Back in Business

This spring I’ve noticed that I haven’t been that faithful to my beloved camera, having neglected it during my thesis writing process. Now that my studies are finally over, I can once again focus on my other interests, such as photography.

A couple of months ago, my “not so trustworthy” work companion resigned i.e. my computer died on me, leaving me not only deprived of Photoshop, but it also left me in a problematic situation where I had to write the rest of my thesis on a laptop smaller than most women’s purses. This is one of the reasons why updates on this site have been scarce during the past months, but I am working on correcting this void of pictures and text here. Starting today.

Now, for many when I say I am from Finland, the image in their mind is that I live here among Penguins, Eskimos and other characters related to cold snowy scenery. Many are even disappointed when I, like the mythbuster, bust their images and stories about Finland, unraveling the country to be a fairly normal European state. Especially Helsinki feels like any other seaside city. For some reason though, I have been more “camera shy” here than I have in other places, not taking my camera out as easily as in some other cities. Today as I toured the busy marketplaces in Helsinki, I noticed that I had far less of an edge to take pictures. Why? Because there were tons of tourists taking pictures as  well, thus no one really noticed that I snapped a few “hipshots” of random objects ( which are usually the most interesting to me).

It is no secret that Helsinki is not as busy, pedestrian-wise, as Berlin, where I could easily take pictures about anything, since everyone was doing this, but try taking a picture in mid-March at an intersection in midtown Helsinki: You will get noticed. Sure many at this point say that “so what if you get noticed?”, well, there is some culture aspect of myself, which makes me at times want to blend in with the masses, not on purpose, but that’s how many feel in Finland “don’t stick out of the crowd” “just follow the others” “do what others do”.  The only way to get rid of a mindset like that is to act against it. Sure, it might be at first difficult for some, easy for others, but in general we should all learn to live not fearing what others think of us.

Again, this is perhaps just me being me, but I thought I’d share my 2 cents alongside a couple of nice photos that I randomly took during my walk in the city today.

I couldn’t decide which one of the traffic light pictures was best, so I made a compromise and put both up. Feel free to tell me your opinion, whether colours are in or are two gradients enough to make a picture.

 

Spring-Cleaning

As mentioned in the previous post a while ago, Spring often brings along with it not only the warmth of the soon to arrive summer, but for many people the sudden enthusiasm towards household chores. A phenomenon first mentioned in 1857 (Merriam-Webster), spring-cleaning is the task of doing a thorough cleaning of a place. I already did some cleaning here on my page, but now it was time to go to work on my picture folders and take out the trash (so to speak)!

This spring I have been heavily occupied with my Bachelor’s thesis ( which is nearly finished, thank you for asking), but I still managed to go out and take a lot of pictures, which I sadly didn’t really have time to work on in photoshop…that is until now. Seeing that even in the coldest corners of the world (ok, Finland is still relatively warm) the sun has done its magic and scorched the earth so efficiently that snow is nearly a thing of the past, I felt it was also appropriate to get the “snow” out of my picture collections. I devoted an hour today to go through my folders like a raccoon going through trashcans, finding eventually some bits and pieces worthy of my time.

This week I’ll be serving up a couple of cold pictures from late February  each day till Friday  so as to not overload people with sudden feelings of “chillyness”.  To start the week off here are the first few cold pictures to remind us, when we complain about the “not so warm” weather that it could always be worse.

New Stuff

Spring is on its way (or rather Summer to be fair), so it has been time to do some spring cleaning on this page!

I took away a few sections, which I simply did not have enough time to focus on. The Page itself is now a bit clearer, having only a couple main sections: IAMMOTION, IAMMOMENTS, IAMJOEL and as a new addition MOCK ADVERTS.

Mock adverts is a new section where I will aim to publish in the future some “mock ads” so as to train myself to be a more skilled marketer. At the moment there is already one mock ad on the page, for IFK Helsinki, which I created in support for my favourite team.

I will continue to post pictures and text here regularly, but for the next month this page might be a bit more silent, due to my ongoing thesis writing process.

So as to not have a mere text post, here is a HDR photo, that I took one day when visiting the Island Fortress, Suomenlinna. Enjoy.

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The Tallest Building in Helsinki

For someone who’s never been in Helsinki, or looked at pictures of the city online, it might come as a surprise that the tallest building in midtown HKI is a mere 15-16 floors,give or take.  Now, I am not going to lecture you about it’s history, that you can find on Wikipedia(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotel_Torni). However, what I am going to do is simply share a couple of photos of the Nordic capital that is Helsinki. So, without further ado I give you a few glimpses over this lil’ ol’ town, which I took as I had a coffee up on top of the Hotel Torni in the rather nice Cafe Ateljee.

 

 

 

 

 

Changes

It’s been a while since I last wrote here, me being mainly preoccupied by other things in my life. Probably the biggest change that has happened during my “radio silence” is that I no longer reside in Germany, but in Finland, yet again.

I left Berlin on the 23rd of December, arriving in Finland nearly directly for Christmas. The last weeks that I spent in Berlin were without a doubt one of the most, sentimental or tough ones I had yet gone through, because it really felt, and still feels, that I merely left behind 1,5 years of my life in Berlin. Living abroad I can say, cheesy at it may sound, changed me for the better. I was already a rather independent person as well as outgoing, but being able to live in a new country and moreover being able to integrate into that culture was something I will never forget. I truly started to feel like a Berliner, not a random tourist living in Berlin, but a Berliner.

It is an odd feeling when one returns to their “own culture” and country, these “reverse cultureshock” symptoms are very familiar for people who have lived abroad for a period of time. I myself luckily was preoccupied with a bunch of things, when I returned to Finland, not having time to sink into my own thoughts about this sudden change in my surroundings. The Holiday season kept me from thinking about the life I had in Berlin and comparing it to my life in Finland. It is only now that I am here, back in Helsinki, writing this that I have had the time to fully start to understand my experiences abroad, and actually that was the plan. During this Spring, whilst I am writing my Bachelors thesis, I will also have a critical look on the Finnish culture and see whether I really want to spend the rest of my life in this country or would I consider living abroad again.

My initial feelings being back up north ( as in North Europe), are a bit mixed. To a certain extent I enjoy how clear and easy everything is, considering everyday issues such as bureaucracy since here everything can be done swiftly online, whereas in Berlin I had to queue in physical offices often to get things done. This said, the whole “efficiency” of everything also brings to mind a very “black and white” society. What I mean by this is that, everything is regulated and there is no “middle ground” in anything, or so it feels. Laws and rules are to be followed to a T, and while this is a mostly a good thing, preventing our “peace loving” society from going into chaos, it does also make the whole country feel a bit dull.

During my stay in Berlin I learned to understand more fully that up north, as in the Nordics, people are not trusted as much to make decisions by themselves but there are laws and guidelines to tell them what they should do and when. Me being a young student, the most notable difference is the alcohol legislation. In Berlin if a person wanted to buy a beer, it was up to them to decide when they wanted to buy it or if they felt like going to a club later than usual and leave in the morning they could do so. In Finland, alcohol is sold between 9 AM and 9 PM, after which if you want to have a casual beer, you have to head to a pub or a bar, which close at 1.30 AM or at latest 3.30 AM. Now I understand that the culture here is very different, but it just takes time to realise again that I am living in a country with very strict control from the state. Control does not always have to be associated with negative thoughts, the state here has a lot of control over people, but on the flip side of the coin the state also helps its citizens a lot. For this I do love Finland. Nevertheless, it will take me a bit of time to get re-integrated into my own culture, if I want to do this that is.

It is funny to see how many stereotypes about cultures actually are rather true. I was for a walk in the city center, here in Helsinki, and started to notice that people rarely look each other in the eyes, but rather keep their heads low and tried in all situations not to draw attention to themselves. Now, I am not saying I would be terribly different from said street dwellers, but I just found it funny how silent we indeed are as a people. The culture itself is not going to change, that is up to each and every individual themselves to decide how they want to act. Finns will for a long time be the silent, “shyish” but trustworthy people of the North.I at least will try to challenge myself to continue breaking those stereotypes, striking conversations with strangers and being even more polite, to begin with.

Only time will tell, where I will find myself after this spring. The biggest challenge for me this spring is to write my thesis and start to wonder what to do next. I am strongly considering applying for masters programmes here in Finland and at least in Germany, but beginning a working career would not be out of the question either if the right opportunity were to come along.

The next blog posts will be far more “lighter” topic wise, as I will try to get back on track with taking photos and such, but I will also be heavily preoccupied with my thesis work, so we will see how often I am able to post stuff online.

To end the first post of the year,  here are a couple of pictures taken during the past month, one being the last one from Berlin and the others depicting my up north home-town.

Berlin I’m Back

Even though I had mentioned in the previous post that I would be posting pics of my time in Finland, in the next few posts, I have to break that promise. You see, Berlin is just too tempting to capture on a memory card (wouldn’t it be so much nicer to say on film), meaning that I had to go and take a couple of pictures of the capital of the country that I myself have dubbed the economic lungs of Europe. Oh and on another note, last week I finally started my internship, here in the big B. Having hunted down internships like Robin Hood the rich, I am so happy that I ended up where I did. Each day so far has been filled with humor, fun and even work, which has felt more like my thing than padding down people at the airport (ref. to a previous job).

During the weekend I tried to go and take some pictures while the sun was up. My task was seemingly difficult, seeing that it was often rather cloudy and thus the sun was starting to at times feel like a distant relative who never visits, even though you might like to see him/her. I ended up taking a couple of “quick” photos and to my surprise some of them seemed to have turned up to be rather ok.  Do check them out and I’ll be adding some Finnyland Fotos (had to continue the F- theme) later on.

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Summer in Finland

Even though I thoroughly enjoy living in Berlin, with all its big city related atmosphere, I have to still say that I have been really happy to be “home” for a couple of weeks.

Here in Finland, where we are used to cold temperatures, the Summer is always an anticipated time of the year when people head to their Summer houses to chill and relax for a while. Sitting in the Sauna and enjoying the peaceful landscapes gives one’s head a much needed rest.

Obviously scenery is always much more impressive, when seen by one’s own eyes, however despite this fact, I attempted to capture the Finnish Summer in pictures, hopefully being able to give you a slight impression of what our Summer here up north is normally like.

I will add in a couple of posts to come some of the photos I have taken here in Finland during my stay, starting today with scenes from our family’s summer house. These photos hopefully not only provide you with a glimpse of what I have been experiencing here, but also for myself they will work as a reminder of what home is like in the summer time.

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The Bar Queue

Time and time again I find myself holding my camera, snapping photos at a speed rate similar to the words coming out of a used car salesman’s mouth when he’s trying to close a sale. Not to mention the objects which I capture onto my memory card are often not understood by my friends. For instance, I can totally understand why my friends look at me weird when walking on the street and I suddenly stop and take photos of a simple trashcan…for a seemingly long time.

Last weekend I happened to be visiting my friends in a rather typical Finnish city, Tampere, where most of my childhood friends have flocked in numbers. This being a “leisure” trip, the plan was to relax and possibly also take pictures of the city, seeing that the weather was damn nice (especially for Finland!). Alas, as the weekend proceeded to go on, the memory card of my camera remained hungry for photos, waiting to be fed…

It wasn’t until the final moments of my weekend getaway, when my photo deprived card was able to have something worthy of saving onto it. As we were waiting in line to get into a local establishment filled with fun loving people and (supposedly) good music, I glanced at an old (apparently functional) factory, which had the perfect lighting to it and as if to add the cherry on top of the cake, the moon was shining bright! I decided to let the “fun” wait for just a short while more and started taking pictures. My focus at the time wasn’t up to normal levels, however I shot multiple pictures of the area, hoping that some of them would actually turn out to look good, even when looked upon the next morning.

Almost a week after my trip to Tampere, Finland’s Manchester, I was finally able to look at my pictures and see to my delight that some of the pictures were actually surprisingly nice! Well, that is, at least in my opinion.

Opinions tend to differ and I’d gladly hear your opinion on the pictures. What could have been done differently while shooting or editing? ( Though this time around when playing in photoshop, I had to surrender to the fact that I couldn’t improve the originals, thus leaving them rather untouched).

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These pics might be the last concerning Finland to be uploaded for a while (or not), since on Sunday I’ll be returning to the city that does sleep, but not for long and where curry wursts are more common in the hands of street dwellers than cell-phones (well at least during lunch time), yes my dear friends I am talking about Berlin. Luckily I still have a lot of free-time on my hands before my classes continue, so I am able to devote a little bit more time to this hobby of mine and maybe capture some parts of Berlin I haven’t yet ventured into.