Go Peaceful or Go Party

Well today summer officially starts in the northern hemisphere.

To mark the solstice I’ve have pulled out some favorite recent summertime memories—notably from 2016—when I was fortunate to be invited by a Finnish friend and colleague to the northern part of the country to experience the Midnight Sun on the first day of summer, known and celebrated in Finland as Midsummer, a main national holiday.

Let me tell you this is a MAJOR deal in Finland. The whole country seems to shut down.

As explained over at www.VisitFinland.com, Midsummer is “Originally a celebration of the summer solstice, it is typically spent with friends and family at a summer cottage away from the city, either partying or relaxing.”

I can vouch for all that.

Friends + cabin + woods + lake + grilling + vodka + sauna + 24 hour daylight can = “Go Peaceful or Go Party” as the article is headlined on The Official Travel Guide of Finland.

From my experience I think it can be a little of both.

It’s amazing how 24 hours of daylight affects mood, sleep, and a general propensity be outdoors and do semi-nutty things, especially if you’ve never experienced the Midnight Sun.

The sky colors and reflections on the lake were very intense and seemed exaggerated at about 1 AM when I shot this image.

Midsummer Magic – near Pudasjärvi, Finland

So from roughly 10 PM to 3 AM we went back and forth between the sauna and dunking ourselves in this icy cold lake, with industrial mosquitoes trailing us. Vodka helps.

Once we were done I noticed the fog rolling in with the moon rising over the trees and just had to pause and take a load of pictures with my Canon mirrorless Canon EOS M3.  I had no tripod with me, so I placed the camera on the dock, or leaned against a tree and held my breath, and snapped away.

Finnish Midsummer -near Pudasjärvi, Finland

This camera was relatively new so I decided to test out its video capabilities on this excursion. Honestly I think it does not handle low light video as well as hunkier mirrored DSLRs, especially when it comes to auto-focus. Also colors are not as vivid vs. still images.  In retrospect I wish I had brought my 70D that handles low light superbly, but this was a business trip so I traveled light.

Here’s the video I edited from that memorable Finnish Midsummer experience.

Let me tell you I was totally relaxed and slept well.

It is possible to party AND do it peacefully during Midsummer!