10 days after returning from Poland I headed off to Northern Finland in the hope of photographing snowy landscapes and golden eagles. My main goal, however, was to do a recce with fellow photographer Paavo Hamunen in preparation for a photo-tour we are doing there, together, next year. Temperatures at this time are more often than not, very low at between -15 to -30° C but winter had other ideas and instead had their warmest spell in 15 years! So, with 0 to +3 forecast I left the down jacket at home.
Paavo is one of Finland’s top nature photographers whom I met on my first trip back in 1999 and has lived in the Kuusamo region (where the tour will be based) for the last 20 years and so there was no-one more qualified to show me what this region had to offer, though I did have a fairly good idea through trip I made many summers ago where I photographed bears, flowers and landscapes.
The following images were made in the very places where the tour will be held and if after reading this you are tempted to join me on what promises to be a trip of a lifetime, do contact me as there will only be 6 places available.
Full details of the Finland in Winter photo-tour (including extensive itinerary) can be found on my website, here.
First up were black-bellied dippers. This is a truly wonderful location where up to 5 dippers can be on the same stretch of rapids at any one time since this is one of the few places where the water remains unfrozen. They are amazingly confiding and I was obtaining images within minutes of my arrival. No need for a hide, too!
Male black-bellied dipper displaying
There are two ways in which you can reach the golden eagle hides – walk or snowmobile sledge. You can guess which one I chose and you’ll have the same choice should you join us!
The hides are very comfortable and heated and since the birds are quite used to the coming and goings of photographers, there was no need to enter the hide pre dawn and exit after dark which is the usual way of working when photographing such birds. As a result, we would arrive at about 10 and leave at 5.
Birds such as these occupied us while waiting for the eagles.
Owls are always possible in this region but impossible to predict too far in advance as such things as weather conditions and vole populations dictate when and where they can be found. Finnish owls (unlike those in the UK) are fairly unafraid of humans and if you’re fortunate enough to come across one, as I was, then you could be in for a real treat!
Click HERE for the itinerary