On a recent four day long weekend abroad, I spent most of my time daydreaming while gazing up at blue skies and taking brief snapshots with my iPhone. The thought of picking up my Canon hadn’t crossed my brain longer than a fleeting second before the idea of roaming into a boulangerie came to thought. It is not to say that I was not inspired by my surroundings, it was quite the opposite. I was thrilled to be around people, art, sounds, cultures, sights, and glorious golden spring light. Seeing it through a lens wasn’t enough, I needed the moments to filter through my very own pupils into my wandering mind.
Yet, my company wasn’t convinced and inspired a challenge. Wake up at sunrise on my last day with the intention to take my camera off the shelf and out into the streets. With tired eyes I snoozed through two alarms the next morning and reluctantly tied my shoes and headed out into the world. The light was right. Softness took over what had been traffic filled every moment before this dawn. People were still home, tossing in their sheets, the morning was mine to capture. For photographers and runners, there is no better time than sunrise to get it done right.
I neglect this fact often at home. Yet, on a trip to a foreign place, it is easy for me to try new things or reminisce an old lust, for the sake of the experience. Call it je ne sais quoi, call it jet lag, but I hit the streets that Sunday morning feeling free and more like me than I had in weeks. Quiet time alone with myself to visualize, frame, and capture a moment. A memory.
For some of you, it may have not been apparent the summer solstice just passed. For many of you, it may not ever register when a solstice occurs, but in Finland, it is the ultimate celebration of the season. The sun is visiting for the longest period of time all year, and it is the climax of the year for most civilians. From a photography perspective, that means you have to wait till about 10:00 pm for golden hour content.
I have enjoyed living here and celebrating this special occasion. Mostly, because it is always a contradiction to what it should be. It should be sunny, warm, and absolute euphoria in the air. In reality, my memories oh Juhannus (Midsummer in Finnish) are anything but! Grey skies, chilled temperatures, and multiple layers of clothing tend to pass the day.
Another story about Finnish Juhannus is the empty city streets. Everyone packs up around Thursday and by Friday evening the city is left with only unknowing tourists and younger people living by the dusk light and catching a glimpse of a local bonfire. Although I did not get to make my ultimate midsummer photo, these sunset streets sure kept things entertaining until midnight.
The final image was that last on my SD card. It was the last image I took, just before turning off my camera and soaking it all in. The midnight sun, the beginning of summer and the end of spring. It is bittersweet to think about the days getting shorter again, but we will leave that thought for a future post. Until then, hyvää juhannusta!
This week I was blessed with a couple visitors from out of town, so when I was pressured to provide the most Helsinki experience ever, my first thought was to share the beautiful space that is the Kaisaniemi Botanic Gardens.
I became familiar with this space after reading about it in Helsinki People Make The City and felt the images shared were some of the most understated and iconic scenes from around town. For botanist enthusiasts or people just seeking a couple good Instagram posts, this space does not disappoint.
All photos here were taken with my usual Canon set up, excluding the first image. My wonderful guest and step sister waved her wand and made the most stunning image to emulate my favorite cover photo of Kirsikka Simberg.
There are not enough words to express the beauty and detail this space contains. I plan to spend many more afternoons wandering these glass rooms. It is my prediction that varying weather would only make the experience, and the images, more stunning and unique. Until next week,