Photos and Words

A personal blog about thoughts | moods | photos by Arnaldo Pellini

Posts from the ‘black and white’ category

Maybe it is because of ….

Complexity, Tampere 2022

Maybe it is because I am working with colleagues on the design of a research project that will apply a systems research framework to EdTech and education. Maybe it is because of the book I am reading: Steps to an Ecology of Mind by Gregory Bateson. Maybe it is because the days are getting longer here in Finland and when I am out in the early morning to walk our dog I notice the intricate patterns of the snow-covered tree branches. Maybe it is because of all these reasons being interlinked with each other that I notice the complex patter of the trees, their branches, the lakeshore, the snow, the Arboretum park, the frozen lake, etc etc etc. 

This is why I started to carry my camera during these morning walks and take photos of what I was not seeing in the same way until a few weeks ago. 

Bench with a view

Bench with a view, Tampere 2022

There is this bench at the end of this line of trees. It stands there looking out at the frozen lake on the other side of the lake. Day. Night. Snow. Rain. It stands there and looks out. I look at it and think about the people who come here and sit on it. Looking at the landscape and are lost in their thoughts. Week after week. Month after month. Some of them are worrying. Others enjoy the fresh air while looking out for their dog. Some sit here every day. Some take a deep breath and try to focus on it, leaving everything else behind and trying to be in the moment for a few seconds.

Winter trees

Winter trees, Tampere 2022

The winter is very slowly giving way to spring. Not that the spring temperatures are here, but there is more light in the morning, A few weeks ago I woudl have taken this photo in the dark. There is light. ThThe winter is very slowly giving way to spring. Not that the spring temperatures are here, but there is more light in the morning, A few weeks ago I would have taken this photo in the dark. There is light. There are more birds in the trees. The snow is still here and this year it keeps falling without stopping, but something new is in the air.

Signs of change

Lamp post, Tampere 2022

The mornings are still dark, but there are subtle signs of change in the air.

I am walking on the path next to the lake. There is mild wind from the East that runs over the empty space of the frozen lake. It feels colder than it actually is. We are at -8C this morning.
The dog stops in the middle of the path and looks at a person wearing a thick red winter jacket that has stopped 20 meters in front of us. I cannot see if it is a man or a woman. S/he looks up on a tree and is pointing a smartphone up.
It is too dark to take a photo with a smartphone. Strange.

I start walking towards that person and the dog follows me, reassured.
We got closer and I hear a new sound. Something I have not heard for some time during these morning walks. There are birds singing on that tree. They are hidden in the dark but we can clearly hear them.

The woman holding the phone up (I can see now that she is a woman) is not taking photos, but actually recording the sound of the birds. She turns towards me and says: “This is nice, isn’t it?”.
It is. It seems like a sound that I had forgotten for some time.


“Yes, they sound a bit like in early spring”, I reply.
“It is,” she says, “the first sign of spring.”

January mornings

Bicycle commute in January, Tampere 2022

This week I want to share some photos from my January morning walks.

January morning are dark. The sunrise is at about 9am. We have already passed the shortest day of the year which is on 21. December, but early morning are still with night darkness and streetlights.

I take our dog for a walk at about 7:15 and in early January i took with me also my camera. I wanted to take photographs of the path I walk every day in the forest and the park along the lake.

The streetlight with ice on them. The snow-covered party. The signposts standing alone in the cold.

Few people pass by on their bicycles on the way to work. The have halogen lights on. Multilayered sport clothes he’s to keep them warm.

We usually see 4-5 other dog owners out for the morning walk. Sometime they get closer and let the dogs meet and sniff at each other. Sometimes they prefer to stay away. We exchange few words to greet each other, with a good day, and then continue walking along the path.

Yeas, the morning in January at dark, but the days are getting longer and over the next few weeks the lights will get brighter and brighter until when the night will disappear completely.

Park bench

Park bench, Tampere 2022

The snows has been falling for several days. The snow machine move during the night to keep the paths cleared. They do that night after night. They move the snow on the side of the paths. There is this bench I pass by every morning. It is half submerged as the snow gets higher and higher. It sits at the edge of the light circle from a lamp post which is alarmingly diagonal. The bench seems trapped and unable to provide the sitting place it is meant to provide. In the meantime the snow continues to fall as we are entering the month of February.

The small farm

The small farm, Kontiola 2021

The farm is small. Four wooden houses and a barn. They create a space on their own. Families have lived here. Different generations under the same roof. They worked the land during the short summer and waited patiently during the winter. Kids walked along the gravel road to get to the primary school no matter how cold, snowy or rainy it was. This old farm was a shelter and place where people lived their lives.

The old barn

The old barn, Niinikumppu 2021

I really like this old barn. Its high roof. The stone and boulder thick walls. The shape of the windows. An old times building.

Winter roads

Winter roads, Niinikumppu 2021

The road is not slippery even though it is covered by a thick layer of dry snow. The air is clear. It is -15 Celsius and no forecast of snowfall. It will be a nice drive. We will get there on time.

Lake walk

Lake walk, Kontiola 2021

The lake is frozen now and a thick layer of snow stops the noises that the ice layers makes. Cracks, pangs, and bubbling sound between water and ice. The snow is like a blanket that puts everything on hold until the temperature starts to rise, the days will get longer, and spring will push to open the door of the winter.

The old house

The old house, Kontiola 2021

Over the years when passing by this wooden house near Kontiola, I have wondered whether it is abandoned or not. I never saw a light on in it. Now, in the winter, the window has a thick layer of ice which means that the house is not heated.

The house sits in the middle of a field. It keeps the grey and brown colour of old wood. There are a couple of pine trees next to it like standing guard. That’s it. Season after season the house stands there.

A family must have lived there? When was that? How long ago did they live? What was their life? Who was the last one living there? Did they have to clear the field from the forest? How hard was it to live there?

I guess it is my curiosity, but I wonder about these questions every time I pass next to it when I am in Eastern Finland visit our relatives

Early morning encounter

Treeline, Niinikumppu 2021

Some of the photos in this blog are not linked to the blog post I write. That is because I do not have the camera with me at all times. I am reviewing the photos I took in the end of the year in Eastern Finland, while getting on with life here in Tampere.

Early in the morning on Friday, I was out for the morning walk with our dog. I went to the park nearby on the lakeshore. At one point I was walking towards the woman who was also out with her dog. As usually, my dog got on alert and stopped. He would not move. The woman walk a bit more towards us and then stopped as well, her dog on alert as well. We were about 10 meters apart. She said something in Finnish which id di not get. I said anteekesi? (sorry?). She saw that I was not from here maybe from the accent, maybe from the way I look and shook her head moving with her dog into the deep snow on the side of the path. She did not want the dog to meet. She was walking in the deep snow and I said again anteeksi? She kept walking. I then said voit puhua! (you can talk!) She stopped. She was a bit distant now. Siad again something I did not catch and walked away.

I was upset when I turned around to walk towards home. I felt again as the foreigner. But what did it mean? Why did she get so upset? Why wouldn’t she make an effort to communicate with me? I kept walking, hearing the snow crunching under my boots in the sub-zero temperature. My dog kept sniffing things. Pulling right and left oblivious of the encounter we just had. it was just another dog.

I was still upset imagining reasons as to why she would have reacted like that towards me. Maybe she had a bad night. Maybe it was the dog walk after a night shits and she was super tired. Maybe she just doe snot like foreigners. Maybe she feels uncomfortable when she realises that she cannot use Finnish with another person.

I told myself to stop figuring out things that were impossible to figure out. There is certainly a story behind that person (See Gregory Bateson). Our stories touched for a brief moment and that’s is. No more and no less.

At the same time, I thought about the bus driver who politely greets passengers on the city busses. The guy who came to the door of the swimming pool and kindly explained to me that it was closed due to Covid.

I have many of these examples and want to remember them more than the encounter of Friday morning. They are part of the same system of complex interrelationships I live in.

As simple and complex as that.

The old trees

The old trees, Niinikumppu 2022

I remember when the top of the Niinikumppu hill was full of trees. It had always been like that. Then, a couple of years ago during the summer, a strong storm hit the hill and many (if not most) of the old pine trees fell. Luckily no buildings were damaged. It took a while the clear the hill from the fallen trees. This morning I was walked past the hill and took the photo of the few trees that were strong enough to sustain the storm. The hill looks barren but it is recovering. In no time there will be younger trees next to the the ones.

Forest clearing

Forest clearing, Kontiola 2021

I had an early walk this morning. The wind was strong and it carried new snow. After few minutes from the cottage where I am staying, I noticed an open patch in the forest. I never noticed before. They must have cleared the forest last summer. They left some of the smaller trees next the path but they do not hide the clearing which is now there. It will disappear again in 15 years or so when the pines trees will have regrown.

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