Transforming the smallest, most delicate details into expansive miniature worlds inspiring wonder and showcasing incredible beauty - this is what we have come to expect from our friend, Annukka (@anna28h). Snowflakes, waterdrops, flowers and the buddings of spring are just a handful of the subjects you’ll find while browsing her feed. We believe that a well taken and a well edited macro shot can provide the loveliest of perspectives into our amazing world and Anna finds and captures these sights as well as anyone else! We had a wonderful time learning about her life and about her fantastic photography! Have a look!
Hello everyone! I'm Annukka (or Anna formally) and I'm currently living in Eastern Finland, Kuopio. I love this so called "Lake Finland” area. Wherever I go here I'm surrounded by lakes and forests. I have a husband with whom I've been together for 27 years and we have two lovely daughters, Sara and Linda. My older daughter doesn't live with us anymore. She studies and works in another city. My younger one is going to move away from home too this year (maybe abroad) to chase her dreams, so this year big changes are happening in our family.
I was born and raised in a small town in beautiful and rugged North-East Finland. At that time my parents and especially my father was involved in many cultural events so the rest of the family was too. He loved art, collected paintings and even painted himself so thanks to him I became interested in art at an early age. He was also very supportive when it came to my creative work. My two older siblings influenced me very much as well. My sister passionately wanted to see the world outside of our small town and to travel as soon as it was possible for her to do so. She inspired me to do the same later on. My brother played in a rock band (which was pretty famous, especially in the 80's) and I did see a little bit of that "crazy" rock-life from behind the scenes. Both of them had a big influence to the music I listened to in my youth.
When I got older I was anxious to leave the small city I lived in and so I moved to a bigger city in Northern Finland where I worked, studied (also art) and started my family. When we moved to our current city, I went to study again and graduated as a designer. After that I had a small company for a few years and I can tell you that they were pretty hard, although rewarding years in my life. I was quite sad but relieved at the same time when I decided to leave that company behind. However the decision was so hard that it made me give up on all kind of creative work for years until I found photography for my creative outlet.
I don't usually talk very much about my current work to anyone, but it has a big impact on me and my thoughts about life nowadays. I'm working in a office where my clients are people who have lost their loved ones and I'm there to help them to organize things. I hear a lot of stories, sometimes thankful, sometimes heart-breaking. I try to forget my work when I close that office door but it's not always easy. This work has teached me more and more to be grateful of my everyday life and enjoy the little things, I think my photos tell about that too.
My biggest passion is travelling and I wish I could do it more often. I always dream of the next trip. My all time favorite country that I want to return to over and over again is Italy. I've been there about 15 times and I just can't get enough of its architecture, art, beautiful small villages, landscapes etc. Some day I would love to stay there for a longer period of time and improve my poor Italian language skills.
What was it that finally brought you around to using photography as a creative outlet?
Well, I've always had some kind of camera in use. I have documented travels, holidays, kids and such like we all do - just capturing memories. During studies I had a couple of photography courses where I had to think more about how to photograph and I also tried the darkroom work. I liked it a lot but for some reason I didn't think about it after that.
Like I mentioned, there were some years that I hardly did any creative work at all and I started to miss that a lot. When my older daughter moved from home, I started to photograph nature more with my iPhone - just going on walks and keeping myself busy so I wouldn't have missed her so much. I loved doing that and when I found Instagram I realized that it was the right platform for me to share my photos.
When I began to photograph my daughter (@lindalovesfashion) and her outfits which she shares on her social media, I had to be more aware of aperture and other settings. I also realized that I didn't get the kind of photos with my phone as I would have liked to, so I decided to start to take nature shots with a better camera and challenged myself to learn more about using it. I love the whole process. Finding the right light and finding something interesting to shoot, staring at landscapes and looking for details to shoot. The feeling while you're doing that and forgetting everything else bring me so much joy. Moreover, all of that is very therapeutic too.
What first attracted you to shooting macro?
I have always admired macro shots and have been interested in details but I wasn't very keen to photograph them myself. But that all changed last spring. I was so busy with all of the preparations for my daughter's graduation party that I didn't have time for those longer walks anymore. I started to take pictures of the little signs of spring and later on of blooming flowers in my backyard. The amazing world of macro photos opened up to me and I have loved it ever since.
It feels like you must have a pretty delicate method when it comes to editing your photos. What does that process typically look like for you?
Yes. That's true. Many times my editing is quite delicate, but it's not necessarily an issue for me. Sometimes my editing progress just leads in that direction. Usually I just try to trace the feeling I had when I took those photos.
I always shoot my pictures in RAW and I edit them in Lightroom first. I do the typical editing stuff there, mostly trying to balance a picture. I start with straightening and cropping. I think it's so important to think of the composition and often for me less is more. In Lightroom I check all of the basic details such as lens corrections. After that I send photos to my iPhone and where I use Mextures to highlight the atmosphere, to improve the color intensity and tones, and to calm the backround or the whole picture. For me it's a perfect tool for those things. I hardly use any other editing apps nowadays. Sometimes I use Snapseed, especially if I still want to do some cropping. I think I may have an obsession with framing...
Are there any aspects of Mextures that stand out to you as being particularly useful in your editing process?
First, I would like to say that the main reason that I like Mextures so much is its versatility and uniqueness. I think it's a brilliant invention to add different kinds of layers and effects to a photo in so many ways.
At the beginning, the best way for me to learn was to try imported formulas to get inspiration and see how other people used Mextures. Just by trying out different things and spending lots of time with the app I found my favorite ways to use it.
When I start to edit a new photo, I might check it first with my formulas. I have never used exactly the same formula twice. I go through one layer at a time considering if it's better with or without it. Also I usually change opacity and adjustments. Many times I prefer to take a fresh start, but I try to remember to save some formulas every now and then. I know it's often easier to start with the formula if you have the same type of picture processing and you're looking for a similar mood.
I love to add layers and see how they affect the atmosphere and tones. When I add a layer and adjust its opacity, I check the blending modes too and select the best one. I love that option! Many times I use layers from Grit and Grain, Atmospheric and Intensity but there are many favorites in other packs too (I have all of the packs!). With adjustments I always check the fade and if there is a need for it and other adjustments according to need. The fade tool is sometimes the perfect tool to calm the picture. I use the shadows tool for the same purpose. My intension is not to make big or dramatic changes. I usually just want to work with the mood, tones and calmness.
Would you mind sharing a few of your formulas here so that we can get more of an inside view of your Mextures use?
GNBPSAI - faded contrast and coldness
NMTXRIL - bluish tone and smoothness
IBYFPWL - brings some light and colors
KSBZYDM - brings some gentle warmth
What has been your favorite image to capture so far?
I have to say that this is a really difficult question. My favorite photo changes all of the time. But right now I chose one of my snowflake shots because I remember the day so well. I was in the woods and suddenly it started to snow those perfect snowflakes and I could tell it was quite magical. In this photo the snowflakes were hanging on an almost invisible string and light came nicely from behind the trees.
Who are the people that have most inspired your photography and editing process?
I get inspiration everywhere and from many different people. I think the most important thing for getting inspiration is to be open minded to everything around us.
On Instagram I follow so many talented people that I could easily give you over 50 names right away. You have actually interviewed many of my talented friends here and I'm excited every time I see their photos on my feed.
Here are just a few of my friends that I admire a lot:
Sarah - @ranasabw - Amazing moody feed with nature and self portrait shots. Beautiful feed, beautiful spirit.
Katja - @katja_marian - Her work gave me the inspiration to use Mextures. I really love her photos and I am grateful for her friendly support.
Poppy - @poppybarach - She takes amazing still life photos. Love her use of colors and editing style.
@moodulator - A couple who share wonderful photos with poems. I admire their work so much.
Mehran - @theeraserr - I love his moody nature shots. Amazing feed to follow.
Pete - @shutter_pete - such a great documentary photographer and storyteller.
And here are two talented and great Italian guys;
You can see more of Anna’s work here!