4:28 AM. Did you feel it? Did you know it was that early?

Hey, it’s the first day of summer. The summer solstice. Today June 21, 2010, is the day our sun stays out longer than any other day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The sun rose at 5:42 AM and will not set until 8:33 PM. However, we all know the last light of day isn’t pinched from the sky until around 9:30 PM.

On June 21, the sun rises in Anchorage at 4:20 a.m. and sets at 11:42 p.m. They get big cabbage up there!

Reykjavik Iceland, lies at 64°9’north of the equator, just a few degrees south of the Arctic Circle and bathes in 24 hours of daylight during the summer solstice.

On the flip side, the South Pole has been dark for three months (90 degrees south latitude. The sun set at the South Pole on the September equinox).

Sunday at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma it felt like summer for fans of the Toyota / Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup race.

Cooling stations were set-up for man and beast for the crowd during the Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Sunday June 20, 2010. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2010

Infineon Raceway (AKA Sears Point) gets daily extremes. The mornings are usually cool, afternoons feel like you’re hiking in the Mojave Desert and evenings make a person feel as though you’ve set up camp in a refrigerator. Whatever the case, I had to chuckle when I photographed a dog (above) getting full frontal cooling on top of turn 7 Sunday afternoon.

-Kent Porter