Our photo tour starts with the transfer from the airport Kittilä to the log cottages of Äkäshotelli. After a one-hour drive we will check in and go out for dinner. Weather permitting, we grab our camera gear and head into the night to look for the Aurora Borealis.
During these days we will visit several locations to photograph those snow-covered trees, open water and much more. Two snow mobile excursions are planned to reach locations which are otherwise extremely difficult to access during winter. We will have a lecture on the aurora borealis and how to photography them and also visit the local husky farm to go on a 25km long safari. There you can enjoy and capture the wildnerness only hearing the sound of your dog team.
Some locations we might visit twice – in daytime and night time, which provide very different light situations. 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 tour.
As mentioned, the sun will be only above the horizon for a few hours. Nevertheless, we will have lots of hours with great light. To give you an idea, on our first full day, the sun will rise just after 10.30 and set just at 14.30 (2.30pm). At nights we will have partly moonlight creating fairytale-like sceneries with sparkling snow and tree shadows.
After breakfast this tour 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.
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, here live 500 people. The village lies at a lake and is surrounded by seven fells. Temperatures in January are on average about -15C (5F) and can drop down to -40C (-40F) for short periods. In normal winter conditions it is here, where frost, snow and wind transform ordinary trees into mysterious snow giants.
Here is a list for the camera gear you might want to bring. Some of it is needed, some of it is optional. If you are unsure about anything, you can contact me during and after booking. We can go through your current gear together and figure out if and what you might still need.
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. 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, you can contact me for that when booking.
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 couple of lenses. A zoom (24-70mm, 24-120mm or the like) for diverse photo compositions. A lens like 50mm f/1.8 will be useful to emphasize details in snow or trees, leaving the horizon of the photo blurry.
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 between white snow and blue sky. 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.
In cold weather your batteries will discharge quite fast. It will be important to have at least three extra batteries with you. Using hand warmers, you can revive the batteries to get the last bit of energy out of them.
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 -15C (5F) you need to be prepared. The temperature might drop down to -25…-35C (-13…-31F). You will receive an overall and thick shoes but under it it is important to have several layers underneath.
Best is a woolen layer. For example, merino wool is excellent.
Another woolen layer and some fleece layers usually work well.
Top layer (under the overall)
Top your layers off with a winter jacket, best for them will be windproof.
Shoes, socks and gloves
They will be essential as your toes and fingers will be one of the biggest challenges to keep warm. Hand and toe warmers can easily be purchased online. Please bring those with you. Important: Operating the camera in the cold without gloves can be tough. Get a thin pair with which you are able to press the camera buttons. These thin gloves can be worn under thick ones.
Head, face and ears
Make sure to properly protect your head and ears against the cold. Having windproof, fur type of hat with ear flaps makes a big difference. A balaclava helps to keep your face warm, especially your nose and cheeks.
In case your fingers, toes or other body parts tend to get cold, it is good to bring warmers. There are many different brands, some sell variety packs like this one. Many of them are adhesive and can be put onto one of the layers under the overall.
For hot juice, tea or coffee to keep you warm during our excursions.
In case your fingers, toes or other body parts tend to get cold, it is good to bring warmers. There are many different brands, some sell variety packs like this one.
To backup your photos from the camera and editing in Lightroom.
During this workshop we will explore the nature twice on snow mobiles. These excursions usually lasts between 3-6 hours, with the main focus on photography. Usually two people share one snow mobile and can take turns in driving. If you want to drive yourself all the time, it is possible to book a snow mobile for yourself for a surcharge.
To be the driver of a snow mobile, you will need to have a valid driving license. If you rather sit on the back and don’t want to drive, no license is needed.
Before we head out, everyone will get an introduction on safety, how to drive and driving rules. During our excursion, a professional snow mobile guide is with us all the time.
15% due within 14 days after registration
85% due latest 30 days before tour start
Cancellation and refunds
Up to 60 days before tour start: Full refund minus an administration fee of EUR 100.00
59-30 days before tour start: 85% refund of the entire trip’s cost
29-15 days before tour start: 50% refund of the entire trip’s cost
Less than 15 days before tour start: 5% refund of the entire trip’s cost