EXPLORING THE FROZEN TUNDRA

WINTER 2019
Group size: 10
min 4 persons

BOOKING WILL BE OPEN 2018. 

 

Join us on a week long exploration of three countries: Finland, Sweden and Norway. Each country has its own special features. We offer unique photography locations which are not easily accessible to the independent traveller.
Our base is in Kilpisjärvi, 473m above sea level, where three countries meet. From here we will make daily excursions by minibus and snowmobile sleigh. We will spend approximately 1-2 days in each country depending on the weather. Kilpisjärvi is also in the heart of reindeer husbandry area.

Finland offers one of the most exciting areas to photograph, the arctic desert. White treeless snow dunes as far as you can see on the horizon. The only sign of civilisation is the small village of Kilpisjärvi in the distance. The feeling of being completely  alone in the vast white desert. Only few species thrive at these altitudes.

Sweden is easily accessible by snowmobile sleigh ride. A 20 minute ride brings us to the edge of the treeline. The mountain birch, Betula tortuosa is the only tree that grows at these altitudes. The landscape offers great tree portraits, snowless rocky peaks and views towards the Norwegian mountains in the north as well as the ancient Finnish fjells in the south. The vast range of photographic opportunities makes it easy to spend a couple of full days and nights in a relatively small area.

Norway provides the biggest contrast to Kilpisjärvi.  After a 60km drive, we reach the arctic ocean and the climate changes from tundra to coastal. This is the land of frozen waterfalls and young sharp-peaked mountains. Open seas, high mountains and fast changing light give Norway's scenery its drama.


Kilpisjärvi is also known for providing some of the best opportunities for witnessing the northern lights,  given its position directly within the auroral zone. Statistically there is enough activity to produce visible auroras every second day, but of course this depends on the weather. Here the coastal weather meets the inland tundra weather giving two different climate zones to choose from. Kilpisjärvi in the middle also has its very own miniature climate which often creates a small opening in the clouds just above the village. 

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ITINERARY

Day 1:

Pick-up from Tromsø.

Transfer to Kilpisjärvi, check-in, welcome info and dinner. The northern lights watch begins after dinner. Your accommodation will be next to Lake Kilpisjärvi which opens out towards the northern skies and Saana fjell.

Days 2 -6 :

As with most  photography workshops, there is no fixed itinerary. Our locations span across three countries and three climates. Most of our locations are a 1 hour drive or 30 minute snowmobile sleigh ride away. Daily plans are usually made the night before. This way we can make the most of the photography conditions on each particular day. We start each day with breakfast and then head out. Lunch is served on location either in the open air, with reindeer skins to sit on, or in one of the many open huts in the area. Black pot coffee and tea are made in traditional way an open fire.

During February days are getting a bit longer . The sun is visible between 9:45-16:00. Twilight lasts 1,5 hours before and after sunset. After a days photography, there will be time to relax and have an early dinner.  After 19:00 we will head back out as the sky  will be is dark enough for nigh photography. The Northern lights usually become visible around 21:00 but during solar storms auroral displays can start as early as 17:00 and last throughout the night.

Kilpisjärvi’s surroundings offer a network of wanderer huts to seek shelter in during cold nights. Waiting for the northern lights is much easier when enjoying a hot drink the warmth of remote log cabin in the snowy wilderness.

In case of cloudy weather, we can easily go and see what's happening in the neighbouring climate zones within a 45 minute drive. If there is full cloud coverage, we'll spend the evening reviewing images and giving instructions and tutorials on post-processing as well as how to plan your photography locations by looking ar weather, locations and auroral activity. 

Day 7:

Breakfast, check-out from Kilpisjärvi & transfer to Tromsø. 

The last night will be spent in Tromsø, a 2,5 hour drive from Kilpisjärvi. If we’re lucky with the weather we can make the most of the Norwegian landscape by taking two ferries and driving through the beautiful valley of the Lyngen alps.

Otherwise we will head straight to Tromsø and enjoy the last day in the city.

Day 8 in Tromsø: 

Breakfast, check-out & transfer to Tromsø (TOS) airport


UNIQUE FEATURES DURING THE PACKAGE

  • Day lenght 6 hours
  • Long transition of light throughout the day
  • Polar pastel tones
  • Polar stratospheric clouds a.k.a. mother of pearl clouds
  • From half moon to clear starry skies
  • Northern lights
  • Star photography 
  • Frozen lakes and waterfalls 
  • Half-frozen rivers with running water
  • Arctic desert
  • Trees of tundra
  • Norwegian sea and coast
  • Fjells in Sweden & Finland
  • Reindeer husbandry and local culture
  • Wanderer cabins and kotas (local teepees) 
  • Small group experience, max 10 participants with 2 guides

WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • Accommodation
  • Full board (Breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • All transportation
  • All transfers to and from Tromsø airport
  • Photographic guiding and instruction
  • Image reviews, post-processing instruction
  • Local English speaking guides
  • Snowshoes & ice cleats during the workshop
  • Snowmobile overall & helmet

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • Airfare to and from Tromsø
  • Snacks and drinks outside of normal meals
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • International Medical and Travel Insurance Coverage
  • Anything not specifically listed as included

 

 

 


WHAT TO BRING

CLOTHING , thermal clothing is essential for this photographic trip.

  • Thermal underwear, merino wool is recommended
  • Fleece jacket and leggings
  • Down inner jacket or sweater 
  • 2-3 pairs thermal socks, woolly socks recommended
  • Wind and water-proof ski trousers
  • Down jacket, we recommend long parka style jacket. Once you lean down your lower back will be covered.
  • Balaclava or powder mask to cover your face
  • Neck-warmer or a scarf
  • A good warm hat which covers your ears.
  • Thermal gloves. We recommend mittens rather than gloves for example a Hestra Kebnekaise Mountain Mitt mittens combined with inner silk gloves
  • Water resistant thermal boots.  It is very important that they are not too tight, boots that are a little loose will be warmer than tight boots. We recommend boots made for cold conditions such as Muck boots Arctic pro or Kamik Goliath 1.

CAMERA EQUIPMENT

  • DSLR, Mirrorless system or Medium Format camera
  • A stable tripod with quick release plate
  • Standard zoom, for example 24-70mm
  • Wide angle lens, for example 14mm f2.8
  • Telephoto lens, for example 100-400mm
  • Batteries and chargers, we recommend having at least 2-3 batteries
  • Shutter cable release
  • Polarising filter and ND filters
  • Laptop computer with Photoshop and Lightroom
  • External backup drives and memory cards for storage.

OTHER

  • Head torch

 


ACCOMMODATION

Accommodation in Kilpisjärvi is in 4 bedroom chalets by Lake Kilpisjärvi. 
Saana-Chalets are equipped with:

  • Sauna, shower and toilet
  • Kitchen and living room
  • Fireplace
  • Stove, oven and microwave
  • Fridge, dishwasher and washing machine
  • Coffee and tea maker
  • Internet
  • Drying cupboard for clothes

For more info about the accommodation, visit Tundrea web page


 

FITNESS LEVEL

Most of the locations are 100 % accessible by minibus or snowmobile sleigh ride, however, you may be expected to walk 1-2 km with snowshoes in 20-40cm snow depths. This can be surprisingly tiring, and moving around with winter gear can be exhausting and a little sweaty. If you are in any doubt, please consult your doctor. You may also talk to one of our staff to check if the trip will be the right physical level for you. 

 

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