Winter Giveaway

Nine of my most popular photos in 2015

It’s time for another giveaway!

The images above are nine of my most popular images on Instagram in 2015, and looking at them made me think how much fun it would be to make prints of those images. Then I thought it would be even more fun to give the prints away!

This time, I’m giving my away two prints, one on Facebook and one on Instagram, and I’ll let the winners decide which of the nine photos they want.

To participate, all you have to do is

1. Like my Facebook page: Explodingfish.net on Facebook.

2. Like the competition post: Print giveaway.

3. Leave a comment under the competition post on Facebook saying which of the nine images you want to have on your wall (there are more detailed instructions on Facebook).

Easy!

I’m also on Instagram, so if you want to double your chances of winning:

1. Follow me on Instagram: https://instagram.com/theexplodingfish/ (@theexplodingfish)

3. Leave a comment on any of my images saying which of the nine images you want to have on your wall. For more instructions see the competition post on Print giveaway on Instagram.

1. Ghost
2. Tree
3. Boat
4. Pier
5. Night
6. Ducks
7. Squirrel
8. Moat
9. Shrine

Feel free to share this post, but sharing is not required to win.

The giveaway will end on 15 January at 12 a.m. CET and the winners will be notified through Facebook or Instagram.
The images will be printed on high-quality Canson paper at A4 size (about 21 x 30 cm / 8 x 11 inches).

Endless horizon

Endless horizon

I know I promised to upload travel photos, but I stumbled upon this image from the flight from Helsinki to Paris and wanted to upload it first. I didn’t actually get to see Paris, but we had a short layover at Charles de Gaulle airport when we visited Japan in 2009. I was going to delete this image first because I had much better images of clouds with more texture and a few where the landscape was visible, but then realized that it kind of resembles Hiroshi Sugimoto’s seascapes and that I could actually take this image into that direction.

I didn’t do much processing on this image, as it was quite abstract as it was, but I did emphasize the original mood by removing Clarity in Lightroom and increasing the exposure in the center of the image to soften the horizon line.

If there’s anything to be learned from this, it’s that it might be a good idea to let your images sit for a while instead of rushing to upload them to the Internet as soon as you get home. It’s also a good idea to wait until deleting images that at first seem like failures. After a while, when you’ve got over the initial excitement or disappointment you feel towards your images, you’ll be able to look at them more objectively and you won’t be held back by emotional baggage when processing them. I often find that only then I can get really creative with my images.

See this photo on Flickr

This photo is published under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 license. Click the above link to download the original full-size image from Flickr, if you want to use this image on personal projects such as your blog or make a print for your own use. If you use this image, please give attribution to Sami Hurmerinta / Explodingfish.net and if possible, link the image to http://explodingfish.net.

Midsummer eve

Midsummer's eve

It’s almost time for winter solstice, but my image editing odyssey has brought me to a set of images from another of our great pagan festivities, midsummer eve. I took these a few years back in Kuokkala where the city of Jyväskylä was burning a bonfire. It attracted a fair number of city-dwellers and provided a nice background for candid shots.

See this photo on Flickr

Heikki Hallanoro at Bar Vakiopaine

Heikki Hallanoro at Bar Vakiopaine

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I was going to see a friend of mine play at a local bar and promised to post some images later. It took me a while, but here’s one of my favorites from that evening. Needless to say, the show was great and entertaining as he was not only playing and singing, but also reading short passages from his first novel. If you want to know more about Heikki, you can find his website here.

Autumn leaves in the wind

Autumn leaves in the wind

Here’s one more autumn image to start the week. One of my goals this autumn was to photograph leaves flying in the wind. There was a strong wind on the morning I took this photo and I knew it was probably one of the last days before all the leaves were gone. I saw these trees next to our office and started working on different angles. I finally settled on the one you see above and began to wait for a gust of wind that would blow some leaves off the trees. It turned out to be more difficult than I thought and I kept missing the shot because of the slow response time of my phone camera (I’d left my DSLR home in the morning). I stood there a good while, trying to anticipate the right moment until I finally got a couple of promising images.

I took the one I liked best and blended in a couple of leaves from another shot to fill some spots in the sky I thought were too empty. I’m not sure if this was really necessary, but it made the image look more balanced to my eye. I then finalized the image by increasing color contrast and adding some vignetting to the corners in Nik Color Efex Pro. Although this might sound like a lot of post-processing work for a mobile phone image and the image was by no means bad out of camera, these final post-processing steps really made the colors pop – and more importantly – they made me happier about the image. Even if you’re not shooting in raw, there’s a lot you can do to improve your images afterwards with software such as Snapseed, Lightroom or Photoshop, and I see no reason to settle for what the camera offers you.

See this photo on Flickr

License this photo on Getty Images

Long and winding road

Winding dirt road lined with trees

I’m trying to catch up with posting images I’ve post-processed recently. I took this one in May only a few hundred meters from where I live. I liked the original version, but thought it was a bit too light. Because the image already had a painterly quality to it, I decided to emphasize it by adding a texture on most of the image. I think it worked nicely, making the image a bit darker and giving it a more tranquil mood.

See this photo on Flickr

License this photo on Getty Images

Pappilanjoki River on a sunny spring day

Pappilanjoki

This image was pulled from the previous version of this blog. I took it in Rantasalmi, my home town, a few years ago on a sunny spring day. There’s a small river called Pappilanjoki (Parsonage’s river) that connects two lakes, Lake Kosulanlampi and Pieni Raudanvesi.

Both Lake Kosulanlampi and the river have become eutrophic due to the surrounding agriculture and municipal waste waters. On the right behind the trees, there’s an old parsonage built in 1870. Because of quality of water in the river and the lake, there’s a lot of vegetation on the shores and riverbanks, which has made this area an important resting stop for many species of migratory birds.

See this photo on Flickr

License this photo on Getty Images

Apartment buildings lit by the setting sun

Kuokkala

Sunset reflecting on windows of apartment buildings in Kuokkala and apartment buildings reflecting on Lake Jyväsjärvi. This photo was taken on Kuokkala bridge from where there’s a nice view to both the city and the lake. This in an older image that I’ve previously published on the old incarnation of this website, but I recently reprocessed it and decided to post it again.

See this photo on Flickr

License this photo on Getty Images

The first spring flower

New life

This image of a coltsfoot in spring forest is one of the older photos I’ve been post-processing recently. It was taken on the same evening as the series of spring leaves I’ve been uploading on my Tumblr blog. Originally this image had warmer light and it was a bit soft, so I accentuated the details on the flower and the piece of wood next to it and adjusted the white balance to make the ground look desaturated. I also added a lens blur filter on the background to give a “Lensbaby” look.

As a side note, I’ve started adding selected images to a new stock agency called PicsaStock. It’s a startup that specializes in mobile phone photography. This is one of images available on my PicsaStock gallery.

See this image on Flickr

License this image on PicsaStock

A bohemian waxwing eating a rowan berry

A bohemian waxwing eating a rowan berry

To continue the bird theme of the previous image I posted, here’s an older one from last winter. Unlike the last one, this image hasn’t been modified if you don’t count slight cropping. A flock of waxwings were feeding right next to the road one morning last October and provided a good opportunity to get some close-ups. I haven’t seen any this year, but perhaps it’s still too early. This autumn, there haven’t been as many rowan berries as last year either, but hopefully there’s enough to attract a few waxwings to our neighborhood.

See this image on Flickr