I can't really say how to react. Let me start with the basics, first. It's an anime series spanning 23 episodes, around 25 minutes each. Like many other anime series, it's got a huge storyline that starts in a very modest way, almost like a hard-boiled detective story. Then, after the couple of first episodes, it gathers themes such as ethics on making robots, artificial intelligence, questions regarding existentialism and... Err, I won't spoil the fun, by any means! Suffice to say that it's quite epic. ;~)

Lovable characters in a cold, black world filled with a luminous, tidy emptiness is something that's quite unheard of in western entertainment. Watch out for Pino, probably the most cunning trick in the show. She's quite a character, a young child and a robot... And it seem's she's got the same Cogito virus that is driving other robots, or AutoRaves as they're called, mad. What's up with her...

A beginner in anime might ask "is it better than Neon Genesis Evangelion?" And I say: that's not a fair fight. Ergo Proxy wins, hands down. Forget NGE - that's always been my first and foremost lesson on Japanese anime if someone asks. :~)

Find out more about the show at wikipedia, here you go:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergo_Proxy

PS: No music this time. You'll have to wait until next week. :~)


 

  • 22.7.2007 -Boy, am I slow-

   No excuses, just a known fact: I'm slow. What, it's taken me two weeks to update a simple website?! Okay, let me make it count, then.

The first news is that I've gotten older, I mean, a lot! While I can't show you much proof, lines on my face or such, I say this because of just one thing... I've grown to love archery... Say what!?

That blasted Olli (you know, the guy from the Korouoma experience) did it again... Just like he pushed me into climbing, he did the same thing for this noble bow sport. So, this time I went ahead of him, buying a brand new bow. Now, I'm sure he didn't see that coming.

What does it look like, then?! Hehheh, I knew you'd ask... Okay, here we go. Look at the image with these Korean archers. Now, take a peek or two and tell me what's the coolest looking bow of them all! ... No, no, it's not that! It's the shiny, magnificient blue one in the upper right corner, daft. Don't worry - one cannot always be right, you know that... ;~)

Yeeep yep. Archery in itself has little to do with how cool our gear looks, I want to be the first to admit it. Besides, nice looks often come with a hefty pricetag. It has to be said, though, that even if one settled for the simplest of designs and materials the initial cost of entering the world of archery will be quite high - I'll be paying around 700 euros for the bow, arrows, bags and such. Luckily, the club fees are but a hair of that. And if I really want to be on the  positive side of things and make the glass seem half full, I could say that it's an investment for the future and only goes to show just how dedicated I am!

Wait a sec... Of course it matters how the bow looks! While it could be seen as a joke if I said that a cartoon character had any influence over my decisions, it's the absolute truth! Long story short, I'm a huge fan of the anime series Bleach (click here for the Wikipedia's lowdown, but watch out for spoilers). To put it bluntly, the concepts of trying to achieve something and will to improve yourself in order to exceed one's physical, mental and emotional barriers - limits, you could say - have never been more clear and earnest than in Bleach. Ishida Uryuu, quite a significant character, is a Quincy, an archer hunting the hollows, the souls gone evil. The weapon he uses, his bow, is named Kojaku, (i.e. Lone Sparrow).

I know a lot of people are now either laughing quite freely or murmuring in disbelief - and that's exactly why I like the idea of getting my hands on a bow that resembles Kojaku as much as possible! Okay, my bow won't be consisting of reiatsu, spirit energy. At least not fully - just a bit since my reiatsu is still quite weak. See, here on the right, you can see Ishida's grandfather teaching him how to shoot... And if you've seen the anime, you know how poor Ishida is at it when he begins his practice. It's that notion of him learning control over his weapon and, moreover, the reasons for using it that makes me identify with him. There's so much Ishida learns about himself when pushed towards a seemingly impossible goal. As it happens, when I decided to embark upon this long and arduous journey of learning how to shoot, I didn't have club or national tournaments or anything like that in mind. I simply decided it would be good for me, for myself. Some people practice yoga, I shoot arrows.

 

This would indeed be a quiet day without music, so let's get it on with Tori Amos! Now it's time for the ultimate song - one that I heard and instantly obsessed over back in Provinssirock. This time they're in the studio, just for the show, as they're doing it in play-back for some reason. Anyway, the song's the same and sounds even better - Tori Amos, Bouncing off Clouds.
 

 

At the same time, I'd like to wish a long and happy life together to Elina and Olli, who got married just a week ago! 

Hirmuisen palijon onnea!!

Well, now, as you're both studying music and teaching I'm sure you will like this version of the same song even more: Bouncing off Clouds at a chorus rehearsal (a youtube link). What a warm and fuzzy feeling... Showing young people how to fall in love with great music - there aren't much better ways to make changes.

 

PS: Thanks, Minna, for the help in deciphering Kojaku! Yeah, you all guessed it - I'm writing the words onto the bow in kanji! In japanese letters, that is. Minna, by the way, who's quite a talented young graphic designer has her work shown here... Take a look:
http://sephyna.deviantart.com/

 

 

  • 8.7.2007 -Yossh! Here they are-

   I got the green light for showing you the graduation pics I took for Reetta. Without further ado, I'll show you what I've got! Ahh, when will I learn to speak like normal people...

The first one here is actually one of the very first ones I shot that day. I was quite nervous, of course, because I knew I had her whole family waiting and watching our backs. I didn't know if I could pull it off, to be honest. It was my first attempt at portrait photography - can you believe that I didn't have the time or energy to practice one bit! Fingers were crossed, which made stabbing the shutter quite difficult at times. Kidding, but of course... ;~)

Whoops. Ahh yes, I forgot the golden rose in the front... Or rather I didn't, but I thought it would come out fine, which in my opinion clearly isn't the case. But I think I like the light on her face, which was the top priority, after all. Anyway, let's move on! There's lots to be criticized...

Okay, so I'll just forget the negative parts in this image, because I simply love it. No, it's not too flashy, nor is it traditional, but I can recall every second of the moment when I shot it - and that's a big part of a good photograph, in my opinion. First I wanted to shoot one where my legs were reflected on the glass, just to show who it was taking the picture. Then I decided it made it a tad 'gimmicky', sidestepped a bit, leaving the camera still - that's why it might look like there's something odd going on with the perspective.

And the grim teeth in the top! I really like those.

In retrospect, I'm really glad I brought (and prior to that, bought) my flash gun. And the diffuser. With their help I was able to play with the light in a nearby shed, intentionally juxtaposing the joy of getting the 'white cap' and the gloom of all the hardest work and frustrating times spent in order to get one. I'm really quite happy with the composition in this one, too. I didn't know it back then, so I shot three or four of them and gave myself the freedom of choice to do the picking afterwards. I know, for sure some true professionals would probably feel uneasy with that kind of attitude, but hey, face it, I'm not a pro. :~)

Well, the sun was shining at full blast and it would've been lame for me to ignore that. So, Reetta and I decided to take some photos outside. Now, I grabbed my polariser (oh, so you know, I'm sharing all these technicalities so that some of you could pick up some tips, at least that's my goal) and we went on a split-rail fence trying to come up with some nice compositions.

I'm not sure if this one's the best of the bunch, but I really like how the green surrounds her. The lighting was ... okay, saying that it was too much, too tough for my skills would be an overstatement. I had the flash with me on this, after all (which, by the way, is situated around a meter to the right from where Reetta sits). I also enjoyed the help of two young girls who showed great interest in our photography sessions. They held the flash up in the air, so, without them the lighting on this particular photo would've look bad, very dull, I'm sure. Thank you, whoever you are, I forgot your names ;~)

And thank you, Reetta, for putting so much trust in me and giving me the chance to surprise myself!

There you have it! I'm quite exhausted, now... It's late and I need some rest... Creative minds need sleep, always.

That's what I use to comfort me when I'm lazzzz...  zzzy.

 

  • 22.6.2007 -It's good to be back!-

   It's been a long time! During these months I haven't exactly been idle.. At all. Actually, photography-wise, I've been more productive than ever. I've had my first assignment - sort of. It was a jubilee of a local bowling federation and I was to be the event photographer. I was very excited over this and tensions were running high. In the end I think I managed okay. If you want to view the results, please, go ahead and follow this link and click the line that says "Oulun Keilailuliiton 50v juhlat".

Lots of other things, too! A dear friend of mine, Reetta, asked me to take his graduation photos, the official ones, too. And without much hesitation, I agreed. Hopefully she shows a green light for me to show some of them. On the other hand, they're very personal, so.. :~)

While I've been extremely busy with my summer job and all these other tasks I haven't had much time to make any photos from my trip to Beijing. Shame, actually. But here's one from a part of the Great Wall. Just to show what kind of crowd we had to endure during the trip - it was the golden week, after all, their official holiday week.

Finally...

Ryuusei!!! MUCC!!! Oh yes, I didn't miss their show after all! They came back to Finland to perform at one of the two biggest music festivals, Provinssirock. And yes, I was there. I will never forget the moment they started playing Ryuusei, one of my favourite songs from the band. Here it is for you to enjoy - MUCC playing Ryuusei at Budokan:

 

Some things are just priceless. I thank MUCC for giving me the chance to see them  in the first place.

I also went to listen to Tori Amos and I think I was surprised, flabbergasted - the band played flawlessly (although the mixer forgot the bass player) and the music itself opened new worlds.. But hey, let's stick to what really counts - japanese bands, that is, hehe! ;~)