Arctic December

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Rainy afternoon

It was the kind of August day that is more autumn than summer; rainy, melancholy, a perfect mist on the sea, the last of the summer flowers fading away, and I wanted to visit this old fishing port about 20km north of Oulu. I remember this place from my childhood – it was bopping back then, a whole fleet of boats going out every day to catch whitefish and Baltic herring and salmon, people like my grandparents buying the fish fresh from the fishermen in the morning. Fears of industrial pollution and cheap north Atlantic fish imports have all but killed the industry, and the moorings have filled with leisure boats. Another tiny piece of the world as it was crumbled away.

An arctic island and the cold light of day


Hailuoto is a largish island in the Bothnian Sea, just off the coast of Oulu – just about visible from the mainland, but far enough for the access being by a ferry only. Living on the island is a small community of locals, and an even smaller community of vacationers; tourists come and go. I imagine this not being too dissimilar from the island in Stephen King’s Colorado Kid; a place defined by it’s isolation, slow to give up its secrets. There are the kind of old farm buildings one rarely sees on the mainland anymore, wild nature, sand dunes and pines forests, heath and marsh. The wind is always blowing, shifting the sands, and there’s economic beauty on the plain landscape.

Coldest day of the year

imgp8270 imgp8283 imgp8303 imgp8315 imgp8333 imgp8324 imgp8322 imgp8336 imgp8378 imgp8375 imgp8363 imgp8355 imgp8350Here is a second set of winter photos from Finland. After the New Year, the temperatures plummeted to blood-curdling -28°C – with the biting wind so cold that I got frostbite on my face. But I finally deemed the ice strong enough to walk on! Not many people around, just harsh, unforgiving beauty.

All photos were taken with Tamron 17-50mm wide angle lens, and scaled to 25% with a batch editing software, which has caused some sharpness to be lost. Click to view in full size.

Proper winter at last

_imgp8135 _imgp8149 _imgp8152 imgp8198 imgp8191 imgp8192_imgp8101 imgp8176 imgp8177 imgp8186 _imgp8168 imgp8131On the days after Christmas, it snowed here. A lot. What had been a bit dreary, a bit dark, landscape suddenly turned into a winter wonderland, just like the one we used know, so to speak. Bright skies, few degrees below zero, perfection. The low-hanging sun lit the birches with fiery red glow, and the snow covering the sea sparkled. I was still too much of a wimp to go on the ice (despite the fact that an attempt to swim last year proved the waters very shallow indeed). And unfortunately this is the only boat picture to be had – even if the snow wasn’t too deep, this one had been moved, filled with debris, and blocking the way, the scenery changing again. Next week is set to be cold; stand by for more pictures of winter.