Helsinki excursion

The Finlandia Hall

The Finlandia HallThis week I spent two days in Helsinki, the capital of Finland. Unfortunately (in regards to photography) this wasn’t a vacation but a business trip. Fortunately (in regards to photography) we had a bit of time off here and there so I could take a few photos during the event. The weather happened also to be on our side during both days.

VMware vForum 2018 @ Finlandia Hall

The day started with an early-morning train ride from Turku with three of my workmates. I was barely awake when we departed for Helsinki, so I wasn’t exactly keen to take any photos. On top of that, the Kupittaa train station isn’t exactly photogenic. After arriving at Helsinki, we half-ran to the Finlandia Hall to catch the keynote speech for this year’s VMware vForum event.

The Finlandia Hall front

The Finlandia Hall with its white marble surfaces was designed by Alvar Aalto in 1962.

A view across Töölö bay

A view across Töölö bay. Linnanmäki amusement park can be seen in the background.

I managed to take the above photos during the breaks between sessions. I probably could have taken more time for photography, but I considered networking and visiting the partner exhibitions to be important as well. The event ended in the afternoon with drinks and also some prizes were drawn (I didn’t win any though).

Hotel Vaakuna Helsinki

Afterwards we walked a few blocks to our hotel and checked in. The Hotel Vaakuna is located in the heart of the city just across the Helsinki Central Railway Station. It was originally built for the 1940 Olympic games that were eventually canceled due to the Winter War. The hotel finally opened in 1952.

Hotel room chair

The furniture and the design fit the theme of the hotel quite well.

The room I was in was probably the smallest I’ve ever come across, but it was lovely and quaint. The only complaint was that the doors were not sound proof. Not even a bit, so you could hear every single sound from the corridor.

Vaakuna Helsinki mushroom lamp

A large mushroom lamp in the 10th floor lobby.

Evening entertainment

Next we headed out and hit a few of the beer gardens around the Railway Square. Not surprisingly we found them jam-packed with people since the weather was really nice. When the sun set behind the buildings it started to get chilly, so we moved to the O’Learys Bakers sports bar / restaurant. There we dined and watched the Finland – Norway World Championship hockey game.

I did carry my Fuji X-T20 and my most recent purchase the Fujinon XF23mmF1.4 R (more on that later) combo with me all night. I didn’t take it out of the bag though, so I have no photos from the evening. I’ve been using the lens for a few weeks now and it’s a sweet little thing. I shot all the photos in this post except the “view across Töölö bay” with it.

Breakfast and business

The next morning we headed up to the 10th floor restaurant for breakfast. This gave me an opportunity to get out on the balcony and photograph the city from above. I used the Fuji Classic Chrome film simulation, which gives the photos a nice subdued color palette. This seems to work best when there’s enough light and the subject matter is suitable.

Helsinki railway station

Helsinki Central Railway Station.

Helsinki city center

A view to the right from the Helsinki Central Railway Station.

Forum shopping mall

Shopping mall Forum.

To Keilaniemi and back again

Our scheduled meeting for the next day took place in the Keilaniemi business park. We calculated that the price would be pretty much equal between a taxi and the metro, so we took a taxi there. We however wanted to test the metro, so we used it to return to Helsinki.

It doesn’t take long for the metro to arrive, so I had only a short moment to photograph the station ceiling. Almost all the stations have some sort of artistic flare to them, so photographing them at some point is certainly on my to-do list.

Keilaniemi metro station light art installation

Keilaniemi metro station light art installation.

Keilaniemi metro station ceiling

Keilaniemi metro station ceiling.

Although I didn’t get too many photo opportunities I’m still fairly happy with the photos that I did take. After all this wasn’t a holiday or a trip dedicated to photography. I do want to go back at some point, because Helsinki has a lot to offer for a photographer. The buildings are interesting and there are plenty of eccentric characters around, so yeah, I think I’ll go back there with more gear at some point.

-Janne

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