I have been to Finland several times, still in summer, however, where the warm air that indicates the arrival of autumn, the first yellow leaves and those expanses of birch and lake woods, made me feel at home, protected. Instead this time I experienced a classic Finnish adventure in a completely winter mood. Who would have thought to reach Helsinki in a flight of business class, to sleep in a chalet in the snow, to drive a snowmobile, to see the northern lights, cook salmon or taste the reindeer in a hotel overlooking the sea where the sea there are …
# FLY WITH FINNAIR
The best way to get to Finland is to take the plane. Thanks to Finnair, the Finnish flag carrier, it is possible to fly from almost any place of world and land in Helsinki and after a short stop, take another plane and with an internal flight arrive at your destination. In my case, Oulu was the definitive destination for the first leg and after a few days, I left Rovaniemi, where there is a very small and charming airport in the Nordic style, with wooden furniture and pure design relaxation areas. Flying in business allows you to experience already at a high altitude the Finnish spirit, pampered by Marimekko prints, and savoring the reindeer or salmon, some of the local gastronomic delicacies.
Finnair then hit me two other elements, the first is the attention to the environment: traveling straight lines in fact, the aircraft consume less fuel and landings follow ecological procedures so as to lessen the impact on the environment and produce less noise.
The second is the care of the airport lounges: that of Helsinki, where large windows open the view on the track, presents, in addition to a rich culinary and wine proposal, an elegant design with attention to detail.
# HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH THE BOREAL AURORA
One of the reasons that drove me to Finland in the middle of winter was the desire to see the Aurora Borealis and to be able to capture them in shots that would make my memories even more unforgettable. After long studies, I realized that the essential elements for good photos are fairly linear, but not always simple: a good fast wide-angle lens, a SLR capable of maintaining a high ISO quality and a robust tripod.
But before positioning with the camera, my choice fell on a CANON 80D with a 24-70mm lens, you have to find the right time, with the right temperature and the right brightness.
UAF Geophysical Institute offers forecasts on the aurora borealis in a specific context in the long and short range.
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Ovation of NOAA offers a general circumpolar pictorial representation in which one can geolocalize to see the intensity of the aurora in the area in which it is found.
On the field, on one of the most intense nights I’ve ever seen, I realized that the most important factors for a good photo of the “green lady” are the ISO, which must be high, and the exposure times that should not exceed 4- 5 seconds even in the most frenetic moments and in the most majestic dances. Finally, the biggest problem is framing and focusing. Shooting almost in the dark, prey to a strong emotion was not easy. I brought home a lot of wrong shots and some fortunately memorable and unforgettable.
One piece of advice I can give you is to always have a spare battery and keep it away from the cold, as the low temperatures drastically limit the battery life.
# HOW TO DRESS IN LAPLAND
One of the thoughts that worried me most in the preparation of this trip, I would live in a pared and flip-flops all year round, is the fear of cold. Every time I checked the forecasts, the less in front of the temperatures did not go away and so, especially in the Arctic night, we touched temperatures between zero and -16.
Rule number one: Dressing in layers, many warm layers.
Rule number two: Banish cotton and prefer wool and fleece, as well as ultra-technical material, such as Columbia, which is a leader in the outdoor clothing industry that offers jackets, trousers and shoes suitable for outdoor life even at low temperatures. Know then, that especially for girls who do not want to live in ski overalls for days and days, there are in the business of graceful, colorful and hot solutions.
Do not forget sunglasses with a high degree of protection that will help your eyes to endure cold wind, sun and the glare of snow.
The last round is on shoes: Bandits boots with leather sole that will not keep you warm and will slide you often, so the best option is to have comfortable after-ski boots that you can wear all day long.
Remember that the temperature can drop even 20 degrees below zero, but the cold is different from ours, dry and less pungent, but you are still in the Arctic.
In my opinion before departure, you will be even more eager to discover the nature, culture and traditions of an incredible land like that of Finland.