Juhannus – Midsummer

Imagine a place where the day starts with the sunset instead of sunrise! This actually happens here in Oulu for 16 days in June. Tomorrow the sun will set at 0.09 and rise just two hours later, at 2.06.

The longest day of the year – summer solstice – is close and this year it falls together with the Midsummer celebrations here in Finland, June 22nd. Juhannus is the Finnish word for Midsummer. The most common ingredients for a great weekend are family, friends, a summer cottage at a lake, sauna and lots of nice food & beverages. It is also common to build a bonfire (Juhannuskokko) on an open field, near a lake or let it float on water.

Copyright: Thomas Kast

A picture from Juhannus 2005

The ‘golden hour’ for photos is usually an hour around sunset & sunrise for most places in the world. Up here in North that special light is available much longer, especially around Juhannus, because of the flat path of the sun. It’s good time for some great timelapses and magic photos.

Copyright: Thomas Kast

Kempeleenlahti near Oulu at 23.35h on June 7th, 2013

Enjoy the summer solstice!
Hauskaa Juhannusta – Happy Jussi,

Midnight photo session with mosquitoes

Yesterday afternoon strong winds brought clouds to fill most of the blue summer sky. I had high hopes for some spectacular colors during sunset. In the evening though I felt too lazy to go photographing and decided to stay home. Around 23.30 I took out the trash and saw nothing but blue-grayish clouds. I climbed up some stones in our front yard to get a better look over the trees. On the horizon was an unbelievable pink sky. That was all I needed see; I ran back inside, packed my gear and left.

Copyright: Thomas Kast

Looking towards Oulu through the reeds

Oulunsalo was the place of choice and once there I saw the calm surface of the Baltic Sea, producing wonderful reflections. Now I needed to find a good spot and I started to make my way through the high grown reed. To my horror, I woke up thousands of mosquitoes and unfortunately they were extremely happy to see me.

That’s when I realized summer has come and that I didn’t bring the insect repellent. The sky was just too beautiful and I couldn’t bring myself to go back home without some pictures. So I made a deal with the mosquitoes, if they don’t bite me, I will not smack them. Well, all I can say it was the mosquitoes who broke the deal!

Copyright: Thomas Kast

Afterglow over Oulu, around half past midnight

It took me a good ten minutes to get used to the swarm buzzing around me, biting me anywhere they could. Eventually I got used to them (meaning I gave up the hopeless fight and let them bite me) and was just happy to take pictures. Like most cameras mine has also an option to take a picture with a ten seconds delay. Usually I use this to jump into the picture myself but yesterday all I wanted was draw mosquitoes away from the lense. This is not something I would try in the future. Next time I’ll be prepared for ‘Finnish Air Force’!