Lately

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An arctic island and the cold light of day


Hailuoto is a largish island in the Bothnian Sea, just off the coast of Oulu – just about visible from the mainland, but far enough for the access being by a ferry only. Living on the island is a small community of locals, and an even smaller community of vacationers; tourists come and go. I imagine this not being too dissimilar from the island in Stephen King’s Colorado Kid; a place defined by it’s isolation, slow to give up its secrets. There are the kind of old farm buildings one rarely sees on the mainland anymore, wild nature, sand dunes and pines forests, heath and marsh. The wind is always blowing, shifting the sands, and there’s economic beauty on the plain landscape.

Flower portraits

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After investing on some high-quality new lenses last year, I didn’t for a long time touch my old MF 50mm F/1.7 lens. There was just something seductively easy about the smooth autofocus and wide angle of the Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8, and also about the zooming power of the 55-300mm F/5.6. But few weeks ago the trusty old fifty came out of the drawer, and has been in use a lot. In fact, I don’t know why I put it aside for so long – there’s a clean, smooth finesse to it that nothing can replicate, its sharpness as soft as it is brilliant. It does bokeh like no one’s business. The shallowness of its field of depth is magical – just look how this flower floats in the air, disconnected from its background (of shiny rose leaves) and even from its own stem, and how only the petals in the front are in focus, the rest of the flower simply rendering into shape and colour.

Cow-parsley meadow

All photos were taken with my old 50mm MF lens, with all but the bottom one with f/2.0. I love the dreamy textures the extremely shallow field of depth creates (demonstrated beautifully by the photo third from the bottom). Being manual focus, it’s somewhat stiff to use, and occasionally it’s difficult to see how well in focus the pictures are, but the end result almost invariably is worth the effort.