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Alvaro Vogel somewhere in the Hokkaido roadside steeps.

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Canadian trees from Monashee Powder Snowcats

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Photographer Rami Hanafi enjoying Kiwi powder with Alpine Helicopters, Wanaka

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Photographer Jani Kärppä and B-cam videographer Matti Ollila in Kagura, Japan

BC in B&W

Last february we went to British Columbia to shoot Approach&Attack project. These photos are snapshots I took with my pocket camera, LOMO LC-A. Excellent little camera that does its own magic with the available light. There is something going on in the exposure meter of this little thing, most of the times it just works in a way that never stops amaze me. Super easy to shoot and I really enjoy it with black&white film, this time it was Fomapan 400asa. British Columbia itself was awesome, despite we had some bad luck with the weather and warm fronts coming in couple of times during the trip. We visited resorts around Nelson, did some hiking and splitboarding in mountain passes and had few days of awesome powder in Valhalla Powdercats. From there we had the opportunity to visit Monashee Powder Snowcats.

Nelson has excellent location and a lot of options to do and you can find much cheaper accommodation than from the resorts or lodges. Highly recommended!

Our crew in Valhalla Powder Cats, Nelson BC.

Our crew in Valhalla Powdercats, Nelson BC.

Snowdog somewhere in the Valhalla Snow Cats backcountry

Snowdog somewhere in the Valhalla Powdercats backcountry

Kootenay Pass view

Kootenay Pass view

Antti and Miikka hiking up in  Kootenay Pass

Antti and Miikka hiking up in Kootenay Pass

Miikka Hast slashing some pow in Kootenay Pass

Miikka Hast slashing some pow in Kootenay Pass

View from Whitewater resort

View from Whitewater resort

Miikka and classic moustache

Miikka and classic moustache

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At times it was snowing constantly

Fellow photographer Kärppä hiking in Whitewater

Fellow photographer Kärppä hiking in Whitewater

French snowboarder Sylvain Bourbousson joined the crew for few days in Monashee Powder Snow Cats

French snowboarder Sylvain Bourbousson joined the crew for few days in Monashee Powder Snowcats

Some random drive-by guitar player

Some random drive-by guitar player

Kiwi style!

06_NZ13_heli1_TeemuLahtinen 43I have been privileged to come to New Zealand for three years in a row now and this country never stops amazing me! Sceneries are jaw-dropping, people are friendly and there is always things to do even when the weather is not on your side. Wanaka, Queenstown and Arrowtown are fun to chill out on a day off the slopes or when backcountry is inaccessible. There is always an option to go cruising quality park and pipes shaped to perfection in Cardrona or longer runs in Treblecone. And yes, there is sweet mini-pipe or more like an old school pipe in Cardies!

Filming in NZ requires good planning and good group to work with. Big thanks to Southern Lakes HeliskiAlpine Helicopters and Triple Point Expeditions! Everything has to work when you try to get things done in the right way. Scouting for locations is expensive if you have to go out finding spots with a helicopter. Guides make our life a lot easier with their knowledge about terrain and the conditions. Being here for third time also helps out since we have some knowledge of what is out there. Having a map or two will not hurt either.

Antti and Tucker from Triple Point Expeditions planning

Antti and Tucker from Triple Point Expeditions planning days ahead

Flying to our destination with Alpine Helicopters

Flying to our destination with Alpine Helicopters

Dealing with the weather takes a lot of patience and willpower to get you through those grey days. And not only grey days, day after snowstorm in the mountains usually means dealing with high risk of avalanches. It is not just glory and endless powder, mostly time goes by just wishing it was, but then comes those days that just makes it all worth to come filming in NZ. It would be such a bummer to leave without the shots that you came here for, so playing the waiting game is essential. We have had five days of heli in three weeks now and we consider ourselves lucky!

Antti slashing through small avalanches

Antti slashing through small avalanches

We have still one more week to make this trip even better, if the weather allows we might be flying but after two full days its time to relax and recharge batteries. Take a beer or two, chill out in the city and then what? Shotover jet on the river? Bungee or cliffjump? Skating the pools or Dream ramp? Frisbee golf in superb sceneries? Kayaking again? As one snowboarder once said there is infinite potential and that is so true in New Zealand. If we have time we go for everything!

Down days with Rami Hanafi on a kayak.

Down days with Rami Hanafi on a kayak.

Tailsliding the Dream ramp. Antti behind the camera this time!

Tailsliding the Dream ramp. Antti behind the lens this time!

Universe_NZ_photoTeemulahtinen 6NZ4_heli3_photoTeemulahtinen 46NZ4_heli3_photoTeemulahtinen 4NZ_arrow_photoTeemulahtinen 45Kiwi Style is common phrase down here but last year fellow snowboarder, the Frenchie Sylvain Bourbousson gave it a new meaning; People are driving their cars like crazy in here. If you are pedestrian on crosswalk they will not stop to wait for you, they try to run over, it´s crazy and Kiwi style!

 

Super lightweight video crane

I got an idea one day of combining my tripod, videohead and monopod to make up a simple video crane. I can not hike around lugging crane in my backbag so I have never felt need for one. I have found ways to overcome or just decided to get different types of shots. Some overhead shots, raises and long sideways movements are just not possible without it so this got me thinking of making one from the stuff I always carry around.

After getting initial idea of such thing I was trying to figure out how to attach monopod to videohead and remembered that I bought Manfrotto Nano Clamp last year, and it just lies in my backbag for occasional use when clamping cameras onto trees or something. Super small, yet sturdy clamp was like made for this. Attaching triangular shaped Manfrotto 390 monopod to it was easy.

This whole setup is made from things that I always carry in my backpack while filming so there is no extra weight to get it to work. No need for building, no need for any tricks, just combine the different camera supports and you get working crane in couple of minutes. It works best for overhead types of things or when you have to move your camera hanging outside from a ledge or cliff example. Much easier than trying to hold your camera on a monopod by your hands only.

The setup has some flaws, first of all it is not truly a crane or jib since the camera is fixed in position with regular ballhead, there are no joints for camera to swivel, pan or anything. It is not steady on small or flimsy tripods, I used Gitzo Systematic series 4 tripod and with that using crane was easy, I doubt my Gitzo traveler can hold it. Clamp attachment to Manfrotto videohead is done by just screwing it into quick release plate, this can move if you are not holding the monopod while turning. I think I can figure out a better solution to some of its flaws but right now I am happily using this little trick to combine different elements into a whole new thing that allows me to shoot different types of shots.

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Crane in use, this time from up to downwards movement. Better to use both hands, one on the handle and other on the monopod.

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Attachment to plate and head. This is weak spot but it can handle DSLR with fixed lens no problem.

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Head on my monopod is Manfrotto 492, really sturdy and small ballhead easily enough for Nikon D800 and 16mm Zenitar Fisheye.

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Combine these things and you get fully working crane!

Hakkaisan powder

Inbounds powder in Hakkaisan resort at Muikamachi, Niigata, Japan with Antti Autti and Joel Lahti. We had so much powder overnight that Hakkaisan sidecountry was too deep to ride. With more snow coming, bad visibility forced us to do some followcams, and quick photos on the side of the slopes. Forest lines on the way down ensured quality time in Niigata!

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Bullet train

Japan from a different angle, this time across the country with Shinkansen bullet train. Quick journey from Tokyo took us to Niigata area where we will stay for the next 10 days filming for upcoming project. On board with Antti Autti and Joel Lahti. Stay tuned for more!01_jap_shin_photoTeemulahtinen 02_jap_shin_photoTeemulahtinen 03_jap_shin_photoTeemulahtinen 18 04_jap_shin_photoTeemulahtinenjpg

Year 2012 in B&W

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Back from holidays

Oh yeah, its time to get back to work. I was lucky enough to have almost three weeks of summer holidays this year. Still few days of summer left before going down under to New Zealand. In the meantime, enjoy some holiday photos!

Miikka wakesurfing and Antti driving the jet

Still life in the midnight sun

Swedish Terrible feelings at Hässäkkäpäivät, Oulu

Crowd lifts up the fallen PA equipment at Terveet Kädet gig in Hässäkkäpäivät, Oulu

Aada keeping it cool by swimming and shaking

Thrandarjökull glacier from the Icelandair jet

Cave and other strange looking rock formations near Vik, Iceland

Somewhat the symbol of Iceland, Puffin. This reminds me of an album called “a mouthful” from band called “The Do”

Vatnajökull glacier near Skaftafjell, Iceland

This broke off from the glacier just few hours before we were on a boat in Jökulsárlón glacier lake. First the glacial ice is blue and in few hours it turns into milky white.

Reykjavik is full of great murals and graffitis. Definitely worth a visit!

New project on the way

New season and new project on the way. Last season was all about Antiout the movie. This season I am working with Antti Autti on Relate To It webisodes that will be broadcasted online at Transworld Snowboarding and Onboard magazines and anttisworld.com website.

We started the project from Revelstoke, Canada late last year and currently we are filming in Hokkaido, Japan. With record-breaking snowfalls Japan is the place to be at the moment!

Antti and Miikka Hast at Revelstoke, BC Canada.

Photographer Jani Kärppä from Lappikuva and Antti just before the last run of the day. Me and Jani decided to take a run just for fun after hard day of hiking and filming and Antti had enough energy to tag along. According to Antti the backcountry code goes like: “Never leave your buddies” and thats the way it should be at all times when you are out there with your friends!

New tools for the trade. I wanted to take it easier this year and decided to get a split-board. It saves energy and hikes are way more easier when you don´t have to carry your board and struggle through the deep snow. For steeper and shorter runs I still prefer my regular (goofy) board!

Japan randomness clockwise from top left: #1 Check out this gallon of whisky, Jani is having a laugh and wondering should we take some quality time off from the slopes? #2 Some Japanese guy recognized Antti at local grocery store and wanted to have a photo with him. #3 Our car just before arriving at Niseko, check out that huge pile of snow at the roof! #4 You can get everything from the vending machines, this one had toys, toys, toys and seeds to grow your own radish!

Traveling with photo gear

Traveling with photography- and video gear is pain in the ass most of the times. Not only its heavy but it can get broken, maybe not by you but by someone else. You have to be prepared for everything and that is why there is usually too much stuff to carry around. Everything that you can fit goes in your backbag and inside the cabin if you are traveling by air, and don´t mind the weight limits, the size matters more! When you show your baggage contents to airport officials they usually let you take it with you even if it is too heavy. It gets too risky and pricey for them to get your expensive gear down at baggage compartment. Everything else must go down, and that is something you can´t control yourself. Better to get some Pelican-case or similar if you´re really worried, but I think it gets too heavy and complicated to lug around multiple cases and snowboard bags. You think you packed everything safe and sound but still your gear gets smashed. Lets face it, those airline workers won´t handle your luggage the way you do it yourself.

This was the result after flights from Helsinki via Copenhagen to Bergen in Norway. Thank you SAS! With this protector filter they smashed my 1TB external hard-drive. Both items packed inside tough Dakine bag, wrapped around with couple of shirts, fleeces and beanies. I made the complaint of damaged gear during flight but never got response. After couple of months I called back and the process was started but it has been six months and nothing, not even excuses.

Here is another pic of my trusty old 80-200 Nikkor which was fine after I changed the smashed filter. Another good reason for wearing one at all times!

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