Exercise in creativity

A few weeks ago I purchased Eric Kim’s “eternal return to creative every day”. It’s a fun little booklet with creative ideas and exercises, and I finally printed it and started with the first task yesterday.

Photograph everything that interests you during one day. Go through the images, see what you like.

I did. These are the ones I chose (from a trip to Copenhagen):

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I am pleased with the result, Every one of the photos tells a story – at least to me. From the moment we left (Midori says “Huh! You leaving?”) to waiting in traffic five minutes from home at a roadblock.

Christina and Fant the Fant-astic!

I’ ve known Christina on the web since she took one of my online classes, and I’ve admired her work. She and her beautiful cocker Fant lives in Paris at the moment (enjoy her insta! ), and as they were passing by Sweden she asked for a private session. Some new ideas on street photography, and how to pose Fant in order to not make him look posed, was on the wish list.

We met in Västra Hamnen in Malmö (a beautiful part of the city, do not miss when passing by!). I know the area fairly well, and as Christina wanted to work with the composition of lines and shapes with her 16mm wide-angle, I added the idea “dog goes on an adventure in town” to give a bit of backstory.

And then we got to work. For me, one of the keys is to really “work through” an area. Different angles, compositions distances, poses…Little by little that makes me realise what I want from this scene, and I often end up with something completely different than my original idea. So that’s what I had Christina doing.

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Fant is a very well trained model, and seemed to really enjoy himself! Lots of treats were involved 🙂

We deliberately chose poses that did NOT involve looking into the camera. The idea was to capture Fant’s view of the town – how would a dog explore? If he was a bit adventurous, and more about seeing than sniffing (I know, it’s not super realistic, but the images get better…)?

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This part of town has lots of big windows, and that means lots of reflections. So much fun to play with!

Of course, a dog visiting Malmö would want to look at the sea and the bridge to Copenhagen. We got him to look in the right direction with a little help from some strategically arranged treats.

I really liked the idea of him lying almost like a statue, overlooking the city with the Turning Torso behind him. Him – not so much…But hey, anything for Mom!

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And my last one of a very warm and tired Fant. He did not actually seek that shadow by himself, we put him there. It still tells the story 🙂

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My shots are a bit haphazard, I wasn’t there to shoot but to teach and give feedback and suggestions. I know Christina got some really good ones, and can’t wait to see them!

So. Lesson learned:

  • What’s the story?
  • Try, try, try!
  • Change something in every shot
  • Leading lines
  • Diagonals
  • Rule of thirds
  • Play with reflections
  • Avoid poses that look posed
  • Work with the light, make the subject stand out
  • Don’t be afraid to go close
  • Don’t be afraid to back up
  • Keep the dog happy!

And to finish: keep your eyes open. What happens around you?

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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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Wednesday – the city awakens

Vacation means time do do…nothing. Days that are unplanned, do whatever. Wednesday was exactly that kind of day for us!

At seven we went out into the city. I love early morning in a city! Before everyone is awake, see the workers and the joggers (here are a LOT of joggers!), meet the dogs on their morning walks. It’s peaceful.

Corralejo is a town that feels…alive. I mean, every city is alive as long as there is people, but some cities are more…awake. Moving. There’s a pulse.

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A mix of peolpe, all trying to make a living. Small bakeries, street musicians, sand artists, café-owners, shopkeepers, and – as this is Corralejo – surfers.

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The houses here are small and worn, the streets narrow. Life is everywhere. If you don’t have space – create it!

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We followed the beach, and watched the sunrise.

The sun paints everything pink and golden. Quick tip when you photograph sunrises or sunsets – don’t forget to look behind you! The light is fantastic…

And as we continued back, we watched the city wake up and greet the new day.

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Some people are building houses…

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…and some are building castles of sand.

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The surfers seem to have some kind of “hotline”, to tell eachother where the surf is perfect that day.

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And I got some fur therapy! This beauty came to say hi.

The rest of the day was spent on shopping, drinking coffee, snorkling (Ola), reading on the beach (me), enjoying the sun, hiding from the rain (quick but intense), and just…being a part of this city.

A perfect day.

 

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.

 

Back in Fuerteventura!

I’m back on my favourite island – Fuerteventura!

This time I’m not only accompanied by my husband but also by my Fujifilm x-t2. Last year I had my big Sony, and my shoulders and back hurt and I sometimes left the camera in the car. Fujifilm and a 35 mm lens has walked with me all day yesterday and all day today – and I hardly know it’s there! Except for when I need it of course 🙂 I keep it in a wrist-strap, so easy to change hands if necessary and no big strap that gets in the way or constrict my movements.

Enough about my equipment…

We arrived yesterday. We left at sunrise, and I got some shots through the window of the plane (sorry about the poor quality, the window wasn’t exactly clean…)

The light at sunrise is kind of fantastic!

Almost nine hours later we checked in at Surfing Colors – we came back this year as we really like the relaxed atmosphere here. A stroll around town, see what’s changed since we were here last year, a pizza at one place, a coffee at another. Relaxation starting to spread.

Before dinner we took a short walk in one of my favourite parts of the island, the “badlands” between Corralejo and El Cotillo. We didn’t go far, but the rough feeling of the wind, the sea and the lavastones always make me feel att peace with myself.

The sun was setting, so we got some really nice light!

When I turned the other way I could see the town:

And as it got darker I turned to the mountains and the hills of lava-stone.

See why I love it here? This is raw nature, untamed, not bending to anyone or anything.

I’m so happy to be back!

 

How to take better photos with your mobile

I’m travelling this week, and is currently in an RV using my phone for internet.

I use my phone for a lot of things! Blogging. Facebook. E-mail. Filming. And photographing!

Yep, that’s right. I really believe that there is no better camera than the one you have with you. I ALWAYS have my phone!

I remember the first camera-phone I bought. It had the camera as an extra accessoir, and it screwed on the top. The photos were…barely recognisable. At best. A lot has happened since then! Today’s cameraphones are generally really good. Some of them you can even set to RAW, if you want to edit a bit more. (I don’t, I’m short on space as it is…And if I want to do something “extra” with my photos, I use my DSLR.)

Let me show you a few from these last three days (click on them to see full size):

 

What do you think? Some of them are straight out of my phone (Samsung s7) and some of them are edited in the app Snapseed that is my absolute favourite editing-app (and as usual the people at Snapseed don’t even know I’m writing this).

Some advice to improve your phone-photos:

  • Look at the background. It’s even more important with your phone, because it’s very wide-angle.
  • Don’t zoom, it will pixelate your photo. Move closer instead.
  • Use the wide angle affect, and put something in the foreground to create depth.
  • Always think about composition. Rule of thirds apply very well!
  • My phone have a great function, it takes a photo when I say “cheese” or “shoot”. Perfect when you have two leashes in one hand and try to handle the phose with the other!
  • Try to keep the horizon straight (easier said than done for some reason…)
  • Keep your thumb away from the lense! Seems obvious, yet I still struggle…
  • And take LOTS of photos. Keep the ones you like. Trash the rest. Share on facebook, instagram, blog, or anywhere else.

Happy shooting! Go for it!

Dreams of future pasts

“What do you want to remember in five years time?”

A friend of mine asked me that question, as we spoke about my new puppy and what I wanted to do with her. Competition, what sport, etc. That is four years ago.

I thought it was an odd question, so I began thinking about it. Now, four years later, I think it’s a great question! What are my most cherished memories with her? Well…a lot of fun training. A few competitions. But mostly…life together. When she snuggles up in the middle of the night, with a sock in her mouth, just glad to see me. How she sleeps in my lap as we watch TV. That she loves toys, and treats, and jumping up in my arms, and lick my face. How she found a bag of fruit and vegetables and played with it whe she was home alone, and we came home to a sofa covered in grapes, zucchini arranged on the table, lettuce leafs all over the floor, and one happy pup (we laughed. What can you do?).

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Cutest pup ever!

So, as I thought about what I thought I wanted to remember, and how it differed from my actual favourite memories, I learned about myself and what is really important to me. Self-insight. Really useful 🙂

And I expanded the concept. What do I want to remember, not only from my time with my dog but from my life, in five years time?

“Well…I worked a lot. Fun? Yes, sometimes. Not what I really wanted to do though, but…you know…got to pay the bills. Travel? Yes, some. Funny, I always thought I would travel more. See the world, you know? But there was really never the time, with the house and all.”

No. That is so not me. I won’t let it be. If you want something, work for it!

And right now, I truly believe that in five years time I really want to remember that I left my teaching job, made it as an online teacher and photographer and can work from anywhere, and live part time in an RV with my husband and dogs.

This is my future home (or something like this, we won’t buy one until next year):

 

That’s the plan right now. Let’s see what happens. Sometimes life gets in the way, sometimes you just change your mind for whatever reason, but right now – this is the start of getting to a life that I don’t want to take a vacation from 🙂