Photographing the midnight sun – In 2019 I participated in the Nightless Night Photography Workshop near Inari in Finnish Lapland. I won admission to this event at the Matka travel exhibition, where I visited the Inari-Saariselka booth. All I had to do was to submit a picture with a reindeer and me. The admission usually costs 185 EUR and includes the workshop, local transportation, and meals during the trip. The accommodation I had to pay for myself.
I took the Finnair flight with an Embraer ERJ-190 from Helsinki up to Ivalo on Thursday evening. At the Nightless Night Photography Workshop, there was also one day scheduled before to learn basic camping.
However, I skipped the camping workshop and walked with my two bags from the airport in Ivalo to the Ivalo river, inflated my packraft, and paddled towards the centre of Ivalo with a stopover in between where I pitched my tent. It took a few hours to paddle from the airport to the centre. I guess it was around 8-10 km to paddle.
The next day, I met Ari-Pekka in Ivalo, one of the nightless night photography workshop participants. Ari-Pekka was so kind as to take me in his car to our Hotel Korpikartano. There was also the possibility to take a taxi. The hotel, however, charges over 100 EUR oneway for this trip. Another option was to take a shuttle taxi from Ivalo airport to Inari for about 29 EUR.
I was also planning to camp nearby the hotel. However, it was not allowed. So instead, during the workshop, I decided to take a shared room, including breakfast for 30 EUR, together with Rayann Elzein, one instructor.
The workshop kicked off with a lunch, presentations from each instructor, and a bingo game to socialize. Irina from Inari-Saariselka Tourism did a great job of coordinating everything. Then we took our cameras and got an introduction to the basic functionalities of the camera and how to apply them in different situations.
Later on, some of us also went kayaking in the lake Menesjärvi later on, while others took pictures of those sitting in the kayak. Finally, the evening concluded with a dinner party, pancakes, and sauna.
The next day we had breakfast, and then we went on our field trip to Lemmenjoki National Park. The bus picked us up from the Hotel, and after 30 min we arrived in the Lemmenjoki National Park, where we were given life jackets before entering our two boats which brought us 20 km deep into the largest national park in Finland.
Our captain was also our local guide in the national park. We were digging for gold and visited a waterfall. Some of us were actually lucky and found small pieces of gold. Unfortunately, not sufficient to retire.
We spent around one hour at the waterfall, where Rayann taught us to use a polarizer and neutral density filter. Then we went back with the motorboat to where we left in the morning and had dinner around 6 pm.
The next stop was Kaapin Jouni’s farm, where we got our dessert. Kaappi Jouni had the biggest amount of reindeers in the area, and they also called him the prince of Lemmenjoki. We were also told that there is a lottery to take care of the sheep on the farm. It costs around 400 EUR per week if you are the chosen one.
Then we continued with the motorboat to the Joenkielinen fell where we hiked a three km hike up and enjoyed the beautiful view over the area with its golden touch from the midnight sun. With my new Sony 100-400mm lens, I could get compressed shots of the landscape.
It was cold and windy on the top, but most of us had rain clothes with us, which some used to protect against the wind. We spent the entire night on the Fjell and returned to the hotel around 3 am.
The last day was exciting for those who are into still photography. Our task was to cook outdoor food and present it appealingly with outdoors objects, such as flowers, wood, etc.
There were salmon and vegetables on our plates, Lapland cheese and cloudberry jam, and the chocolate muffins, which we enjoyed while selecting a few pictures from the workshop, which we presented to each other.
Ari-Pekka, who picked me up from Ivalo, drove me back to Inari, where I camped one night at Lake Inari before taking the plane back to Helsinki the next day.
Since Inari is quite small, I was not surprised to find another participant from the workshop in the local restaurant I met at the packrafting meetup in Slovenia and currently travels for one year around Europe.
To conclude, the Nightless Night Photography Workshop was really great. I would definitely be interested in participating next year again. Nice people and a great landscape.