With award winning travel photographer and author Tim Bird. That’s me. Explore Suomenlinna, Helsinki’s fabulous Baltic sea fortress, the top highlight of Finland’s capital, through the lens of your camera!
Spend a summer day exploring the limitless visual attractions of Suomenlinna, discovering new views and comparing notes with fellow photo enthusiasts of this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage-listed destination. I’ll be your English-language workshop tutor, not least as photographer and author of “Suomenlinna – Islands of Light” (Docendo 2017), a celebration in photographs and encounters with some of the islands’ most colourful residents.
The emphasis will be on creativity and ways of seeing rather than technical issues, so this is not a “how to use your camera” course, although we’ll discuss and compare techniques where appropriate.
Choose a date that suits you best from three separate workshops:
- July 8 from 10 to 17
- July 29 from 10 to 17
- August 19 from 10 to 17
Workshop fee of €165 includes:
- Tutoring, assignments and experienced advice in a compact group (maximum 8-10 per group, 7.5 hours)
- With the group, use of a secure and cosy meeting room with all facilities in one of Suomenlinna’s historic buildings
- Coffee/tea and fresh Finnish pulla
- Buffet lunch at Suomenlinna’s Chapman restaurant
- A signed copy of my book “Suomenlinna – Islands of Light” (Helsinki retail price €35-39)
- Entry to the museum at Suomenlinna Centre to view my exhibition “Islands of Light”
Fee does not include:
- City ferry transport to and from the island (9.20 a.m. departure from Helsinki Market Square)
- Meals and refreshments not included above
- a camera (preferably a digital DSLR with a formatted memory card), a versatile zoom lens or favourite prime lenses, your favourite kit, including tripods and filters
- enthusiasm, open eyes and a sense of adventure!
- Suitable clothing for the weather (wind and waterproof clothes, protection from sun, good shoes)
How to guarantee your place at the workshop
- be quick and confirm your place by replying to email@example.com
- Please include your name, phone number, e-mail address, special diets and information about your experience of and aspirations for your photography
I’ve just returned from India where I visited the Bandhavgarh National Park Tiger Reserve, as a guest of the delightful Junglemantra resort, right on the edge of the park’s buffer zone and close to the core area. The park is home to a great deal of wildlife including what is probably India’s highest concentration of wild tigers.
Hosts Sheilin and Rhea are effusively enthusiastic and very well-informed about the abundant wildlife – all sorts of birds, jackals, wild boar, leopards, spotted deer, sambar deer, monkeys, peacocks – on their doorstep. Sheilin is a keen wildlife photographer himself and was great company on the drives I took in the park.
The couple also do a lot of good NGO work in the nearby villages, where they arrange health clinics at the local school, for example. In their own words: “It is our policy to provide training and employment opportunities to local villages thereby reducing the dependence on the forest resources. We also support the local village school with books and teaching aids. At Junglemantra, we believe in sustainable eco-tourism, where tourism is for the forest and its denizens.”
My first evening started with a frenetic but exciting search in the dark for a tiger that had been feeding on a ‘kill’ a few hundred metres from the resort entrance! We didn’t find the tiger then, but I had some great sightings over the next few days of a mother and her three cubs. I was there during the pre-monsoon hot season, when the vegetation is dry and the animals make frequent visits to the watering holes in the park.
If you want to see tigers in India – and there are only a couple of thousand left – Bandhavgarh should be top of your list, and Junglemantra is hard to beat as a base – good food, comfortable bamboo huts, a nice lounge area, and expansive grounds that include a small lake frequented by lots of birds. Here are a few tiger shots to whet your appetite. .
If you’ve enjoyed your visit, do follow me and come back for more! Please remember, no reproduction of my photos without permission, but feel free to share the blog!
Thanks for dropping by!
agra, Amritsar, Assam, darjeeling, Delhi, Golden Temple, himalayas, India, islamd, jama masjid, Kanchenjunga, mamallapuram, mountains, photography, religion, Sikh, Taj Mahal, travel, travel photography
I travel a lot but I find myself returning to India more and more. For a photographer there is nowhere more rewarding. There are surprises, some small and quirky, some funny or tragic, some vast and majestic, around every corner.
Recently I have been organizing some of my best material, compiling a single gallery of highlights from the many visits I have made over the last decade or so. It made me appreciate the distances I have covered and the variety contained in this extraordinary continent, in which the mountainous regions of the north, for example, are as different from the tropical jungles of the south as Norway is from Spain. There are common threads running through India, of history and culture, but the landscapes and traditions vary immensely from one area to another.
So far I have added well over 1,000 images to my India gallery, which is on my website at this link:
I still have to add several hundred more images, from places like Varanasi, Srinagar in Kashmir, Haridwar and Mumbai, and complete the inclusion of key words and other info, so it’s a work in progress. I’m well on my way to making it one of the most comprehensive single galleries of photographs from India available anywhere.
Meanwhile, here are a few samples:
I hope you enjoyed this quick tour of India and introduction to my photos. If you are interested in taking advantage of my considerable photo resources from India, please get in touch through my website at www.timbirdphotography.com And of course, I would be delighted if you follow this occasional blog. Thanks for dropping in!
It’s Christmas Day 2016 and I’m in a generous gift-giving mood, so for my review blog for the year I’m giving you not six, not seven, but EIGHT pictures. Well, that includes the header above, taken one November morning as the sun’s rays spread across the third highest mountain in the world, Kanchenjunga, from the West Bengal hill station of Darjeeling.
It’s been another exciting year with some amazing assignments and adventures. Here are a few highlights – well, seven to be exact:
So where next? Lapland again, a voyage on a working icebreaker in the Baltic, and another India adventure are planned so far, but new years always bring new surprises. Watch this space…! And best wishes to all ‘visitors’ for a happy and peaceful Christmas.
Announcing an exciting opportunity to explore many of the highlights of this most photogenic of Indian States, brimming with exotic tropical colour and visual surprises. Join our compact group of photo enthusiasts in March 2017 for workshops, photo-shoots and inspiring photo chat as we explore a variety of cultural and scenic wonders.
- The picturesque and emblematic Chinese fishing nets of Fort Cochin, Kerala’s bustling colonial port city
- A private showing and photo-shoot of the enchanting Kathakali traditional dance
- Visits to the Kadar, Malayar, Muthuvar and Mannaan tribal villages
- Hiking in the spectacular tea plantations of the upland Munnar hill station area
- A backwaters overnight voyage on a traditional wooden Kettuvallam boat
- A visit to the colourful backwaters town of Kottayam
The ten-day tour has been planned in expert cooperation with the highly experienced UK-based adventure travel operator Intrepid. The itinerary is devised with special attention to the best photo opportunities and with time available for informal workshops, comparing notes and discussion. A local travel guide accompanies us, while Yours Truly, an award-winning English travel photographer and writer who has visited Kerala on several occasions and traveled extensively throughout India, supervises the photography. I’ve earned a few prizes for my work, including British Guild of Travel Writers’ Photographer of the Year in both 2012 and 2015.
I will advise about the kind of camera gear that will be useful to have with you on the tour and I am available before and during the tour to discuss other photography-related aspects of the tour. My eBook, Motion Pictures – a travel photographer’s companion, is packed full of tips and anecdotes about his travels and photography experiences and is available for purchase through Amazon, Kobo, and for Apple iPads from iTunes. Tour participants will be offered a free PDF download of the eBook.
Accommodation will be in a range of exciting hotels of four-star standard, a secluded rainforest resort and on board a fabulous wooden Kettuvallam backwaters boat.
To get you in the mood, here are six photos from Kerala, giving you a taste of what to expect and the photographic riches on offer.
A lamentably occasional photo blog in which I share some samples from my archives at www.timbirdphotography.com .
Did you miss me? I’ve been away from here for far too long but I’ve had lots of adventures with my camera while I’ve been away. I don’t have a good excuse for not posting for a while apart from other creative distractions going on – more news of those to come. I shall try to make up for lost time in the coming weeks with some photo selections that I hope you’ll enjoy.
I’ve been sifting through my archives and amazing myself at all the extraordinary things I’ve seen and the places I’ve visited since the last time I posted anything. Top of my list is the Theyyam ritual ‘performance’, for want of a better word, which you’ll only find in the northern part of the Indian state of Kerala. This is very much a living tradition, a ritual of great significance to local people, not just staged for tourists. There are often several Theyyams being performed each night during the winter season at shrines, many of them in remote villages. Theyyams can continue through the course of a night from dusk to dawn, and sometimes even longer.
An important part of the ritual is the preparation, in which intricate make-up and elaborate costumes are applied to the ‘actors’, whose aim over the course of the enactment is to actually become the deity that they represent, not just play its part. The trance into which they attempt to enter is induced to the accompaniment of frenetic drumming. Only men and boys are permitted to represent the characters, and only members of the Dalit or low-caste community are allowed to serve as actors. It is a rare case of Dalits being held traditionally in great respect by members of higher castes.
I stayed near the small fishing town of Kannur and attended three different Theyyams during my visit.
If you’d like to see more of my Theyyam photos, click here to visit a gallery on my website.
All photos produced with Fujifilm X-Series cameras and Fujinon lenses.
Please follow this blog and watch out for the next edition!
A shamefully occasional photo blog presenting six-at-a-time appetizers of the delights in my photographic larder. Sneak in for a midnight feast at www.timbirdphotography.com
The most exotic and exciting venue for photography for me in the locality of my home in Helsinki, Finland, has always been the historic island fortress of Suomenlinna (literally, Finland’s fortress). Helsinki is a vibrantly modern city but that means it’s short of truly old historic districts. Suomenlinna’s ramparts and defences are built across a small archipelago of rugged islands, a mere 20 minute ferry ride from the city’s main market square. A UNESCO listed World Heritage site, it’s a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year, romantic and windswept and with wide sea views.
For myself, winter has always been the best time to visit, especially when (or in these days of unpredictable climate, if) the sea freezes. This winter has been the coldest for some years and that means dramatic sea ‘smoke’, the effect of very cold air sweeping across not-yet freezing water. There has been a fair amount of snow, too, with more to come, it seems.
And it also seems that my fondness for Suomenlinna in the winter is being increasingly shared. Today I got a press release recording the fact that the numbers of winter visitors have soared. There was an increase of 14 per cent in the total number of visitors in the winter months in 2015, and the total of over 200,000 was a new record.
Since this means I might not have the place to myself in coming years, I don’t know if celebrations are called for, but in any case I’ll mark the news by showing six of my best shots from the dramatic afternoon on January 5 when the the entire archipelago and South Harbour were enveloped in that extraordinary ‘sea smoke’. Here goes:
Visiting Suomenlinna while in Helsinki is easy – just jump on the ferry. Helsinki city transport tickets are transferable. Click here to find the timetable from the Kauppatori (Market Square). More information about Suomenlinna and its museums and restaurants: click here.
If you’ve enjoyed your visit to Six Picks, come back and let me distract you again some time, or visit previous blogs in the series. And feel free to Tweet toot, hoot, share and anything else that social media well let you do – but remember copyright is MINE! If you’d like to use the photos for any other purpose please get in touch.
At last – my new eBook, ‘Motion Pictures – a travel photographer’s companion‘ is now available on three eBook platforms. In addition to the launch version for Amazon Kindle, the richly illustrated 96-page all-colour book can now be bought on iTunes and Kobo.
Quoting my own blurb: “Designed especially for viewing on colour devices, this is a beautifully designed companion to anyone whose twin passions are travel and photography. The book contains tips, advice and anecdotes by experienced award-winning photographer and writer Tim Bird, illustrated with his own colour photos, and featuring sections by three top guest photographers. An entertaining and inspiring companion rather than a ‘how-to’ manual, this eBook discusses cultural issues encountered when using your camera in exotic locations as well as practical shooting situations.”