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

perjantai 2. helmikuuta 2018

Snow How

Last year Finland celebrated the 100th anniversary of the country's independence. This year Estonia will have it's own celebration. Last summer the Finnish institute in Tallinn, Estonia organized a photo competition for Finns and Estonians. People would show in their photos how they see the neighboring country. The Finns should take photos of Estonia and the Estonians photos of Finland.

I was lucky enough to have sixteen of my photos chosen to the finale of the competition. Eight of them were chosen to the exhibition now on display in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, after touring in Estonia. The exhibition opened last week and I was invited to the ceremonies.

I don't get invitations like that too often so I decided to go. I live 500 kilometers from Helsinki, so I decided to fly there. After all, flying is much more comfortable and faster than driving, although I would have to drive 100 kilometers to the airport.

The weather had been beautiful, a little bit of snow, but not too cold or too slippery. I thought I'd get to the airport with my car, fly to Helsinki, walk a little bit in the city, maybe have a delicious meal and get something nice to get back home for the family before the party would begin. Great plan, but I forgot about the Finnish winter. It usually doesn't respect anybody's plans.

The departure day came and the weather wasn't so pretty anymore. It was snowing heavily and the weather was warm enough to make the snow wet and extremely heavy. Early in the morning when I got the kids to school, the driveway was clear and I could get out easily. My plan was to leave at noon, so I could get to the airport in time.

By noon, the driveway had turned into a big white field of snow. There were no car tracks in sight. Luckily, my neighbor has a huge tractor with a snow blower designed for the heavy stuff. You know, the monster kind of machinery. I called him and asked if he could come urgently to open up the road. He said he'd be happy to, but he had some kind of trouble with the blower. Once the machine was fixed, he would come to rescue. I was watching the clock and thinking about the speed I would have to drive to the airport. Maybe I would have to be like Juha Kankkunen in the winter rally in Sweden.

Fifteen extremely long minutes had passed when I saw a tractor pushing through the snow. The enormous machine was throwing the snow all around. I felt saved! I grabbed my camera bag and rushed to the car. The tractor was still finalizing the yard when I drove away like a maniac.

I had to keep up the speed not to miss the plane. I didn't feel like Juha Kankkunen or Tommi Mäkinen and my car is hardly a WRC model. But, all the trucks were struggling to get on in the blizzard and were driving very, very slowly in front of me. There was no possibility to pass them, because I hardly saw where I was driving. Partly because of the blizzard and partly because I was sweating so bad the car cabin was turning into a sauna.

When I finally got to the airport, I was only five minutes late. I thought maybe they would still let me in to the plane. After the security control, I noticed the board of the departing flights. The flight was late for an hour because of the bad weather! I had made it!

I spent the time at the airport photographing the machinery and personnel trying to cope in the terrible weather. After all, planes are late but they will fly in snow storms too. At least in Finland they do. Finally, everything was ready and the plane took off. I got to Helsinki safely, but after a slow train ride to the city center, there was only ten minutes time left before the opening ceremonies would begin.

Finns are used to snow, but Helsinki is a big city in our scale. And when it snows in Helsinki, the city is in chaos. The public transport doesn't work and people are trying to get to their destinations anyway they can. Lucky for me, I didn't need a taxi or a bus to get to my destination. It was only ten minutes walk away from the railway station. So, I waded through the snow to the final destination. No delicious meals, no shopping, no sightseeing, just piles and piles of wet snow.

I was so hungry at the exhibition I ate at least a kilo of the nibbly things. The organizers must have thought my photography business wasn't doing too well, I hadn't eaten for a month at least. And, as expected, the return flight was an hour late, too. So, when I finally got back to home, through the snow, cold air and snow plowers terrorizing the roads, it was already midnight. But, I got home safe and sound, hungry and exhausted, but I made it!

Tamrac 5542 Explorer 42 camera bag

I have been a Lowepro man for years. Last year I needed a smaller bag than my Lowepro Nova 160 AW and I decided to try out Tamrac. The bag is just what I needed. It carries one camera body, two lenses and a flash or a small video camera. That's exactly what I need on trips when I don't have to carry every single gadget I own. And the bag has a great street credibility, too.

I'm not sure if they still make the 5542 model, but you can read more about it here.


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