Pug mania!

I’m getting to know some of the sweet photography spots in my forest by now. It’s a really cool place, within 30 minutes of walking I have some very different areas. Today, I worked with a special model.

Meet Johnny Pug – the coolest Pug in the forest!

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his is about 20 meters from the main road. Already the forest is all around us, no sight of any cars. No sight of anything man made in fact…(except the pathway).

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A bit further is the deforestation site I’ve used before. At the edge of it, the stones are covered in moss.

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Perfect lookout place for a small dog!

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At the end of the site, the pathway divides in two. We started to the right.

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After a short bit, there grows a lot of these plants – perfect as a shelter for a pug!

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A bit of play and fun with Mom on the way.

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Johny here is ninja-trained. Do not try this with an untrained dog.

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And sometimes not all lights are on Johnny…His human “brother” is just as cute!

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Not only lions live in the high grass that we found about ten minutes later. 

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And to top it all off: heather! Loads and loads of heather!

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“Luckily I’m secure in my manlihood. I can pose with pink flowers just as good as any bitch!”

I feel like I’ve moved to photo paradise… 😀

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Puppy in Dystopia

I would never place a puppy in an unfriendly environment for real. But I had this idea of a puppy, all alone in a world gone bad, alone with just a toy.

This is my first session with a customer in “my” forest. We went to a deforestation five minutes into the forest, and just let the puppy loose to follow his own desires (of course, Mom is nearby all the time!). It worked like a charm.

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Of course, we also did some “normal” portraits!

It’s awesome to have these two environments literally side by side…

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Yes, there is a stick flying through the air. We were trying to get him to look up. Well…

Puppies grow up too fast. Totoro will never be nine weeks again. These photos are precious, they freeze time and create memories. And he had a GREAT time!

Easy like sunday morning

It’s 5.30 Sunday morning. Husband is asleep, I am awake because the sheep started baaa-ing for food and we have neighbors. Dogs are with me. It’s cloudy but warm, all is quiet (as soon as the sheep are fed).

Instead of going back to bed, I fetch my camera and my Lensbaby velvet 56. This morning I feel like photographing slowly, look for compositions and details, and just fill my head with here and now.

The dogs find their spots in the grass and watch me move slowly, looking at flowers, grass, bushes, anything that catches my eye. When I get more than ten meters away, they get up and find a new spot a bit closer. We are a family. Families stick together.

I forget about the time and take about 50 photos of a rosehip bush. And then 50 more of some raspberries. And so on. My Lensbaby forces me to go slow, set focus manually, really look at my mage before I shoot. It’s really relaxing.

So, these photos are just for me. Full of Sunday morning, summer, dogs by my side, and doing what I love.

Freedom

At the beginning of this year, my husband and I decided this would be a year of freedom. Six months in, we have accomplished some big things that will give us the freedom we want: I’ve quit my job and am now self-employed, he has changed his job, and we bought a new house and sold the old one (still haven’t moved though).

We call the new house Freedom. It’s really nice to say “Meet you in Freedom!” or “Should we go to Freedom this evening?” or “I and the dogs will be in Freedom Wednesday.”. It’s a small house by the road in the middle of nowhere. Woods surrounds it, and some fields with cows. It’s really quiet and calm.

The garden has once been really beautiful – we think – but has grown wild for some years. Behind the forest is a deforestation, that will be full of birches in a few years.

The hose comes with a garage and a few extra storage-houses (including an outside dry toilet – not in use).

And inside are two rooms and a small bathroom.

That’s it. Freedom. My new home.

Lensbaby Burnside 35

It was only a matter of time before my Lensbaby velvet 56 got a friend. As I love swirly bokeh, often use 35mm, and always add a vignette when I edit, the choice was easy. Burnside 35.

I got it yesterday, and this is the very first photo:

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I wanted to make the most of that swirlyness!

I have read that some photographers have had a hard time adjusting to the Burnside 35, but (as I almost already knew) we became instant friends.

So far, I have only had the aperture set to the largest: f/2,8. It gives the perfect effect for my taste. The “golden slider” that controls the vignette is set as dark as possible. I love, love, love how it looks!

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As you can see, the swirlyness is dependant on the background. It gives a nice creamy bokeh, beautifully matte colours, and is crisp and sharp with a painterly feel at f/2,8. It’s very different from the velvet56, a perfect complement!

I also found it much easier to focus. Then I realized that:

  1. I had my lenses on = my eyes function properly
  2. f/2,8 instead of f/2
  3. And i’s easier to see what’s sharp when there is no glow – but the glow and supersoftness is what I love about the velvet 56.

My lensbaby obsession continues…

And so does my obsession with the magnolia in the garden. These are with the velvet 56.

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Lensbaby velvet 56 + Fujifilm x-t2

A few weeks ago I chatted with a friend about different lenses to the x-t2, and she dropped “you should get a lensbaby. I think you would like it!”.

Hmmm…I had looked at lensababy before, but only manual focus…seems difficult! But when I start thinking about something I often have a hard time letting it go. I wonder how much they cost? Where can I get them? Ooops…kind of ordered one…

It arrived yesterday. And I’m hooked.

A lensbaby is a toy, a lens that gives a velvety feel to the images. It’s sharp in the middle, and makes the highlights bleed a bit, like a glow. With a small aperture the effect is very subtle, with a big aperture the dof gets very narrow and the soft effect is very clear. It’s not for every image, but I’m learning as I go…

First of all, when I put the lens on I couldn’t take a single photo. Thank god for Youtube, where I quickly learned that I needed to enable shooting without a lens. Problem solved.

The tulips above are the first two photos I took. Then I brought the camera for my dog walk, and tried it on different motivs, with different apertures:

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I love the effect on the bokeh, it almost looks like under water. The lens is sharp and I can get really close to my motivs.

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I was a bit nervous about the manual focus, but it was a lot easier than I thought. As you can see I missed it a couple of times, but with a little training it will be fine. I set my camera to focus-peaking, it made it a lot easier to see where focus is (it’s outlined in white or red).

I also tried some wider shots. You can clearly see the difference the size of aperture makes.

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I Think I need some more experimenting here, to know what works and what doesn’t work for me. My learning curve is pretty steep, but it’s far from done!

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I really like this one, the softness works really well with the small feather.

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As this feather is a bit more textured, I chose a slightly smaller aperture.

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Here you can clearly see the effect of blur all around the edges. I have to think a bit differently to make it work to my advantage (not sure about this one…)

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My favorite of the day. I love everything about this photo, the difference between soft and sharp, the colors, the composition.

So pleased with my lensbaby! Yes, it’s a “one trick pony”, but what a trick!

Fuerteventura: Saturday with sunrise, Vallebrón, craftfair and snorkling.

It’s fun to revisit my photos from my vacation, now that it’s been a few weeks! So many memories…It takes a little while, as I find myself remembering and dreaming quite a bit.

Anyway! Saturday we woke early. Ola said to me “I read your bucket list, and I know you want to photograph the sunrise over the sea! Let’s try it!” We didn’t go far, but far enough to have a nice view over…Clouds. And Clouds. And more Clouds.

To save myself a lot of editing job, I chose to photograph in JPEG and take advantage of the beautiful color profile that Fujifilm has. It has a red/yellow tint that works perfect with sunrises!

Even though we didn’t actually see the sun, the light was still beautiful in colour.

After breakfast we set off. Our dreamplace to live is a small village called Vallebrón, and we visit every time we are nearby.

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It’s something about how you drive through the mountans and suddenly a valley just opens up – the light is amazing. It just has a good feel to it!

The town seems quiet, and has that Fuerteventura-mix between beautiful houses, ruins, and everything inbetween.

This time we visited the viewpoint nearby and could see all the way to the sea.

Some day…

The weather was quite warm despite the sun playing hide and seek, to we continued to Lajares and the craft fair. Lajares is a really nice little town as well, with restaurants, cafés, and art and craft stores. Saturdays there is a fair, and that’s where we headed.

I love looking atdifferent kinds of art, ad really enjoyed visiting the air and the small shops/studios!

Last stop for the day: snorkeling in El Cotillo.

This was the place where Ola almost drowned last time. Do I need to tell you that I was a bit nervous, and NEVER let him out of my sight? I stood on the beach, following his every move, while he filmed underwater and enjoyed himself immensly.

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The beach is lovely, a nice bay with calm water. I especially like the house, the architecture is a bit…special 😀

You can see where the waves start crashing No swimming beyond that point!

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Look carefully…can you see the flippers? They are there.

It actually felt like a a small victory when he got up from the water unharmed.

Our vacation was getting near the end, but we still had one more day.

Friday – we meet JP in Fuerteventura!

I had one special thing I wanted to do this trip – I wanted to photograph dogs! Every nature photo is beteer with a dog in it. But…where could I finns models? I know exactly zero dog owners in Fuerteventura…

After our first trip, Ola started to browse the internet after more information and films from our newfound paradise. He quickly found JP in Fuerteventura, and we have watched every video from the beginning with great interest.

So I built up my courage, and in january I asked JP if we could meet him, and if I could photograph his dogs. And he said yes!

So friday afternoon we came to the meetingplace. Both of us a bit nervous (small talk is not my forte, and in English it’s even worse), but there was no need for that! JP is just as nice and friendly as he seems, and took us for a walk with the dogs at a dried-out river bed. This was a new side of the island, like a miniature Grand Canyon! I was busy with dogs and camera, and we enjoyed the company, the sun, and the stunning nature.

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When they found out I not only had meatballs, but in fact was giving them away FOR FREE, the two dogs started modeling like never before. We had a great time!

Morale of this story? Dare to ask. The worse thing that could happen is that you get a “no”. And there is a much bigger chance of “yes” if you ask, than if you don’t ask…;)

 

Thursday – going south

Thursday our plans was to go to the south. As long as we could! Fuerteventura isn’t a large Island, so it’s a nice field trip for a day.

First stop: Morro Jable. We wanted a cup of coffee. The city wasn’t awake yet…No coffee, but I got some history instead!

Stella Canaris was an enormous hotel/resort/zoo. 2013 they stopped paying the people working there. Everything was left from one day to another – keys in the rooms, chairs by the pool, glasses and plates in the cafés. The animals were rescued or let out of their cages (I really hope the large snake and the Crocodile that can be seen on the posters were rehomed), the staff either left or stayed to live in the abandoned hotelrooms.

There was a guard watching us so I couldn’t try to get inside the fences…that’s an adventure for next time!

I Think abandoned places are fascinating, I can imagine whole stories about how it was and what happened then. Mostly ghoststories, I love horror litterature and creepypasta…

Anyway, as coffee in the morning is a must-have, we continued to the harbour. There we found the waiting hall for the ferry. And coffee!

In the harbour we also visited a sea-turtle nursery. As you are well aware of we humans tend to destroy the world around us. Sea-turtles eat plastic bags or get stuck in garbage, and get really sick and die. In this nursery they are getting help, and they are released from Cofete beach when they are fully recovered.

It made me really sad to see these majestic animals sort of flying through the water in the small pool, round and round, with their feet scraping the walls. They are so beautiful and full of grace, and I really hope they will be let out in the ocean soon! At the same time it was very effective to show the gentle seaturtles to the tourists, my first thought was “how do I donate money to this?”

We moved on – to the south, to the south!

From Morro Jable there’s a dirt road leading South. After about 8 km you can choose the Mountains and Cofete, but this time we stayed with the shoreline and headed for a lighthouse. On the way we passed a viewpoint and stopped to look at the scenery.

Down here you can see far without any company except for the goats. Our car looked deserted…

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At the lighthouse we were surprised by rain. But that doesn’t stop us!

We continued on the road to the last viewpoint.

If we could get there, that was! All of a sudden a large group of goats decided they wanted to go from one place to another. We were in their way…

After about ten minutes they left us alone, and we were on our way again.

Here there was nothing to break the wind, and I got wet as the waves crashed against the rock I stood on. Luckily my camera is made to endure bad weather, because the Beauty!

And right there, in the middle of nowhere: a door. As a Dark Tower fan I felt chills…

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On the way back we passed the most peculiar camping site I have ever seen. I guess you could call it Caravan city?

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Back in Morro Jable we got wet in the rain, walked the beachpromenade all the way, watched flowers and squirrels, and had a terrible late lunch at a chinese restuarant. Morro Jable is nice, but the north is really more our thing…

One last stop before we got home: the beaches of Jandia are famous. We had to stop!

If the beaches of Corralejo are for kiters and the beaches at El Cotillo for surfers, the beaches of Jandia seems to belong to the windsurfers. Especially the ones that are new to windsurfing.

(Sorry about the blown-out highlights in the clouds, I accidentally changed my settings…)

Tired and on our way home, we just had one more question:

Is this camper van for sale…?

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Tuesday – roadtrip and The Beach Beyond The Caves

We normally get up att six (seven if I work from home), so we had an early start! We and our little Citroen started on the road from Corralejo to El Cotillo. Not the asphalt road – the road next to the sea! We didn’t really care about the goal, it’s the road that matters (a bumpy, dusty, wash-board-like road…) The plan was to stop and snorkel, but it was really cold and windy…

We passed Majanichu, said hello to a sea gurkin (hope he still lives, he was out of the water and we didn’t dare touch him…or maybe her…) and enjoyed the waves and the wind.

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The colour palet for Fuerteventura has to be sea-blue, terra cotta, graphite, sand-yellow, the green of the succulents that grow here and the deep lilac in the mountains. And maybe a light off white, from the foam on the waves.

We took a detour to the lighthouse next to El Cotillo, and followed the walk from sign to sign and learned a bit more about the beach and the island. In my opinion a bit cold to sit and meditate, but hey – whatever works for you!

A quick stop in El Cotillo for some lunch (obviously a mistake to order burgers and fries at a fish-restaurant, it tasted like the chef really hated burgers…But at least we weren’t hungry anymore!). El Cotillo is always nice!

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We were in the mood for more road-trips, so we set course for Ajuy! We were going to look for The Beach Beyond The Caves.

I love to bring my camera to Ajuy, it’s one of the most beautiful places I know and I always find new views.

We started our walk by leaving the common trail to the caves, and going through a broken fence into the great wide open (yes, I could hear Tom Petty in my head…).

And we walked. And walked. All alone. I could see the caves from the backside, and asked “Are you sure you know where we’re going…?” “Yes. Maybe. Ithink so…Let’s try one more hill!”

And there it was.

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We didn’t continue the walk down the cliff, but just stood in awe and enjoyed the sight.

Then all of a sudden we weren’t alone anymore! Three youngsters and a drone appeared.

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The sun disappeared, and we headed home. On the way back we passed the warning sign for dangerous drop…

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…and I took a closer look at the fence…

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Security? More like “at your own risk”. It’s a great walk and well worth the effort, but keep dogs and small children on a leash!

On our way back we were instantly reminded that Fuerteventura is a tourist island.

I don’t see that as a problem, as I’m starting to learn when and where to go to avoid the big busloads and still see the interesting stuff!

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And one last photo of the day. Kitesufrefs under a rainbow.

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Only on Fuerteventura.