Tag Archives: Photography

Summer Nights in Helsinki

Like walking on a cloud, summer air brings a sense of ease to the everyday life. When one can enjoy the simple things, sun-kissed skin, taking a nap in the grass and loving each day a little longer than the last

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Weather is a common subject on the blog, and this week is no exception. A heat wave has arrived in Helsinki, my first ever to witness, and the change it has made is astounding. When I step outside, the air smells different, the vibe feels foreign, like I have traveled to a new country, right in my own backyard.

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The feeling of the Twilight Zone in full effect, the characters in this series changed overnight from coldly detached pedestrians to sunbathing babes in barely cover anything bikinis. For the first time in a year and a half, I bought a new bottle of SPF, simply because I barely used half a bottle all of last year. I was joking with someone that if Finland were like this more often, it would be more bearable to live here. This is true, simply because to me, this weather changes the city entirely. Like Anne Hathaway in the Princess Diaries, the before and after of Helsinki is transformational. It was as if spring sprung in a matter of hours.

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Best of all I had the spark of inspiration and motivation to go out and take pictures. The lush spring blooms have transformed corners of the city and I am thrilled to capture the moment.

-xx

Q&A

I asked my husband to conduct an interview with me, these are the questions he thought to ask…

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Q: How did you get into photography?

A: My first memories of photography started when I was a child and my dad would take pictures of the family, flowers, landscapes, and vacations. So in that time, I remember the process of developing film and the mechanics of the camera. Later I got a digital camera in high school and around that time I started to use photography as a way to document moments during my travels. Nowadays, I am trying to advance my skills and overall be better at photography. It is difficult sometimes with the internet because it feels very competitive. I definitely think that little girl is still inspired by me, just trying to carry a camera around and document memories.

Q: Did the idea to start a blog come naturally to you?

A: Starting a blog was terrifying. It took me a long time and it kind of turned into one of those thoughts “I could easily do that but everyone else is doing it”, but I was still excluding myself so I don’t know, then it turned into the whole, “you can’t knock it ’til you try it”.

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Q: What is the next trip you want to do?

A:  So the next trip I want to go on, other than the one I have planned this May, is the Faroe Islands. It is a big bucket list one for me. For now, I am in the mood to travel more of the Nordic countries and see more of Scandinavia. I want to soak up this corner of the world while I am here.

Q: What city has a special place in your heart? Why?

A: Amsterdam is forever my soul mate city. It is hard to describe, I didn’t know the culture would compliment my personality so well, but it does. The architecture in the Netherlands is something that inspires me and gives me butterflies at the same time. Every day waking up there is very magical. It reminds me of a part of my life that took a lot of bravery where I cried, I laughed, I loved, and all the things that change you and make you who you are as a person. That all happened in Amsterdam.

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Q: You live in Helsinki now. What makes Helsinki weird? 

A: I think the fashion. It is not weird, because it is normal for the culture. But compared to Stockholm, Copenhagen, or other Scandinavian cultures, the fashion here is very unique. In Helsinki, it is such an underrated artsy city, you get a lot of that local design, self-expression, like the high cropped pants or the very short bob hairstyle. I tend to follow a more Scandi style, more clean street style. In our neighborhood, I have definitely seen some more funky looks. It is also warmly welcomed here. There is also no judgment about the way people carry themselves so those people could be fathers or business owners, but their self-expression is welcomed here so they can be free with their lifestyle choices. Even though Finns think they are confirmative culture, and a humble people, their self-expression can be very loud at times. That is what makes Helsinki weird and entertaining on a day to day basis.

 

Five Hours in Stockholm

It is a gloomy morning outside my windows. The clouds are thick letting only a dim light filter through the moody early hours of the day. Looking at pictures from last week in Stockholm, I am reminded of Spring’s arrival. The warm sunshine left my cheeks sunkissed after a full day of wandering Swedish streets. Although my time there was too short to bare, it was just enough to taste a different world and leave the everyday scene.

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My husband talks about how each city has its own smell. An individual fragrance to each part of the world. It is a sense I have tried to refine in recent years while traveling. Opening up to experience the world around me and be a witness with more than my eyes. My natural instinct is to listen to the sound of a city. The new noises and notes played by the people and nature combined. Stockholm sounds like cobblestone roads combined with the sing-song language that is the rhythm of the Swedish tongue.

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Another conversation I have when traveling is whether or not I feel “abroad”. As an immigrant for nearly three years, I suppose I live in a constant state of abroad. So when traveling around Europe the sensation of distant lands versus comfortable places varies on a scale. Stockholm falling somewhere on the scale of a large overwhelming populous to settling in a comfortable neighborhood corner.

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-xx

 

Silja Cruise Line

A bucket list item was scratched off this week when I visited the city of Stockholm Sweden. On an overnight cruise, kindly gifted from my mother in law, I embarked on a very Finnish experience locals call “the booze cruise”. While my journey did not include as much booze as some of the other free-spirited teens, it did include breathtaking views of the sea.

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While spring air temperatures are still frigid, it does leave a glacial surface to the ocean water. A sight only appreciated for the chilly context in an image. While others enjoy taking a polar plunge between sauna sessions, my comfort zone will be at a distance only using my camera zoom to get in on the freezing action.

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From the inside of the ship, you can see small islands passing and the setting sunlight. On occasion, another ship will pass in the distance only to make for some sense of depth on an otherwise isolated journey across the Baltic Sea. Traveling has its perks, no matter what shape it comes in, and I do appreciate the views of being out on the ocean with only the wind and water to keep you on course.

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Afternoon in the Library

Recently I became a member of the Finnish Public Library. To my understanding, my new library card allows me to have access to any library within the country. Such a large opportunity seemed overlooked my first couple years as a resident here, and I am eager to make up for lost time.

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The Rikhardinkatu Library is closest to my apartment. It is a beautiful building and a visual treat to explore the many halls. The spring light has returned to the city, and since there is still time before the warmth follows, these cozy corners will be my preferred place to stay. Like a cat basking in the beams of light, I receive so much pleasure enjoying these views.

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My first batch of books included The Collected Poems of Allen Ginsberg, You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense by Charles Bukowski, and finally Hystopia by David Means. The latter is a novel and it has been an interesting change of pace for my traditional scientific sociological interest. It is a fiction piece based on American culture in the mid-west post-Vietnam war. Novels are not my favorite, but from time to time it is good to read something different from your natural attraction.

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Taking the time to be a member of the library has been a humbling way to grow roots deeper into the neighborhood. The benefits are plentiful in that I am able to enjoy reading without hoarding books and producing waste. This is also an opportunity to save money whilst enjoying the tangible experiences of reading. I also like the fact that I now have a cute little tangerine colored library card in my wallet. It is simple and may not add much to my resume, but to me, these little things mean the most. So I will continue to enjoy the smell of old books, watch my coffee table change from season to season with various titles, and continue to take advantage of what city life has to offer.

I made a few notes whilst sitting in the library today to prepare for this post, and I don’t believe much editing is required to express what I felt:

Although most of what fills the shelves here is foreign to my native tongue, the bones of any library can be comforting. I feel like I belong here.

-xx

Neon Lights

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Two corners of Punavuori are all I have to show for photo inspiration. A neon glow on a winters day.

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Until next week,

-xx

52 Blog Posts in 52 Weeks

To avoid cliché introductions, I am going to dive right into the meat of this post. I have now completed 52 blog posts, once a week, for an entire year. A resolution I had set for myself just over a year ago. To reiterate my feelings on resolutions, they are powerful! The beginning of a new calendar year is more often than not an emotional process for me.

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In years past, my only source of reflection and collection are the journals I keep. The retiring of an old used agenda-journal, the introduction to a fresh clean one, a lot crosses the mind. Memories or days, or weeks past, the souvenir stickers that decorate the cover, quote of inspiration that helped from the year, and water stains from days less inspirational. This year I am beyond grateful to say goodbye to 2017. Looking ahead, I mostly feel relief, because whatever may happen, I fully believe answers are on the horizon, and soon my year-long questions will be resolved.

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I embody the ability to completely engulf myself in nostalgia, for better or worse, and this blog is a great place to scroll endlessly of moments and thoughts that have come to pass. It is a modern medium far different from my analog style. The excitement is still here, I can still feel it just as I did 365 days ago.

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So for those of you who may be asking, ‘Will the blog continue?’, the answer is yes! In 2018 I will continue to upload weekly. I will continue to produce content, capture the images of my life, and write to express my passions, concerns, and interests. As for the complete vision of the new year, that is unclear. For now, I wish to ring in the New Year with my husband and focus on all that is good in the world and in my life.

xx – nasty trash