Chandler , AZ
Photography has always been my passion for as far back as I can remember. I look at the world through my camera and try to capture what I see as the beauty in the world.
Living in Arizona offers me a wide variety of photo opportunities of the beautiful US Southwest. My love for nature has found me photographing a variety of subjects from nature landscapes to wild animals in the Southwest.
I love to share my work with others and hope to evoke emotion with my photography and hope to do so for years to come!. Please enjoy browsing through my galleries.
Saija Lehtonen Paints with a Lens
by Marilyn Noble
January 16, 2015
Saija Lehtonen says the shutterbug bit her at the age of twelve when she first saw a book of Ansel Adams’s work. She then took her first photos with an inexpensive little Kodak camera. But even before photography captured her interest, she was a budding young artist, winning her first award at the age of six for a drawing of a Disney dragon for a contest in Finland, her home country. Her commitment to visual art has in another award — her image of a 1959 Cadillac El Dorado tail fin was the grand prize winner in the Rio Nuevo fall photo contest.
Lehtonen took a few art classes in college, but she says she’s mostly self-taught. She also goes on photo shoots with her photographer friends and learns tips and techniques from them. Her early experiences with painting and drawing infuse her photographs with a painterly quality – many look like they came off an easel rather than out of a camera. “I combine the two without even really thinking about it,” she says. “I love sunrises and sunsets and I’m always chasing the perfect light.”
Now a resident of Chandler, Ariz., Lehtonen was born and spent her early years in Finland. Her family moved to the U.S. when she was still in school and lived all over the Southwest. “I love it here, and that’s why I stayed. I love to be out exploring, to see what I can find. It’s an outlet for me and allows me to get away from everything.”
Lehtonen is out in the desert nearly every day shooting mainly landscapes, but she also enjoys animal shots. “I love the interaction with animals, and I’ve never had a fear of them,” she says. “If you give them space and respect, they’ll give it back.”
A Nikon user, Lehtonen started with film and has moved on to digital, doing her own processing with Photoshop. She’s been making a living with her fine art photography for about the last five years.
If you want to become an accomplished photographer, Lehtonen advises that you get out at least once a day and take some shots. “You’ll develop your creative eye and begin seeing things differently,” she says. She’s also a big advocate of learning from friends. As in any pursuit, spending time with people who do it well and paying attention to what they do and how they do it will help increase your own skills.
“I’m just trying to share the beauty I see with others,” Lehtonen says. “It’s nice to see people enjoying my work and it’s always nice to hear from them.”
April 2018 - Published in Arizona Highways 2019 Calendar
Jan 2018 - Published in Arizona Highways Magazine
Sept 2016 - Published in Arizona Highways Magazine
2010 - Winner of the "America's Next Master Photographer"
Published in the 2013 CMA Calendar
Published in the 2014 CMA Calendar - cover image
Finalist in the 2012-2013 Arizona Highways Photo Contest
Finalist in the 2015-2016 Arizona
Highways Photo Contest
Published Arizona Republic July 2015
Published In Popular Photography Magazine July 2015
Published in Arizona Highways Magazine April 2016
Winner in the 2015-2016 Arizona Highways Magazine Photo Contest - 2nd place
Showcased on AAA Highroads TV show
I hope that you enjoy viewing my images, as much as I enjoy capturing them! Your comments inspire me!
Copyright 2018 Saija Lehtonen Photography, All Rights Reserved Copying, altering, displaying or redistribution of any of these images without written permission from the
artist is strictly prohibited.