“Hi, I’m Vilma, 27 year-old mother of one, from Southwest Finland. I drive a delivery van for a living, and to counterbalance my busy working life, I have my dear hobby, photography. I enjoy wandering outdoors, which makes nature my favorite thing to photograph; from the wide landscapes to the smallest details of environment.
In dark nights of winter (which aren’t in short supply here in Finland), I like to take my camera and go alone to a remote place to take pictures of stars. Some of my family see me as crazy, but in moments like that, I simply lose all sense of time and enjoy the moment. Just me, and a beautiful scenery. With my camera between us, of course!
I bought my first DSLR camera in the year 2011. Before that, I had used compact cameras. With this new one, I wasn’t really photographing that actively, and come to think of it, maybe it simply wasn’t my kind of camera; there were weeks where I didn’t even touch the thing. It was missing that essential feeling where the photographer and the camera are one. With the advancement of the cameras in cell phones, however, I started to regain my interest for photography. With a little hand held device, snapping a picture was easy enough; in time, however, I began to crave for higher quality. So I started to research different camera brands and models on the Internet. With Leica and Olympus having caught my eye, I went to examine a camera store, with the intention of testing out various cameras.
There I was, standing before the vitrine holding the Olympus cameras; I was attracted by their appearance which nostalgically reminded me of time of film cameras. “Heck, that thing looks even more neat up close,” I thought looking at an Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II, and asked a shop assistant if I could test it. Now, in Harry Potter, they say that a wand chooses the wizard; I felt something really similar in that moment. My hands are small, so I find it hard to properly grasp bigger cameras, and trying to reach the buttons with my fingers disrupts focus. This camera, however, immediately fit my hands like a glove. Enthralled, I felt my old passion for photography returning; I left the store with my new camera, without even bothering to test the other options.
In photography, I’ve always tried to capture the exact atmosphere. That feeling when you finally snap the perfect picture after countless trial-and-error attempts is immensely rewarding. With Olympus, my passion for photographing has been growing alongside my skills. I even managed to finally start learning about the technical side, which I always found dull; now I adjust everything myself. Not only was the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II easy to become familiar with, its customization is incredible.
My old, bulkier Nikon camera was a little troublesome to carry around, especially when I wasn’t on a specific photographing trip (although I often delegated the carrying to my husband). There were many missed opportunities to get a good picture when I couldn’t set up my camera before the chance had already passed. With Olympus fitting my handbag, I can take it anywhere with me. There’s a saying: “The best camera is the one you have with you.” Well, this camera is with me all the time.
For me, the size of the lenses is also important. At the moment, I own various lenses including: M.Zuiko 17mm f1.8, M.Zuiko 45mm f1.8, M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ Pancake Zoom, M.zuiko 40-150mm f/4-5.6 R ED, M.Zuiko 60mm f2.8 Macro, Panasonic Lumix 25mm f1.7 and Vintage Helios 44-2 58mm f/2. I consider my top used lenses 17mm ,45mm, 14-42mm and 60mm.
With my photographs, I want to bring out the mood and ambiance of the moment; the sound of the scenery, the feeling of the wind in the air. I think that a good photograph stops the time for viewer, challenges them to think. One way to strengthen the atmosphere is post-processing. I know this particular area gives rise to a degree of discussion; I for one process nearly all of my photos. I shoot JPG FINE+ RAW files, using the RAW’s mostly. I handle the post-processing either in the camera itself, or with Adobe Lightroom, adjusting lighting and coloring. I have sought my own style in processing, with determining factor being my own satisfaction for my works. The original colors and quality Olympus provides is fine on its own, but I do love to refine my photos; I take every picture as an individual, unique artwork. I do still strive to keep a coherent line in all my works, and in this matter I have also become better.
Normally, I process a photo by tuning the lighting up or down. I lower the saturation and focus on colder tones, especially in landscape photos taken during daytime. In turn, in photos I’ve taken under the evening sun I focus more on the warmer tones, and reduce the contrast a little and saturate the pictures more compared to the ones taken at daylight. I also use grain, from time to time, to create a cinematic look without using already existing Instagram filters (which I rarely use, if ever.) I have created few base templates for Lightroom, but mostly I make all the processing myself, from scratch. I aim to use moderation and subtlety in editing.
Whenever I venture to take photos, I never decide beforehand what to shoot; I let nature provide inspiration. Since I live in countryside, I don’t even need to leave the vicinity of my house. Nearest city isn’t far either, but I’ve never found urban environment as attractive as countryside; I was always a small town girl who loved to wander outdoors (still am, come to think of it.)
I like to photograph in the evenings; the colors of sunset are calming in their magical glory. I aim to already compose my pictures before taking them, so I can see immediately how they will turn out; in this area, EVF is a shining gem. I often photograph ordinary, everyday things and places; sometimes things so commonplace that not many would even stop to take a shot.
In my dreams, photographing could be more than just a hobby. In addition of nature, I also enjoy taking photos of portraits and events. My most memorable event for photographing was my good friend’s wedding, where I was asked to be the formal photographer; I was very flattered that the wedding couple would entrust the immortalizing of their big day to me, out of all the professional photographers out there. We recorded the day in a documentary manner, starting from the making up in the morning, all the way to the after party in the night. The wedding couple was very happy with the outcome, and so was I. Afterwards, a lot of people asked if driving a car was what I really wanted to do for a living; it got me seriously thinking if I could make photography my career. I am excited to see what the future holds!
Inside the calm and delicate surroundings of the wedding church, the silent shutter of my camera quickly proved its worth. The event was filled with fast-paced, one-time opportunities for taking photos, which made the day challenging, but also that much more rewarding. In contrast to the peaceful scenery of nature, it was refreshing to try my hand in capturing the mood of a big, loud and dynamic crowd. It was like a test for me and my camera, and I can happily say we passed with flying colors!
After changing system, my skills have been increasing, alongside my requirements for my camera. Due to the fact that I shoot mainly outdoors, I would prefer to have weather protection for my device; something my current camera lacks. I’ve read about Olympus weatherproof cameras, which have been praised by users, and at some point I’ll surely aquire one, along with a weatherproof body, so I can safely rumble through forests and fields, looking for surfaces covered in sparkling raindrops (and probably making my family even more worried about my mental state!).
My goal is to become even better and better photographer in the future, to learn more about the settings and the exciting opportunities they provide. My dream is to make actual travel photography trips around the world one day, to capture the exotic nature of the countries like Iceland, New Zealand and many more. Currently I mainly upload my photos to Instagram, where I’ve had the opportunity to get to know many great photographers, who always provide me with inspiration and tips to improve.
I look forward to see where we wind up with my camera. My dedication has reached a level where it has become an inside joke among my family to ask if I have lost something when I’m not with my Olympus. And my husband tells me that when our son learns how to draw, he will probably one day draft a cute little family portrait with a camera in place of my face. In any case, I plan to fill my days with capturing everything I see in my evergrowing album; to quote an adaptation of one of the most famous lines of Julius Caesar: “I came, I saw, I took a photo!”