Louise and I have just gotten back from a trip to Tallinn and Helsinki, and I will introduce this post with one of my favourite shots from the trip.
It looks most unusual, the ladder is at least 8 foot off the ground (not seen) and the external staircase raises a few questions. Some small research on-line suggests that the external staircase provides the only entrance into the projection box, for safety since the film reels were highly flammable. The ladder perhaps provides a means to escape the building with minimal injury, whilst preventing easy access by the general public from below.
Another of my favourite photos was this taken after a rainy day as the sun set, I had to move swiftly as the light was fading fast. I like to think the cranes look like animals, depicting three elephants and a giraffe.
I took two cameras on this trip the Hasselblad X1D with the XCD 90mm lens and the Leica Q. The Leica Q is fast, small, quiet, terrific image quality – excellent for street photography, candid moments and provides a wider focal length to complement the Hasselblad X1D with a 90mm lens. The X1D is a little slower in it’s function, but renders amazing sharp clean images with beautiful colour and rendering, great for portraits and artistic photos with a clean composition.
Here is my wife Louise modelling the Leica Q (Titanium) after it had just arrived.
All in all it was a very cheap holiday, we flew by Easy Jet into Tallinn and stayed a few nights in an airBnB, then took the Ferry over to Helsinki stayed a few nights at another airBnB and got Norwegian Air back to Gatwick.
It was the first time we had used airBnB.
Tallinn – it was comfortable, we had kitchen facilities we did not use – These is just the one bedroom which we used, I think the owner used the apartment as an office, he did pop in once during the day. The sound of trams and city-life outside were a bit noisy but can’t complain.
Helsinki – a cute three bedroom apartment, we had the room the other side of these kitchen cupboards (note the sheet over the glass). Louise and I are prone to early nights when we holiday, typically exhausted from a long day of walking – however the same couldn’t be said of the other occupants who typically got in around 1-2am, once at 5am. Turning on lights, making lots of noise, even had a couple arguing. On the last night a much quieter pair of occupants arrived, so luck of the draw – but it’s something to think about next time we book somewhere.
One of the main attractions of Tallinn is the ‘Old Town’, a beautiful medieval town with it’s own McDonald’s (no we didn’t go).
I had done zero planning for our itinerary and Louise liked to underplay that she ever had an idea of where we going – but she knew exactly where the pancake place was, and it was yummy!
My favourite place in Tallinn could be the Vabamu Museum.
Vabamu Museum of Occupations and Freedom
This modern museum is dedicated to the period when Estonia was occupied briefly by the Germans, then for decades by the USSR.
Even before I knew Louise had planned for us to go there, I noticed interesting photographic opportunities of the exterior – and inside it got better! Maybe I shouldn’t be so excited about a place which represents such a tragic time for Estonia.
We got given audio guides as party of our entry fee by default, which is great because I’m terrible at reading plaques when it comes to museums and I hate paying extra for the audio guide!
Louise had kept a little secret about Tallinn, something her friend had told her about, she eventually caved in and told me.
There is a Depeche Mode bar! Now Louise is not a fan, but I enjoy a bit of Depeche Mode, in fact I’m going to play some right now. It was 5:30 when we went to check it out, it didn’t open until 6:00 – we’d already eaten dinner too (Louise likes to skip lunch on holiday, so we’re both starving by 4pm). We walked around to kill some time and when we got back for 6:00 we’d obviously beaten the queues, much to the employees surprise and probably irritation.
I had almost forgotten the Kumu art gallery, we didn’t see the exhibition that was on, the building itself was a work of art. We only stumbled upon it after going to visit the Kadriorg Palace.
There’s definitely lots of photos I have left out, I took so many, but before we take the Ferry to Helsinki here’s another highlight of the trip, having such a beautiful and patient wife!
Whilst taking photos around the Ferry terminal in Tallinn I met a lovely gentleman called Hemant, he was interested in my Hasselblad camera we spoke a little and he let me take is portrait – such beautiful light! I also found a few opportunities for photographs on our voyage across.
We continued with our plan of walking until our feet bled, well Louise’s did – I had comfortable footwear this time, which became a priority for me following our trip to New York.
Louise was keen to visit the ‘beach’, there was a small patch of sand I’ll give her that – I was more surprised when she wanted to dip her feet in the sea – it was pretty cold, but it made her happy – I think.
Interestingly streets in Helsinki were dotted with iconic American cars, here’s a couple nearby where we stayed.
Louise took us to a theme park, it was closed when we arrived.
Just messing, this was just some construction around the back – the main park opened at 12pm, whilst we waited for it to open we visited the Winter Garden.
When we got back to the theme park, we found a couple of interesting/creepy aesthetic choices but they did have also have a nice water feature that looked like a force field.
Trying to create a flow as long as this is hard work, so I’m going to wind it up now – a photo of me – because there rarely ever is.
A photo of the pizza I had at the Skiffer restaurant which I found when we needed somewhere close as it rained a lot in Helsinki.
Louise’s staple diet when on holiday, cake.
Well done for making it this far, for those that might be interested I will finish this post with a selection of street photography from both Tallinn and Helsinki.