Det blir ju alltid lite stearin kvar i botten av ljuset när ljuset har brunnit ut. Jag tänkte att det väl måste gå att göra nya ljus av det så jag testade och det funkade hur bra som helst! Det var lätt men pilligt.
Jag samlade stearin från utbrunna ljus i en glasburk. Tog bort smuts och vekar och annat fult och lade sen ner hela glasburken i ett bad med varmt vatten. Långsamt smälte stearinet till en genomskinlig massa.
Jag använde aluminiumformarna från gamla värmeljus och limmade fast en veke som jag köpt i en hobbybutik i botten. det var ganska lätt att rikta veken uppåt när stearinet stabiliserat sig lite. Nästa gång tänker jag använda stearinet som lim.
Fint brann sen ljuset. Det brann snabbare än köpta värmeljus, jag vet inte om det berodde på vekens tjocklek eller på stearinet. Ett kul pyssel som jag tänker göra igen. Nästa gång ska jag experimentera med olika färger tror jag och se hur det blir. Vi har både röda och vita ljusrester. Kanske också göra någon form som man sen kan ta ut ljuset ur när det har stelnat så att det blir som ett blockljus.
The havsörn or ‘sea eagle’ (white tailed eagle) is one of the more fascinating birds out here. Its the largest eagle in north Europe and for me, the most fascinating. Having almost become extinct during the 1900’s, the eagles made an astonishing recovery thanks in part to humans banning the use of pesticides and actively aiding in repopulating efforts in the 1970s. As a kid, I never saw eagles out here yet these days it seems as though I get to see one fly past us daily. Incredible how fast some things can change in the ecosystem.
When I got back into photography I was more interested in capturing landscapes. It wasn’t until I purchased my 70-300mm telephoto lens that I could really try my hand at wildlife photography. I made the most out of my backyard and started taking photos of the local wildlife – mainly ducks, swans, snakes, insects and other birds. The eagles started appearing more often around 2 years ago which is when I started my project of photographing them.
In the springtime, the eagles were quite confident, flying low above the cabin. They were usually on the hunt for food and I could tell when they arrived by the way every single bird would start sounding off. Other telltale signs included unusual flight behaviour (herons flying erratically past the house, ducks fleeing in flocks). I became pretty good at recognising the signs and would often have my camera ready by the door with the settings dialed in for bird photography. Many lunches were interrupted as I heard the birdcalls and would dash outside for a 5 second window to see the eagle before it zoomed off.
These are some of the most exciting images taken in 2019 – watching eagles fight over a meal. The photos above were previously featured in another blog article ‘eagle safari with kayaks’ when we paddled out with the kayaks and followed the birds!
The early summer was a bit tricky for the eagles as they were often harassed by stressed parents doing their best to protect their young. Food was difficult to come by as the eider ducks (their primary food source) have dwindled in numbers the last few years and there are probably too many eagles occupying the same territories. Nature needs to strike a balance between the two species at some point.
This was one example of the imbalance in the ecosystem. This eagle had just attacked a merganser duck in the water. Having barely made it out of the water, the exhausted eagle landed on a nearby rock as the injured merganser tried to swim to safety. Unfortunately, it died moments after the attack and the eagle watched for a bit before flying off. Both birds lost something in the encounter: the merganser lost its life, and the eagle lost its meal. It must have been very desperate to attempt such a hunt as mergansers are larger and therefore heavier, meaning the risks would have been far greater for the eagle. Its not unheard of that an eagle drowns as its prey is too heavy to lift from the water.
The late summer was quiet but the eagles would surprise us with an occasional visit. They would usually fly far out at sea across the horizon at sunrise and maybe return before sunset. It was always exciting to recognise the birds through their ‘flight style’ – slow, powerful flaps of their massive wings.
In the autumn they were back more often but due to the lack of light in the usually stormy weather, photographing them became a bit difficult. It didn’t stop me from trying though! These birds are incredible to photograph and I can only look forward to 2020 and whatever moments I get to witness. One exciting project I’ve got in the works is a trip to the Åland islands where Peter, a friend of mine has been filming the eagles with his drone, should be interesting!
We visited Teijo national park and did a hike on a surprisingly warm day in september. There were a lot of mushrooms growing meaning I could try some ‘near-macro photography’ with my telephoto lens. These are my favourite photos from that day and buying a proper macro lens next would be great- the small details in nature can be as eye catching as the big ones and I feel thats worth documenting with my camera.
Anyways I know nothing about mushrooms so leave a comment if you can recognise any of these (samma på svenska). All I know is not to eat the RED ones.
As the summer fades into autumn, temperatures in the air and sea can vary in such a manner that huge thunderstorms form and for a week or two we get more rain than we do the entire summer. This year was no exception with days of warm fog followed by days of cold rain. One evening as we were watching Stranger Things, I noticed several flashes going off out at sea but shrugged them off as boat lights in the dark (although I suppose it could also have been the mind flayer). Once the episode ended, we stepped outside and realised that the numerous flashes were coming from one massive cumulonimbus cloud. The frequency of lightning strikes was incredible, almost one every 15 seconds!
In photography, there are so many different techniques and genres to try out. Lightning photography has been one that I have waited years to try but thunderstorms don’t come this close and when they do, it usually rains. Not tonight! I packed my gear and we ventured out to the beach where the following view greeted us.
I had been fascinated by photos of lightning strikes since I was a kid, wondering how photographers caught so many strikes in one photo and at the same time avoided getting zapped. The method is quite clever – its just long exposure photography! By keeping the shutter open, you let more light in. Lightning is very bright and so it gets recorded very easily, and more strikes can be seen if you have the shutter open for 30-60 seconds. The professionals use expensive devices that are called lightning triggers but I don’t think I will be picking one up…yet.
For an hour or so we were able to stand on the beach, completely exposed and watch the storm way out on the horizon. We were safe and dry. Here are my first ever lightning photos from that evening. The photos below show variation in colours as the first one was taken far out to sea (south) and the other one had light pollution from the town to the west.
Around 0200 the wind picked up and I noticed the cloud had covered the sky making me a bit anxious. The forecast said the storm would not make landfall nor would it rain but there it was, fast approaching with large curtains of rain being lit up by lightning.
The photo below was the last one I dared take. The sound that came after the lightning shook my bones. I tend to push my luck when I’m photographing but I did not take any chances with this so I packed up my gear and saw how a fork of lightning struck in the same place. Kind of wish I had taken one more photo but it was risky. I ran back to the nearest building and reconsidered my decision to take shelter. The lightning looked amazing this close and I almost headed back out but thats when the rain started falling. I had to run back to the cabin, shielding my camera gear with my rain saturated jacket.
After returning home, Jenny and I watched the lightning from the bed. It must have been hovering above us for half an hour or so and we could not sleep – the noise and fury was too intense and the entire house was lit up in bright white every time lightning struck. We ended up unplugging every single electronic device from the wall as a precaution. A week later we had another thunderstorm but it remained out at sea. I tried using my 50mm to get ‘closer’ shots and got these two photos.
Since the last thunderstorm its been very quiet and I doubt we will see anymore this year – they usually don’t occur in winter but its not impossible. I think I will start preparing for the northern lights instead!
On a day like today, the wind blows from the southeast so we can hear the waves crashing on the beach. Out on the horizon we can see seagulls and sailboats taking advantage of the uncommon wind direction. Jenny and I sit by the window, drinking strong coffee and discussing how to trim the blackcurrant bushes as flies bump against the window in the summer heat. Tomorrow we should chop down two trees for next year’s firewood and if we have time, we should clean the rain barrels before this week’s rain. Maybe go watch the sunset before dinner too. This is the lifestyle we have chosen and we call it ‘landeliv’ – cabin life in Swedish although the literal translation would be ‘country life’.
We are Chris and Jenny and this will be our bilingual blog about living by the coast in Southern Finland. The plan is to share some insights and experiences from our cabin life. We are not sure how this blog will evolve but for now we will be keeping you updated through weekly posts about our living style.
Before we get started, maybe some background information would be good. When we started discussing moving out to the coast, we both had full-time jobs in Helsinki. Despite the city being so close to nature and offering endless conveniences, we felt unfulfilled and frustrated. Working 5 days a week just to have 2 days off was not an ideal setup for two nature enthusiasts; we needed more access to the outdoors. After two years of saving up, we left the city for the coast in the spring and so far so good. Everyday we get to set our own schedules as long as we also spend time preparing for the cold winter. This means doing things like getting firewood, painting exteriors and tending to our plants. In our free time however, the sky is the limit!
Our blog aims to be insightful and perhaps even act as an exercise in journaling our lives. Complacency can take over anyone’s day to day living and we hope that by providing a glimpse of our life out here we will remember to see each day as a unique and special day and not let each one slip away like the last one. Hope you will stick around!