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The summer nights of Finland

2012.10.29 05:58:56 by andy category : travel Tags :Akiko Finland Travel


June 21st, 2012 was the summer solstice. The days must have been getting very long in Japan.

Finland is located at a very high latitude, in Northern Europe. Compared with Japan the amount of sunlight in each day is very different. I waited until late at night on the longest day of the year, the summer solstice, in order to photograph the summer nights of Finland.

This photograph was taken around 1am, and is of the North Eastern horizon. As you can see the sky is a shade of red somewhere between a sunset and a sunrise, and turns into a dark blue as you go skyward… In the foreground is a railing of the bridge (I was on a bridge over a lake to take the photo). It is bright enough to see the small waves on the surface of the lake. As you can see, the summer nights of Finland are never quite dark. After the sun has sunk below the horizon, the hazy glow of the sunset remains as the darker red glow (in the direction of the sun) moves from west to east, until the sun rises again. This phenomenon of greeting a new day without experiencing a night is almost mystical and makes one ponder the axis of the Earth, the high latitude, and the magnitude of the Earth and Sun.

Where I am living, the sunset that day was at about 23:15, and the sunrise about 03:30. Those closer to the North Pole are said to experience a “Midnight Sun,” where the sun is visible for 24 hours. I have noticed that in the area, the trees and buses in the area grow very fast comparitively as well. Most likely this is a result of enjoying the sunlight for almost 24 hours each day. Perhaps this is what encouraged the forests of Finland to grow so abundantly.

As an aside, there is a popular legend about the night of a summer solstice. It is said that anyone who walks nude (!) over 7 fences and gathers 7 different flowers, then sleeps with those flowers under their pillow, will be able to see the face of their future husband or wife in a dream. (Different areas may have a slightly different telling.) Since it is so bright, it might take some courage to carry this out on the night of the summer solstice…

(Akiko)

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