Young man jumping into icy lake, like it was summer. Photo in Asikkala, Finland.

The impossible contrast: Young photographer drops summer-like scenes into freezing Finnish winter

Young man stuck with rowboat in snow on icy lake, Asikkala, Finland.

At the time of writing, it’s rather cold, around -20°C, here in Helsinki. To make this a bit less insufferable, let’s enjoy some summery pictures. Almost.

Sixteen-year-old, award-winning photographer Markus Watkins has just published a very timely set of summer activities set in freezing cold Asikkala. We asked some questions about his set, which he named The Impossible Contrast.

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Aurea borealis over cottages in Lapland, Finland

Arctic #nofilter: 15 Instagram snapshots that show why Lapland’s the crown jewel of the North

Aurea borealis over cottages in Lapland, Finland

Free pro tip: too much Instagram at bedtime will mess with your sleep. On the other hand, if you open Instagram first thing after your alarm rings in the morning, your phone’s screen will help you wake up. Put simply, Instagram can be a fantastic infusion of beauty into your day when you need it the most.

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Burning street car in Helsinki during USSR air raids, 1944.

Photos of bombed, WWII Helsinki mashed up with prosperous modernity

Burning street car in Helsinki during USSR air raids, 1944.

During WWII, Finland was twice involved in military confrontation with the Soviet union. For the capital, Helsinki, the most intense air raids and bombings occurred in February 1944, a campaign which is usually referred to as The Great Raids Against Helsinki. These amazing photographs, created by the Finnish Defence Forces Combat Camera unit, mash up haunting photos of wartime destruction with modern pics from a couple years back, in nice black and white plus colour images.

The USSR was under the impression its bombing campaigns were more successful and expected Helsinki to be pretty much gone by the end of the war. The Soviets didn’t learn of the relatively limited damage until after the war when Allied Control Commissioner Andrei Zhdanov visited Helsinki.

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Aleksanterinkatu Christmas lights in Helsinki

12 ways Finnish Christmas loneliness can eat you alive

Aleksanterinkatu Christmas lights in Helsinki

Christmas, at least in Finland, is supposed to be a lot of things: family festivities to contrast almost constant darkness. Gifts, rituals, traditions, journeys to home towns.

Everyone isn’t able to go with that flow. Not everyone wants it either.

However, Finnish society shuts down around Christmas, whether you have people to be with or not. So, if you know someone who might want company around Christmas, it’s probably not a bad idea to invite them to some part of your festivities.

Mental health crisis center hotline, Finland

If you’re on the side of waiting out Christmas and things get really gnarly, please be in touch with the crisis hotline of the Finnish Association of Mental Health.

We think this topic is serious: If you have suggestions and helpful tips on things to do during Christmas, let everyone know in the comments down below.
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Legal vintage Mercedes Benz W 115, operated by Tero Takamaa

Vintage Mercedes rides: Finnish man hacks taxi regulation, grows non-licensed, legal “Vintage Taxi” company

Legal vintage Mercedes Benz W 115, operated by Tero Takamaa
 

One Finnish man got inspired by an interesting loophole in the very strict regulation of the Finnish taxi market. Succeeding where Uber is in legal trouble, Tero Takamaa from Jyväskylä decided to start driving cars with a museum status. But real story here is that he manages to do so without a Taxi permit.

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saaraaltoresultsface

This video shows why Saara Aalto’s “results face” has made The X Factor so memorable

saaraaltoresultsface

The X Factor 2016 has had tons of memorable moment. Who could forget Honey G’s gold tracksuit? Or when Louis Walsh decided to dazzle the world with his Irish jig? But are these the best?

The answer, in our opinion, is a resounding no. No, the absolute highlight of the series has been seeing the look of amazement on Saara Aalto’s face every time she makes it through to the next round. If you don’t believe us check out this marvellous compilation video showcasing each of her successes.

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Finnish Independence day celebrations at Tamperetalo, 2013.

Strange freedom: 6 weird Independence Day traditions from around the world

Finnish Independence day celebrations at Tamperetalo, 2013.
Independence. Isn’t that word sweet? Here in Finland, we celebrate independence for the 99th time in 2016, so we thought it would be fitting to compare independence day traditions in Finland to other countries.

In our defence, as you read on, remember what the weather is like in Finland in early December.
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Game start screen for the Finnish My Summer Car driving simulator.

My Summer Car: the insane, annoying and awesome Finnish car simulator that’s taking the world by storm

Game start screen for the Finnish My Summer Car driving simulator.
 

Right now, one of the oddest computer games ever is hitting the charts straight from the early access program of Steam, the venerable online market place for PC games.

We’re of course referring to My Summer Car, which has sold over 1.5 million euros worth of copies to this date. And the weirdfest part isn’t that the game is sold as a work in progress for fifteen Euros. It’s pretty odd even in the company of other Finnish video games.

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