Summer full of pictures

This summer has been quite full of photography for me. I thought about making a separate post for each photo shoot but ended deciding against it. Most of the pictures I took were not really for me but for the people themselves and are memories of special moments. I was just able to help them out by giving them a digital representation of those moments.

It’s been a lovely summer and I l earned a lot about photography. Each shoot has been different and given me new challenges but I also learned something about myself during the whole thing. I figured out that I don’t want to work as a photographer.

Every time I have taken pictures for others it has been great and I love hearing that the people liked the pictures but it has also been quite stressful. Photography is difficult work and I am nowhere near the level of a professional who can deliver a consistently good product. I feel like I am in over my head most of the time and while I know that’s what learning is like, I don’t want to learn how to become a professional photographer. I just like to take pictures – especially of people.

I feel that it’s time that I take a little step back and figure out where I should take this skill from here on out. I have a few shoots that I have already planned to do with friends for the rest of the summer and I am looking forward to them. After that, I won’t be taking on much more projects until I have figured out where I want to go with my photography and how I want to get there.

Thank you to all of my friends who have given me a chance to take photos of them and have helped me work on my craft.

Vaiko Eplik singing

Vaiko Eplik with a guitar
Portrait of a woman

Portrait of a woman

Woman from the back

Paar seljatagant

Ivo laboratorium

(Virtual) moving day

For a while now I have been wondering what to do about my website. Until today it had been up on Squarespace, which is nice but since my website is not creating me any revenue, it is just too expensive to keep. Due to this indecisiveness I have refrained from posting any new things so I wanted to get it settled.

One option was to just let the contract run up and not do anything. I have a bunch of social media sites, do I even need a website? After a while, I figured I do. Mostly because I really like to have control over my virtual presence and I love owning my own domain (I actually have a few).

The other idea was to move everything to another hosting site and just run the website on WordPress. This seemed like the logical step as I have a lot of experience with it and while one of my older sites ran on Joomla, I really disliked it. WordPress is almost a no-brainer these days.

I started to do research on moving my website from Squarespace to WordPress and found it to be a bit more complex than I had initially thought. I got a lot of help from this post and Squarespace does have a way to export everything however I ran against many strange things. Importing the images was a huge issue. I finally figured out that the problem was in the theme I installed.

The scariest part was moving the domain from Squarespace to Luckily I had no problems with that and once I had confirmed the move on both sides, the domain directed to the new site. The best thing about this is that all the old links still work, so I guess it went as good as it could have gone.

There are many things I will miss about the old website. The main homescreen with the laboratorium image… Plus the post editor was really, really good in Squarespace. Nonetheless… I went from around 11 euros per month to two so no complaints here.

Sirgi in Kadriorg

Sirgi was visiting Tallinn and we decided to use the sunny evening to do a little photoshoot in Kadriorg. I felt like going with film this time as it had been a long time since I shot on film. I chose Portra 400 (I had it at home – a lower ISO would have been better for the sunny weather) and used my trusty Olympus OM-1 with a 50 mm f1.8 lens. Eva came and helped with many of the poses and a reflector.

Working with analog photography is so much more difficult than digital. I feel like I am making a lot of progress taking pictures overall. Going back to film is a real slap in the face – you have still much to learn son. I was struggling with framing because of my glasses and more than once forgot to check the exposure meter. Even my focus was off on a few shots. I am so used to automatic exposure and a large LCD screen.

Regardless, Sirgi was a great model and we did still get some lovely shots. I especially love the final right one.

Late night Tallinn

I got an impulsive idea yesterday evening to go and take some photos under the street lights. I asked my Facebook friends if anyone would like to model and Sirgi was interested.

I thought it would be a good test for both the camera and my own abilities and it really was. There was little to no light that would fall nicely on the subjects face and my ISO was up around 1600-3200 with shutter speeds getting quite critical for handheld. Next time, bring a tripod!

Nonetheless, we got quite nice shots and I got yet another bunch of valuable experience. If I would try these kinds of shots again, I would try to have an assistant with me with a reflector and I would definitely bring a tripod. There are really cool locations in Tallinn that look especially good at night so I would be interested in doing this again sometimes.

Christmas album 2015

Since 2006 I have tried to record a Christmas song every year, mostly with the help of my friends. This hasn’t always been successful but this year me and Helene Urva, who has written many of said songs, decided that we should put them all together in an album – “Lumele siniseid varje.”

All the songs were re-mixed and parts of them were re-recorded. The original feel of the songs was however kept intact. They are still pretty lo-fi and recorded and mixed at home. We also wrote a new song for this year: “Hingede aeg.”

Overall we collected 10 songs, that we have written and recorded over the years:

1. Ivo Krustok ja Kristiina Herkül – Laul sinule detsembris (Krustok/Üdi) – 2006
2. Ivo Krustok ja Helene Urva – Jõulurahu (Urva/Krustok) – 2008
3. Ivo Krustok ja Kristiina Herkül – Kummelitee (Krustok/Urva) – 2009
4. Ivo Krustok ja Helene Urva – Pilet (Urva/Krustok/Haav) – 2010
5. Ivo Krustok ja Helene Urva – Talveuni kalmistul (Urva/Krustok/Haav) – 2011
6. Ivo Krustok – Detsembriöö (Krustok) – 2011
7. Ivo Krustok ja Helene Urva – Tuisk (Urva/Krustok) – 2011
8. Ivo Krustok ja Eva Mustonen – Vihmase jõulu valss (Mustonen/Krustok/Haav) – 2013
9. Ivo Krustok ja Helene Urva – Hingede aeg (Urva/Krustok) – 2015
10. Ivo Krustok ja Helene Urva – Jõulurahu live – 2011

In addition to me and Helene, several of my friends have helped make this record possible. The full list of contributors is here:

Ivo Krustok – guitar, vocals (1-4; 8: 10), keys (8), bass (3; 9)
Helene Urva – lyrics (2-5; 7; 9-10), vocals (2; 4-5; 7; 9-10), keys (2; 4-5; 9), tin whistle (2)
Indrek Haav – bass (1; 4-5; 8)
Kristiina Herkül – vocals (1; 3)
Eva Mustonen – lyrics, melody and vocals (8)
Jüri Üdi – lyrics (1)

Eva Krustok, SilkWithTea – cover design

I am incredibly thankful to all of them for their help and to all of my friends who have supported over the years. A special thanks goes to Evelin, who lent me her bass guitar this year. I hope you have time to listen to this album and wish you all the best for your holidays.

You can listen to the album, and download it from: