Glassblowing World Championship Contest in Iittala


Last Saturday was a rainy day here in Finland. I spent most of the day in Iittala, at the famous glass design company’s factory where the biannual glassblowing world championships were held. Most of the participants were from Finland, but there were a few from abroad as well. The factory was somewhat dimly lit and since I was just a spectator, I couldn’t get very close to the contestants so I had to shoot from afar, using a slow telephoto lens. Good thing I had my monopod with me. The best areas for photography were contained with a security line and only the official photographer was able to shoot at close range. I had to shoot at 1600 to 3200 ISO, so the pictures are a bit grainy and the color reproduction isn’t what I would like it to be.

Anyways, event photography is fun and this kind of slow action was suitable for my lens. There were 32 contestants and three rounds, including semifinals and the final round. Plenty of opportunities to shoot. Finland turns 100 years next year so they are organising championships next year too. Normally the competition is organised biannually. The audience was not forbidden to take pictures so it’s a good place to practice your skills.

Here are some of my shots:

I loved her reaction to the big ass glass cylinder. There was a security glass between us, hence the reflection.
He was making a big glass bubble. Apparently, it is not very easy on your lungs to blow some glass.
The World Champion at it.
The molten glass is over thousand degrees celcius, so the air goes bonkers above it.
You could almost touch it, so smooooth.
The contest had three phases, first round you had to make a bowl of sorts, then a cylinder like shown here and the final round was a ball. The bigger, the better.
I liked her.
This guy took his audience, but did not qualify for the final round.
Other pics were taken with a 50-200 mm zoom or 20 mm prime lens, but this one was with my dear old Helios 44-2. I couldn’t get close enough for some swirly action, but that’s okay.