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

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.

torstai 23. elokuuta 2018

That's Going To Cost You In Twenty Years

A few years ago we were visiting Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. The kids were quite small then. The girls were seven and five and the boy was only one year old. I used to push him in the stroller around the city. He had a long baby hair, too.

In my earlier blog posts I've told you, my reader, that Finns are not very social compared to the Aussies, for example. There are areas in Finland where you are not supposed to talk to strangers. People won't greet each other in shops or train stations. And saying something to a stranger on the street is considered as very strange behavior.

To me, the Australian way is a lot better. I loved it when people would say 'Good morning' or 'G'day' when I was walking to the shop or packing the car in the garage. It took some time to get used to that. It did feel a bit awkward when the shop clerks would call me 'love' or 'darling'.

One day we were walking from the playground to the apartment with the kids. My wife had stayed in the apartment with our friends. So, I was walking alone with the girls and the boy in the stroller.

Suddenly, a total stranger comes by and says to me: 'That's going to cost you in twenty years'. The comment came as a total surprise to me. I didn't know what I was supposed to do or say. All I could do was laugh uneasily.

The comment kept bothering me all the way to the apartment. When I was trying to find my keys at the door it suddenly struck me: She thought I had three daughters! And in twenty years they would get married and who's going to pay for the wedding? Father of the bride of course!

Viltrox JY610C Flash

 I've had many Yongnuo flashes in my camera bag. They are excellent value for the money. They have all the gimmicks a proper flash should have. But I wanted to have a smaller flash to go with me on my travels. I was looking for a flash that would be as small as possible but still have E-TTL control. That way the flash would be perfect on a trip where you cannot carry a lot of stuff with you and the TTL system would make sure the lighting would be as good as possible.

The Viltrox JY610 is just that. The flash unit is very small and very light. And it has the E-TTL control, too. It doesn't even cost much. I got mine well under 20 euros. So it doesn't matter if the unit breaks down, you can easily get a new one.

I'm so satisfied with the flash that I prefer it to my bigger units.

You can read more about the flash here.


perjantai 17. elokuuta 2018

Reindeer Flying Low

I remember a cartoon from the 90's about a clever animal helping Santa Claus and his elves with very serious problems related to Christmas somehow. The animal was called Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and the film was of course based on the popular Christmas song. Unfortunately I have say, if Santa would have to rely on the reindeer when he had any kind of problems, he would be very disappointed. Because - you'll hate me for saying this - I don't think the reindeer was present when intelligence was installed to the animal brain.

How can I say a thing like that? Reindeer is the most adorable animal and they help Santa deliver all the presents during Christmas time! As a Finn, a resident of Santa's home country, I should know better.

But, I know this from personal experience, reindeer seems to be one of the most stupid animals on Earth. Let me explain.

In Finland, the reindeer live up north, in Lapland. They wander in herds there, free, without shepherds. Somehow, the owners can gather them in one place when they want to. But most of the time, the animals can walk about free, anywhere they want. That's why there are big signs warning about wandering reindeer when you head to Lapland.

There's quite a lot of space for the reindeer to wander in Lapland. The distances between towns and villages are long and the roads between them are very straight. And people from the Southern Finland, and other countries too, love to come there to admire the harsh beauty of the nature and wilderness with their cars.

You may have guessed, that's just what I did with my family. Now, when the roads are straight, totally empty and the nearest police patrol is 500 kilometers away settling a pub incident, a certain thought might come to your head. Now that the rest of the family is sleeping, what if, what if you just tried out your family car. Is the number on the speedometer just a marketing trick or does this chitty-chitty-bang-bang really go that fast?

I'm most certainly not encouraging anybody to drive over the speed limit, but circumstances like that might make you feel like Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear when he's driving the latest McLaren model. I'm not saying I did that, but it might happen that you push the pedal a bit closer to the metal and make the old seven-seater go faster than it was ever supposed to. And just when you're getting the Clarkson grin on your face, all of a sudden from the bushes, three reindeer walk very slowly into the middle of the road.

The reindeer seem to be on their summer vacation because they are most definitely not flying. They are slouching along the road so wide you can't possibly overtake them. You have to come back from the wonderful world of sports cars and slow down until you almost stop. Then, very slowly you pass by the animals who seem to ignore you totally.

You'd think that animals who fly through the night sky on the light speed would know that it's not very wise to spend time on the roads where big cars can go at very high speed. Oh no, the reindeer do this kind of stunts all the time and you really have to keep an eye on them when driving in Lapland.

Canon EF 50mm f1.8 II

Like with many other Canon shooters, this lens was my first pancake. Despite of it's plastic construction and the terrible motor noise, it was a major improvement to the cheap zoom lenses I had. The image quality is great for the price and you can do wonders with the f1.8. The lens was replaced by the Canon 40mm STM lens in my camera bag, but every once in a while I blow the dust from the old war horse and take it for a spin. Surprisingly enough, it's a pretty decent portrait lens on my crop sensor EOS.

You can read more about the lens here.

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