Viking and Wolfhounds! A Hiberno-Norse themed photoshoot in Moscow with Irish Wolfhounds from kennel “ИЗ ВОЛШЕБНОГО ЛЕСА”, (“From the Magic Forest”), . Viking reenactor Anthony Arndt models.

The Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet) at sunset, January 2010. The Blue Mosque is Istanbul's most famous landmark and a symbol of the city.

I was featured on the Photoshelter blog today! (They provide websites for photographers with print on demand and stock sales built in.) One of my photos from Istanbul in 2010 is on there.

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A man in Viking costume holds a young raven on his arm at  the third Times and Epochs Festival , Moscow Russia (Времена и Эпохи).
Times and Epochs Festival 3 , Moscow Russia (??????? ? ?????) (Kira Hagen)

A man in medieval costume holds a raven on his arm at the third Times and Epochs Festival, Moscow Russia (Времена и Эпохи) (Kira Hagen)

I just got home from shooting over 3,000 photos at the third Times and Epochs festival, and I just love this photo so I’m posting it event though I’ve got nothing else from this event fully processed. My husband, the man in the photo, had gotten swamped by people requesting their photo taken with him, like always (he doesn’t mind), and I’d wandered off to browse the merchant booths. Then I saw someone had handed him their pet raven to pose with, and I just picked up my skirts and ran back to grab a couple shots. The raven’s barely more than a baby – two months old – and was well behaved but for trying to steal his cloak brooch.

Tony is very strongly Asatru and hails Odin as his patron, who of course has the two ravens, Thought and Memory – Hugin and Munin – flying through the world and whispering its secrets to him. So a photo that looks this mythic and Norse really pleased him, and I think other people might like it too.

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Wealthy Varangian Viking (Tony Arndt). Decorative feather stitch on cloak, rings and bracelets are replicas of Scandinavian and Baltic finds, the Thor's Hammer is a Gotland replica, drinking horn Sutton Hoo replica, and his is shirt diamond twill wool with tablet woven silk trim. Photo by Kira Hagen 2013

Some Moscow friends are doing Viking-themed entertainment evenings (“Поход Харальда” or “Event Herald” is the name of the group) and I’ve been doing a side of “your photo with a Viking!” as part of the entertainment. At the last one I got a bunch of the performers, and my husband who was in garb but just there for the medevouha (beer strength Russian mead) to pose for me. My lighting setup was a single Yongnuo 565 ex II on manual set on a stand about 3 feet from the models, using a shoot-through white umbrella for the big soft light. The warm tones of the wooden walls at Starry Melnitsa (Old Windmill) Restaurant complemented the historic garb nicely.

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Guaita Tower, San Marino

The Republic of San Marino is a lovely little microstate near Rimini, Italy. Feeling the need to get away from another endless Moscow winter, my husband and I ran off to Italy for 3 days on a “Hot Tour!” that included airfare and a hotel for a ridiculously low price. We spent the first day exploring Rimini, the second in Urbino, and on the third took a bus over to the old city part of San Marino. It’s a beautiful fortified mountaintop full of winding streets and friendly people, with great restaurants and cafes and the best beer I’ve ever had in Italy.

I’m trying the beta of Lightroom 5 right now and all these photos have been processed and labeled using that software, so you can go through the photos and see at least basic explanations of what’s in them.


Here’s the best pics from the January open studio day. Not many models but we had a lot of fun and will probably do another at the end of February. Dzhennet and Karina modeled in a variety of costumes ranging from Roman to fiddle-wielding fairy, a bottle of white wine was consumed, and much fun was had by all involved. The new light kit worked well, though it took a little getting used to; it’s 2 softboxes and a rim light, a grid and a set of gels in primary colors. I’ve got a small umbrella for my speedlight and am thinking about getting a really big one for the studio too.


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At the end of September, I hosted a photoshoot in my kitchen studio for the Runejar reenactment club. Having 15 people in my studio flat, plus shields, axes, and armor, was really something. Their group focuses on the 10th Century Viking Rus, but includes women doing reconstructions of Alania period dress as well . They use the Valknut, symbol of the Norse god Odin, on their shields and flag – you can see it fairly often in my reenactment photos, as I’ve gotten to be decent friends with some of the group members. Anyway, these photos were basically promo material for their October event, Zazime, which I’ll post about  soon (they are already photos in the Facebook Photostream section: Portraits and Event Photography).


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Saklikent Dreaming - Glacial

Basically just messing around with some travel pictures from the summer school I worked at in Turkey – we did an excursion to this wonderful marble canyon. The walls were as sensuously curved as Classical sculpture, but there was a wildness too… Well, I was there at midday and the light was only so-so, and I was just scanning through my Lightroom presets and thought some X= presets (I have one called X=Polaroid+Blue but can’t find it on their site now; it might be a mod I did) made the stones look eerily bone-like.  So I picked out about a dozen images that suited the style, applied that preset, and then played with them until I liked them.

I’ve been struggling a bit with decisions about how extreme to go in post processing. Mainly, the rise of Instagram and quickie filters for cameraphone images now means that there’s a lot of work out there in a style I generally like – blurry, impressionist, old-fashioned… but done horribly. Cheaply. Badly. Flat colors, dead tones, lifeless imitations.

I don’t use them incredibly often, but I have a Lensbaby Original and a pinhole plate for my Canon 60D. Using the Lensbaby is like painting with fat, sloppy oils using long-bristled brushes. Not precise – not at all! – but beautiful in its imprecision. I think the software imitations are on par with those “Turn your photo into a real sketch!” apps out there – there’s just no substitute for attention to process, detail, skill, and simple passion.

Well, here’s the rest of the set. You can find them at in the  Saklikent Dreaming Gallery if you don’t see the embedded slideshow below.

Saklikent Abstracts – Images by Kira Hagen

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Stony shores of Långvik bay near Helsinki

Stony shores of Långvik bay near Helsinki[/caption]Just returned from a ten day trip to Finland with the family of one of my English students. We spent a good bit of time fishing off this island, catching one pike there. About where these wonderful rocks began, I handed off my pole and picked up my camera – hadn’t caught anything but weeds (lots and lots of them) anyway.

I’ve recently been going through some tutorials on image enhancement, and one thing I saw for really making a photo “pop” was pulling out the reds and oranges. I’m not sure if I overdid it here or not, though – the rocks were vividly orange, but not quite this much. We were out under midday sun and I’d much preferred to have been there during golden hour, which was unfortunately impossible. In this picture I tipped the lighting towards golden hour saturation, purely for artistic reasons. What do you think?



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