We lost a Legend

If you know something about basketball then you know what happened a few days ago. Sadly we lost Kobe Bryant, his daughter and 7 other people in a tragic helicopter accident.

I remember back in the beginning of summer 2001 when I was kid I was staying at my grandparents countryside place. My grandfather is a really early riser meaning he would wake up around 5 AM.. the same time I was going to sleep after watching yet another thriller between Lakers and 76ers. Due to the time difference between Estonia and US all the games took place in the middle of the night. But I wasn’t disturbed by that. I just wanted to see the next game! So I said good night to my grandfather, he responded with good morning and then I went to bed dreaming about taking the last second shots.. just as Kobe did.

I admired Kobe and Shaq! And the whole Lakers team! For me back then they were the greatest of them all!

But especially Kobe.. I admit, that his playing style was quite often not the most team friendly and he definitely had his flaws but none of us is perfect and the pure raw passion that he played basketball with is difficult to match. You could see it from his eyes. Every minute, every second he was on the court.

Kobe had a huge influence in my love for basketball as he did for millions of other people. He will be greatly missed, it’s not fair to leave when you’re only 41 years of age and you should have at least half of your life ahead of you.

Here’s a poem by Bryant what in my opinion really sums up who he really was and how much passion he had for basketball…

Dear Basketball,

From the moment
I started rolling my dad’s tube socks
And shooting imaginary
Game-winning shots
In the Great Western Forum
I knew one thing was real:

I fell in love with you.

A love so deep I gave you my all —
From my mind & body
To my spirit & soul.

As a six-year-old boy
Deeply in love with you
I never saw the end of the tunnel.
I only saw myself
Running out of one.

And so I ran.
I ran up and down every court
After every loose ball for you.
You asked for my hustle
I gave you my heart
Because it came with so much more.

I played through the sweat and hurt
Not because challenge called me
But because YOU called me.
I did everything for YOU
Because that’s what you do
When someone makes you feel as
Alive as you’ve made me feel.

You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream
And I’ll always love you for it.
But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer.
This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.

And that’s OK.
I’m ready to let you go.
I want you to know now
So we both can savor every moment we have left together.
The good and the bad.
We have given each other
All that we have.

And we both know, no matter what I do next
I’ll always be that kid
With the rolled up socks
Garbage can in the corner
:05 seconds on the clock
Ball in my hands.
5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1

“Love you always,
Kobe”

This tragedy is a reminder that nothing is for granted. You never know what tomorrow brings or if tomorrow even comes at all. Enjoy every moment, share your love and be thankful for what you’ve got…

Lauri

Getting a new camera

By now I have been a bit more active in the photography field for about 3 years. At one point I just decided to buy my first DSLR (entry level Canon EOS 1300D) and see how it actually works for me. And as it turns out the world of photography is rich in so many ways. There is just something very special about capturing a moment from an interesting perspective and sharing it with others. I have mainly photographed landscapes and architecture although I have tried a lot of other things as well. At every given moment I have a list of different things I want to try out. Different techniques, places, angles, compositions, people, animals, weather and so on. I think and hope that this list will never end because this is one of the main reasons why I love photography- always trying out something new.

As with most of the things in life there are times when I cannot keep my hands of the camera and also times where it’s just waiting for me in the cupboard. Which is also yet another reason why I like it. There are no limitations, whenever you want you can grab the camera and capture something special. Even if sometimes the end result is not what you expected you still gain experience and you can always enjoy the process itself.

A while ago I had a really memorable moment when I went to one of many beautiful bogs we have here in Estonia to enjoy the sunrise, blissful silence and the magnificent nature around me. It had just freshly been snowing and it felt like walking around in a fairytale. Going there without a camera is truly amazing by itself  but a possibility to capture it gives an extra meaning and excitedness to it.

So now coming to the the caption of this post I finally decided to get myself a new camera. I still believe that photography is more an art than just getting the best technical equipment possible but you still need a proper tool to create the art. Canon EOS 77D is a really decent camera for an amateur photographer and since it’s not a new model anymore the price has dropped to a really reasonable level. Although it’s not the latest model it’s still packed with awesome set of features that allow you to live out your creativity. Maybe someday I will buy a pro camera (which are 3000USD+) but at the moment I see no need for this.

After the first month of usage and quite many photos taken I can easily recommend this camera to everyone who would also like to get in the world of photography but don’t want the very basic nor the pro models. Or if you just feel like it’s time to renew your old camera.

You can see more information about it or you can buy it from here

Links to my photo galleries:

https://www.facebook.com/lauri.aarop/media_set?set=a.1215423641817293&type=3

https://www.instagram.com/lauriaarop.photography/

https://gurushots.com/lauri.aarop/photos

All the Best!

Lauri

Cats vs Dogs

I’ve been lucky enough to live with a cat and a dog for about 2 years. Both are really cute but otherwise they are completely different. Here’s a little overview how it is to have a cat and a dog in everyday life.

BTW – although this post is really pro dog (:D) I love them both and they are both members of our family. Having pets is just awesome :)!

4AM in the morning

Dog – sleeps quietly in her bed without making a noise

Cat – decides to start “Rally de apartment” by running around through the rooms, climbing on the furniture, making alienlike noises, throwing things off the table and jumping on the bed.

4 AM in the morning, we shut the bedroom door

Dog – sleeps quietly in her bed without making a noise

Cat – decides to start “Rally de apartment” by running around through the rooms, climbing on the furniture, making alienlike noises, throwing things off the table and jumping to grab the door handle in order to open the bedroom door. Doesn’t succeed. Tries 250 more times.

Buying flowers or plants to home

Dog – doesn’t really mind them, just wants to get petted and thrown a toy

Cat – Oh, what a nice snack! I should eat them all and then puke all over the apartment to as many places as I can!

Coming home

Dog – every single time waits you at the door jumping and waiving her tail from happiness even if you just went to take out the garbage for 2 minutes

Cat – Dude, where’s my food?! Give me food! I agree to rub myself against your foot for 5 seconds if you give me food. (Followed once again by some alienlike noises)

Sitting on the couch with a laptop

Dog – naps besides you quietly so you have enough room to do work and pet her

Cat – climbs on the keyboard, hacks the computer and probably sends coded messages to other cats who are doing the same. Sits with his butt towards your face so you can’t see anything but the beautiful view I just described.

Washing day

Dog – sits quietly in the bathtub and let’s you wash her after she’s been playing around in the dirt.

Cat – (although we don’t wash him that often) – First find a medieval armor. Then put it on. Then grab a cat and try to fit him through the bathroom door while he hangs on with 4 paws spread as wide as he can against the door frame. Then with one hand try to hold him in the bathtub so he wouldn’t go on a rampage in the apartment and with the other one somehow try to wash him. Do as fast as you can. If you are alive afterwards then you have succeeded!

Buying a new beautiful cat/dog house

Dog – is really appreciative and curls herself in there nice and cosily.

Cat – takes a sniff of the new present and then finds the nearest half-destroyed empty cardboard box and takes it over claiming it his fortress

Trying to take a small nap

Dog – finds a place next to you to keep you warm

Cat – 6kg’s of cat finds the highest place he can, takes a deep breath and then there’s like a cannonball hitting your chest! Then repeat. Then infinite loop of repeat…

All the best :)!

Lauri

A week trip to Malta

At the end of the last year during Christmas we decided to enjoy a glimpse of sunshine and a much nicer weather then we currently have in Estonia and took a trip with a couple of our friends to Malta.

Malta is a small Southern European country (only 316km2) located in the Mediterranean sea. Roughly half a million people leave there based on main 2 islands Malta and Gozo. It’s really rich in history and beautiful architecture. The sea around the island is magical turquoise color and there’s unlimited majestic sights overlooking cliffs and rocky seashores.

In a matter of fact they have a lot of rocks there, almost everything is made out of stone based materials since there just isn’t any trees. Only occasionally you can glimpse one somewhere but mainly just small bushes and other low growing plants.

Since they don’t have much to stop the constant winds blowing from the seas it’s really windy there, at least in the winter time. If you can find a nice quiet place then you could sunbathe or even go for a swim (the average air and sea temperatures were around 18 degrees Celsius) but otherwise you definitely need a jacket or two to stop the wind blowing just right through you.

They have just exquisite choice of different pastries – various pies, cakes, cookies and everything in between. To be honest if you are a sweet lower as I am they are too good to spend a longer time there :). All in all the food was really delicious and pricewise roughly the same as in Estonia, maybe a little bit more expensive.

Almost 40% of all the houses/apartments in Malta are empty and it looks really weird. As I understood there are many reasons behind it related to different regulations and laws but the main thing is that a lot of the real estate is being bought form outside the EU in order to get an European citizenship. Either way it was really sad to see all these place completely deserted, covered with dust and doors and windows nailed shut. I really hope that they are able to fix this issue somehow in the near future.

The streets there are really narrow and since there are a lot of buses (the way how we got around. Buses basically go almost anywhere and it only costs 21€ for 7 days of unlimited travel) most of the time there are traffic jams. There just isn’t enough room for two vehicles to pass each other. So be advised if the destination is only 10km away it will still take a decent amount of time to get there, doesn’t matter if you’re traveling with a bus or a car.

At the end of the post I’ll also add a short video of our trip but here are the main places I would recommend to see when visiting Malta (in random order). 1 week is in my opinion sufficient time to have a look at all the main sightseeing places but of course if you’d like to dig deeper in the local culture and way of life you should plan for a longer visit.

  • Blue Grotto
  • Salt pans in Gozo
  • The ancient capital of Mdina
  • Valletta
  • National Aquarium
  • Dingli Cliffs
  • WWII Beach Post – Ta’ l-Imgharqa – just a really beautiful place to take a swim

And as said before do’t forget to go out and enjoy the tasty foods Malta has to offer 🙂

All the best!

Lauri