03 July 2014

The Photographer's Connection to Nature

When I planned buying a macro lens (and that took quite a few years) I was sure I would never shoot bugs. Not that I wasn't interested in them but I thought there were enough male photographers doing that already, plus I couldn't figure out how I would include them in my surreal photography.

But as the saying goes: Never say never.

What do you think happened on my first official "macro" walk? I shot mostly bugs and I was actually impressed about the way I handled them.

The Photographer's Connection to Nature

I thought it would be extremely hard to make them stand still but some of them even cooperated. For example, this blue guy was flying very frantically, but impressed by his color (why did I decide it was a male?) I waited for him to calm down until he landed on a leaf and stared right at me while I was getting closer and closer.

Then, in a magical moment of connection between a human and an insect he stood still until I managed to focus on his eyes. We stood there, hanging in the moment, while I was pressing the shutter-release button, making sure I have a few of his poses to choose from. I thanked him and I left happy by this divine communication.

See, this is one of the most important things I love about photography. When I am alone in the wild, I am able to hear and see more than in the town. I feel connected on a level that is more powerful than words. The magic of art, of reconnection, of listening to your heart...

Whatever it is, thank you, Nature for sharing your beauty (and bugs) with me.

27 June 2014

How The Moon Was Born

Astronomers have been trying to find out how the moon was born for ages. Why didn't they ask me? The moon was born in a pea pod. I even have evidence:

How The Moon Was Born

Take note of the gentle halo and the way the sister peas are reflecting the moonlight.

This photo comes as the answer to a question I posted a couple of days ago on Google Plus. Let me know what you think and if you expected such a development for the original photo. If you haven't seen it, here it is.

You can buy this original surreal artwork while it's hot and sizzling on Fine Art America. For all Kanelstrand readers I created a discount code CYRCTU which will give you 15% off. The code is active until November 17th.

Art Prints

25 June 2014

Cherry Tomatoes: Macro Shots

This year I entered the realm of tomato planting. It is a world of gentle touches and delicate aromas. I've been watching my plants grow, expand and bloom. And the time came for the first very tiny and still green cherry tomatoes. They are almost as big as peas.

cherry tomato

Armed with my new macro lens AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED I am spending a good amount of time around my plants each morning to take their portraits, up-close and personal.

cherry tomato blooms

Happy Wednesday to all of you, cherry lovers out there.

10 June 2014

Photographer in the Kitchen: Making Cherry Jam

Each summer, when I was a kid, I used to spend in our summer house. We had a small garden tended by my grandfather and, of course, apart from eating fresh produce each summer, I was helping with the preserves, as much as a kid can help.

I look back to these moments with joy and love because they carry with them the feeling of unity with my family - unconscious but strong, the smell of burning wood on a long summer evening, the sight of vegetables and fruits cut in precise pieces, clean glass jars waiting to be filled up.

I considered this summer ritual as one of the things I had to do, not a chore by any means but something as fun as playing. At that time I didn't have a camera but my memories are so vivid that I still see my grandparents around the working table.

Freshly picked cherries by Kanelstrand
I picked about 5 kg of cherries yesterday, and here it is -- the right moment for my first ever cherry jam.

Cherry Jam Recipe
  • 1 kg cherries
  • 1/2 kg sugar + some vanilla
  • 1,5 teaspoon citric acid per kg fruit
  • glass jars - clean, dry and warm (I warm my up in the oven)

My grandmother used to add 1 kg of sugar to each kg of cherries but I am tweaking this recipe a bit and adding less sugar, so the taste of the cherries comes up and the jam is lighter on sugar.

It took me about 3 hours to de-stone the cherries last night and afterwards I covered them in white crystal sugar to which I added some vanilla. I left them overnight and in the morning I put them in a deep pot and let them boil. The sugar had made the juices of the cherries come out, which is vital for the boiling afterwards.

Photographer in the Kitchen: Making Cherry Jam

After the initial boil the cherries start producing a kind of thick foam which I am skimming with a slotted spoon.

Making a cherry jam - skim the foam
Here I have photographed the layers of foam I have skimmed from the boiling cherries so far. Notice the way the colors are changing and flowing into one another.

And now, the jam is 2 hours in the boiling and reducing. The smell is gorgeous and I am excited.

I will keep on boiling on low heat until a drop of jam falls comfortably to the bottom of a glass of water retaining its shape. Then, I will add 1,5 teaspoons of citric acid to each kilogram of cherries (in my case, it's 1,5 x 5 = 7,5 teaspoons).

By the way, I have a habit of reusing the jars I buy from the grocery store, so I have a bunch of different ones waiting to be filled. I will pop them in the oven for 15 minutes to warm them up before filling. Afterwards, I will spoon the warm jam in and let them cool turned on their caps to make a good vacuum.

Question: Should I add orange juice to enhance the flavor? Let me know quick before I'm done with this first batch of cherry jam ever.