Järvisydän Finnish Sauna World in Rantalsami
Among the thousands islands puzzle that compose Saimaa archipelago, located in the southeast of Finland, there are motives enough to suit everybody’s photographical wishes.
For the forest lovers, nothing like a walk among pine, maple, all kind of trees…Where the sunny spells gives the natural light gorgeous hue, creating an unique effect as it shines into the forest. In the meanwhile, don’t forget to look for berries, delicious for their taste and ideal for photograph, with a macro lens if possible, that will enriches the colour and the texture of the object.
The pristine water of the lakes creates reflection of rocks, trees, boats or persons which such neatness that it will be difficult to distinct later on in the photography, which is the reality, which is the reflection.
A good place to start the tour around the Lake District will be Mikkeli; the biggest city in the region and the entrance to the lake’s world. On the way, yellow fields cover with colza flowers, are a temptation for the camera, especially with the warm touch of dawn or sunset hours.
A cute picture that defines the region is the traffic signals warning the pass of elks.
Only at 5 km from Mikkeli, in Tertin Kartano, the Manor House of Tertti, is a great sample of the art crafts and gastronomy of the area. The wooden house painted in pale pink, surrounded by multicolour flowers is a magnet for the wide angle that will trap the whole house, the garden and the blue sky of that beautiful evening of July. Entering the shop and the restaurant, the wide angle should be change for a 50 mm lens to catch up details of the furniture, lamps and porcelain of the vintage decoration, or the attractive products sold in the shop, like candles, crystal, or terrines.
The villas of Anttolanhovi, hidden in nature and enclosed by lakes, combine Finland design and architecture, blending with the environment and adding its own touch of class. The area is so lovely that prince and princess Demidov bought it as a refuge for them and the Romanov. Today, architecture students have designed the villas. Traces of their creativity are in the wooden structure, were the sun light streams though the ceiling high windows. It is a pleasure to take pictures, with a 24-105 mm lens, of the red chair that breaks the monotony of the pinewood, the ménage of the kitchen, or the wild flowers on the vase.
A detailed view from the villas of Anttolanhovi
Each cottage has its own dock, that aloud to swim in the lake after enjoying the sauna. The scenery from the dock is the greenery of the grass, the pine trees and its reflection in the water of the lake where a fisherman spends his time in the twilight of 11 pm, being July in Finland. For that unique image we will need a tripod that allows the right exposure to tie up silky water and the dim light.
In Raijan Aitta strawberries are in bloom. It’s harvest time and visitors grasp the stem between the forefinger and thumbnail, lightly pull them and twist and the same time before dip them in the basket. A macro lens will be advisable, to catch the beauty of the strawberry, and a wide angle to picture the whole field. Don’t miss the handicraft boutique with clothing and home textiles that reflects the natural beauty of linen.
In Järvisydän in Rantalsami one feels at home. The cottages located on the shore of the great Lake Saimaa in the middle of Linnarsaari National Park are comfortable and cosy with interesting offers for ground ups and children. Paddling, hiking, rock climbing, fishing, sailing, and resting are some of the activities, complemented by good food and different types of saunas. The photographic possibilities in Järvisydän are various. It is a must! to get up early morning, that means 4 am more or less, and walk near the lake to catch the golden colour of the quiet water. Later on, but still early morning, as sailing between islands, is advisable to set the camera at a shutter speed of 1/1000 or 1/2000 and aperture between 3/5-1/8 to trap de birds and the movement. Once on land the wooden huts painted in bright red or mustard colour are attractive for a photo as well as the proud look of the captain as he finishes cooking the little fishes “miukku” with an excellent result. Pictures at sauna at Finnish Sauna World in Järvisydän will show happy and relaxed people drinking a beer while swimming in the lake after sauna treatment.
In Okkola Holiday Cottages you can experience the peace and silence of Lake Saimaa life and go photo hunting either in summer or in winter, founding spectacular sceneries, fauna, flora and a lot of charming subjects attractive for your camera.
It is say of Savolinna to be the heart of Saimaa. The second largest metropolis in the lake region, after Mikkeli, is a lively city full of art galleries, museums and boutiques.
Saturday market is held in the centre of the city where the steamship cruises tourists around the Lake. The frame of the steam boats in the blue sea under the blue sky are worth a couple of shuts before going to the market and spend a good one hour wandering around the market stalls, photo hunting. People is quite pleasant and normally don’t mind being photographed, of course after begging for their permission. The cute girl trying on a straw hut, smiles at the camera and the result is lovely. A well built man lift the wooden cup “kuksa” that is used in Finland for drinking tea or vodka in the countryside, posing for the camera. He is a craftsman who works with wood pieces that sells at the market. The absolutely delicious wild strawberries are also a nice motive for a tasty photo, mainly if they are side by side with fresh green beans and tempting cans of “miukku” and elk meat.
After cruising in the steamship Punkahariu, the oldest steamer, 1905, still in use, Brewery restaurant Huvila awaits at the edge of lake Saimaa, to offer a couple of ales of cider and the freshest local produce dinner accompanied by selected imported wines. A 24-105 objective will be perfect to shoot the cruise and the Brewery.
That protagonist of that Savonlinna evening summer will be the Castle of Olavinlinna (St. Olaf´s Castle) that every year since 1967 during the month of July, performs the more important Opera Festival in Finland. The setting of the Castle immersed in the lake, is impressive, as impressive are the photos of that Castle taken before the concert, around 8 p.m. under an strong and golden evening light, and at 11 pm. when the people leave the Castle, happy looking after attending such a wonderful event, under a pink sunset light.
- Estimated time required for this trip: proxy. 5 days.
- Traveller profile: Amateur. ( What´s this? )
- Itinerary difficulty: Quite easy.
- Adventure level: Low.
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- Full Frame digital DSLR bodies Canon EOS 5D-Nikon 800 (It will be a good advise to take two full frames bodies, as you won’t need to loose time changing lenses).
- Canon 8-15 f/4 Fish Eye.
- Canon 16-35 mm f4-Nikon 16-35 mm f4
- Canon EF 24-105 mm f4-Nikon 24-120 f4
- Canon 100-400mm-Nikon 80-400mm f4.
- Canon EF50mm f/2,5 Macro lens-Nikon 60 mm f2 Macro lens.
- Enough CF cards to store 500 photos per day. A big stack of 8 GB cards (each holds 500 RAW).
- Polarizing and Warming Filters.
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- Finnish Lakeland. 1000`s lakes, islands, rivers and canals interspersed with forest and ridges of the largest Lake District in Europe.
- Tartin Kartano is one of the Manors of the Countryside full of history, culture and cuisine, ideal for photographing deco details, food, and art crafts of the cozy shop.
- Anttolanhovi Art and Design Villas, highlight Mother Nature, being a place of peace where glass walls create a space that merges into nature.
- Kenkävero and Pauliina Rundgen Handicrafts-Enamelling Shop in the biggest vicarage in all Finland.
- Astuvansalmi rock paintings. Ancestral paintings 7.7 and 11.8 meters above the water level of lake Saimaa. Located in YÖVESI-SAIMAA.
- Saimaa ringed seal tour with Tina, who knows everything about Lake Saimaa and moves comfortable into nature which is she truly love.
- Red Wooden Cottages, old style décor motives, lake scenery in Okkola Holiday Cottages.
- Järvisydan in Rantalsami. In this beach resort you will find a lot of subjects to use your camera, starting for fishing scenes, sailing boats, sauna items, mountain bike.
- Saturday market of Savolinna will offer you a good photo hunting of fruits, berries, wooden and wool art crafts, musicians, strawberry girls…
- Hotel Kruunupuisto has a beautiful setting in a landscape of esker ridges, ideal for dawn photography. The house is decorated in art noveau, with chimneys that required shooting a couple of photos.
- 15th-century Castle of Olanvinlinna at sunset reflects a pinky colour that embeauty the castle and it’s surrounding. The Castle holds every July an important opera festival.
- File format: RAW so you can fiddle with exposure later on.
- To capture motion pictures of people jogging, riding bicycles, sailing… it will be needed to blur certain elements while focus sharply in a few subjects.
- The faster the shutter speed, the sharper the object.
- Blur the background, subject on focus, shooting at slow shutter speed focusing without tripod in the subject.
- Use the continuous shooting feature on the camera to capture a series of motion shots and edit them together later on in order to create movement. A tripod is a must using this method.
- To photograph the wide scenery of Finland lakes you will need all the lenses of your gear. Eye fish creates a special curved perspective of the forest around the water lake.
- Wide Angle will be very convenient to photograph the wide scenery of Finland lakes. Eye fish creates a special curved perspective of the forest around the water lake.
- Use the Macro lens helped with tripod, to shoot the sharp colours of the berries and flowers, 100 ISO, as well as the interior details of the cosy wooden houses and food 400 ISO. Slow shutter speed, narrow aperture.
Take advantage of the long days of Finland summer and its beautiful lighting, especially in dawn and sunset. Don’t miss the sharp colours of the berries and flowers, as well as the cosy wooden houses.
- Insure your camera gear before trip and be sure that your company includes any type of loss and that the coverage is in force worldwide.
- Have a copy of your insured equipment list.
- Take a light soft hand carry suitcase to fit comfortably the photograph equipment.