The Colors of Lapland
This 1-week photo workshop takes place around the villages of Äkäslompolo and Kilpisjärvi in Finnish Lapland. ‘Ruska’ is the word which is used in Finland, when nature puts on her colorful autumn dress. During that time we will be offered colorful treats – day and night. Northern lights can then be seen either up in the sky or as a reflection on the water. In daytime soft and strong autumn colors will enchant us and our cameras. Not only trees and bushes but also berry leaves and grass at the ground can glow in countless shades.
A maximum of six participants makes this an intimate workshop. Each person will have a lot of time for in-depth discussions regarding photos, camera settings, composation and anything else.
As always and everywhere, the weather is an unknown. The program and its order might change depending on the weather conditions.
– 08-15 Sep 2018 (3 seats still available)
minimum 4 participants
maximum 6 participants
Required photography skills
This tour is open to all skill levels, from beginners to professionals.
Required fitness level
For this tour a basic fitness level will be sufficient. We will have short hikes of maximum one hour to reach beautiful spots. Please keep in mind that if the nights are clear, we will spend part of it to search for Northern lights.
Double room: EUR 2,080.00
Single room supplement: EUR 300.00
Included in price
– transfer from/to Kittilä airport (KTT) at predefined times
– accommodation in Äkäslompolo with shower, toilet and a kitchenette in each room
– accommodation in Kilpisjärvi in cottages (4 rooms per cottage with shared bathroom, kitchen and living room)
– all breakfasts
– all other transfers to photo locations
– flights in and out of Kittilä (KTT)
– photo gear (camera, lenses, tripod, filters, etc)
– travel insurance or any other private insurances
– dinner, snacks during daytime, alcoholic drinks
Our week together starts with the transfer from the airport Kittilä to the Lodge 67N in Äkäslompolo. After this one-hour drive we will check in and then enjoy our first dinner together. Weather permitting, we grab our camera gear and head into the autumn night to look for the Aurora Borealis.
During these days we will visit different photo locations around Äkäslompolo to capture the glowing autumn colors at fells, rivers and lakes. As every night, we will look for the Northern lights.
Around noon we will pack our things and drive to Kilpisjärvi. The cottages of Tundrea will be our base camp for the remaining days and nights.
During these days we will have a diverse program with photo locations around Kilpisjärvi. The borders of Norway and Sweden are just a few kilometers away, we will most likely spend one day in Norway at the Lyngen fjord.
After an early breakfast this week will unfortunately come to an end and we will have to pack our things to drive to Kittilä airport.
All program is subject to the weather. As with all nature-related activities, the weather situation dictates when and which spots we visit. The goal is to provide you the best possibilities for great photos throughout the week. The itinerary is a guideline and gives you an idea of what to expect. Some of the locations we will visit twice – during daytime and nighttime.
Äkäslompolo is located in the municipality Kolari in the Northwest of Finland. About 140km North of the Arctic Circle and 25km from the Swedish border, and has a population of 500 people. The village lies at a lake and is surrounded by seven fells. Temperatures in September are usually around +5…10C during day and can drop below 0C during the night.
Kilpisjärvi is located about 170km Northwest of Hetta and lies at fell Saana. One hundred people live here, right at the borders to Norway and Sweden. Here, near the tundra, no forest grows anymore. Downy small birches, bushes and grass garnish the barren, stony landscape which has mountain peaks above 1,000m. Temperatures in September are here usually around +3…8C during day and can drop below 0C during the night. Only 60km into Norway lies the fjord Lyngen with a view to the famous Lyngen Alps.
Important for night photography and long exposure photos. The tripod will minimize camera shaking. Handheld photos in darkness will not be sharp. To adjust settings comfortably, the tripod should be nearly your height.
Most suitable will be a dSLR camera where you can exchange lenses. For astro and aurora photos your camera needs to have the option of manual focus and a complete manual mode which allows you to adjust aperture, exposure time and ISO separately. There are also a bunch of suitable mirrorless cameras out there. Pocket cameras with a zoom might be ok in some cases. If you are uncertain about your camera, you can ask for my opinion when booking. I’m happy to help.
For night and aurora photography you should bring a fast lens (meaning wide aperture, with a small f-number like f/2.8 or better) to make the most of the available light. Lenses with f/4.0 are doing fine also but you might have to crank up the ISO. Auroras often stretch all across the sky. To capture a big part of it, you want to have a wide-angle lens (24mm or wider).
For daytime photography it is good to have a zoom (24-70mm, 24-120mm or the like). The variety helps you to create diverse photo compositions. To emphasize details of autumn leaves, etc a prime lens such as 50mm f/1.8 will be useful. With a macro it is possible to capture tiny details.
Remote control (optional)
Use during night photography or long exposures. The remote allows you to take photos without touching the camera.
If you want to take photos of smooth water or moving clouds, you will need a neutral density filter. A polarizer can be used to create better contrast. A graduaded ND filter will help to balance the light difference of ground and sky.
Head lamp / Flashlight
Will be important during the night. If you can get a head lamp with a red light option, it will be helpful.
Nights during autumn are not as cold as in winter, but it is important to have at least two extra batteries with you.
To read more about aurora photography, check out my aurora guide ‘Fox Fires’, part 4.
Make sure you have the right clothing. With average temperatures of +5C it’s not very cold, but we will be out for hours.
Best is a woolen layer. For example, merino wool is excellent.
A layer of fleece usually work well.
Top your layers off with a basic winter jacket and trousers, best for them will be windproof.
Shoes, socks and gloves
Trekking or hiking shoes will be most useful to navigate through nature, also they keep warm enough. Woolen socks will be good with these shoes. For your hands it is best to bring two pairs of gloves with you. A thin pair with which you are able to press the camera buttons, and thick ones in case you get cold. Hand and toe warmers can easily be purchased online.
Head, face and ears
Make sure to properly protect your head and ears against the cold wind. A woolen beanie, ear flaps and a scarf will help to keep head and neck warm. A windproof hat is good to have when out during uncomfortable weather.
For hot juice, tea or coffee to keep you warm during our excursions.
To backup your photos from the camera and editing. If we are extremely unlucky with the weather, we will do some post processing in Lightroom.
40% due within 14 days after registration
60% due latest 60 days before tour start
Cancellation and refunds
60 days or more before tour start: 80% refund (20% non-refundable)
59-45 days before tour start: 50% refund
44-30 days before tour start: 33% refund
Less than 30 days before tour start: no refund.