Descent

After the bright summer nights, I'm excited that the astrophotography season has started in Finland. A couple of weeks ago I made a trip to Emäsalo, Finland. It's one of my favorite seascape places in Finland. I ended up going there four nights in a row to capture some time-lapse footage and still images. 

There are not many places in Finland where you can view to the sea without being on someone's private property. Which is a shame. So this place is rather unique. Standing there is a calming experience when the only noises you could hear are the subtle wind and crashing waves. I placed my camera low and set the self-timer to 20 seconds so I had time to walk to the frame and stand there for 30 seconds. Luckily I also captured a satellite in the frame which gave the image nice balanced look.

Equipment & Exif

Nikon D810, Nikkor 14-24 mm f/2.8 & Manfrotto Tripod
ISO 3200, 14 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec. 

Post-production

Color edit with Lightroom CC basic settings with my Phase Presets: Hazy - Movie Look & Contrast - Night. I also added a Saga Preset: Enhance Stars - Med 2/3 to add detail to the stars. 

Descent - Emäsalo, Finland - 2016

The Show

Last week I was photographing with Konsta Punkka (@kpunkka) and Juuso Hämäläinen (@juusohd). We had an amazing experience after a long beautiful summer day in Kasnäs, Finland. The clouds drifted away from the mainland and were greeted with a grandiose display of stars and storm clouds. I used two vertical exposures to capture the field of view. I, of course, took several photographs of the scenery, but these two were the ones I used to create the final image. The lightning was so intense that it made the foreground look like it would have been shorter exposure. 

Equipment & Exif

Nikon D810, Nikkor 14-24 mm f/2.8, Manfrotto Tripod
Two vertical shots: f/2.8, ISO 1250, 22 mm & 20 sec

Post-processing

Photoshop CC for stitching the images together, Lightroom CC for color editing Phase Preset: Vintage Early Morning and details with Saga Preset: Enhance Stars.

The Show - A Lightning Storm in Kasnäs, Finland 2016

Invisible by Day

Visible During the Night – Stars. I created a new set of images on Behance. This set includes photographs from Finland and Iceland. If you want to learn how my images are created visit the Learn section. 

Stillness of Night - Emäsalo, Finland

Night Sauna - Kirkkonummi, Finland

Glowing Lights - Sipoo, Finland

Silence - Emäsalo, Finland

Aligned - Emäsalo, Finland

Mist - Emäsalo, Finland

Frozen World - Ylläs, Finland

Dimension - Kilpisjärvi, Finland

Abandoned World - Sólheimasandur, Iceland

I was honored to have this project featured on many different websites. Here are few of those. 

This Is Colossal – This article includes also a couple of my other recent images. 

Adobe Lightroom - Twitter & Facebook

Abduzeedo – Invisible by Day

Summer Morning Dream

Even though I love to capture the stars and the Milky Way, I love summer mornings. In Finland, summer is so bright that you can't see the Milky Way. I have been photographing mostly on summer mornings and nights recently, and I found that they are full of mystery and beauty. Mist crawling to a field to create a beautiful isolated feeling. I captured this picture a few days ago after photographing the whole night. After a couple of rainy days, the sun made an appearance on this beautiful sunrise. This image was captured in Kerava, Finland. I placed my camera on the tripod and used the camera's self-timer and ran to the scenery. 

Equipment & Exif

Nikon D810, Nikkor 14-24 mm f/2.8 G ED
ISO 100, 1/100, 14 mm @ f/2.8 

Color edited with my Lightroom Phase Preset Collection: Hazy - Surreal

Mikko Lagerstedt – Summer Morning Dream – Kerava, Finland 2016

How to find your vision in Photography

How to find your vision in photography, art, and life? One of the most common questions I get from people is: What should I do to find my vision as I'm just starting in photography? In this guide, I have gathered some tools you can start to use straight away. Without further ado, let's cut to the chase!

1. Practice your craft DAILY

When you are first starting and want to find your unique vision. Try any kind photography you can think. Keep your camera with you everywhere you go. If you already know what kind of photography you want to focus on, then you just keep on doing that and there is no point on not to photograph another type of photography. Start with what you got. No matter if it's a camera, mobile phone or a pen. The key to success is not to wait.

2. Give it 100% – Say NO to excuses

If you want to be good at something, you have to give it your 100%. Sitting around and reading about photography tricks and tools gives you insight but you have to use that insight in the field. There are plenty of times I have said that "no, not today" yet crawled out of the bed at 1.00 am to photograph the night sky. Or when I have stayed up the whole night to get that first view of the sunrise. I believe in the 10 000 hours rule. For those who don't know what it is, it's practicing your craft for 10 000 hours whether it's photography, painting and so on. I would say I'm somewhere over the half way of this, and I still have a lot to learn.

3. Create, don't imitate

It's useful at times to use someone else's work as an inspiration but copying another painters or photographers work is unoriginal and uninspiring. Add your unique vision to the inspiration you gather. Keep a small notebook or a mobile phone with you to capture your thoughts and ideas. Don't hesitate to put bad ideas there as well. 

4. Study your work

If you want to get better at your craft, you have to go through your paintings or photographs with a perspective of a critique. Study what you enjoyed about the work and what could have been better. This way you always learn something new even though when the work was not good enough that you would like to share. 

5. Identify your inspiration

By creating and producing work, it's important to find those moments where you get inspired. Whether it's from other people's work, nature, movies, music or whatever. Once you understand what motivates you, you have an idea of what you can pursue. 

6. Share your best work

What this means is that you need to publish the photographs you find most inspiring to yourself. Not just the stuff that you can see gets a lot of attraction. It's crucial to find the courage to share your work. How do you know what is your best work? Well, that's the thing, you don't necessary know until you have had the courage to share it. You will get better at this the more you share your work. Search for a community where you can share the work. For photographers, there are many different platforms to use. For example, 1x is an interesting place to share your photographs this is a great site since you can get insightful feedback about your pictures. For painters and digital artist, there are fantastic opportunities as well such as deviantArt

7. Evolve and change

Don't be afraid to change your vision while you are working on your craft; it is one of the keys to finding your true artistic vision. It's a lifelong journey!

8. Challenge yourself

Creating photography challenges such as photograph each day for the next 30 days, or learn a new post-processing trick each day is an excellent way to boost your motivation and find out more about your vision. 

Try one of the following 30-days exercises

  • Photograph every day
  • Post-process pictures every day
  • Capture only five pictures per day

If you want to challenge yourself with a 52-week program check it out!

9. Book recommendations

These are the books that I feel works as a knowledge boost about the rules I have stated. Do the job while you read these, don't try and hide behind education it's just one kind of procrastination. 
Mastery – Robert Greene
Show Your Work – Austin Kleon

Enjoy the journey and have fun!

Mikko Lagerstedt – Red Night – Tuusulanjärvi, Finland 2015