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

maanantai 25. syyskuuta 2017

Flying Saucers Over Tampere

Tampere is one of the largest cities in Finland. It's not a big city in the world standard, but it's very city-like in the Finnish standard. The town has a wonderful amusement park called Särkänniemi and a tall observation tower called Näsinneula. If you're not a Finn, you probably don't want to try to pronounce the names.

A few years back me and my family were visiting Tampere. We bought a some kind of family pass allowing us to access all the attractions the town had to offer. We had a lovely day at the fun park and we even saw the dolphins they still had there. Nowadays the dolphins have been moved to a more animal friendly place.

After a long day at the parks, museums and planetariums we arrived to our hotel. Everybody was so tired we just wanted to get something to eat and lay in our comfortable beds watching TV. At some point my wife noticed that our passes allowed us to enter the observation tower, too. We hadn't been there, but nobody had any energy for another sight. Nobody but me!

I suddenly saw this as an opportunity to get some wonderful photos from above. After all, the tower is very high and I thought there would be quite a view to the city. If I wanted to see the tower, I was free to go. No one else wanted to join me.

I grabbed my camera bag and drove to the tower. The place seemed to be empty, but there was a tiny light above the entrance. I walked in and noticed there actually was somebody there. The receptionist smiled to me wearily and asked if wanted to go up. I showed her my pass and she pointed to the elevators.

When I got up, I noticed there was nobody there either. I had the tower for myself! I set up the tripod and started to take photos of the night lights of the city. I must say the view was absolutely wonderful. I had all the time in the world to concentrate on photography.

After a few shots, I took a closer look at the results. To my shock, I noticed there were flying saucers all over the city. The lights of the observation deck were reflecting from the windows and formed light round shapes in the photos. In the next shots, I tried to point the lens so that the reflections wouldn't show. It was pretty pointless, because there were lights everywhere.

This was my Joe McNally moment. I you haven't read his book 'Sketching Light', read it immediately. Especially the chapter 'I thought the lights would be on'.

Unlike Mr McNally, I walked out the tower with photos that would have been awesome if only the lights wouldn't be on. When I got back to the hotel, I suddenly realized: Why didn't I ask the receptionist if she could turn the lights off for ten minutes. She looked so bored she might have done it. There was nobody but me there, no harm done, and I would have had the photos I wanted.

The lesson to be learned: Always ask! What's the worst that can happen? Somebody will say no to you. But at least you asked. The chances are somebody will say yes and you won't regret that you never asked.

Lowepro Nova 180 AW

Lowepro Nova has been my loyal camera bag for years. It's a perfect bag for a travel photographer. Despite of it's relatively small size it can hold my camera body, two to three lenses, a small video camera, a flash and a terrible amount of little things you need with cameras (memory cards, cords, chargers, adapters, batteries, wipes, lens caps and so on).

The bag is probably not the best one for a street photographer or if you walk all day in an amusement park. But, if you leave some of your gear (mainly the cords, chargers, adapters, batteries, wipes and so on) to your hotel room, the bag works perfectly.

At least my bag has seen a lot. I've been carrying it around in many places. To me, it's an excellent companion to my camera gear.

You can read more about the bag here.

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