Friday, June 30, 2006

Wroooooom! Or a Lucky Shot!

Sometimes, every now and then, people get lucky. Someone might find a 20 euro bill from the floor of super market, other might find a rock with resemblance of Jesus and someone just might get a lucky shot that just so happens to look pretty good. I am one of the latter kind of people (ok, I did find the 20 euro bill too).

I saw this neat looking retro style sports car standing in the lights and took a picture of it. Then I switched my camera to sports mode to be able to take more pictures while the car passes by. Unfortunately there was another car blocking the view for quite some time when the light turned green. Fortunately it was some old station wagon and accelerated way much slower than the sports car. Fast enough, though, to block my view long enough for me to snap only this one picture when the car was closer. And of course I wasn’t fast enough to zoom out the picture to make the whole car fit into the picture…

But after all the result is actually a good one. A lucky shot. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Sheet Lightning

Yesterday evening while taking a walk after sunset I spotted some flashing lights “somewhere over the buildings”. At first we thought it was somebody taking pictures with flash-light and we gave it no further thought. But after walking a few block more and the flashing light still being visible over the rooftops we decided it was something else, maybe an outdoors concert light or something. When we got to a bigger street with better visibility, no more apartment buildings all around us, we realized it was a thunderstorm in the horizon.

The lightning strikes flashed but we heard no rumbling what so ever. We then decided to walk to the Heroes’ Square to take some pictures of it. While walking there we marveled the light show the mother nature gave us. It really was quite something. I mean bright lightning striking behind the clouds, lightening up the whole horizon with the clouds casting shadows of the lightning strike. Phenomenal.

When we got to the square we looked for a darker spot so that the light from the streetlight wouldn’t mess up the pictures. I set the camera to Shutter-priority AE, the ISO value to 1600 and the drive mode to continuous shooting. Then I support the camera against a hand rail and pointed it up to the sky and started shooting.

Couple of hundred frames later I was able to get only one decent picture. The one posted here. Somewhat frustrating but shooting a lightning strike is more about luck that anything else when you are only able to take a maximum of three (3) shots per second. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Barrens Giraffe!

As promised earlier here is one more picture sneak peeked outside the zoo fence. Once I saw that giraffe I made my mind that I want to visit that zoo and see those animals even closer! The Hippopotamus and elephant were cute also but some how this giraffe was the one. Maybe they have some zhevra runners there too!


On a side note as you might have spotted from the couple latest posts I seem to have a little problem with the exposure of the pictures. During daytime the pictures seem to get over exposed very easily. Even though my camera is set to automatic the exposure isn’t quite right. I have worked around that by manually setting the exposure compensation to -1 step. That seems to be enough to prevent the white areas from getting way too bright but then I should try and remember set the compensation again when I am shooting after the sunset.

I’m not quite sure if the reason for the over exposure is the camera or the bright sunlight here in Hungary but either way it is annoying. Be it as it may I’ll just have to adapt and learn to remember to set the exposure compensation… Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Chicks Beware!

You never know when someone is skulking!

I was taking a walk after eating dinner out on town when I saw something move on the edges of my field of vision. After a while of looking around probably with a weird expression on my face I managed to spot this little prowler hiding in the flower bench. There (s)he was trying to stay hidden and observing everything that moved around. (S)he never had a chance to surprise any bird since there were none around. Some random flying bugs did get a faint effort to get hit by a paw but nothing serious anyways.

And since you thought I was going to talk about women I might as well do so too. For my wife has told me that she gets random hollers and whistles while walking to work, stereotypically mostly from construction workers. I have noticed a number of times that bar tenders at coffee shops have rather openly checked out girls passing by in tight pants. Couple of times I have heard a car honk on an apparently empty street only to notice that some fine figured, scantly clad lady was walking on the side walk.

This has partly confused my wife since she doesn’t think herself worthy of hollers and whistles (I do) compared to local women (even to them I do). Local women mostly have a nice hourglass figure, slim waist and tight’n’round butt I grant them that much. Therefore my wife wondered why she got the whistles she ain’t that special (she is). Men. Go figure.

On the other hand my wife got a long list of compliments from a (pretty, red haired) waitress in a coffee shop here other day. In Hungarian, which neither of us understand. After getting our order she talked a while to another waitress while looking a little shy (in a cute way) and then they came together back to us. The other waitress told my wife, with a rather clumsy English, that she had beautiful eyes (she has, especially when wearing those green contact lenses as she did that day). That was so very sweet. Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Many Faces of Budapest (part V)

Despite the sorry state of many buildings in the downtown area of Budapest there certainly are a lot of beautiful houses around. A simple renovation of the façade does a lot to the appearance of the building (no, really it does, d’oh!) but the more modern buildings here are way much prettier than the new buildings in Finland.

I am not quite sure how old the building on the left is but it most certainly looks good to my eye. The building on the right side on the other hand… Well it does, once again, give a good example of the contrast between the (state of the) buildings here. It looks nice and old and all that but unfortunately is quite dilapidated. Maybe it will someday be renovated to its former glory. But hopefully the foundation loses the turquoise colour in the process. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Take a Peek

Have you ever wondered what is on the other side of that fence that you just can not see through? I have. Many times too. Just the other day I decided to take a peek through a narrow opening between the boards. My curiosity was handsomely rewarded since I saw a rhinoceros on the other side!

Ok, so that is not such a big deal since we had walked along the side of the Budapest Zoo and taken loads of pictures of elephants, giraffes, hippopotamuses. But this rhinoceros was in an enclosure and had couple of people hustling around it. it looked rather sad too, if one can tell from the facial expression of on rhinoceros how it feels, so I think it might have been sick.

Now I want to go to visit the zoo with enough time. I just love animals. I think I'll post some more pictures taken outside of the zoo in the near future. Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Many Faces of Budapest (part IV) or Where Did All This Junk Come From?

While walking around the neighbourhood to fins some place to eat at I stumbled upon something quite astonishing. There was this street that had its sides filled with all this junk. There was enough room for the cars go by and on the sidewalk for people to walk by but every single vacant spot where there were no cars parked were filled with all kind of junkyard stuff.

The folks on this picture were loading that refrigerator on to the car but there was another car that is behind this pickup that had some sort of wooden boards on the roof that the people were unloading to the street. Now what is all this supposed to be?

When I walked on I found out that this wasn’t the only street that the stuff was dumped on. Oh no, not at all. That stuff was just about everywhere. Even on the sides of one of the main streets! And what was even weirder that the stuff being dumped on the street was that that there were people sitting next to the piles and apparently selling the stuff. I mean there were some people looking through the piles and if they found something interesting then money changed ownership.

My wife asked about this from her Hungarian colleagues and they just laughed it off. “Why want to buy something?” Oh well, when in Rome… I’ll grab that telly over there. Oh wait, it works and is the property of the hotel. I’ll just leave it there. Besides the stuff on the street was gone day or two later… Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Many Faces of Budapest (part III)

Ok so, last time I went and said that if there isn’t enough money to renovate the building then it just might be demolished to make space for a “parking lot”. Right. I’ll have to take it back.

Apparently they do renovate only parts of buildings here. I have to admit that this does look peculiar, but hey, at least part of the building looks good. Maybe the owner of the apartment wanted and afforded to renovate the outer walls of the apartment but the rest of the owners didn’t or something. Nonetheless the result looks odd.

Anyways this is so far the only building I have seen only partly renovated. Oh way, no it is not. It is the only building that I have seen renovated only from the area of apparently one apartment. There have been other buildings that have been renovated only from the area of one or two stairways. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Many Faces of Budapest (part II)

As I told in my previous post the true face of the city is off of its main streets. Sure Budapest has its fair share of multi-level car parks and big parking lots but they are there where they can be seen by most foreigners. Right there where the image matters.

But once again are block or two away from the main streets and the face of the city is quite different. Here there are more modest parking lots for the common citizens. And as you can see here clearly used to be a building, its shapes can still be seen on the surrounding buildings. And back there on the left, the building that used to be connected to this building-now-a-parking-lot has even some of its structures ripped off.

Not a pretty sight but hey, the parking space seems to be in quite high demand here. Posted by Picasa

The Many Faces of Budapest (part I)

Back home in Finland my friends asked me about Budapest, "How is it there?", "Is it as beautiful as city they say?" and so forth. I tried to explain the situation to them, but as always a picture tell more than a thousand words. Those two combined should be rather enlightening. Of course I am not going to say thousand words here (at least I don't intend to) but a word or two to accompany this picture is in order.

The buildings here in Budapest along the main streets and close to hotels and tourist attractions are well kept care of or are under renovation. But the true face of the city reveals itself if you go off the main streets. This picture was taken a block or two away from one of the main streets here in Pest side, the Körút Erzsébet, along which is the famous New York Café (of which I unfortunately do not have a picture to post right now, those are on my home computer in Helsinki).

As you can see the foremost building is rather new and modern, stone slabs still shiny enough to see your own reflection out of it. And right next to it an old building whose facade is just about crumbling off. This kind of sight is quite common here in Budapest, old and rather dilapidated building right next to a new and moderns building. Of course, as mentioned earlier, the buildings on most visible locations are being renovated and kept a good care of but if you just see a little effort to peek through the well kept front you can see that there is still much to do. I suppose, as the tourism brings in more and more money, then the town can afford to repair its buildings more. At least it does seem so since there are many building under construction (many of which are hotels) or under renovation. Posted by Picasa