Weekly Photo Challenge: Graceful


Whether it’s a person, a building or an abstract shape, show us something that exists harmoniously with its surroundings.

This is the brief for this week’s photo challenge Graceful.


Up close and personal

This is could be cow parsley or giant hogweed – either way it’s dead for winter and the flower heads collect the snow very nicely! Gracefully even….


A change of perspective

I think I’ve done all right here…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Vibrant


It’s been a while since I’ve been inspired to take part in one of these challenges. Here goes for the Vibrant theme:

Winter turns to spring

Winter turns to spring..

This time of year is fabulous, as the short dark winter days of November and December stretch into shiny spring days. Blue skies, sparkling snow, elongated sunrises and brilliant sunsets add more than a little zing into everyone’s day.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy

I’m going to do something today that I rarely do: share a little piece of myself 😉

This weeks challenge is Joy and while I’m guessing most posts have concentrated on Christmas / Holiday / New Year joy, here is mine.

At the top of the mountain

At the top of the mountain

Some background. My brother told of a great walk to the top of a mountain by the name of Pigeon House on the N.S.W. south coast. It was close to where we were staying and the weather looked pretty good (as in there would be a view from the top!).

It’s a pretty decent walk, not very long in distance. Instead you go up very quickly. I traveled very light this holiday – one pair of sandals and one pair of dress-up shoes and so did the walk in my sandals. We probably passed in the region of 50 plus people on the track that day and only one commented on my unwise choice of footwear!

I was extremely happy to make the top: let me just say that bush-walking in sandals is not something I recommend.

The Engineer took this on my camera.

Weekly Photo Challenge: One

For challenge this week, I’m sharing this hang glider, spotted high above the Pacific Ocean.

We were heading south out of Sydney and decided to take the scenic route… Grand Pacific Drive, which really is grand! A small part of the highway actually is built over the ocean 🙂

If you’re travelling south out of Sydney, I highly recommend the Grand Pacific Drive and pull in at Bald Hill. There was even an ice-cream van with the usual suspects (hot-dogs, ice-creams etc). Mr. 14 was very impressed with his hot-dog.

The spot is very popular with motorists of all varieties. One side of the car park was filled with motorbikes of all shapes, sizes, colours and speeds while the other side had a wide assortment of campers, cars, utes and vans.

Be warned though, hang-gliding is what it’s all about here. Don’t stand on the lawn too long or an impatient pilot will be yelling at you to clear the way. Yes, it happened to me!

Note: This Taswegian is in Australia for some Christmas / New Year cheer. We left a very grey Helsinki (still no snow…) and arrived to one of the hottest days this summer…

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lines to Patterns

For this week’s challenge, I decided to stay close to home. Following on from the earlier weekly photo challenge, here is another aspect of my neighbourhood. We live in a recently developed area (a little bit over 10 years in the oldest parts) and there has been a lot of work on the footpaths and bike-lanes.

For some lines and patterns that I found in an art gallery earlier this year, check out Heather’s Helsinki post here. For images from around the world, head to the challenge post here and check the comments!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Pattern

As I alluded to in my Six Word Saturday contribution of yesterday, our boating season has officially started again! Our first trip was short and sweet. The bulk of Saturday morning went to stocking the boat and ensuring everything was ship-shape! Our first stop was fueling, and then we had a mad dash to be at Hevossalmi in time for the bridge opening. It’s a nice short-cut if we time it properly. From there we made our way to Karhusaari (Bear Island) for our regular coffee and pulla stop.

Next stop was Club Island, well that’s our name for it. A small island owned by the boat club we belong to, it has a cooking hut, sauna and mooring spots for about 20 boats. We always hope to have the island to ourselves, regretfully this  doesn’t happen very often! We were the fourth and final boat to arrive and after signing ourselves in, set about setting up the grill and preparing dinner.

(In case you are interested, dinner was grilled salmon, roasted garlic, grilled zucchini, onions and some ribs.)

Post-dinner and pre-sauna I wandered the island looking for nature’s patterns. I particularly enjoy the effects of wind on the water, and luckily we had a light breeze last night. There were plenty of other patterns that also caught my eye! Here is a slide show of the best, selected just for you 😉

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P.S. There is a saying in Finnish about throwing off the winter coat ‘heitä talviturkki pois’ and refers to the first swim of the year. Generally this first swim is when the seas are, well chilly. You’ll be impressed or quite possibly concerned for my sanity to hear that yesterday I threw off my winter coat. Water temperature was 9.8 degrees centigrade. That’s far colder than the same swim last year .)

Weekly Photo Challenge: From above

Winter's last gasp

Winter’s last gasp

Perry loves the snow! His first winter has been like an amusement park for snow lovers: snow just everywhere you look! So good for running in and jumping through; wonderful to eat although not so nutritious 😉 ; fun if not frustrating to catch; and of course – rolling in it! His first action walking out the door each morning (after the obligatory ablutions) would be a roll in the snow.

He’d put his head to the ground sideways and then push himself forward and down until his whole body was on the snow. Then would follow a twist’n’shake, left and right, with appropriate sound effects of course! When his urges were satisfied, he’d roll to the left and lurch up, shaking the excess snow away. Those first few seconds up he’s always a little wobbly on his feet.

Spring has arrived in our corner of the woods, and although the leaves are still to come out, all those metres of snow have rapidly melted away. This meant that we had to walk further along our route to find a good snow pile. Sometimes of course, Perry would just roll on the footpath or the nearest bare ground.

This pile has been shrinking over the last week, and while normally I mix up our morning walks, we’ve been visiting this same pile on a daily basis so he can enjoy these last moments! Last Saturday was the last time we were able to roll in the snow, Sunday morning it was raining and the pile had vanished. There wasn’t much left anyway!

Happiness is a roll in the snow!

For more takes on from above check out the challenge here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Colour (my morning!)

The weekly photo challenge drops to my mail box every Friday afternoon any time between 1400 and 2000. A week ago the message opened with a flaky blue door and this opening text :

Color. Splashed on the walls of cities, in batches of flowers in gardens, in the doodles of students, and on the palettes of artists, color is everywhere: it may represent our mood, and it can affect our mood. In photography, you can use a spectrum of colors to bring a place to life, or focus on a single shade to make a bold statement. Conversely, you can shoot in black-and-white or remove color in editing mode for a different effect.

Now, I’m not sure if I’ve done this correctly. I’ve gone ahead and tried something I haven’t done before (create a gallery). I’m not 100% certain than my idea translates either. Check out the gallery first and then see my text at the end. Let me know if I succeeded, failed or something else!

I took these shots with my trusty little iPhone4 between 0619 and 0632 Tuesday morning on Perry’s first walk of the day! My first thought was pink champagne – the sky was a very delicate pink, not that I drink so much champagne 😉 and there was still a little fog floating over the ice.

Enjoy! and please let me know what you think of early morning spring colour in Helsinki 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate

Delicate. The first image that spring to mind was lace , followed by cobwebs, and then snowflakes. All of these things singularly are delicate, yet if you add another element (metal, tension, volume) they stop being delicate.

I won’t tell you what this is until the end. Or why I chose this particular item. If you want to guess or you know what it is, please leave a comment! Without further ado, here is my delicate taken from different angles and using different effects that the camera has to offer.

Hiiva: no flash, non-macro mode.
Olympus tough.

Hiiva: no flash, macro mode, exposure adjusted
(Olympus Tough)

Hiiva: flash, macro, Pinhole effect
(Olympus Tough)

Hiiva: no flash, macro, Pinhole effect
(Olympus Tough)

My magic ingredient: yeast! It’s the one with the strongest smell and the most delicate nature. Too hot: it dies. Too cold: it just doesn’t work properly. Mr. 13 has been enjoying his home economic classes and yeast work. Hopefully we’ll see some ‘home work’ over the Christmas break.

Now to check the other challenge entries and await this week’s challenge!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons

This week the challenge is to publish one picture that best represents the changing season. Winter has arrived very nicely in Helsinki; 24 hours plus of snow fall, combined with freezing temperatures and driving winds and there is plenty of snow cover. I’ve missed the opportunity to capture the transition from Autumn to Winter in that respect.

Water and boats are two major parts of our lives… until winter. We’ve already put the Platypus into winter storage. These guys don’t have that problem!

09:44 – carving a path through the ice
(Olympus tough)

Later in the week I was walking the dog and visiting the harbour where our boat is moored for summer:

15:30 – an empty harbour
(Olympus tough)

Not even a boat left in the ice for winter…. instead they are all here. I would loved to have been able to capture the sounds: flapping canvas, the weight you can see in the forefront bumping and creaking, the wind whistling through the yard. Instead here are some hulking hulls shrouded in their clumsy winter coats!

15:15 – winter storage
(Olympus tough)

Taking snow pictures is so difficult. These were the ‘best’ of a very average bunch. Even using the ‘snow mode’ of the camera was not very much help. In the end I turned the flash off and used the natural light being reflected off the snow. These latter two were taken quite late in the afternoon, and it was already starting to be dark.

What will our next challenge be?