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

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.

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