Archive for March, 2010


#90 spring starts in a pot

090/365 spring starts in a pot, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

Busy day with only a quick chance to catch the daylight for some pictures in our year. So the Daily Shoot also became my 365 picture:

Look for the opportunity to photograph a subject or scene in natural light today. Pay careful attention to the exposure.

After a short sunny spell in the morning, the rest of the day was the same old cloudy and dull. My attempt to hasten the arrival of spring is this pot of daffodils on the still persistent blanket of snow in front of our house. The conifer branches serve to protect the bulbs from possible night frosts, and to make the arrangement a bit fuller.

Today I tried the shutter speed priority, instead of the aperture priority that I seem to have preferred lately. After several shots with different speeds, I ended up choosing this one as the most realistic one, at least in my eyes.


#89 seeing the trees for the wood

I love the Daily Shoot colour assignments, as today’s one:

Today’s theme is the color green. Make a photograph dominated by green and post it.

I love green – it’s the colour of life. I have been deprived of it for so many months now that I’m growing very impatient with the slow progress of spring. Going for my afternoon ‘green hunt’ walk, I wasn’t expecting to find much but I was happy anyway to get out into the fresh air, despite the dull grey weather.

I don’t know why I don’t usually think of evergreen conifers as green. There are so many of them, and since they don’t change their seasonal colour, they tend to blend into the background, and often just look black or some almost colourless, dark, anonymous shapes in the distance. Yet, at closer look, they are definitely alive with many different shades of green. And their sizes, shapes and the texture of the needles certainly vary from pine to spruce and juniper, for example.

The anonymous, backdrop forest of conifers is like a class of students to teach. A big group is easily treated as one uniform mass where individual characteristics are forgotten and ignored. This occurs especially if exactly the same content is simply served to everybody in exactly identical portions during pre-scheduled short time slots – as still happens in school systems around the world.

In the end, I managed to find quite a few green things today. Here is my ‘Green Day set’  if you’d like to browse through it.


#88 change of seasons

088/365 change of seasons, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

Today’s Daily Shoot took me out for a walk, despite yet another wet and cloudy, grey day.

Make a photograph today of something that produces a unique sound. Try to communicate that sound to the viewer.

I was after the first signs of spring, and trying to listen to sounds that could be communicated into pictures, but I wasn’t very lucky. I did hear lovely singing of birds but they were well hidden in colourless trees. The purl of the streams of melted snow was nice, too, but didn’t really come across in any pictures. So I ditched the sound idea, and just looked for any signs of spring around me.

It’s quite symbolic that the only colourful point I could find along the road today, except for cars, was this broken and useless sledge. It has certainly served its time, like the whole winter. Yet, sad as it looks now, its bright colour still faintly reminded me of the joys on the snowy hills in winter.

Change is inevitable now, but will include a lot of inconvenience and bother. Water, mud, dirt, lots of extra yard and road work, rearrangements, finding new paths to walk as water blocks your usual routes, unpredictable weather… No wonder some people would rather stick to pure white winter, but the vision of green and sunny spring and summer clear in my mind will help me pull through, once again – reinvigorated. Quite the same process as with any positive change in life really.


#87 in a new light

087/365 in a new light, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

What makes a subject interesting? Not everything is intrinsically flashy or fascinating, plus on some days, like this wet and grey Sunday, there was nothing of interesting to motivate me outdoors. So I took this rather mundane pot of basil to experiment with When I have the time, I really enjoy learning about my camera, and photography in general.

The Daily Shoot made me learn about backlighting.

Sunday Challenge: Backlighting in a scene can create drama. Make a photo with interesting placement of backlit subjects.

Shot with the auto flash, the basil is rather dull and ordinary, almost plasticky – or what do you think?  But add some backlight, and suddenly you start seeing all sorts of interesting veins, shadows and different shades of colour. The mood is totally different, and the leaves seem to come to life.

It’s refreshing to try to see things in a new light – both literally and metaphorically.


#86 baking

086/365 baking, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

Sticking to my mum’s Saturday baking tradition I did some Easter baking today.

This variety of the Finnish ‘pulla’  is filled with one of our typical dairy products, called ‘rahka’. It’s translated as ‘quark’ in dictionaries but I haven’t managed to find exactly the same consistency outside Finland. I know Russians use something very similar for their Easter ‘paskha’.

The fact that I only bake these particular buns once a year for Easter makes them extra yummy. Traditions are important in bringing some permanence into the hectic and constantly changing world.


#85 long-awaited colour

085/365 long-awaited colour, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

It’s a tradition that our town always decorates the pedestrian bridge with thousands of mini daffodils for Easter. Thank you today’s Daily Shoot for making me drive there after school.

Think of a subject that starts with either the letter “D” or “S”. Find it, and make a photo!

The “S” is in this picture, too – it’s stands for SPRING, of course. I love seeing the bright yellow and green all across the the bridge, amidst an otherwise still white, or dirty, muddy brown scenery. The colours really shine in our colour-deprived eyes after winter. New life is seeping into our northern corner of the world.

Here is a whole set of photos of the blooming bridge.


#84 are you smart enough?

084/365 are you smart enough?, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

I have been experimenting with the Smart Board at school all week. Also with this interactive slate. It gives me a whole new perspective to the classroom, as I’m not in front any more. It does make me rethink many set routines that I have developed over the years.

At the same time, though, almost daily there is something that doesn’t work. So many wires that get disconnected too easily, so many buttons and features that other teachers using the same classroom press and select, which I then don’t know how to unselect.

My feelings about this new tech at the moment are very much black and white, just as the picture. It’s fab when it does what I or the students want it to do, but when it plays up (or I don’t know how to control it), it is very frustrating! But I will keep learning.


#83 motivation

083/365 motivation, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

The Daily Shoot assignment made me look for essential teachers’ products.

Imagine you’ve been commissioned to photograph a product for a company’s marketing dept. Give us your best product shot.

In the end, I chose these stickers that my Singaporean colleague gave to me on our visit there. We don’t really use any stickers like these in Finland, at least not in high school any more, nor are they easy to find in any of our shops. So I was really happy to get these to use for my students’ written English work. I’ve noticed that my students always get slightly bemused, but also secretly happy to find a colourful sticker of encouragement and recognition on their papers.

Snapping my products photos also made me ponder on motivation in general. What motivated me to spend a couple of hours trying different products, settings, props, camera angles etc. for today’s photos? For me, with photography, it’s quite clear – I love learning through hands-on trial and error and experimenting how the dozens of different buttons and features of my camera affect the end result. The instant results of my learning are very rewarding and motivating. Today, for example, I learned a lot about focus and depth of field while discarding close to 100 shots and finally settling for this particular one.

However, as a foreign language teacher, I know that the learning process of languages is much slower and harder to assess. How to then help students find and maintain their motivation? I’m also thinking about the relation between outer and inner motivation. Is there a point where a student becomes so self-directed that teachers’ stickers or other people’s praise become irrelevant? And to what extent does relying on these outer rewards in the traditional school environment actually hinder the development of a student’s inner passion and urge to learn? For example, why do I upload my photos online instead of just learning independently on my own?


#82 kiwi time

082/365 kiwi time, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

Today’s Daily Shoot asked us to:

Look for angles today: 90s, 45s, or any other combination of angles that make an interesting composition.

The hands on an ordinary old-fashioned clock form different angles at different times. I really like our kiwi kitchen clock. Its happy round green face with the fun design greets me first thing every morning, and keeps me on time for work.

I much prefer checking time on this type of a clock, probably because I usually need to know how much time I’ve got left before the next deadline, and the degree of the angle helps me gauge this more easily than looking at digital numbers

A teacher’s working day is strictly divided into designated time slots, and each lesson plan in the course of the school day has its almost minute to minute hectic schedule. When I first started teaching, the first thing I used to do, after coming home from school, was to free myself from wearing the watch. Somehow it marked the difference between my own flexible time and the rigid school routine. Later on, I developed a strong dislike to wearing a watch at all, and now don’t even own one. Our classrooms have no clocks either, and the school laptops can’t seem to keep the time very well, so I have developed my inner school clock over the years. It works pretty well, and it’s only occasionally that I have to check from the students how we are doing with time.


#81 golden memories

081/365 golden memories, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

A very busy beginning of the week from morning till evening, so only had a chance to snap a quick picture at home in the evening. I was staring into empty space for a long time before our chandelier (a family heirloom from my parents’ house) beckoned me to try a picture of the crystals I like very much.

These photos made me quite nostalgic, reminiscing about old times when I was still a teenager at home. There is a Finnish saying “time makes memories golden” – I don’t know if there is an equivalent in English? Just like the lighting in this picture gives the crystals a golden shine.


licensing information

Creative Commons License
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.