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This winter, I participated in a photography course taught by local photographer Mikael Rantalainen. On multiple trips he taught us how to best photograph Finnish winter nature, and although there really hasn’t been much of a winter here, the picture outcome is quite incredible. The secret is to find an interesting bit of shoreline just before sunrise or sunset, and even if there are just a few small sheets of ice on the water it is possible to capture stunning pictures.

There were a couple of really cold days when it got below -20°C. The first of those very cold days are the best for photography, and we spent both of them outside for many hours. It really gets cold when you’re not moving much and just waiting for the perfect shot – or if you even have to lie flat on the ice to get a particularly good angle for your picture! But it is worth it, as this is the time when the cold of the air meets the relative warmth of the sea, which causes the water to rise as smoke on the sea. Since it was a particularly sudden drop this year, there was even so much smoke that it was difficult to still focus through it and get some decent shots.

We also went to take some pictures at Vantaanjoki and another place with small rapids, but since it never got properly cold for a long time this year, those pictures didn’t turn out quite so spectacular.

When going through the pictures it was amazing to see how different the colours turned out each day. Of course many of the pictures are photoshopped quite heavily (I tend to go over board with the filters, especially when I have found a new technique or filter and use it on pretty much everything until I get bored of it again). But it is clearly visible that on one particular day everything turned purple, the next day everything was blue, and sometimes orange and red.

On the last picture in the gallery, I accidentally added some northern lights – of course they are not visible during daylight hours (and not at all in the city anyway), but the sky on the original picture was a weird colour and when I tried to change it, it suddenly turned all aurora borealis on me. I decided to keep it, despite it looking a bit cheesy (not like none of the others look overly photoshopped…).

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