Good photos can be a matter of seconds

The past two weeks, taking photos was all about being quick enough. Here is what I mean.

During one night I’ve been at a lake to capture some auroras. Before anything happened I explored the lakeshore and found a few good spots. Auroras appeared and I started to take pictures. I hoped for good reflections, but from the place I was at, it didn’t come out all that well. The lights in the sky were quite good and I feared the best part would be over until I would be at the better spot. I really didn’t know what to do, but the Northern lights made the decision for me. They got much stronger and I grabbed my gear and ran to the other spot, almost dropping my camera. It was all worth it and I got some nice shots with good reflections.

Copyright: Thomas Kast

Auroras are reflected in this calm lake with a satellite flare.

Days later I’m back at the same lake. Now with a friend and this time we set up the cameras at the ‘good spot’. We waited and waited. Nothing to see but a thin, blurry arc, just over the treetops. At one point, we gave up, packing our cameras neatly into the bag and folding away the tripods. As we walked to the car, Lady Aurora suddenly put up a bright show into the sky. With curses running through our minds, we ran back to set up as quickly as possible. After the first shots it came to my mind that I forgot to focus! So I focused the lens and just after that the show was over, leaving me with so-so photos.

Copyright: Thomas Kast

Nice auroras, not so nice focus

Two nights ago I was out for a sunset. The weather has been quite unstable, lots of rain showers with bits of blue sky in between. An hour before sunset I saw a big hole in the clouds just above our house with clouds moving towards West. I packed my gear and knowing the sunset time, I drove to the North of Oulu. While driving I noticed the clouds were moving much faster than I thought, so – once again – there was no time to spare. When I arrived at the beach, the sun was shining through some clouds at the horizon. To my delight it was low tide and some pools of water reflected the sunlight. There were many people out walking in the sand and piled up stones they found. I went to one of the piles and took a few pictures. Then the clouds already covered the sun and all the good light was gone.

Copyright: Thomas Kast

Between rain. Short time to capture a nice sunset

Of course for all of these shots some luck was needed, but sometimes it is up to yourself just how lucky you get!

New webpage up and running!

Finally my new webpage is live!

You’ll find there information on my photography, videography, tour guiding and more. Read the about section for more information.

The webshop for prints and canvas should be ready in October.

Have look and check it out 🙂

Copyright: Thomas Kast

Screenshot of the new webpage

Juggling the plates

This year has been great so far, but also very challenging. One challenge comes to mind in particular: time. Lately I feel like the guy in the circus trying to juggle many plates at once.

There is my family, friends and day job. Since June I am home with my son – quite a ‘day-job’ that is! And of course I do take pictures and videos. Not too many plates to juggle, right? Well, that last plate sounds simple but others doing the same know that there are many things many others may not think of. For example: shooting daytime and nighttime photos, shooting videos, shooting time-lapse, processing photos and videos, archiving files, sharing photos, driving to shooting locations, scouting new locations, cleaning my gear, discuss with clients, discuss with print labs, bookkeeping, updating social pages, writing blog posts and on top of all these I am trying to get my new website up and running.

Last night I almost finished my website, only some small things have to be done, so this week it should be ready. The last puzzle piece of it – the web shop for prints and canvas – will be ready next month.

My family and friends said my juggling of the plates should include sleep and rest as well. Since a few days I couldn’t agree more. With clouds and rain during the past nights, I couldn’t look for auroras but got some much needed sleep. Miraculously I feel now much better..

I guess we are all jugglers and for many of us time is one of the biggest challenges.

PS: Despite all the talk about time, being out and shooting good photos requires one thing: Not to be in a hurry. Here is a 7,5 minute exposure shot 🙂

Copyright: Thomas Kast

Tranquility – reflections of sunset colors and clouds in this lake.

Silence and sound

Being in the middle of nowhere during night time is always an experience for me. I love the silence, the stars in the sky and – of course – dancing auroras. But that’s not always what makes a night special.

During one night last August I was at a lake when I noticed two birds in it. They were swimming back and forth, chatting every now and then. I’m usually all by myself, and now I was thankful for some company while waiting for auroras.

About half an hour later I lost sight of the birds. Then, in the midst of total silence, I heard a few very loud bird noises far away on the lake. I’m totally no bird expert but it sounded like a either a territory issue or a signal that it was time to leave. After a while they stopped and silence took over again.

Copyright: Thomas Kast

The calm lake at night

What I heard next really made my night. The birds were leaving. First, I heard the sound of their wings and feet in the water and a moment later the wings in the air. It was truly amazing to hear that sound in the dark night breaking total silence. I won’t forget that sound.

Oh, I almost forgot: Auroras appeared for two minutes during that night. But for some reason it didn’t make any difference this time..