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Everything posted by Hezu

  1. And even if the sky is dark, another requirement for seeing auroras is clear skies, if it is cloudy you can forget seeing any even if the space weather would otherwise predict wonderful colours in the night sky.
  2. And water proof or at least water resistant outer layer could be useful addition in the case it rains (especially if the rain comes in wet form rather than as snow), although the rainy weather will also mean that there is zero chance to view any aurora as the clouds will block the view. But assuming you are willing to do also other outdoor activities, keeping yourself dry will make the experience more enjoyable.
  3. Finnair does not operate 787s since its entire fleet is from Airbus (or there is also Embraers and ATR-72s with Finnair livery on shorthaul routes, although technically these are operated by NoRRA subsidiary), so either you are looking at a codeshare flight (presumably on either American Airways or British Airways) or you are looking at Finnair flight that in reality will be on A330 or A350.
  4. Those more familiar with Ålesund can chime in and provide better answers, but I believe you could fairly easily explore the area on your own. Although of course you may need to get some sort of transportation if you want to go on a hike further away from the town. Also worth a note that Norwegians celebrate Midsummer Day on June 24th, so that may have affect what services are available that day.
  5. Although I would say that the currency is not that big issue: majority of European countries use euros these days and in most other countries you might survive without any cash, especially in Nordic countries you could pay pretty much anything with cards.
  6. Almost all intra-European flights are operated with equipment that offers just economy and business class - or actually, in most cases strictly speaking the whole plane is equipped with similar seats and part of the front of the plane is just designated as business class and assuming the usual 3+3 seating in narrow body airliner, the middle seats are blocked and only the window and aisle seats are occupied. Then of course, there are usually some difference in meal and drink service that differentiate economy and business class.
  7. The nearest airport is Rostock Laage Airport, but it does not really have any significant connections to any airline hubs or like (eg. for the current week there is just couple holiday flights to destinations in Canary Islands and Egypt). But as the previous posters answered, you could always take train(s) from elsewhere in Germany.
  8. Note that if your plan is for October, then you won't encounter midnight sun as that phenomenon occurs only in summer (and late May). However, in October you might have a chance to see northern lights as there will be less daylight hours and dark nights. Also if I'm not mistaken, in October there are fewer cruise offerings in these parts of the world compared to the peak season in the summer.
  9. I think this might be partially due to the fact that Olympus as a company hasn't ceased to exist, it continues to produce some other products than camera equipment.
  10. Some years ago I took a short cruise around Svalbard on Hurtigruten's MS Nordstjernen. We did see a polar bear, several different whales, seals, few walruses, Svalbard reindeer and number of birds. Most of the wildlife was seen from some distance, but of course that might be a safer option, especially regarding the polar bears. On the landings we made, there was always few guides with rifles on watch to ensure that polar bears did't attack us. Our trip was in June, so I don't know if it would be vastly different in August - maybe then there would be even less snow and ice on some places and maybe the first migrating birds may have left Svalbard and already heading back to south. And of course, since we are talking about wildlife, there is never absolute guarantee that you will see all the animals you would like to see, although on certain places like some bird colonies should be quite reliable locations to see something. I think this sort of cruise offered quite good look on the Svalbard and its flora and fauna, although of course you might see even slightly more on a longer and more expensive photography oriented expedition cruise on even smaller vessel (being quite old, Nordstjernen isn't exactly a massive cruise ship either), but for price the offering was fairly good value.
  11. And remember that regardless which cruise you take, there can't be ever 100% guarantee that you will see auroras, even if there would be suitable space weather, you will need a clear dark skies to actually see anything. Also be prepared that this phenomenon might occur in middle of night rather than soon after sunset or right before sunrise (assuming you are not above the artic circle during the polar night).
  12. Only thing that outright pops into my mind is Google Maps, which includes markings of many well-known sights and viewpoints. On the other hand, I would also somewhat question the need to take shots of the same views that everybody else photographs.
  13. Have you already thought what other lenses you will bring along?
  14. I not sure that sort of solution works that well with binoculars and at least that does not offer one of the benefits of finnstick: making holding binoculars less strenuous as you can keep your hands down while holding the stick and not raise them to hold the binoculars.
  15. I have to mention that there is also another, cheaper approach to stabilize binoculars (and this could be even combined with those image stabilized binoculars!): a finnstick. It is basicly a short pole used to hold binoculars on the eye level. Originally these have been hand-made (often from wooden ice hockey sticks), but these days there is even few commercial models available (disclaimer: I'm talking from my Finnish perspective, situation might be slightly different elsewhere) and one approach is also tripod attachment for binoculars and a light monopod (generally in non-extended form). If my explanation is too vague, please do an image seach for "finnstick" and you'll find several pictures of the device, often in use.
  16. Of course that is one more challenge in northern lights observations that these are only visible once it gets dark and majority of people probably want to spend their nights sleeping. I managed to see (and photograph) my so far best auroras this March. But this light show did not start until middle of night, somewhere around 1:20 am, but I happened to be awake that late although I was already ready to go to bed, but once I got the aurora alerts and verified that I can see these with a naked eye from my home window in Helsinki, I sure wasn't yet going to bed! Granted, I was then still too lazy to head outdoors to find a better viewpoint. And regarding the darkness requirement: few weeks later there was prediction that space weather could be promising for auroras even in southern Finland and decided to check it I could capture these from Suomenlinna, which is known decent spotting place since there is fewer light pollution compared to most of Helsinki. Unfortunately no luck that night, the geomagnetic disturbances took place already few hours before sunset and once it got dark there was some cloud cover too. At least I heard an eagle owl howling somewhere in the vicinity of Suomenlinna dockyard that evening.
  17. If you are lucky, there is a small chance to see northern lights, but since these locations are still in quite southern latitudes, suitably strong auroras occur only occasionally and the colours can be more faint than further north. And of course, there still the premise that you don't have too many clouds in the sky when the phenomenon occurs as clouds sure will cover even the brightest auroras.
  18. I would say non-existent given that the midnight sun phenomenon lasts pretty much whole July on those latitudes and dark clear skies is the first requirement for seeing auroras. I would say the first times, when you might see any northern lights is in latter half of August and even then the better observation points might be slightly more southern locations than Honningsvåg.
  19. Although you are already eyeing the cheaper alternatives, I have to mention that Sony RX10 IV has few tricks that makes it superior to the competing models and worth the premium. First, the phase detect autofocus is much faster and more reliable than the contrast detect systems used by the others. Also RX10 IV trumps in burst rates and you can shoot up to 24 frames/second. So if you want to capture action (eg. flying birds) RX10 IV might be still the best choice despite the high price. Also worth checking if there would be any cameras available on the second hand market, that could shave off some of the price.
  20. That industrial area feel only applies to Hernesaari, which is common docking site for cruise ships (especially the larger ones), but it is not the only location for cruise ships in Helsinki, some ships do use also Eteläsatama (South Harbour), especially Katajanokka side, which is much closer to the city centre, especially the older empire style parts around the Market Square and Senate Square. Also worth a mention that the industrial feel of Hernesaari may some day disappear as there plans to renovate the area, build mainly residential building on the lots that were earlier occupied by cargo harbour related businesses. There has been also plans for a proper cruise terminal. Although these building projects probably won't get into full swing in the next few years as there has been some setbacks on city planning process for the area.
  21. I'm late in commenting, but I have to note that Viking Line ship in your picture might not be true cruise ship since it is one of these cruise ferries that shuttle between Finland and Sweden.
  22. Actually going fully contactless may never happen, already now Finnish legislation (and that might be derived from EU regulations) allows contactless payment only up to 50 euros and then requires that occasionally you have to enter the pin code even if the purchase would fall into category that could be paid also via contactless method. These restictions are of course there to make it less easy for thieves to use stolen cards.
  23. Since I don't eat fish, I won't comment the taste, but when questionable fish products are mentioned, one of the first things that pops into my mind is the Icelandic national dish Hákarl. And then another classic in that category is of course the Swedish delicacy of surströmming, although Sweden was not on original poster's itinerary, but I suppose it would be possible to hop on a train in Copenhagen and make a short visit to Southern Sweden (eg. Malmö).
  24. Actually, some of the LCCs belong to airline groups that also include well-known legacy carriers, eg. IAG may be best known for BA and Iberia, but it also owns Vueling, KLM/AF has Transavia and Lufthansa Group includes Eurowings and Eurowings Discover. This means that on some routes there could be codeshares for these LCC flights and you could combine these with flights from the legacy carriers on single ticket. Of course, mainly these LCCs still offer point-to-point service (and often on routes that can be described as holiday oriented) and the on board experience makes some sacrifies to allow the lower prices.
  25. I think if you choose the smaller roads rather than the motorway route to Porvoo, that might be slightly more interesting, but probably not significantly more interesting and obviously the smaller roads have lower speed limits which mean the travel time is longer. And yes, the historical centre of Porvoo may not be that interesting for the younger visitors. Traditional point of interest in Porvoo for kids is Brunberg factory outlet, which sells variety of sweets. But that is slightly off from the city centre and I doubt cruise lines offer tours that include stop at that candy store. And if you want to spoil kids with products that can harm ones teeth, there is one alternative closer to Helsinki, Fazer Experience in Vantaa offers also brief exhibition tours with a chance to taste some of the products made there.
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