pervasive england

Shadow over England?
Originally uploaded by Frans Mäyrä.

Well after midnight yesterday I got back from last week’s IPerG pervasive games workshop in Nottingham. If you take a look at my Flickr photos, you see lots of swan, geese and other wildfowl, that I only afterwards realised are the prime candidates for getting a lethal bird flu these days. Well, the flu seems to be the same old I had even before the trip, or maybe you could mix them together, coming up with new viral combinations, then letting them fight it out in your own body? Oh, just another rather tired game idea…

experience amplifier?

Frost filigrane
Originally uploaded by Frans Mäyrä.

Out whole day today, shooting mostly landscape photos in crisp winter sun. Luckily the battery did not run out, temperature was again c. -20C. This image of frost flowers was slightly edited afterwards in Photoshop, and fine-tuning the light levels did make the shape stand out more clearly. On a more philosophical tone, I have been following the discussions of some people on how the desire to photograph, or otherwise document your life and experiences potentially alters the situation and thereby your entire life. On the other hand, you might start seeing everything you do just as a raw material for your productions, but on the other hand it is also possible that you pay more attention to the tiny details of life – your activity might be the amplifier to life experience.

the first signs of melting

Originally uploaded by Frans Mäyrä.

This picture was taken today, Sunday afternoon as the first rays of sun that actually felt a bit warm were melting some of the ice, and making water flow. There are some more shots, both outdoors and in, from Laura’s party which was yesterday evening, in:

red squirrels and other moving objects

Red squirrel reaching
Originally uploaded by Frans Mäyrä.

Morning walk in Hatanpää area (Tampere) was supposed to be mainly landscape photography, to test out the new Canon wide lens, but the overall dark grey, and occasional horizon purples did not support that so much. I did take some shots that belong to the group of introverted and a bit melancholy still life pictures that I seem to compose quite often, though. Finally I ended up in Arboretum park which is feeding ground for some rather well-fed red squirrels and great blue tits (talitiainen in Finnish). There were also couple of “regular” blue tits (sinitiainen), which are smaller and not so common over there. I like working with animals, even if they are so much more challenging to frame and light in the way I like than all the other objects that do not fly around at nervous high speeds.

lens: ef 17-85mm f/4-5.6 is usm

Time to move forward: the Canon kit lens is now officially retired, and I got a EF 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM as my main, general-purpose lens. It is by no means perfect, there has been much critique pointed at the softness/unsharpness and barrel distortion at wide angle, but there is no point for me investing into L series lenses at this point. The image stabilizer improves conditions when shooting in natural light, as I always do, and the zoom range is also right. It would be great to get into summery meadow to test it, but indoors and winter landscapes must do for now.

updating flickr

Alder cones in winter
Originally uploaded by Frans Mäyrä.

I have really started to like Flickr and the way it makes tagging, categorising, sharing and discussing digital photographs easy. I decided to go “pro” and paid for an year’s account that gives 2 GB of monthly uploads and unlimited photo sets. Currently I have the classic ones: Travelpics, Summerpics, Autumnpics, Winterpics. It is interesting to explore all those collections of photos other people around the world are taking, uploading and sharing. Some of them are simply amazing, and taken as a community phenomenon, there is so much added value attached to them. In the case there were several competing services like this, the field would be much more fragmented – so, a Flickr monopoly is a good thing, eh?

Ridges of ice

Originally uploaded by Frans Mäyrä.

A walk in -22C today, getting some half-baked shots of winter light and ice; I was freezing and my equipent were soon on their edge too, the Sigma zoom getting stuck and rigid (no autofocus in those temperatures). But I am happy I did it: a morning walk listening to the deep rumble of Pyhäjärvi ice cover cracking in mile-long crevices was an experience worth the discomfort.

Edit: I keep a (low-bandwidth) copy all of these shots in my own server: