late birds, night sheep

While we (mainly) sleep at night, there are a lot of creatures that don’t. We might not realize the amount of life and activity that takes place during those dark hours because of our own habits, and perhaps they’re as oblivious to us as we are to them. Many of these creatures are rarely noticed and seen, and it’s even more unusual to see a photo of them – photography requires light, a resource that is often scarce at night.

Of course there are a lot of exceptions. I’m not going to show you those; instead I’m going to share photographs of creatures who have spent the hours before sunrise or after sunset with me. Those hours between light and darkness are special. It feels like everyone and everything is calmer and quieter, as if the whole world decided to lower the volume and the pulse for a while.

It’s time to take a deep breath and enjoy the disappearance of the little light there is, and hang out with the creatures of the night.

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These birds had been sitting around all night, but were startled by a bear who was looking for something to eat in the early morning hours.

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emergence

Many people in Finland have a summer house or cottage – a place where you can leave the everyday stresses behind. One day, many years ago, my grandparents asked if I wanted theirs: I happily accepted and have been one of those lucky people ever since. Mine is even more of a relaxing place than most modern cottages: it has neither electricity nor running water. I always keep my phone off when I’m there, and ask guests, if I have any, to do the same. Just so we can save the battery for an emergency, of course.

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Evening tranquility. The photos below were all taken to the right of the pier base (pile of rocks), where you can see some fallen reeds.

These days, I live about 3,800 km from my summer cottage, but I managed to visit it for a couple of days in the beginning of the summer anyway. As I was walking along the water, I saw a familiar sight: the empty skins of dragonfly nymphs.

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relaxing, luxurious rabat

Sometimes you have to leave and come back to appreciate what it was you left in the first place. That’s what happened with me and Rabat – I left for a while. I saw other countries and other cities and returned with a fresh set of eyes.

I live about 40 minutes away from the Moroccan capital city. It’s not the largest city in the country, nor is it a well-known tourist town. It’s a calm and clean city where the king lives, and where the embassies are. There’s history, beauty and an incredible coast line. As in all cities, there is also poverty and trash. It’s alive.

While visiting Marrakesh, a famous and popular tourist destination in Morocco, we walked through the souk (market). It was quite the experience, with a lot of people trying to “guide” us and sell us things. It’s all well and good to do that, but it was quite overwhelming. In contrast, walking through the souk in Rabat was heaven. It’s quiet and clean and despite getting several invitations to visit someone’s shop, it’s easy to be left alone if one wants to. That’s when I realized how much I like this city. I’d like to show that in pictures.

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The Kasbah of the Udayas is an 850-year-old fortress, right by the Atlantic coast. Click for more!

deserts to city gardens – a visit from dad!

From the freshness of the Finnish archipelago to the searing heat of the Moroccan desert, from the magnificent seastacks on Gotland to the busy city life of Marrakech – it’s been an intense month of travel and beautiful sights. Apart from a lot of exciting experiences, I have also gathered a large number of photos, which I will share with you over the next while. I’ll give you a glimpse already in this blog post.

After three weeks in Finland and Sweden, my dad came with me to Morocco to see the country and how we live. It was his first time here, and we all had a great time!Yesterday, he travelled back to Finland – it was a long journey, involving 12 hours of flight-related travel and 5 hours of driving. I miss him already, so I thought I’d share some of the photos I took of him while he was here. Most of them are from the desert, where we spent two nights and three days, sleeping under the stars and climbing dunes. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into my life!

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The desert explorer enjoying the sunset, far away from the closest town. 
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the great mosque of cordoba

There will be a bit of a break here on the blog. Tomorrow, I’m flying to Finland to visit family and friends, and to run a marathon (what a silly thing to do on your vacation, right?). I’ll be there for three weeks, and when I return, I’m bringing my dad with me. So there might be up to 5 weeks without any posts!

Before I leave, I want to share some beautiful architecture that I was lucky enough to have the chance to enjoy in Córdoba, Spain about a month ago. The mosque-cathedral was built over 1000 years ago, on a site that was previously a Roman temple, and a Christian church. Today it’s a Catholic cathedral, but the buildings mosque origins are still very obvious. I hope you enjoy the photos!

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The beautiful, ornate mihrab.

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winter – when the world’s at rest

It’s been 37°C (100°F) here in Morocco today. It’s the kind of heat that, when you open the window, feels like you just opened an oven. It’s also an asocial kind of heat, because you don’t want to be close to any other mammals. It’s May now. I can only imagine what July or August will be like!

In Finnish, we have a special word for the rare days when the temperature goes over 25°C in the Summer – we call it helle. So as you might guess, this heat goes beyond my experiences. It’s good to expand your horizons, I guess!

All this heat has made me daydream of Winter. Winter in Finland, that is – ice, snow, crisp air, a world of blue and white. So I thought it’s time for another post that has been hanging out in the drafts pile for a while. The first part of the series was about Autumn. I hope you enjoy the photos, whether you’re in need of a bit of cooling or not!

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Sometimes it’s so cold that the air turns your breath into ice.

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gräulich – a dreadful post

Quite a while ago, a reader requested a blog post based on one word: gräulich. The word is German and has two meanings, each derived from a different root.

Meaning I: grayish; from grau (grey).
Meaning II: horrible, dreadful, frightful, ghoulish; from grauen (to be terrified).

My goal is to incorporate both meanings into every photo. Those two are mind-boggling enough already, but the reader informed me about another interesting aspect to the matter: the word for grey ultimately comes from old high German for shimmering, radiant. So let’s see how it goes.

I’ve been thinking about this one for a while and thought I should time it so that readers don’t get depressed from seeing these photos. In Finland, posting these photos in November would probably lead to a lot of sad faces. Now summer is coming, though, and everyone on the northern hemisphere is happy! Right?

Remember: if you have requests or ideas for blog posts, I’m very happy to hear them! Also, feel free to add your opinions and comments if you feel like it. Now, to those horrible, grey photos…

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Let’s start with the ghoulish one. This photo is from some years back, when me and a friend were having fun and experimenting in the studio.

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