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Posts tagged ‘winter’

Classic cross-country in Lapland

 I have grouped the photos from Lapland in a gallery which you can find also here

At least one photo a day

Pyhäjärvi village

We had about 15 km behind us. We followed the cross-country ski track through forest and miers covered under a deep layer of snow. At one point the track made a long gentle turn to the right. It was the Northern tip of the Pyhäjärvi (Pyhä Lake) and of the ski track we were following around it. At the end of the turn the track started to follow a long series wooden electricity poles in a straight line. The track run between the village of Pyhäjärvi on our left and vast snow-covered frozen lake on our right. We stopped when we saw a young boy selling warm coffee and juice to skiers. While I was sipping from my paper cup I looked around. Up on a gentle slope the wooden houses where deep in the snow. I imagined the dark months of December and January. How many hours of light do they have up here? and when the summer arrives, does the sun set belows the horizon or not? what jobs people have? are they all working in the tourism sectors? what other work exists so up north? do young people stay here or do they move when they finish their studies? how is it to live so up north?

We finished our drinks and skied for about 1 km to the cafe Mummola to have something to eat before the last stretch of 8 km to get back to our cottage. Temperature -14C. Blue sky. Not a cloud.

Our track, Pyhäjärvi 2020
Hot drinks station, Pyhäjärvi 2020
Village, Pyhäjärvi 2020
Frozen lake, Pyhäjärvi 2020
Cafe Mummola, Pyhäjärvi 2020
Cafe Mummola, Pyhäjärvi 2020
Village center, Pyhäjärvi 2020

At least one photo a day

Searching for the northern lights

One thing you do when in Lapland during the winter is to go out in the night and look up to the sky. And so I did. I also found an app (there are many) that given 30 min forecast of the northern lights: how weak or strong they are. It give time to get ready. Put the winter clothes on. Read a some blogs about the camera set up for taking photos of the Northern lights. Switch on the head torch and get out. There are northern lights every night, but they are never the same. I learned that they come in a scale from 0 to 9 (9 being very rare and being visible also in central Europe). So, I got out at nights during our trip to Pyhätunturi and look up at the sky. The first night they were barely visible. The second night they were a faint greenish cloud at the horizon. The third night they were a bit more visible, between 2.5 at the horizon. The last night they were up above our cottage. Like a cloud of fine dust, very high up in the sky, that moves along a wind stream and slowly changes shape as it moves.

Starry sky, Pyhätunturi 2020
Starry sky, Pyhätunturi 2020
Starry sky, Pyhätunturi 2020
Northern lights, Pyhätunturi 2020
Northern lights, Pyhätunturi 2020
Northern lights, Pyhätunturi 2020
Northern lights, Pyhätunturi 2020
Northern lights, Pyhätunturi 2020

At least one photo a day

Classic cross-country skiing landscape

At the start I follow the track with my eyes. Two parallel lines in which the cross-country skis find their way forward. It takes me few kilometres to get into a rhythm and be able to see the landscape around me. When I do, I can fully realise where I am. When I stop to catch my breath I see sky which is totally blue. Not a single cloud. No wind. The temperature is -15C, but I do not feel it. I feel warm from the sun and the exercise. I listen to my breath slowing down and realise that around me nature is totally silent as if I were in a landscape painting. I start again moving. First the right ski, then the left one, then again the right one. And so on and on. I try not to push too much with the sticks and let the legs to the work. In half an hour I will be up at the cabin and look forward to the coffee and the wood-fire stove warming up the room.

Old mire, Pyhätunturi 2020
Slopes, Pyhätunturi 2020
Old forest, Pyhätunturi 2020
Fence, Pyhätunturi 2020
Myrsky, Pyhätunturi 2020
Cabin, Pyhätunturi 2020

At least one photo a day

Classic cross-country skiing /1

The classic cross-country skiing style is often used on prepared trails (pistes) that have pairs of parallel grooves (tracks) cut into the snow. It is also the most usual technique where no tracks have been prepared. With this technique, each ski is pushed forward from the other stationary ski in a striding and gliding motion, alternating foot to foot. With the “diagonal stride” variant the poles are planted alternately on the opposite side of the forward-striding foot; with the “kick-double-pole” variant the poles are planted simultaneously with every other stride. At times, especially with gentle descents, double poling is the sole means of propulsion. On uphill terrain, techniques include the “side step” for steep slopes, moving the skis perpendicular to the fall line, the “herringbone” for moderate slopes, where the skier takes alternating steps with the skis splayed outwards, and, for gentle slopes, the skier uses the diagonal technique with shorter strides and greater arm force on the poles (Wikipedia).

Pyhätunturi 2020
Cleaning the skis before a coffee break, Luppo 2020
Kota, Pyhätunturi 2020
Bringing the kids up, Pyhätunturi 2020

At least one photo a day

Intermezzo

I need to stop the series of street photos from Padova. I am in Helsinki at Vantaa airport to get on a plane. I thoughts I had saved the photos on my hard disk and planned to continue to post them during the this coming week. I must have done something wrong while copying the files. So, I will post a series from last New Year when we spent a week at our cottage in Eastern Finland. I will resume to Padova series, when I get back in a week.

Ihamaniemi 2020

At least one photo a day

To the old primary school

These are few photos from the short walk to the old primary school in Niinikumpu (first picture at the top). The school has not been in use for many years as there are not enough children to attend it in the area. I think the school building has been sold to a family who now lives there.

At least one photo a day

The first day of the year

The first day of the year (Hyväslami, Finland)

I woke up. Put on my boots and windbreaker and walked down to the lakeshore. The ice cover had thickened over the night and thin layer of dry snow had covered the ice sheet overnight. It was chilly this morning but the air was clean and crispy. A nice way to wake up. Welcome 2020!

At least one photo a day

Winter walk around Niinikumpu

Here is the full series of the black and white photos from the walks around Niinikumpu in Kitee, Eastern Finland.

At least one photo a day

Bye bye 2019

Last sunset of the year in Ihamaniemi (Enonkoski)

Last sunset of the year. The temperature is dropping quickly. The ice on the lake is thickening and the lake send strange sounds of bubbling water and ice cracking for long distances and with echos that travel the hills.

At least one photo a day

Solitude

I took these pictures during the walk around the hill of Niinikumpu. The electricity poles standing in the middle of snow covered fields seemed to stand in solitude against the winter.

At least one photo a day

The tree line

Mi misi a camminare lungo la strada che gira attorno alla collina di Niinikumpu con lo sguardo rivolto al cielo. La nevicata era imminente, ma speravo che non mi sorprendesse a metà strada. Il cielo era di un grigio liscio e monotono. Sembrava che la neve si fosse accumulata tra le nubi e le avesse fatte scomparire. Alla prima svolta a sinistra decisi di proseguire. Se la nevicata fosse iniziata avrei affrettato il passo. Tanto sapevo che la sauna sarebbe stata pronta al mio ritorno e sarei riuscito a scaldarmi velocemente. Passai la casa di alcuni vicini che non avevo mai visto e dei quali non conoscevo il nome. Sulla sinistra la loro casa ad un piano di mattoni. Stonava con il vecchio garage di legno dipinto di rosso. A destra della strada la vecchia stalla che era inutilizzata da anni ed era in uno stato completo abbandono. Sapevo che non avevano mai avuto un cane, ma come sempre mi sentii sull’attenti come se da un momento all’altro potesse saltare fuori un muovo cane da guardia. Accelerai il passo verso il bosco di betulle.

At least one photo a day

Winter landscape in Niinikumpu / 7

Farmhouse, Niinikumpu (Kitee)
Wooden barn, Niinikumpu (Kitee)
Birch trees, Niinikumpu (Kitee)

The weather is changing. It is getting colder. The forecast for after tomorrow gives heavy snow.

At least one photo a day

Winter landscape in Niinikumpu / 1

Snowy landscape. Niinikumpu, Kitee (Eastern Finland)
Niinikumpu, Kitee (Eastern Finland)

There is a strange foggy weather which is not common in this part of Finland. I ma in Karelia. There is snow on the ground but the temperature is mild. The houses are far from each other here in the countryside. I walk the 6km of the loop around the hill and see only a few cars passing by. The days are short and nature is on pause until the early signs of spring in March.

At least one photo a day

Winter wonderland series / 9

Over the knoll, 2019

The countryside in Eastern Finland, close to the border with Russia is more hilly than in the west of the country. There are these soft hills which resemble waves in the open sea. About 150 years ago this part of Finland was covered by forest and bug rocks. The farmers who settled here cleared the land one tree at a time, one rock at a time. Some of those rocks were used to build the foundation for the farmhouses. Hard work that in the winter had probably to stop to wait for the spring and the summer.

This is the last photograph fo this series. Next week I will start a new series of nine photographs from a different country. Different life stories.

Winter wonderland series / 8

The barn, 2019

The wind was blowing strong the day we took this walk. The radio and the weather apps where informing about this big snow storm coming which would touch more than half of Finland. People were advised to stay in for the night and the early hours of the following day. We had few hours of light and went for a walk in the countryside. The light was grey. The wind was carrying dry snow which made the air seems a bit foggy. It was not possible to take a tack sharp picture. The road followed the up and downs of the fields and its sides were one with the field nearby. The ditch that usually separates this road from the fields had disappeared under the snow. Then we saw this barn near a farm. People live here. Farmers own this land. I stopped for a second in the middle of the road. Listen to the wind. I thought about the life of those living here. How do these farmers cope with the long winter? How do they manage their farm and income? How far do their kids have to go to get to school? What do they think when they look outside the windows of their homes? I took this photograph as the cold wind from the east was taking my thoughts away with it. I put my hand in the pockets of my jacket to warm them and walked back to the cottage facing the wind.

Winter wonderland series / 5

Which way?, 2019

I woke up and went down to the lake. It had snowed a lot over the previous two days. The mark left by the snowmobile where not too fresh but still very visible. Somebody had passed nearby the shore but I could not remember hearing it. The made a small detour thinking about whether to get back from here or continue. The trees were holding the snow and when I turned the image to black and white I thought that it seemed a copper-etched print.

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