Photographing around Finland – Ahvenlampi

During my summer trip to Finland, I decided to spend my last full day driving around Lapland.

I started the day in Rovaniemi and ended up driving north to Ivalo, which is about an hour from the border with Norway.  It was more driving than I had intended, but, the scenery was just so nice I kept going and lost track of time.  The sun also did not set during my time in Lapland, which made me completely lose track of time.

On my drive back, I took a detour and went east across the middle of Lapland.

I ran across this fantastic hill area in the middle of the country which had a very still lake named Ahvenlampi.  It is near Pyha-Lustro National Park.

Ahvenlampi.  Not pictured:  swarms of mosquitoes.

I absolutely love when you have still lakes with perfect reflections.  What I didn’t love was all of the mosquitoes that were everywhere.

The light on this particular day was strange.  I was forced to shoot this photo at iso1000 in order to get the shutter speed fast enough to avoid shake and maintain the Depth of Field I wanted (f/7.1).  Thankfully the D800 has really good high iso performance, and I knew this already from a previous trip (this goes back to my previous post on always testing out your gear in a known environment before a trip).

The lens I was using, the Nikon 24-70 f/2.8, does not have VR.

In retrospect, I should have used a tripod.

No matter, the photo turned out exactly as I’d hoped.  I may end up making a black and white version of this photo at some point.  Right now, I have what is essentially a green and white photo.  A friend of mine would tell me that what I have here is already a black and white, I just haven’t realized it yet.  This is probably true, but I think the green adds something and while a black and white version will likely be quite nice, it will be nice in a different way.  Perhaps it will be a topic for a future post :).


Understanding Your Gear

In a previous iteration of this blog, I had a post about understanding your gear.  I feel like it needed to return to this iteration, as it was one of the best posts in the old version.

One of the first things I do when I get new equipment is to take just the new gear and whatever else I need to make the photo (ie, if I get a new lens, I take only the new lens and the body) and head to a familiar place.  When I lived in Virginia, I used to go to Manassas National Battlefield Park and walk around one of the trails.  I knew that trail very well, so it was a good spot to test out new equipment.

The reason to go to a familiar place is for just that reason, it is familiar.  I knew that at mile marker 2 there was a nice clearing with an open field and some trees.  About 20 minutes later there was a small stream (Bull Run) and a stone bridge.  There were always surprises, like wildflowers in the spring, and deer just about all year.

So my suggestion is this — when you get something new, and before you take it out on that really nice trip to the exotic location, take it to a park near where you live, and do this for all of your gear.  Just taking it on that first trip will help you get comfortable with the gear and make you more relaxed during the time it really matters.