Posts Tagged With: photography

Inspiration Tuesday

For a couple of years now, I’ve had a particular project in mind.  A photo project.  Actually, a photo display project.

It all started with this movable painting wall from memoryradio.  I loved the idea of having a stack of paintings (or photos, in my case) and letting friends rearrange them at will.  I also liked the ability to have a ton of photos available, but not necessarily hanging.  I have so many photos I love, but I can’t hang them all.  This seemed the perfect solution.  Only hang a few, but cycle through them by making them easily interchangeable.

The first problem was, of course, that I wanted different sizes.  I had intended on mounting the photos on wood, but I knew I wanted different sizes.  The different sizes immediately limits the arrangement of photos.  You can’t change out a 5×7 with a 5×5!  I considered doing framed and matted pictures on a dedicated picture wall, but the size differences were still an issue.  I hunted through pinterest multiple times, pinning things I liked and didn’t like.  Some displays were simply not big enough.  I hated a lot of them.  I love the idea of using photo shelves – it made photos easily movable (and stackable!) and you could use all different sizes.  This is still likely how I will do a photo display once we move back to the US and settle down.  But it wasn’t something I could do in temporary housing in Finland.

Then one day I saw this mirror and light garland, and thought, why not do that with photos?  I went and bought a cheap white curtain rod.  We just happened to have two nails in our walls to hang the rod from, so we didn’t need to put more holes in the wall.  I would have liked to use ribbon, and will likely change to that in the future, but for now I’m just using some white string, five pieces hanging down at regular intervals.  Tiny little decorative clothespins hold the photos on the line.  I printed off a ton of photos, and started hanging at random.

And I love the end result!

Photo display


So, next time you’re over at my place, dig into our extra photos and feel free to rearrange or replace any you want based on what inspires you.  I want to see what photos you think should be hung!  🙂



Categories: Inspiration Tuesday, Photography | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

Lapland, Part 3 (of 3)

On our last night in Lapland, we splurged and stayed in one of the glass igloos at the Arctic Snow Hotel. You can spend the night in the snow hotel itself, which stays at a constant temperature of about 30°F.  The glass igloo, on the other hand, was nice and warm, especially during the day when the sun turned it into a greenhouse! Beware, though:  the bathrooms are freezing at night! Even so, the igloos were absolutely lovely.

Interior, glass igloo, Arctic Snow Hotel

They are fairly new, built last fall and opened to guests in December. The showers are amazing, with fabulous water pressure and optional rainfall shower head. The igloos are equipped with an aurora alarm that buzzes when the northern lights make an appearance, so you can fall asleep and not have to worry about missing them. And since the igloos have adjustable beds, there’s no need to put your coat and boots on if you don’t want to, just crank the bed up and enjoy the show!

Northern Lights, seen from glass igloo

I do have one complaint, and you might be able to tell what it may be in the photo above. It seems the people staying in the other igloos didn’t know that in order to see the stars and the northern lights better, it’s best to minimize your own light pollution. In other words, turn your flipping lights off, dumbasses! I left a comment card with the hotel saying they should “suggest guests turn lights off after 10pm unless absolutely necessary.”

Glass igloos, lights ablaze

Another very minor thing I found funny – the bathrooms have frosted glass, for privacy while you do your business, which is appreciated (although, the ceiling is open to the room, so you had better be comfortable enough with your traveling companion if you’re going to do anything particularly noisy or smelly!). However, just along the edge of the bathroom there was a slight gap, so that this was my view as I got out of the shower, naked.


(Made me wonder if others could see in!)


In addition to the glass igloos, there’s the snow hotel itself. It’s built new each year, so the rooms look different year to year. You can visit the snow hotel easily from Rovaniemi (it’s about half an hour away by car, and many of the tour companies offer this tour), and of course it’s tourable if you’re staying on site. The intricate designs are spectacular!

Room, Arctic Snow Hotel

Room, Arctic Snow Hotel

IRoom, Arctic Snow Hotel

There’s also a super friendly reindeer on site:


Since Baby J was sick, we opted to have dinner in the lodge (possibly our best meal on our entire trip), but they also have a restaurant in the snow hotel, along with an ice bar. The ice bar doesn’t open until 10pm, though – we would have had a drink there if there had been a bartender on site in the afternoon.

Ice restaurant, Arctic Snow Hotel

Ice restaurant, Arctic Snow Hotel

Ice Bar, Arctic Snow Hotel

Ice Bar, Arctic Snow Hotel

It’s pricey, but certainly a once in a lifetime experience.  We saw a shooting star, a couple of satellites, and so many stars.  And, of course, if you get to see the northern lights, it’s even better!

Night sky

Night sky


Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of our trip for more photos!

Categories: Finland, Travels | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Visiting Lapland – Part 1 (of 3)

Lapland, home of Santa and reindeer and the northern lights. And after three years of living in Finland, we finally made it!

We left home on March 17 and took the overnight train to Rovaniemi. Incidentally, the 17th was the night the northern lights went crazy! My neighbors took photos from our backyard, they were even seen as far south as Helsinki! And I was stuck on a train. *eye roll*

The train ride was nice, the beds were actually pretty comfy. The cabin was tiny, of course, but what do you expect? We had a private bathroom with a shower, but there wasn’t any hot water, at least on our trip north. The train had a car carrier, so we were able to take our car with us. Load it up, sleep the night away, then drive the car off the train in the morning. It’s a pretty nice setup!

Sleeping cabin on train

Our cabin on the train – Stephen’s leg is propped against the left wall (to give you an idea about the size).

We arrived in Rovaniemi around 11am the next day, too early to check into our hotel. So we went for lunch, then checked out the Arktikum museum. The museum was…boring. Or I was tired. One of the two. Actually, the museum had some neat exhibits, and it would be a lot of fun with a kid around 7 years old. Note to self – take Baby J back when he’s older!

Ceiling of Arktikum Museum

The ceiling of the Arktikum museum

I braved the cold that first night and went out to a spot I had read about online, on the river by the museum. I set up the camera on the tripod and spent some time fiddling with the camera settings. Once I had the camera focused, I stood back and waited.

Night Sky

Night Sky, Rovaniemi

It was a mostly clear night, just some thin high clouds every once in a while. I was still close enough to the city to have quite a bit of light pollution, but I could still see the stars. I watched the thin clouds come and go for about an hour, then I saw one cloud that looked a bit…odd. And was that a hint of green? I took a picture, waited for the 30 second exposure, then checked the screen. I’ll be damned – that was it.

Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis

My first glimpse of The Northern Lights!

And this is where I want to address the issue. The Northern Lights, at least what I saw, despite the photo above, were not what I would call amazing. To the naked eye, they looked like exactly what I described earlier – light bouncing off high thin clouds. Yes, some of them had the minutist green tint to them, but for the most part, they just looked like clouds. The camera, with a longer exposure, is able to bring out the colors, and they are beautiful. But standing out there in the cold at midnight, I was quite disappointed. They didn’t dance across the sky like I had heard.  I found a post by another blogger that talks about the color of the auroras, and the author does a good job at explaining the difference between what your eyes see and what the camera sees.  I just wish I had read it prior to seeing it for myself – maybe then I wouldn’t have been disappointed!!

Regardless, I am glad I got the chance to see them and photograph them. I feel like I did fairly well with focusing in the dark, and with exposure, although they may be a bit overexposed. The pictures turned out amazing, even if the real time experience wasn’t as spectacular as I had hoped.  🙂

Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

Stay tuned for Part II of our trip!

Categories: Finland | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

On bedtime stories, Four Weddings, and Instagram

Good Night Moon “has lulled generations of children to sleep” according to it’s back cover copy. But neither Stephen nor I had the book when we were kids. In fact, the first time I ever heard of it was when I watched the move Playing by Heart. I’m curious as to how many of you had this book as a kid.  Were Stephen and I the wierdos for never having heard of it? Or have they just done some very good marketing to make people think this was bigger than it really was? (We did get it for Baby J.)

As mentioned before, I don’t watch much TV during the day. When I do turn it on, I’m never sure what I’m going to get. Sometimes I catch the show Four Weddings, and I have to say…I rather like this show. I’m not much for reality TV, but I do like it when its not awful, as in mean spirited or embarrasing in an “Oh, god, is this what people think Americans are like?” kind of way.  I love The Amazing Race, and we watch Top Chef.  But Four Weddings has the potential to be really catty, and it’s not.  All the brides seem to really get along, and no one is particularly nasty.  I like it.

I joined Instagram! Stephen asked why, and I really don’t have a great answer to that. I’d like to do a photo a day thing again, and that seems to be the easiest way to do it (photos won’t languish on my camera for several weeks, and I dont bombard the blog with a ton of photos), plus, as I told him, “social media presence.” If I ever do manage to complete and submit a book for publication, a social media presence is a good thing to have. So, yeah, Instagram. But similar to this blog, no photos of Baby J, at least distinguishable ones.

And maybe one day I’ll actually twitter. I’ve tried a couple of times, but I just.don’ I have such a hard time reading tweets, what with all the @ and #. And I don’t really want to spend hours reading through all the tweets of the people I follow. Some people tweet way too much. Let’s say you follow 100 people, and on average those 100 people tweet 20 times a day. That’s 2000 tweets in a 24 hour period that I then have to read. That’s way too much! I just don’t get it.

Anyway, as mentioned above, I’ve been considering doing a photo a day thing again.  I did it in 2010, and it may have very well saved my sanity during the worst year of my life.  I’m just not ready to commit to anything yet.  If I do it, I want to make sure I’m doing it to better my photography skills, not just to take a picture.  So…we’ll see.
Have any of you tried doing a photo a day challenge?  What did it do for you?  Are you on Instagram?  Come find me!  Did you read Good Night Moon as a kid?  Do you watch Four Weddings?  Let me know in the comments below!
Categories: Random | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Best Photo Ever

We have this photo from our wedding:


That’s not the “Best Photo Ever,” although I love it – it’s one of my favorite photos from our wedding.  I was pooped, and sat down on the couch, and Stephen came over and kissed me, and cameras started flashing.

I wanted to recreate a photo from our wedding with Baby J, and this one immediately popped into my mind.  It was completely doable, and didn’t seem odd.  Like, say, holding him while feeding each other cake.  So when we finally got around to taking some family photos – or, more to the point, when we finally had someone around to actually take some family photos (thanks, Sis!) – we took several with me on the couch holding Baby J, and Stephen bent over, kissing me.

And then magic happened.

07202014 Family Picture 4

Just look at the look on Baby J’s face!  Could it have been any more perfect?!

Categories: Baby J | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge – Twist

There I was, walking through the garden at Skansen open air museum in Stockholm, when I stumbled across this gentleman:

Statue holding a flower

Down on bended knee, proposing to any person who walked by.


Baby J update – 21 Days to go! I’m blogging every day until I give birth, so you’ll know when the baby is born!

This week’s photo challenge from WordPress is “Twist” – “…something unexpected that surprised, shocked, or startled you.”

Oh, and hey, this photo is available on products in my Zazzle store!  (Yes, I still have one!)

Categories: Photography | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sum Sunday, June 30, 2013


  • Stephen’s parents arrived on Monday, and we spent a few days around Rauma before taking the ferry to Stockholm, which is where we are now.  Leaving tomorrow morning for Helsinki, looking forward to more good times!

Writing Progress:

  • *snort*

What’s Making Me Happy:

  • I went out to the Woodland Cemetery in Stockhom yesterday and spent a few hours walking around.  I was at the top of this hill and I saw a deer walking through the headstones.  I didn’t have my zoom lens with me, so I took a photo, hoping I could crop it down if I needed to, then ran down the hill and over to where I saw the deer.  I walked through the hedges, took a photo.  Took two steps, photo, photo.  Three steps, photo.  I figured I’d do that to get as close as possible without spooking the deer.  As it turned out, I could get pretty close – I could have probably gotten closer than I did, but I didn’t see a need to.  He kept his eye on me, but continued munching on the flowers on a grave.  It was very cool.

Deer in Cemetery 1

Deer in Cemetery 2

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A trip to the garden

I went out to the community garden today and took some photos – Love the way they turned out!

Hairy Flower IMG_8674 IMG_8688 IMG_8693 IMG_8702 IMG_8713 IMG_8716 IMG_8718


So all of those are pretty much untouched as far as editing goes.  But then I had to play around with a few…


Inverted colors on this one-

Inverted colors on this one-

Categories: Photography | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Learning more Photoshop

Image:  Captured by Nicki Photography

Image: Captured by Nicki Photography

As mentioned in a previous post, one of my goals this year is to work on photography, and part of that is learning Photoshop (Elements, in my case).  I’ve been learning quite a bit watching the video tutorials done by Geoff Lawrence, including adjusting the lighting and color in a photo.  That certainly came in handy when, earlier this week, I finally went to backup my wedding photos.

I had a professional photographer, who took the above photo.  In addition to the photographer, I also had a few disposable cameras scattered about, because I wanted to get photos of specific people together that the photographer might not necessarily get, being so focused on, well, me.  🙂

It was a night reception, so the disposable cameras had a built in flash.  I didn’t hold out much hope that there would be any spectacular photos among this group, and…I was right.  Most of them were very washed out, and more than half of them were so underexposed the developer didn’t even bother putting them on disc.  I decided to see what I could do to save some of the photos using what I had learned so far in Photoshop.

Here’s a typical before picture:

The original photo - and this one wasn't even as washed out as much as some of them were!

The original photo – and this one wasn’t even as washed out as much as some of them were!

I went in, adjusted the lighting levels, color curves, and color variations (the extent of what I know right now), trying to see what I could accomplish.  Now, I know this is not super great, but I did manage to make it a bit better, I hope:

My attempt at fixing the problems using Photoshop - not great, but better, right??

My attempt at fixing the problems using Photoshop – not great, but better, right??

The contrast is a little much, I know, so I went in and tried again:

Another attempt - is this one any better?

Another attempt – is this one any better?

Thank God for professional photographers!

I’ll keep playing around with these photos as I learn more, see what I can accomplish.  But really, there’s only so much you can do with a photo like the original.  Right?  Photoshop Experts out there, any suggestions?

Categories: Photography | Tags: | 5 Comments

Random Amusing Things

Creative Street Art in France – artist OakOak sees more to that cracked plaster than just…cracked plaster.  He sees a seal.   Those manhole covers?  He sees a snowman.   That hanging potted plant is a hot air balloon.  That pole is a nose.  And I just love what he’s done with the love padlocks.  I’m going to see the town in a whole new way the next time I go for a walk!

Image:  OakOak

Image: OakOak

If you live in a big city, the light pollution kills any chance you have of seeing a great astronomical display.  But what if the lights went out?  Photographer Thierry Cohen shows us what we’re missing.

Image:  Thierry Cohen

Image: Thierry Cohen

Sloopy the Dancing Chihuahua (the music totally makes this!!):

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