When you plan photography course in location you dream that you’ll get perfect sunset and twilight. This time we just got it.

We left the island and drove to Nallikari, Oulu early enough before sunset. Spot is known for local teens having parties summer weekends, but we went there any way and occupied best spot for photography.

Between demos I just had to take evidence of perfect sunset. You can hardly beat that (or I hope it will be beaten eventually in some other cool place 🙂 ).

kuva kopio

We were in Nallikari about an hour before official time for sunset. That’s a good time to get ready for the right moment. One of participants was “official timer” and he let us know exact time continuously.

In demo I used two speedlites (Canon Speedlite 600 EX-RT) as additional light sources. As light modifiers I used two glossy, silver reflective umbrellas. To a fill light I added some CTO-gel to warm it a bit. Camera’s white balance was set to 5 500K. I like that Canon Speedlite 600 EX-RT has special gel holder and you don’t have to use tape or velcro anymore. It’s handy.

Pic: Torsti Vuorma

… this time we were so in time that we had some time for laugh. It all started of me showing how to prevent reflects on eyglasses. People weren’t so convinced my style 😉

Pic: Torsti Vuorma


After sunset there was twilight. Sky had still all the bluish tones. In this demo I used two speedlites (Canon Speedlite 600 EX-RT) as additional light sources. As light modifiers I used white translucent umbrella and white reflective one. This time I added  CTO-gel to both light sources to change their color temperature more closer to tungsten. Camera’s white balance was set appr. 4 000 K.

I think because of this perfect moment I got excited about sunsets and twilights again. Earlier I thought they are a bit cheesy. Now I’m thrilled with all the colors of nature.

Pic: Jyrki Nikkilä

sininen hetki_puputti

When you plan photography workshop in location during winter, you can’t predict weather. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes not. During photography workshop organized by Studio Kuutio all the Gods of Weather were on the side of us. We were more than lucky.

Photography workshop was held in Isle of Varjakka, near Oulu. Island has interesting history: at the beginning of last century there was located the largest sawmill in the whole Nordic countries. All ended at 20’s when sawmill’s drive shift broke.

To get to the island was interesting. There isn’t any bridge, so we had to use special baton ferry. Speed of it was depending on how much muscles “workers” used.

Pic: Torsti Vuorma

After baton ferry ride and mysterious forest trail we ended up to old building which used to be sawmill’s office. There was still a sign above a door. Beautiful location.

kuva kopio 2

Even though weather was beautiful we stayed inside for a while at the beginning of photography workshop to get to know each other.

– What wish you to learn during course?

– I would like to learn how to shoot in direct sunlight.

– Well, there might be a possibility that it doesn’t last very long (typical Finnish summer weather – you never know what you get or how long…)

– Let’s go then!

Pic: Torsti Vuorma

After I’ve demonstrated how to use portable battery flash, speedlites and reflectors in direct sunlight and added some tips about posing, we were all ready to drink some water. Direct sunlight is killer for model and photographer if you stay there too long 🙂

Pic: Torsti Vuorma

… but this time we got enough direct sunlight, sun kept on shining. During demonstration sun just moved. It was a good demo how you should sometimes shoot quickly, if you want to capture certain light condition in a certain direction.

Pic: Torsti Vuorma

I had Lastolite’s TriGrip reflector (75 cm) with me and I found it useful and handy. I think it’s versatile for many photographers to work by themselves. TriGrip has handy grip and it stays steady and straight. I’ve tried bigger one (1,2 m) earlier but I found it unstable and heavy if you don’t have extra light stand where to attach it. TriGrip 75 cm is portable. It goes to 30 cm (diameter) round flat bag.

You can get reflective materials in many different colors (TriFlip):

– gold/white

– sunlite/sunfire

– silver/softsilver

– black/white


In next demo my models were happy brothers, Aapo and Elmo. Their Mum has asked them to join her to photo shoot. Boys revealed that she had promised giant burgers after shootings. Pleasant fellows. They really deserved their burgers 🙂

One of participants had huge diffuser with him and I used that as light modifier. With diffuser I reduced power of direct sunlight and changed nature of light soft. With TriGrip I reduced contrast and lightened shadow parts of models’ faces. I also added some contrast to shadow side with black screen (there was white wall on boys’ left side and it reflected light uncontrollably).

I really got excited of reflectors and diffusers. I realized that I hadn’t used them for a long time. I could reflect or diffuse light so beautifully with them. If I ever live in California, I just use them when I shoot. In wintertime in Finland they are not that useful 🙂

Check Sunbounce.com – some shootings done in California with reflectors etc.

Pic: Torsti Vuorma


Next demo I changed diffuser to speedlite (Canon Speedlite 600 EX-RT) and white translucent umbrella (100 cm). When I moved guys to another spot, light changed. In that spot there wasn’t contrast at all. That’s why I added additional light to make light side’s of their faces to stand out more bright.

Pic: Torsti Vuorma

Different kind of version of siblings. I think boys’ began to dream of giant burgers at this point 😉

Love the colours.

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I tried baton ferry too. People gave me instruction but still I was no use. “Turn you head and nose to direction of light”, shouted Mikko Törmänen. Advice was clear and loud. Luckily others were more effective and we made it to island and back. Let’s practise some more –photograhy of course and for me some weightlifting too. Better next time 😀

Pic: Mikko Törmänen

Isle of Varjakka was one of the most beautiful course spots I’ve ever been. And northern summer light – diffused and reflected just got me totally.

Thanks for all once again – thank you Kimmo, Ari-Matti, Riikka, Kati, Mikko, Jyrki, Torsti, Tuomas and all the models 🙂