Omikuji are fortunes written on strips of paper that visitors can buy at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. People can make a small donation and select a random fortune from a box. The omikuji contains a general fortune which varies between great luck and great curse. The fortune paper also includes fortunes regarding different aspects of life, such as business, travel, studies, romance and marriage. If the fortune is bad, it is customary to tie the paper to a tree in a shrine. The reason for this is that the bad luck will stay at the shrine instead of following the person. It’s a similar custom to writing a prayer on an ema with the exception that with ema people can specify what they wish from the future.
I’m slowly working through my back catalogue of images and although I’m not finding as many gems as I wanted, there is an occasional image that I like. This was a pretty simple image to finish. I cropped the image to square format to get rid of the needless space on the edges and removed some of the trees at the bottom of the image in Lightroom. Then I moved to Photoshop where I cloned out the logos of the balloon company in Photoshop and finally accentuated the colors of the sunset in Nik Color Efex Pro 4 by adding a violet/pink bi-color filter to the image. I could have done a more careful job on removing the logos, but it’s not too bad.
I was out shooting with a friend one evening because I wanted to test a Sigma 150-500mm lens he had for sale (and which I later bought). It was already quite late in the evening and the sun was setting when we saw this hot air balloon taking off a couple of hundred meters from us. I shot a few frames as it floated by just above the trees. After flying a few hundred meters, it suddenly shrank and fell down to the woods on the other side of the park. I don’t know what happened and we never found out whether the people in the balloon were ok, but I don’t think they were in any danger. It looked like a relatively soft landing.
Finally, if you’re one of the people who started following this website back in 2009 when it was still a travel blog about Japan, you might be happy to hear that I still have quite a few photos from that period that I haven’t uploaded here yet. I’ll start working on those images next and I’m really excited to visit them again! I’ll be posting the travel images in the Travel section under “Japan 2009” and return to this blog after I’ve dealt with those images. If you’ve subscribed to the RSS feed from the front page of the blog, you should receive see those posts as usual in your reader.
A quick update for Friday afternoon before I have to get going.
Here’s the second image from the autumn series I shot a month ago. When it comes to autumn and mobile phone photos, a hand holding a maple leaf against the sky or sun is probably one of the most common photographic clichés. Still, the weather was so nice and the leaves so colorful that I had to make my version of it. I’m not sure if I was able to bring anything new or personal to this shot, but at least its my hand in the image. I’m also happy about the color contrast between the blue sky and the yellow leaf.
That’s it for today. Have a nice weekend, and if you’re in Jyväskylä, come and see singer-songwriter Heikki Hallanoro, a friend of mine, perform at Vakiopaine tonight. I’ll also be there to take a few photos. Hopefully I’ll have some nice ones to upload next week.
The first spring flower
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.
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.
Meet Myyrä the Cat
This is Myyrä the cat, the newest member of our household. The photo was taken when she was a bit over 11 weeks old, a week before she moved in with us. She’s now 16 weeks old and growing up to be a fine cat.