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Posts posted by Hezu

  1. 10 hours ago, amypintx said:

    @kaisatsu Thanks so much for all the info! Sounds like something he’ll like for a day (and so he can say he went skiing in Norway! 🤣

    Norway would have also few glacier ski centres if you would want more authentic skiing in Norway experience during summer. However, I don't have experience with any and their locations may not be that practical for a cruise.

  2. I think one interesting area in that part of Germany is Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park. One unique element there is group of islands called halligen, which are quite flat and close to sea level, although the buildings (many built in the traditional style) are built in man-made mounds to protect these from the potential storm flood tides. Much of the coastline is also quite shallow and there is even routes that could be used to hike from one island to another during the low tide. Early May would be also great time to observe birds' spring migration if you are interested in that.

  3. 17 hours ago, hallasm said:

    Ålesund is further north than Hellesylt, but that probably has no bearing on whether you see the Northern Lights.
    Normally, there is the greatest chance of seeing the Northern Lights north of the Arctic Circle, but absolutely possible if it is a strong light.

    With suitable geomagnetic storm conditions it is sure possible to see Northern Lights  surprisingly southern latitudes, although further south you go less common this gets. But predicting this in well in advance is perhaps even harder than forecasting regular weather, so you know only day or two before if there might be a possibility that there could be auroras.

    And even with suitable space weather it is always possible that A) auroras occur during the daylight hours and thus are not visible, although midwinter in the polar regions have the advantage here as there is minimal amount of daylight, B) regular weather is such that there is a thick cloud cover and it is impossible to see any sky. And for most people there is also C) auroras light the sky in the middle of night when you are sleeping.

  4. I have no personal experience with any smart phone aurora photography, but after a quick Internet search I learned that most likely you want to use some sort of tripod with a phone holder as you generally want to use exposure times measured in seconds and that isn't optimal for hand held shots as usually you don't want to combine creative ICM techniques with aurora photography.

  5. Although of course it is worth noting that it will take some time also from the city centre to Hernesaari, where most cruise ships dock. And sadly for time being from the nearest place where you can get on public transport (terminus of tram line 6), it is still about one kilometer to the cruise ship.

    HSL website should help you to figure out the public transport options around Helsinki region, the route planner there does allow you to search best routes between two points and it has options to show also walking and cycling routes (although I guess most tourist probably won't need that latter option).

  6. On 12/31/2023 at 7:10 PM, kitkat343 said:

    Copenhagen and Helsinki are also easy to DIY.  If you tell us more about your interests, we might be able to give you more specific advice about what to see.  Helsinki has the tram route 3 which will let you see the historic buildings and stop near the  Temppeliaukio rock church.  We also liked the food at the stalls in market square. 

    Actually, the tram network in Helsinki has seen some route overhaul in the recent years and these days route 3 does not go anywhere near Temppeliaukio, although there are other tram routes that stop on the nearby tram stops (Sammonkatu and Hanken). Although it is even possible to hop in a tram that bears route number 3 and get there, albeit before this happens the tram route has changed into number 2 as these routes are interlinked, but on Olympiaterminaali the route number changes between 2 and 3 despite that it still the same tram operating both routes.

    See route maps on HSL website for the latest information.

  7. My current favourite travel tripod is Heipi 3-in-1 Travel Tripod. I do own also the Peak Design Travel Tripod and it has some good qualities, but Heipi is much sturdier despite that it is only marginally heavier and longer than PD tripod. I do like a lot that the Heipi's central column is actually a mini tripod that one can use eg. for low angle work. And it is also useful that it is easy to change the supplied ballhead to some other tripod head if you prefer something else. In my opinion that Heipi ballhead works reasonably well, although it is not the best I have used: the quick release locking mechanism is bit clumsy and locking lever and knob are perhaps tad small and thus operating those in cold conditions with warm gloves is not that easy. Heipi does include ice spikes for tripod legs by default, for PD you have to buy these separately (and I think those PD spikes are not even that sharp).

  8. 13 hours ago, jnicktem said:

    I am a Canon user, but have really been enjoying my Sigma Art lenses for Aurora photography. I have a 20mm 1.4 and a 35mm 1.4 and both are amazing. A friend has the 14mm 1.8 and it looks to be on par. I definitely recommend them!

    Sigma does make some decent lenses indeed, but I have to mention that Sigma 14 mm F1.8 is not the most optimal choice for E mount cameras, especially if talking about APS-C camera models, as it is still a design for DSLRs and thus is quite big and heavy. The newer Sigma 14 mm F1.4 has been designed for mirrorless cameras and it probably should work pretty well also in aurora photography since it is aimed for astrophotography, although it is also big and heavy, although it should be more balanced than the older Sigma 14 mm F1.8 as it includes tripod attachment collar. The newer Sigma 14 mm might be still bit too specialized if one does not have that big interest in night photography.

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  9. First, 25 mm on APS-C crop is not that wide. Comparable focal length giving similar field of view on full frame is 37.5 mm.

    My current favourite lens for aurora photography is Sony FE 1.8/14 GM. Sure, that is not something I would call a cheap lens, but on the other hand, it offers a lot bang for the buck. And it is still cheaper than Sony's (super) wide angle  f/2.8 GM zooms. And it is also much lighter in weight than those zooms, so that is a definate advantage while traveling. Also it is already few years old, so there should be some available on second hand market, which could offer some savings compared to prices of a new lens.

    I have earlier also used other lens, some of which haven't been that fast, but that obviously has meant using longer shutter speeds (although then you sure may lose some details as the auroras may move quite actively) or/and higher ISO (might get more noise then).

    Also, you could try using wide angle lenses for other photo subjects than just auroras to justify the cost of your purchase.

    • Like 1
  10. On 12/17/2023 at 9:50 PM, NMTraveller said:

    Also one point I might add is that the airport lounges can be at different gates than your flight.  At times it can be a bit of a walk or shuttle to get there.

    And in European airports within the Schengen area, the airports are usually split in two separate areas: one for flights within Schengen and other for flights to/from other countries outside Schengen (eg. USA or UK). The location of facilities like lounges may thus be in either of these areas or if there is one in both areas then obviously there might be some differences. And of course if you want to go from intra-Schengen to non-Schengen or vice versa, you must go thru border control checkpoint.

    • Like 1
  11. 15 hours ago, edinburgher said:

    Interesting that Americans would buy prescription medicine in Scandinavia, as we only saw them lining up to do that at pharmacies  in Mexican ports.

    Not sure how it is in actual Scandinavia, but at least in fellow Nordic country Finland you would need a prescription written in EU, ETA or Switzerland to be able to buy prescription medicines in pharmacies, thus a prescription eg. from USA or UK would not be accepted.

  12. 17 hours ago, Zach1213 said:

    I flew BA just a couple of days ago across the Atlantic and they had a Holiday themed menu. I don't remember exactly what it was since I had already ordered a special meal, but I remember being surprised that it was the very start of December and it was already out there. 

    Start of December does not sound that early to me, I recall the cruise ferries that sail between Finland and Sweden and Finland and Estonia used to start their Christmas season early and I decided to check the websites and apparently this year on Tallink Silja ships their buffet restaurants switched to Christmas menu on 15.11. (and offering this until 26.12. or 31.12. depending on individual ships) and Viking Line offers their Christmas buffet from 16.11. to 26.12. on most ships, M/S Cinderella starting few days later on 20.11.

  13. 28 minutes ago, kayehall said:

    Sharper Image has binoculars with a camera attached.  Does anyone have any opinion on these for taking pictures in Alaska?

    I had never even heard about that brand, but after searching for the specs, I am fairly confident that the camera function is a gimmick, the camera sensor seems to have only 5 MPix, which is these days a very low resolution.

    I would suggest to use separate binoculars and camera. Or occasionally one could also use the camera with a telephoto lens as sort of monoscope.

  14. That long layover might be sufficiently long to get out of the airport for a while. Of course, this assumes that there is something interesting to see in the vicinity of the airport. And certainly one has to keep in mind to get back to the airport sufficiently early to reclear the security.

    • Like 1
  15. 13 hours ago, hallasm said:

    SAS booking Class J is Business Class from LAX to CPH and Economy Plus ( Premium) within Europe (VCE and AMS).

    SAS does not have Business Class on European flights.

    Although of course it is possible that some booking systems will show intra-European SAS Plus as business class as it tends to share the same booking classes as long haul business class and other airlines' business class products, although intra-Europe "business class" (or similar designation) generally still means that on a narrow-body aircraft every seat in the whole aircraft is similar design and there is no dedicated premium cabin, the front rows (the number of rows can be adjusted) will be designated for business class and often middle seats are not used (I think SAS has stopped this practice). Of course, even if the seating is not different than in economy class, catering is and there might be access to lounges etc.

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  16. 10 hours ago, gottagoacruzn said:

    So, I guess that one day there won't be anymore cameras, huh?

    Dedicated cameras (especially those with lenses that can be changed) are not going away as they can offer things that are not really possible with mobile phones (most importantly using long telephoto lenses), but it looks like mobile phones have taken over pretty much whole market for inexpensive compact cameras.

    And actually there has been few attempts for offering cameras with editing capabilities, generally this has been done by using Android OS in the camera, thus one could run any image editing software for Android on the camera. I think the newest attempt was Zeiss ZX1, but it is expensive and as it has fixed 35 mm lens it may not suit everyone's taste.

    Also worth a mention that many newer cameras do include wireless connectivity (WiFi/Bluetooth) that allows you to easily transfer images to other devices (like mobile phones and tablets), where you could edit these (and share to social media and so on).

  17. 8 minutes ago, mskaufman said:

    I currently use a Canon EF 18-200 or a Tamron 18 - 400

    Note that these are designed for APS-C sensors, thus if used on a camera with larger sensor the image does not cover the whole frame and you may want to use crop mode (and get images with fewer megapixels). And if I have understood correctly Canon does not even support EF-S lenses (like that 18-200) on EF cameras, so I'm unsure how it is with the EF to RF adapters.

    Thus if you get a new camera with 35 mm sensor, you probably want to replace your existing APS-C lenses with ones that cover the full sensor area.

  18. 51 minutes ago, mskaufman said:

    I am looking to move to a full frame camera.  I currently shoot with a Canon 60D.  The question is to trade my Canon stuff in and move to a Nikon z5 with a 24-200 lens or to keep my current lenses and buy a Canon R8 with the adapter.  Thoughts?

    What sort of equipment you currently have for Canon?

    Personally I wouldn't forget also Sony α7 series of cameras. And don't forget that there is EF lens adapters also for other mirrorless lens mounts than Canon RF, although of course in many cases the native lenses may still have some edge over the older designs for DSLRs.

  19. 14 hours ago, Raxter54 said:

    Appreciate the inputs. Some decisions to be made...

    There is indeed quite a few options for binoculars. And of course, the preferences may vary depending on what is the main purpose for using binoculars. Personally, I tend to use binoculars for birding (also when aboard a ship). Among birders, I think 8×40/42 is the favourite model with some people preferring the higher magnification 10×40/42 models since that usually offers a good compromise between suitable magnification and reasonable size and weight.  Personally I have picked even one step smaller 8×32 model (currently Zeiss Conquest HD, the brands' second tier line) as I tend to carry around not just binoculars, but also camera equipment (usually including a large telephoto lens) and sometimes also my fieldscope and tripod.

    If money is no object, I suggest check out the already mentioned Swarowski or the high end Zeiss models, but I think there is several decent options also from the cheaper models and brands. Here is a couple binoculars review sites that can give you some ideas for other good alternatives:




    And finally, as a Finnish birder I cannot post this without mentioning finnstick, which is great accessory for binoculars if one wants to watch around with binoculars for longer periods of time as it helps to avoid stressing your hands as you don't have to keep hands raised to hold the binoculars.



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  20. 3 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

    I recently upgraded to mirrorless, opting for the R6 over the M6. However, if I recall correctly from my research, the M6 does accept the EF and EF-s lenses, with an adaptor. The R6 also accepts the EF lenses with an adapter. The downside of the M6 is that it doesn't accept any of the newer RF lenses being developed for the "R" series.


    With the M6 you can still use your existing Canon lenses, but changing to Nikon will require an additional investment in lenses.


    I'll suggest EF lenses, both new and used will be available for a number of years.

    Actually, there are Canon EF lens adapters also for Nikon Z, obviously not from neither Canon nor Nikon, but from third party manufacturers. I don't have any experience with these adapters, but if one wants to explore that option such adapters exist. And of course, the newer native lenses may offer some advantages over the older designs.

  21. On 10/27/2023 at 8:55 PM, ldubs said:

    I also have not seen folks with several carryon bags.  As you say, the issue is the over large bags and personal items that are nothing more than an additional piece of luggage.   I wager that if airlines were diligent about checking carryon size/weight, half wouldn't make it.  I wish they would do that.   

    I have feeling that outside USA (or North America in general?) airlines are more stringent in enforcing carryon luggage regulations (size, weight and number of items). And that applies especially on budget airlines that may even ask for a extra fee if you want place your carryon luggage in the overhead compartment and obviously they also charge for any checked luggage and if it is determined that your hand luggage must be checked, the fees at the airport are more expensive than what you would have paid if you purchased that in advance.

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  22. On 10/28/2023 at 2:29 AM, gottagoacruzn said:

    Hey guys, maybe somebody could help me. Got a Kodak pixpro digital camera, took pictures of Alaska, they came out beautiful on the camera, then took the camera to cvs, an had them developed. Got the pictures back, an noticed that the pictures didn't look all that beautiful, as they did on the camera. Whats wrong, any suggestions? Thanks. Oh, I do ask when I'm in the store, how often do they calibrate the machine. 

    I'm afraid that without seeing the pictures it is quite hard to comment what is wrong with them. But I know the camera screens may not always show colours and details the same way as what comes out of printers. For optimal digital photo prints one should post process images on a computer with a calibrated monitor and preferably colour profile for the printer to assure that colours come out the way you like them. Another potential pitfall could be issues with image sizes, resolution and aspect ratios. Low resolution image files cannot be printed in large print sizes and aspect ratio problems may result in worst case would result images being stretched unusually or at least empty space on paper if the actual image is smaller than the paper size.

  23. On 10/12/2023 at 7:20 PM, Azulann said:

    Our next cruise will be in Feb2025  from Greece. We figured  there would be very few kids  on  our flights, less tourists at various sites, and cooler weather.

    In some parts of Europe there might be some school holidays also in February, for example in Finland in the latter part of February there is week long winter holidays (different parts of country having their week off different times), traditionally called "ski holiday", although some families may prefer to head south rather than enjoy the winter activities. Of course, Finnish holidays may still not affect your travel.

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  24. On 9/27/2023 at 6:56 PM, Christie Malry said:

    So here are some random questions I have:


    1) I've come to the conclusion that trying catching a plane home at 17.40 on the day the ship arrives in Bergen at 14.45 is probably a bad plan, and I should stay an extra night in Bergen. Is that sensible or am I being overly cautious?

    That 17:40 flight is to Oslo? Based on your third question I presume you are heading to UK and in that case I would look also at non-stop flights from Bergen to UK, eg. Norwegian has evening flights to London Gatwick and on some days there is Norwegian and SAS flights to Manchester in the evening. I am not sure about timetables in next April, but I would check also those options for the dates you are traveling.

  25. 11 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

    Yes, outside of the Baltic "cruises" mentioned above, all of the container lines that offered passenger service have not restarted this since the pandemic.

    Actually, I can think of also ro-pax routes outside Baltic, eg. between UK and France and The Netherlands, between Norway and Denmark, between Denmark and Iceland via Faroe Islands and various ports on shores of Mediterranean Sea. Granted, in every case the vehicle deck(s) may not have just freight on board, but also private cars and vans that travelers want to take with them across the sea.

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