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Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

29.08.11 – My world is picking up momentum once again. It’s a bit more than a month since summer solstice has passed and the Earth’s movement away from the sun, here in the North on the top of the world, is made obvious by the dramatic sunsets. Although I’m not looking forward to the Winter months ahead, I can still enjoy the evenings on my balcony as the sunsets grow longer and approach 5 minutes earlier each day.

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23.08.11 – Chaos and order, I loves it! I get both when I’m walking out on the platforms of Helsinki Central Railway Station. The main building of the station is constructed of Finnish granite but the platforms behind the station are covered by a glass roof supported by a complex pattern of steel bars and flourescent lights. I find myself looking up to the glass roof as I make my way to my track, finding a vanishing point and admiring how the various patterns morph.

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07.06.11 – The weather has been beautiful the last couple of days but last night some clouds brewed up out of nowhere. The wind picked up and a few raindrops fell but before the end of the evening, everything cleared out and returned to normal. Still made for some dramatic pictures ;)

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12.03.11 – The winters last long in Finland but every day you can feel spring approaching. The days are getting longer, the temperatures are slowly but steadily climbing and the white canvas of snow is starting to melt away. More and more color is making its way into my world ;)

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10.03.11 – I was down walking at my favorite place, across the ice to some of the little islands off the coast of Helsinki. Spring is in the air although the temperatures are still about freezing. The days are getting longer, you can feel the change in sunlight on a daily basis. While I was out walking today there was a storm off the coast which made for some dramatic clouds.

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08.03.11 – The trip to the Museum of Natural History has too many great photo ops to limit the visit to three pix. Besides the amazing dioramas, one of my favorite, albeit slightly spooky, displays are the preserved insects and sea life. There’s an entire wall filled with bottled bugs. Max goes crazy over these things because there are so many odd life forms on display. I usually spend the most time in the museum at this display. Crazy stuff!

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02.03.11 – Day 3 with Kim and Dave in Helsinki :) We met up today around noon. Everyone, including me, needed a morning off to recuperate. Kim and Dave are getting over their jet lag, which Kim never seems to have too much problem with, and I needed some down time from having a blast. The night before we went out for a late dinner and drinks so the morning was a slow start for me ;)

We had a busy afternoon visiting the Design Museum and Mikael Agricolan Kirkko before heading off to meet Max and Emma after school in Fazer’s downtown. We decided to split up after having some sweet pastries with the kids. Kim and Emma headed off for some shopping on Aleksantriankatu and Dave and I would take the ferry out to Suomenlinna. Max decided to bail rather than join Dave and I ;)

Suomenlinna is an island fortress a short ferry ride from the main harbor in Helsinki. I thought Dave would appreciate the trip out there because the ferry ride is through the ice choked harbor and the combination of 19th century military structures and the contrast between the brightly colored buildings and white snow make for great photo ops. We also headed out around the same time the Silja Line departs for Stockholm so I knew the ship would be passing close by.

We made it out to the Southern most point just in time to see the huge Silja Line ferry pass by close enough to hit with snowballs. The ship passed by quickly but we spent some time climbing up on the fortress walls to watch it quickly navigate its way past several other small islands and make its way out to deep water before heading West for Stockholm. We had to be careful because the tops of the main fortress walls which we were standing on were covered in snow and if either one of us was to slip and fall… if the crash to the ice, a good 23 meters (75 feet) below, didn’t kill you, you would freeze to death in a matter of minutes.

We managed to live to tell the tale and met up with Kim at the hotel for dinner. I was more than happy that Kim could spend some time with Emma doing something they both enjoy, shopping, and it sounded like they had fun talking about all sorts of things. Kim’s the perfect aunt! Not saying there isn’t more than 1 perfect aunt ;)

We decompressed in Kim’s hotel room watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia episodes on her iPad. I headed home early to recharge for another fun-filled day ahead.

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01.03.11 – Dave’s up for adventure and one of the things on our list of things to do on his Finland visit was to “take” sauna and jump in the freezing water. We headed out to meet my English friend Dave (special shout out of thanks to English Dave for taking us to his sauna club) at the usual place, the Laiska Karhu bar (Lazy Bear).

We didn’t waste any time so we immediately headed out to the sauna club. The sun was just above the distant treeline as we made our way. It was another beautiful day in Helsinki. We passed the “swimming hole” on the way in, you can see it in the first picture above, so American Dave could get a glimpse of what was about to come.

The time was right to hit the sauna, it was around 1630, so there were only two other women in the sauna. Light conversation is always nice in the sauna so we told the women a little about our story, American Dave was visiting and this was his first real sauna experience. Finns love sharing about sauna and seeing someone from the outside enjoy it for the first time.

It wasn’t long before we had to head out to the water and American Dave handled it like a champ. No dilly dallying, just keep walking and climb down the ladder into the water. He did much better than me on my first time, no fowl language ;) We did the wash, rinse, repeat cycle, meaning we went from sauna to water and back to sauna, so you really get the full effect.

After about 30 minutes we were ready for the next, to head back to the Laiska Karhu for a post-sauna beer. The Finns have an expression, “beer never tastes better than after sauna.” Although the beer and conversation in the bar couldn’t have been better, the walk back to the bar was my favorite. The sun was now low on the horizon and the snow and ice was starting to turn shades of pink and blue. My favorite time of the day. There’s an almost euphoric feeling after sauna and the three of us were all “high on life” and stopping every once in a while to take in the beautiful evening. It couldn’t have been better!

Well, seeing I’m not a true Finn, I’m not sure if I’m “licensed” to do this but I’m planning on getting a Sauna Diploma for American Dave. In my eyes, he passed with flying colors.

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26.02.11 – I always try to split up my day with an early afternoon walk. It’s a very Finnish thing. No matter how low the temperatures dip, Finns make it a point to get outside for some fresh air and a bit of sunshine as much as possible. I’ve passed women out with baby strollers (pram) in near blizzard conditions. They instill the importance of getting outside daily in their children from day 1.

My favorite walk is still to get out on the frozen ocean whenever possible. I can be on the “water” in 5 minutes from my place. The ice is always smooth but not slippery, as it’s usually covered with a light bit of snow. It’s safe too because there are many paths and lots of footprints as well as several other people out for a walk or some nordic skiing.

I headed out today to see how far I could get out before I ran into a section where the ferries have passed through. The last picture above is where a ship had broken up the ice and all the other footsteps seemed to end. I marked my location with my iPhone map so you can get an idea how far out I was.

My sister Kim and friend Dave are on their way out to visit me in Finland. I can’t wait to take them out there. Kim better not chicken out ;)

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25.02.11 – Finland, like most other countries, is doing it’s best to move towards greener, more renewable energy sources like wind and water to replace the more popular oil and wood burning options. The country is making news by setting the standards for a “green highway” and creative uses of harnessing heat byproducts from a new data center built in an old bomb shelter below Helsinki.

It’s hard to ignore the more traditional forms because there are a number of power plants along the coastline and the combination of the energy sources they are burning and the cold outside temperatures make for huge trails of steam/smoke in the sky. They’re hard to ignore so I spent some time walking around them and taking pictures.

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