I used a few days off to start my vacation with a short photo-trip to Lapland.
It has become a habit, that I as soon as my vacation begins head out and spent some time doing my landscape photography. In fact I usually take the liberty starting a little early, which requires me to be back for my last day at work, hence the first one is usually only a one-nighter.
The distance of these locations appears to get larger each time and this year it took me Finish Lapland, to a lake called Ukonjärvi. I passed-by there during my trip to the Finmark area in the north of Norway last year where I spotted a few nice locations along this lake. Then I had no time to explore this area, but at least some ideas came to mind, as for example the panoramic image, which I hoped to be able to take this time. The trip up here took me about 6 hours. I arrived in the late afternoon at the lake and found me a nice place to rest and a quick nap (thanks to the wonders of Street view you are able to see the very same place here).
The weather during the day was very interesting and it changed all time: rain, sun, clouds, rain, sun, sun.. you get the idea. In short, perfect for landscape photography, it just has to stay like this.
The sun is bound to set around midnight and I hoped for some nice and warm light during the late evening. In the end it, who would have guessed, turned out not so nice: a thick layer of clouds came up in the evening and prevented just that.
Since I arrived early in the afternoon, I could spent a fair amount of time to explore the area during the day and then decided to focus only to area of lake Ukonjärvi and not expand further to the north, to lake Inari. Even though it sounds like a bigger distance, it is in fact only a few kilometers. Still I considered it would be more useful to limit my range to prevent me wandering around more or less randomly in the evening.
In the end this turned out to be a good decision. Already within the rather limited area of only this one lake, I had a hard time in the evening to remember the different vantage points I scouted.
The Waiting Game
During the early evening the sun is still high up in the sky and lighting the area in a very bright and uncomfortable light. It was a relieve once a cloud at least shortly softened the harsh light. Even though I had planned a few images for the night, I didn’t had something like a “project”, a clear idea on what to focus on. Maybe it would have been helpful, but while I was waiting for the evening to arrive I spent some time trying to capture some details, like some abstracts with the reflections of the blub sky in the water. I know, and have witnessed frequently, that the lakes around here can turn into beautiful mirrors but I gave up that hope already during the ride up here as it is too windy at the moment.
Rain, clouds and sun equals
It started to rain again and I continued strolling along the road in my car. The sun came out and it happened what was supposed to happen: a rainbow appears. A full and beautiful one. I quickly drive the next few hundred meters to a previously visited place from which I had a perfect view on the rainbow.
In the rain I switch from my 70-200mm lens to the 24-105mm only to realize that even 24mm is still not wide enough – the rainbow is simply too large. Again some time passes by until I finally have my 17-40 lens in place and hope for the rainbow to stay while I switch lenses: luckily it did. I wish I would have had a slightly nicer foreground interest available, but I guess one can’t have everything.
I keep on exposing, drying the filters between each shot and try to make the most out of the situation until the rainbow finally disappears and I continue my path along the lake. The sun, now slightly lower in the sky, starts to cast increasingly warmer light on the scenery and I take some time to capture some detail images, macros and quite the opposite, a panoramic image.
The last light
Just when the sunset would have been at it’s best more clouds come up and block all of the light. Too bad, another hour or such of good light would have been nice.
Nethertheless I continue to visit the vantage points that I have planned and keep on exposing. I had scouted a location for another panoramic image and I was lucky that there was still enough light for a fairly dramatic sky.
It’s getting quickly darker now and exposure times easily reach the 30 second mark, which, together with the movement of the water, made it perfect to try out some long exposures.
After these I decide to call it a day and I’m off on my way home. I had planned one stop on the top of a pass to photograph a few of the trees up there, but it was too windy up there to ensure a sharp image. These trees will have to wait until I pass there again. Maybe it’s only a few more days…