Arctic December


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.

Another summer, another set of arctic seascape photos

IMGP5095 IMGP5427 IMGP5228 IMGP5233 IMGP5235Every summer when I head home, I think this year I’ll spend lovely evenings sitting outdoors reading and sipping grapefruit soda (it’s a Finnish thing), meeting friends for outdoors dinners, and painting watercolours. Invariably, by the end of the trip I will have read 2 two out of the 5 books I brought, worn less than half of the clothes I packed, and maybe gone downtown twice. This year was not an exception. There were too many biting and stinging insects flying around in the evenings to even to consider sitting outdoors (this is quite unusual for late July/early August). I did meet friends and drink the grapefruit soda though, and even managed to swim – sort of – in the sea.

IMGP5065 IMGP5044 IMGP5047 IMGP5033 IMGP5038Boats are still there, laying where the storm pushed them last year. One has all but disappeared under weeds, inaccessible. It’s like meeting an old friend, seeing them, one year older, much worse for wear.

IMGP5026 IMGP5403 IMGP5535 IMGP5548I learned this year that apparently summer is over when fireweed has bloomed. If we are to go by that, summer is very, very nearly over. Everything this year bloomed early, and by the time I arrived, mid-July, clovers were gone, red glovers (one of my favourite flowers) was gone, harebells were almost gone, and there was a distinct lack of fireweed, usually colouring roadsides dark pink this time of the year. At least tansy didn’t let me down. I used to hate it as a child, and I have no idea why. It’s the most wonderful thing – gorgeous colour, beautiful flowers, dries well. The first and the last wild flowers are yellow – dandelions in the spring, tansies and hawkweeds at the end of the summer – little spots of sun.