from Twilight to Midnightsun
One of my favorite places in Europe is Helsinki. Within the last years i’ve been there a few times. In December a trip to Finland is on my schedule, so i thought it is time to recap my visits, go through the countless images on my hard drives and put this post to my website.
While Helsinki and Finland in general is a great place to be, you have to get used to the fact that during winter there is hardly any daylight, while in summer the sun is nailed to the horizon all day long. As an Austrian i had harder times in winter, not because of the temperatures, that is something we are used to, but the permanent darkness makes it hard to motivate yourself for any activity outside your comfortable apartment.
On a mid December trip in 2013 i was able to improve my night photography skills during late afternoon hours. Equipped with my DSLR and a tripod i was scouting the areas next to the ocean. As a side effect there weren’t to many people on the roads. -10°C is something that attracts people to warmer places, in Finland called Sauna.
Helsinki is located on a peninsula and 315 islands, so there is a lot of coast to walk along. Most of the people i came across were running. Finland is a very sporty nation and you will find them running during day and night. The rest of the city was prepared for the best time in year and even a christmas market was set up in front of the Helsinki Cathedral. As i was told later, this isn’t typical for Finland. It is something which became in over the past few years.
If you want to explore the city in a different way there is a special tram that takes you on a tour through the city. Unlike the boring tourist tram in vienna, this one will take you on a 40 min trip with a mobile pub. I was invited to take the tour with some local guys and we spent a great trip and night after that. Was real fun and i had a really hard next day. It is quite expensive if you do a pub tour in Helsinki, but is seems no one cares too much. I like.
In Helsinki you’ll find many museums, theaters and other cultural locations. So if you need to warm up while walking through the city in winter, there are enough opportunities to do so.
In December 2013 i stayed in Helsinki for two weeks. So my darling was visiting me during weekend and together we visited friends in Turku and enjoyed the snowy winter scenery in Helsinki. When i stay for longer than just a few days i prefer to rent an apartment instead of a hotel room. Much nicer and much more space. So no problem for some visitors on weekends. Food – I’m not sure about the finish food, to be honest i don’t like it too much, except the sweets. Another advantage of an apartment, you can cook whatever you want to.
Three month later the conditions changed. It is noticeable warmer and there was much more daylight available. I was able to take some extended photo walks without the risk of getting lost in the darkness nor freezing to death.
Maximale Höhe: 67 m
Minimale Höhe: 1 m
Gesamtanstieg: 229 m
Gesamtabstieg: -216 m
The Hietaranta Beach was the perfect location to take some nice sunset images. Many photographers were populating the beach at that time. I didn’t know about this location, just came by on one of my walks.
This beach was a really relaxing place. Except the photographers and some fisherman it was empty and allowed a perfect view to the sunset.
At night i was experimenting with something new. Just before departure i bought me a nice Formatt Hitech Filter Set. I learned that i need to cover the viewfinder at this point and how to get the tripod fixed in windy conditions. Took me some time to find the perfect camera settings to get enough light and Depth of View with a 6 stop filter added.
In march i had an apartment next to Hietalahdentori, a square with a market on it and the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences next to it (image below).
From my apartment i was also able to walk along the seaside, passing some harbor facilities, to the Kaivopuisto Park. At the highest point you will find a beautiful view across the small islands in front of this area. In winter those are connected to mainland with bridges and i was able to explore them as well.
When i returned to Helsinki in June 2014, it was once again a different city. One day lasts for more than 18 hours and in the beginning this was confusing. Smoking a cigarette on the balcony at 22:00 while the sun is still above the horizon feels strange. Also druing the night, which does not even last for 6 hours, it never gets completely dark. But the famous golden hour these days is extended for a few hours and perfect for anyone who wants to do a photo walk after work. My apartment was located in front of the Mikael Agricola Church, which gave me a nice view, and in between the buildings i was able to spot the open sea.
Once again Kathi was visiting me during the weekend, and this time we decided to visit the island of Suomenlinna.
Suomenlinna is a sea fortress spread over 6 islands. It is an UNESCO world Heritage site, and a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. You should plan a full day for this trip, as there is a lot to see.
Maximale Höhe: 55 m
Minimale Höhe: 1 m
Gesamtanstieg: 485 m
Gesamtabstieg: -446 m
There is a frequent ferry connection to the Islands depending on the month of your visit. As far as i remember the ride lasts for about 25 min. Without a particular plan we just followed the paths across the islands.
At some point you’ll come across Finland’s last remaining submarine. There is a tour within the vehicle offered which we refused to take.
We had a great day on that islands and i’m really looking forward to my upcoming trip to Helsinki.
I’ll update this post with new images once i’m back in December 2015.