Adventures of a father and a photographer. Tales about the mystery and excitement of family travel.

torstai 26. elokuuta 2021

torstai 19. elokuuta 2021

Thoughts Flying Like Butterflies


Funny incidents happen when you walk on the town and keep your eyes open. These kids were walking by and I noticed the painted butterflies. All of a sudden I saw how the butterflies were coming out of the boy's mind. And the girl seems to be starting to fly away. Talk about timing!

More photos at


tiistai 15. tammikuuta 2019

Mums In Control

I was at the Disneyland Paris walking to the Toy Story land with my kids. There was quite a lot of people there, although it was low season. I held the hands of the kids tightly not to lose them in the crowd.

All of a sudden, I heard a loud voice beside me: "Caroline, hurry up! We are going to miss the rides!" The noise was so demanding, I just had to turn around and look where it came from. I saw a small family with a mother pushing a trolley. From the look in her face and the tone of her voice, I could tell Caroline was going to be in trouble pretty soon.

The family consisted of a teenage son, twins in the trolley, the mother and Caroline somewhere out of sight. The mom wasn't too tall, maybe 150 cm with her shoes on. But although she had her hands full, she was keeping the group together, despite of Caroline's wild nature.

Then, suddenly, the teenager sneezed and mother responded immediately, automatically: "Bless you" with a heart full of warmth. Just a microsecond after she had yelled at Caroline.

Isn't it wonderful how mothers can keep it all together? No matter what happens, mum will always be there. Keeping everybody together, getting to the rides on time, pushing the twins around in a trolley, keeping an eye on Caroline and minding about the health of the teenager. Can't help but admire them!

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

If you have read my previous posts, you know that I have a soft spot for Panasonic cameras with Leica lenses. A little while ago, a friend of mine was selling his Lumix DMC-LX3. It's not a brand new model, but I noticed the magical L-word on the lens. He was asking 50 euros for the camera.

I've got not much use for point-and-shoot cameras, but I have been looking for a small camera for street photography. This one looked like it would be perfect to carry around. And it had a beautiful leather housing, too.

I gave in to my temptation and bought it. The lens worked just as beautifully as I expected. Excellent, sharp photos even in challenging conditions. The 10 megapixel sensor isn't the best one around, but it will do.

And, when I studied the internet, I found out that the DMC-LX3 seems to be a Leica D-LUX 4 in disguise. A Japanese Leica, but Leica camera anyway! When have you bought a Leica camera for 50 euros?

My adventures with my previous Panasonic camera can be read here.

You can read more about the camera here.


maanantai 29. lokakuuta 2018

Seat By The Exit

I love going to the movies. The big screen experience is still something else than watching the movie at home, no matter how big your TV screen is. All the sounds and even the smell of a movie theater can really take you to another world!

Unless you are in the theater with somebody who doesn't care if he ruins the other people's experience. Once, I went to see a James Bond movie. Behind me sat a couple of ladies and one of them was explaining what is going to happen in the movie to the other one. During the whole movie, I heard behind me: "Now he's going to jump into the car. He'll drive down the stairs. Soon the car will break in two" and so on. I can't imagine why she was doing that. She had obviously seen the movie before. But why would she come back with a friend and ruin her and all the other people's movie experience. I thought maybe her friend was blind. But why would a blind person come to the movies?

Another time, I was in the movies watching a comedy. I can't remember the title of the movie, but I surely can remember a guy sitting in front of me. He was breathing very heavily, almost like falling asleep. He was laughing very loudly, but every time, in the wrong place. At some point he started to comment the movie in a loud voice. But the comments were just bizarre. Almost like they had nothing to do with the movie. Soon after that he actually fell asleep and started snoring. It was pretty obvious he was very drunk. But why would you come to the movies, when you cant' remember anything of the movie afterwards?

Ok, years of parenting have taught me a little bit of the etiquette of going to the movies. We were at the Warner Brothers Movie World at Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. They have a 4D theater there and the show at the time was a cartoon starring Wile K. Coyote and Road Runner. They had all kinds of special effects like water spraying to your face and shaking seats. I went to see the movie with my two sons, then five and two years old.

When you go to the movies with the kids, always stay near the exit. Because, at some point, you will hear a small voice saying: "Daddy, I need to go." No matter how many times you go to the rest rooms before the show, it is going to happen. It is, trust me. But, when you're sitting by the exit, you can leave and return without disturbing the rest of the audience too much. Hopefully.

Well, this particular theater didn't have a lavatory, but a very polite representative of the staff told me that if we sat in the back row and right in the corner, we could get out fast and find the facilities right outside the building.

And yes, just about two minutes before the end of the movie, the little sound was heard. We rushed to the exit and got out. Just a little bit of light got into the darkened theater. And as our eyes were getting used to the light, I suddenly noticed we had bumped into Batman! He was on his way to the main street of the park. We just stared at each other for a while, before we had to rush to the toilets. I had no time for autographs.

Joby Gorillapod For DSLR

I'm always very careful when traveling with a tripod. They are very cumbersome to carry around, especially if you have kids with you. If you have to choose between carrying your child or carrying a heavy tripod, you really don't have to think about it. That's why I hardly ever carry a tripod on my travels, especially if I'm going on a plane. The security people might have something to say about aluminium tubes in your hand luggage. And I've had my way with the security people.

That's why I prefer all kinds of weird tripods without any metal tubes. For example, the Joby Gorillapod models are just great. They are lightweight and really sturdy when attached correctly to a steady support. I've had an incident with a Gorillapod, too, but in general they are just ideal for travelers.

But if you have a DSLR, choose the most sturdy model of the Gorillapods. You can read more about these gadgets here.


torstai 13. syyskuuta 2018

Big City, Small Camera

About 15 years ago, I was in London. I participated in an educational event for three days. In the evenings I rushed to downtown London to see and photograph all the world famous sites.

I wish I had had my current equipment with me back then. My digital camera was the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC20. In the early years of the 21st century, a two megapixel digital camera was quite all right. There were quite a lot of five megapixel cameras on the market, but they were well over my budget.

So, I carried the little Lumix with me around London. I saw the Big Ben, St. Paul's Cathedral, the Thames, Tower Bridge, Harrods, Madame Tussauds and all. I tried to see as much as I could in three days! When I finally got to my hotel room in the night, the blisters on my feet were very painful.

One day I managed to get in at Westminster Abbey, on a guided tour. In the beginning of the tour the guide told us that we are not allowed to take photos inside the abbey. The look on his face told me that he knew the sentence had no effect at all. People in the group were all getting their cameras ready. I think somebody even took a picture of the guide himself.

As the tour went on, the more and more shutter clicks were heard. People were taking enormous amounts of photos inside the iconic place, me included. The frustrated guide tried to stop us again and again to no effect.

When the tour was almost over the guide showed us the final architectural details and tried to get us outside. When people were not so effectively trying to hide their photographic equipment, the guide got tired and said: Ok, but just one more. Immediately, at least forty camera lenses were pointed at him and the beautiful abbey and the sound of the shutters filled the air.

Velbon Ultra Stick L50 Monopod

Because I was photographing the sights in the evening, I really would have needed some kind of support for my camera. Unfortunately, the only tripod I owned was the Focal model I had purchased in Florida and that one was too heavy for the trip. Later I got my hands on the Velbon monopod which would have been perfect for the evening trips to the city.

The monopod is very light, easy to use and easily extendable. You just twist the tubes and you have a 155 cm tall support for your camera. I must say, the monopod doesn't give too much support for a heavy DSLR, but for a point-and-shoot or a mobile phone camera, the stick is just perfect. I got myself a Chinese plastic mobile phone holder just for the monopod. The stick has a standard screw on top of it, so you can attach almost any kind of camera or adapter to it.

Read more about the monopod here.

You can read more about the Focal tripod here.

You can read more about the little Lumix with the Leica lens here.

torstai 6. syyskuuta 2018

Fields Of Gold

Harvest is always very interesting time in the rural Finland. There's quite a lot of traffic on the road when farmers are transferring their machinery from one field to another. The huge harvesters fill the narrow roads and the tractors are forming long queues behind them.

Usually the harvest goes on at the same time with the migration of the large birds. The fields are full of swans, cranes and geese. So, the bird watchers and photographers create another threat for the traffic.

And of course, the actual fields of gold are a wonderful subject for photography. Photographers like me park their cars by the fields and run by the straw bales to take idyllic pictures.

One day, I was doing just that. I parked my old car by a beautiful field and took my tripod and camera bag out to the field. Literally. On that particular field, the farmer had wrapped the bales in yellow plastic. I thought the bales looked just lovely, almost like Easter eggs.

I set up my gear and took some photos with small aperture and low angle. I was so artistic I thought I would be the next Ansel Adams. Concentrating on my picturesque photography I didn't notice that a pickup truck came by and stopped behind my car.

Suddenly a man in wellingtons and overalls was standing behind me. He didn't look too happy. I scared so much I almost jumped in the air (and I was on my knees taking the low angle art photos). The man seemed to be the owner of the field and he thought I was some kind of government inspector. My camera with the tripod looked like a metering device to him.

When my pulse calmed down I managed to explain that I'm only taking photos. I'm not an inspector of any kind. I didn't mention anything about artistic approach to photography. The farmer seemed to be content to my introduction and mentioned that there are all kinds of inspectors around in this time of the year. I believed him and told him so. Just in case I also told him that I'm going to photograph some bales on the next field too. That didn't bother him at all as long I wasn't an inspector.

Another reason to carry your printed portfolio in your camera bag. Just in case somebody thinks you're an agricultural inspector.

Lensbaby Scout with fisheye optic

I've always been a big fan of all kinds of peculiar photography devices. Well, Lensbaby Scout is a very interesting little device. You can use it with different kind of optics like fisheye, soft-focus and pinhole. I have only the fisheye optic. But what makes the Scout different from the other lensbaby products is the fact that it doesn't bend. The other products are typically tilt-shift lenses.

You can get very interesting effects by using the fisheye optic in the Scout. Basically you get a very wide angle photo with round edges. I used to do quite a lot of fisheye photography with it before I got my hands on the Walimex fisheye lens. With that one you get rid of the round edges.

It would be interesting to try out the other optics in the Scout.

You can read more about the Scout here. And more about the Walimex fisheye lens here.

torstai 30. elokuuta 2018

One Million Mosquitoes Can't Be Wrong

Ah, the nightless night! Above the Arctic Circle the sun really doesn't set at all in the summertime. I was traveling with my family at Ylläs, the Finnish Lapland last summer and testified the white nights with my own eyes.

It's quite strange that in the middle of the night it's as light as in the daytime. At 11PM I was walking with my dog and the sun was as bright as in the middle of the day! And it was warm! Almost hot to me. It was +28 degrees Celcius! In the warmer countries it usually gets cooler when the sun sets, but if the sun doesn't set at all, the air is just warm all night long.

And I live in the Northern part of Finland, although the Arctic Circle is way up in the North. The sunlight in the middle of the night was still something I hadn't experienced in my life.

But, with the light comes a bit of a nuisance. There are literally millions of mosquitoes up there in the summertime. They are everywhere! And they get everywhere! And they bring their friends and family too!

I thought a small lake by the Ylläs fjell looked beautiful on this nightless night. What a gorgeous photo it would make. I stepped out of my car and I was instantly surrounded by just about two million small friends. The Aussies have a gesture called 'the Aussie wave'. At the moment that was hardly enough, I needed a gesture I could call 'the Finnish windscreen vipers'.

But I was the lucky one. I could drive the insects away with my other hand while the other one was holding the camera. There was another enthusiastic cameraman on the beach, too. And he had a drone with him. He began to fly his toy over the lake and in seconds there was a black cloud around his head. But he couldn't hush them away because he had to steer his quadcopter with both hands!

I managed to get my shot of the lake, but when I was looking at the photos back home, I noticed a big black thing in one of the shots. One of the mosquitoes was very eager to get his photo taken.

Olympus 28mm f3.5 lens

I have a soft spot for the old manual pancake lenses. They are very sharp and cost almost nothing. I have a Olympus OM-to-Canon EOS adapter and I have been using my old Olympus lenses on my EOS bodies with success. I recently got the 28mm Olympus lens from eBay, because I wanted a wide angle manual lens for my landscape photography. I knew the old Olympus lenses are great and managed to get this one under 30 euros. And the lens exceeds all expectations! It's a very sharp lens! I could use it in street photography, too!

You can read more about the lens here.

And you can read about my adventures with the Olympus lenses here, here and here.

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