I had the privilege to shoot the wedding of two great individuals.
Refreshingly easy-going with their own creative ideas, but not stuck them (or on their mothers-in-law’s ideas) ;)

Helsinki has a stack of great locations to do weddings and aside the more traditional, like Hotel Kämp with its gorgeous red carpeted stairs we also went to the little less traditional former jail – now hotel / restaurant- Jailbird with an old isolation cell still in tact.

Traditional:

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/8, two remote flashes SB-800 with Photoflex softbox

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/8, Tamron 28-75mm, two remote flashes SB-800 with Photoflex softbox

D200, ISO100, 1/60 sec @ f/5.6, Tamron 28-75mm, two remote flashes SB-800 with Photoflex softbox

D200, ISO100, 1/60 sec @ f/5.6, Tamron 28-75mm, two remote flashes SB-800 with Photoflex softbox

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 50mm, on-camera flash

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 50mm, on-camera flash

Less traditional:

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/11, Sigma 10-20mm, two remote flashes SB-800 with Photoflex softbox

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/11, Sigma 10-20mm, two remote flashes SB-800 with Photoflex softbox

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm, remote flash SB-800 with Photoflex softbox

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm, remote flash SB-800 with Photoflex softbox

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/11, Tamron 90mm macro, remote flash SB-800 with Photoflex softbox

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/11, Tamron 90mm macro, remote flash SB-800 with Photoflex softbox

Awhile ago I wrote something about this expecting it to be a lot more frequent that I’d update this. Maybe people have gotten more my taste, or then I haven’t really been paying attention enough ;)

Anyway…
The other day I was walking with my better half through Helsinki city when I ran into this sad piece of work.
Like many of these kind of things I couldn’t help but giggle myself silly again.

I don’t think I need to elaborate on this ;)
Not to completely discard the owner’s privacy I didn’t take any images of the inside, which was as sadly over-done as the outside with a fluffy, hairy steering-wheel cover and a wooden butt and back massage “carpet” (among others).

Lada

Lada

Lada

Lada

Lada

Lada

Again: tastes differ…

I dug out the macro lens again after not having used it for some time.
Missed it. Cassandra was the first victim, but didn’t seem to care much.
Interesting stuff…
My better half has been telling me to shoot a series of pictures like this and frame them as a collage. I really should!

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/4.8, Tamron 90 mm macro, on-camera flash

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/4.8, Tamron 90 mm macro, on-camera flash

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/4.5, Tamron 90 mm macro, on-camera flash

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/4.5, Tamron 90 mm macro, on-camera flash

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/4.0, Tamron 90 mm macro, on-camera flash

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/4.0, Tamron 90 mm macro, on-camera flash

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/4.5, Tamron 90 mm macro, on-camera flash

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/4.5, Tamron 90 mm macro, on-camera flash

Oh, before you start yelling that the eye has to be in focus…
This was done on purpose, for another purpose ;)

Värileikki

Värileikki

I’m having an exhibition with a fellow artist the coming two weeks. It runs from May 12th-May 24th.

The official opening is on Sunday May 10th, from 18:00-19:30 in Kässän Taidetalo in Virkkala (Tynninharjuntie 21).
If you’re from around, you’re around and you feel like popping in: welcome!

I stand corrected. At least partly.

I attended an Adobe seminar a couple of weeks ago and I during the break had the privilege to speak with Adobe guru Julieanne Kost. Where she confirmed the complaint about images not being linked to different catalogs, and the smart catalog things I wrote about, and the identity plate, and some other things, she showed me the simplest way of making the presets accessible throughout all catalogs (should’ve been able to figure that out myself, though).

There’s a setting in the preferences, of which the box is by default checked. This tells Lightroom to save all presets you make with the current catalog.

Lightroom presets

Lightroom presets

If you uncheck this box, all the presets you make after that (restart Lightroom, just to be sure!) are stored in the global presets folder and accessible by all catalogs.

Saves you some ranting :D

Simply Red is said to quit after they finished this tour.

We went to see them in Helsinki.
It was great. I can’t say anything else. The guy sings live like he’s in a studio recording an album.

And we witnessed a premier: for the first time in his career he dropped his microphone on stage :D
For that one of the lucky people on the front row got an autograph.

Go see them if you get the chance. It’s SO worth it.

(PS Apologize for the pictures. Taken with a point-‘n’-shoot, from the other side of the arena, and I have NO clue how those work)

Simply Red on stage

Simply Red on stage

Simply Red on stage

Simply Red on stage

The after math of Finnish Labour Day, May 1st, Vappu, Vappen… It’s probably Finland’s most important and most looked forward to national holiday.
Also, it confirms Finland as the land of alcohol. To me at least. It’s not a statement that I got out of official channels, even though it’s globally known that Finnish people do like their share.

Although I try not to judge people, I sometimes frown upon people who are trying to make money the easy way (this generally involves all types of criminal efforts, and occasionally things related to social events).
But this one is just too easy to pass.
I remember from my childhood I would go to big events like motocross competitions or open-air concerts and stroll around the premises to find empty bottles and return them to the store for some extra cash.

Vappu in Helsinki is -seriously- THE best time and place to do such a thing.
I’ve been telling my better half already for a few years that I’m going to dress up as a bum one year and just stroll around Helsinki with big trash bags and a shopping trolley to collect empty bottles and cans.
And seriously… After today’s article in the Helsingin Sanomat (one of Finland’s biggest news papers) where it’s stated that there were about 29,000 empty champagne/sparkling wine bottles lying around Helsinki it’s all the more enticing.

Kaisaniemi Park, Vappu 2009

Kaisaniemi Park, Vappu 2009

Bottles and cans all over the place

Bottles and cans all over the place

Imagine… Here’s what you get from stores in Finland if you return them empty:
Wine bottles and champagne bottles: € 0,10
Beer cans and beer bottles: € 0,10 or € 0,15
1 and 2 liter Coke (or other soda bottles): € 0,40
0,5 liter soda bottles: € 0,20

According to the newspaper:
29,000 champagne bottles @ € 0,10 = € 2.900,-

I dare to say that for every champagne bottle there’s 3 beer cans or bottles (I wouldn’t at all be surprised if that’s way too little), but let’s round that down for reality’s sake anyway:

65,000 cans/bottles @ € 0,10 = € 6.500,-

Not quite sure what the ratio of soda bottles would be in relation to the alcohol, but let’s be generously negative about that and put it to 5,000. And let’s assume that those are only the 0,5 liter bottles.

5,000 @ € 0,20 = € 1,000,-

That makes together: € 10,400.
Not bad for two days of picking up bottles.
And it cleans up the streets, too!

I wouldn’t think I would get ALL of it, but even if I’d pick up 5% of that I’d still have about € 500.
I’m sure I can buy a bum suit for € 500.
And the 50 cents for the shopping trolley I get back when I return the trolley together with all the empty bottles and cans ;)

As a side note…
That same Helsingin Sanomat article (see link above) states that cleaning the city after Vappu costs the city around € 100.000,- each year.
Imagine if people weren’t too drunk or too lazy to clean up after themselves. Maybe the taxes would go down, too :D

Glada Vappen! :D

But important nonetheless ;)

http://www.childrensbookstoreonline.com

One of my good friends from the US set this up just recently and I think he deserves some exposure.
Trustworthy resource so not like one of the posts I wrote before here.
Go have a look.

Winters here are beautiful, but whenever the snow starts to melt it gets really dirty. It’s no different with the car. It was a terrible mess, and it was about time we washed it.
So this afternoon we drove to a car wash and had it washed. It was kind of a slow one, but it turned out to be quite fun.
Since I rarely leave home without my camera, I took it out of the bag and shot some pictures while we waited in the car for the machine to clean everything up.

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/2.8, Tamron 28-75mm, on-camera flash

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/2.8, Tamron 28-75mm, on-camera flash

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/2.8, Tamron 28-75mm, on-camera flash

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/2.8, Tamron 28-75mm, on-camera flash

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/2.8, Tamron 28-75mm, on-camera flash

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/2.8, Tamron 28-75mm, on-camera flash

Dang! I feel sorry for myself…

Last week I attended a seminar at Epson. Very interesting, but the content of that seminar isn’t the point right now. As a by the way (a very by the way by the way) buying a new camera body came up and I heard only half of the story, except for the price.
Being Dutch (yeah, I know!) that got stuck like a little splinter in my brain.

So… Little background info: I’m in the market for a new camera body. Or rather, an extra, because I don’t have a spare. So I was looking to replace my D200 with a D700 body as a main camera.

The D700 (body only) goes for around $3,000. That’s an average price. The splinter which was pushing in my brain had a price tag of €1.280, which is about $1,650.
So I googled D700 and 1280. Lo and behold… A website came up advertising for a Nikon D700. For €1.280. Wow!

Very tempting, very tempting. However, since I’m not the type of person to blindly trust anything good the moment I see it, I looked around for a bit. The site itself looks very professional and very reliable, advertising with the AMEX, VISA, Mastercard and the PayPal logo.
I asked a friend who has lived in those parts of the woods for awhile to put out some flags. My better half has a couple of colleagues who come from those areas and she would ask them.
That all came up empty. No one’d heard of the place.
In the mean time the price went down from €1.280 to €1.120.
I decided to go for it. Just order it. I’d be insured through my credit card company, so this was all covered.
Added a D700 body to my shopping cart and went for check-out.
But then… Hmmm…
Where is the credit card payment option? Only Western Union, MoneyGram or bank transfer?
And PayPal payment option grayed out, because it’s only for VIP customers?
Hmmmm…

*alarm bells*

So I wrote the good people an email.

Dear Sir, Madam,

I was going to order the D700 body from your store.
Seeing all the symbols at the bottom of your website, I assumed I would be able to pay by credit card, but when I got to the payment part, there’s no option for paying by credit card.

How does this work exactly?

Looking forward to your response.

It took them only 1,5 hours to reply (considering the time difference I thought that was quite good). The answer was… well… polite but dubious:

Dear Arno.
Thanks for your enquiry,
For the strict chinese foreign exchange system, the company can not accept payment directly by foreign credit card. You can pay via bank transfer or westernunion by your Mastercard. We are sorry for the inconvenice.
Hope you a gald shipping.
Best regards

(typos are copied as-is)
I mean… Because of the strict Chinese foreign Exchange system, they can’t accept payment directly from foreign credit cards? I don’t know really how the system works in China, but this sounds like a very lame excuse.

Anyway… It was late and I decided to go sleep on it, and maybe go down town the next day to check from Western Union if a payment could be insured somehow.
But the next day (yeah, I know… should’ve done it first thing) I decided to google the name of this shop. And WHAM… Long list of “is this a scam?”, “can we trust this?”, “anyone any experience with this shop?” came up.
A lot of good points in a lot of threads in the search results.
Chinese site with only English and no Chinese?
No credit card payments possible and only money wiring?
Domain name of the shop was registered only in mid-March, which is kind of weird. This shop claims copyright on their website for their stuff from 2005-2009. Wouldn’t an electronics shop in today’s digital era have a website up and running longer than mid-March 2009?
So all in all…
Very dubious, very dodgy. Needless to say that I’m going to check elsewhere. Probably have to pay a bit more, but be sure to get it instead of being out a bag full of money.

As goes the saying:

If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is