finland-trip-northern-lights

3 days in Kittilä Finland - and how best to photograph the Northern Lights 

You don't need fancy cameras and a tripod to capture the Northern Lights like a pro...

Leanne Bayley

As HELLO!’s resident sun worshipper, it seemed crazy that I’d even consider saying yes to a press visit to Finland in -20 degree weather. I don’t even own thermals! But this trip was all about experiencing a beautiful snowy landscape to take amazing photos and videos, and I really enjoy wanted to learn how to take better photos. I don’t know about you, but I use my Apple iPhone all the time to take snaps but do I really think about the photos I’m taking? Not really, no. This was the perfect opportunity to learn more about photography (specifically with the iPhone11 Pro) and there was a possibility of seeing the Northern Lights - and we all know that’s the perfect Instagram material. 

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Cold, but loving life! Perhaps I could do a Winter holiday after all

Where to stay in Kittilä

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The views were breathtaking from our villa

We stayed in a villa called Spirit in Kittilä. Now, this isn’t just any ol’ villa - this is pure luxury. We’re talking gorgeous interiors and breathtaking views. It really is a home from home (well, kind of. I only have the one living room at home. This place has two!) and the perfect spot - just 10 minutes from Kittilä airport and everywhere you turn is a photo opportunity. Top tip for anywhere with freezing cold temperatures - buy a pair of Ag Gloves. It means you don’t have to part with your iPhone and you can just snap away wearing the gloves. I’d obviously recommend doubling up with another pair designed for chilly weather. Hand warmers in your pocket is also a must. 

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I was impressed with the new Smart Battery Charging Case by Apple - it gives up to 50 percent more charge which is perfect for a long excursion while travelling 

This place is so beautiful and if you want a taste of pure luxury, a chef will come in and cook for you from your own kitchen. 

Things to do in Kittilä: Go on a snowy hike 

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Here I am posing on my snowy hike

Our squad went on a snowy hike following a route on the Wikiloc app using the Apple Watch. If you haven’t heard of this app before and you love adventure trails and hikes, this is for you. Jordi, the creator of the app, designed it because he wanted to share his favourite trails with friends and realised there wasn’t anything already on the market for that.

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The perfect for app for trailblazers

Using the Apple Watch helped because it leaves your hands free as you navigate via the screen on your wrist and it breaks down your trip at the end. 

Plus, be sure to get photos of the stunning sunsets - this was breathtaking! 

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A photo of the sunset using iPhone 11 Pro’s Ultra Wide camera

After your hike, be sure to say hello to the reindeers on the way out and enjoy a hot cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll. I’ll be dreaming of that cinnamon roll until the end of time. 

Things to do in Kittilä: Husky sledding

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Here I am at the back, looking very nervous about navigating my first husky sled ride

One to tick off the bucket list: Husky Sledding. We went to Polar Lights Tours for this unique experience. Now, I’ve seen it in my cheesy Christmas movies and various friends on Instagram but I’ve never had the opportunity to do it. Jess, my trip companion, and I took it in turns to drive (eek!), and so I took full advantage of sitting in the sledge first. If you can’t capture envy-inducing footage husky sled, when can you?! I filmed a video on the iPhone11 Pro, which thankfully, due to the whoa-are-you-kidding-me image stabilisation my shaky hands were somewhat disguised. We were advised to try out slo-mo and time-lapse to really capture unique videography to get the likes rolling in on the ‘gram. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

One to tick off the bucket list: Husky sledding ✔️ #ShotOnIphone11

A post shared by Leanne Bayley (@leannebayley) on

 

We were lucky enough to take photos of the huskies and we used Portrait mode on the iPhone to really get that frame-worthy shot. I love Portrait mode and if I’m taking photos of anyone in my family I tend to use that. I love tweaking the photo afterwards as well - if you want the background a little more crisp? You can do that. A little blurrier? You can do that too. 

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Who's a pretty boy?!

Things to do in Kittilä: Look up for the Northern Lights 

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Wow! How can this be real? Spoiler: It is

Ok, so not everyone is going to be lucky enough to see the Northern Lights with their eyes on a trip to the Arctic but be sure to have your iPhone at the ready should it happen on your trip because you’ll want to put this straight on your social media feeds. This is when the Night Mode setting on the iPhone 11 Pro really comes into its own - you’ll wonder how you ever coped without it. Just point and shoot, being mindful to follow the instructions on the screen. If you don't have your tripod to hand, a steady hand is key. 

RELATED: Best places to discover the Northern Lights

Don’t forget to squeeze in some zen time 

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A lesson in how to relax - we all need that

Travelling can be hectic. Whether it’s rushing to airports or following a fine-tuned plan, sometimes you just need to catch your breath. On this trip, we learnt all about feeling zen with the help of the Meditopia app. I'll be sure to put this app to good use on all future trips. 

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