About 2 months ago I had the best time in Helsinki! So much done, so much different stuff than what I was doing on board! Hanging out with fellow photographers is the dream with some really nice results!
It’s been a really long time since I posted something, a lot was going on and I lost my motivation to write. I’m looking for a new way to share, not just writing what I did with some photo support but I’m going to do the opposite now. Give you some photos and write something about it, I’m a photographer after all and not a writer (yet).
Where am I?
This story is about me enjoying every free moment from the point I stepped off my ship. At first my plan was to travel to Lapland but I had to stay longer on board and I did not have the right clothing for minus 20 degrees Celcius temperatures. I booked my very first Airbnb in Vihti, only 50 km away from Helsinki. This was a 200-year-old mansion in the middle of nature, what a surprise!
This house was huge! They only live there with the two of them, the first floor is a storage area because downstairs is already big enough. I had my own room with a huge bed, what was more than welcome after sleeping on a bunkbed for 133 days.
The dog here in a picture was also a nice surprise, I love dogs so much. !!!!
A weird experience for me were the seasons, it seemed like I totally skipped something. When I came on board my first ship it was summer, awesome weather. On my 2 other ships I didn’t go outside to often so from the moment I got off it was so cold! Temperatures around freezing point, something I wasn’t used to at all. Note: what I call winter conditions is like a mild autumn for the Fins.
So when I went out for a walk with the dog or just on my own I was not ready for the cold but still enjoyed being outside. I was freezing but in a whole new scenery than I was used to, it was such a nice welcome. I was alone, something I did not experienced for a really long time.
I tried to do some more with photography again, like steel wool and nature photography. Things I couldn’t do before on board or in the city.
Back to the City
After the silence and raw nature I went back to Helsinki, the city I’ve been over 20 times before. I stayed with Elin, a friend I met on my first ship Mariella. It was more than 2 months ago since we saw each other, it was like nothing was changed, even better, it seemed like we knew each other much longer!
I planned to stay only 4-5 nights but eventually stayed 2 more with her and Emila, her roommate. We had the best adventures, yes you can call them adventures.
In the week I stayed with them we did so much stuff and a lot of random things, some things I never would have done if it wasn’t for Elin, Emilia and their friends and family.
So let me clarify something, Elin and Emilia are Swedish speaking Fins. 5,5% of Finland is like that.They speak both Swedish and Finnish but Swedish is their mother tongue. Arcada, the school they go to is a Swedish speaking school in Helsinki. Swedish is actually not so difficult to understand, it’s pretty similar do dutch.
My plan was always to make a video of Helsinki, I started in the summer but never had the change and motivation to finish it. Now it was a whole other season and the city looked totally different so I decided not to work further on it, I’ll have to come back another summer or start again in the winter. I did take some pictures of the city in the cold the first day I was back.
That week I did not take a lot more pictures of the city or other landscapes. Elin and Emilia are also photographers so we did a lot of photoshoots for each other, even I was modelling and to be honest it’s not a bad picture!
One day we just started taking pictures of each other. I had this idea again with the small lights to create bokeh but it eventually turned more into to a funky photoshoot with some coloured lights.
On my last evening something happened what I was waiting for, for a really long time, snow! it was the 20th of November and it started snowing for the whole day in Helsinki! I was so happy, I haven’t seen decent snowfall in 2 years. That week we planned to do more steel wool photography in an abandoned metro tunnel close by but we were busy all week with other stuff and the night before I left, we decided to go, that night of the snow.
This pictures is taken more than a 100 meters in the tunnel with a 13-second shutter speed. I told Elin to stand still for that long, she did, her dog Fazer didn’t. The snow you can see is only from that day!
Here the result of the steel wool thing, it’s always fun to show this to other people how to do this. In real life it’s different from the result on the camera so people don’t know what to expect when I say we are going to do this. To be honest, this is one of my better long exposure pictures, what do you think?
Salsa in the spotlight
Elin and Emilia both study at the Arcada filmschool in Helsinki and Elin invited me to come to one of her classes, light rigging. They had to recreate the lighting in a picture in their studio. But instead of just recreating the picture they made a play around it, like one scene of the movie. In the day I was there they did two scenes, in one of them they asked me to sit in a chair what turned out to me acting a bit, a lot of fun! You can see the video on Roxy’s, one of Elin’s classmates, Instagram.
For the second scene I took some behind the scenes pictures, for me it was a good practice in low light. Pretty happy with the results, also learned a lot more about the (in)capabilities of my camera.
This is it for the photography adventures but not for all the other ones. We did so many random and spontaneous things that week!
Some random things
So we did a lot more than the things in the pictures, but like I told before it was more going to be about the pictures than the writing. Let me know if you like it more this way or not?
If I think back about that time in Helsinki I remember, running in the freezing cold, going to Ikea in Finland with some girls and a guy, a short road trip to Turku to meet Elin’s family and to get her dog? Going to a Swedish charity concert in a church in Helsinki… Ahm, a lot of tram rides, meeting a lot of friends of Elin and Emilia in the strangest locations, having my own room in their apartment!
But most of all I remember how welcome I was there, everybody is so warmhearted and kind to you. Thank you for having me!
Some heads up about my future plans, you can also check my Travel Log for that. So now I’m working in Belgium for a few weeks and early February I’m leaving the country again. I’m going back to Helsinki for a week before I go to Singapore and Malaysia for a week. The 21st I should land in Auckland, New Zealand again for the wedding of Elwin, my brother. That will be the start of hopefully my longest adventure in countries like Australia, Indonesia, The Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodja, Laos, USA, …
So stay tuned for those adventures soon with a lot more graphic aid, I’m buying a drone (hopefully).
You can find a lot more pictures on my Instagram (story)!
Pictures in this post are all mine unless told.
Thank you so much for reading all the way to the end, if you like to hear more just hit me up with a message and I’ll they you all about it!