Photo Stories

Full moon shining on the River Kitkajoki

Full moon halo at Myllykoski rapids

Aurora Borealis of taikamaa

Blue hour in Riisitunturi

Aurora Borealis above Riisitunturi

Autumn Morning Mist

 Full moon shining on the River Kitkajoki

Full moon shining on the River Kitkajoki

Last Monday 21.1 I made my first trip of the year to Juuma, Kuusamo. I live in Northern Finland in the city of Oulu, about 270 kilometers to Juuma and That journey to Kuusamo has become familiar. I’ve photographed a lot along the road to Kuusamo and my webpage’s portfolio contains an album of these trips named Road to Kuusamo.

The purpose of this trip was to photograph the region of River Kitkajoki and Myllykoski in Juuma. Snowy landscape and full moonlight was in my mind while driving to Kuusamo. The weather report was promising Partly Cloudy and I hoped it would be true, and the clouds would not be too much.

When I arrived to Juuma the clock was 19.00 and the sun had fallen already hours ago. In Northern Finland the sun is falling early at this time of the year. Fortunately, the sky was clear and just a thin cloud cover was visible. In addition, this night would be full moon perfect conditions for Nightscape photography. However, it was very cold about -30°C. Accustomed to the climate of Northern Finland, I was able to equip myself against the cold. Coldness sets its own requirements and, for example, the battery life of the camera is much shorter in the cold.

This trip one of my objectives was to take photo of a kind I have taken before the last summer and autumn time in Myllykoski. Both images were 5 photo vertical panoramas. This time it would be winter night, lots of snow and full moonlight.

When I arrived at Myllykoski, the clock was nine. I had checked the location of the moon earlier I use an application where I can see the location of the moon and the sun. I save time and effort and I can plan the trip time more precisely when I know in advance where the sun rises or where the moon is at a particular time.

Now I was in Myllykoski and the conditions were excellent. There was a full moon and light was so bright almost like daylight. Sky was almost bright, not winding. The bright white snow had covered the trees beautifully. Now I just had to photograph a panorama.

I got up to the ridge on the side of the old watermill and started to set up my panoramic tools on my tripod. Place was familiar and when everything was ready i started to photograph.

In one panoramic photo I would needed 5 vertical images to get the same kind of panorama as I had taken before last summer and autumn. The camera body I used was the Nikon D810 and my wide angle lens was Nikon Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED. I soon realized that it was so bright that I could use even ISO64 when I used f/2.8 and my exposure time was 20 sec. I wanted to use long exposure time because the wind was no harm and I wanted water to look kind of smooth.

Photography went well and I took a few good photos during the evening. Cold does not hurt and time passes unnoticed when focusing on shooting. The landscape of Myllykoski is spectacularly beautiful regardless of the season.

© 2019 Mikko Leinonen. All Photos are copyrighted. All rights reserved. Pictures can not be used without explicit permission by the creator.

 Full moon halo at Myllykoski rapids

Full moon halo at Myllykoski rapids

The panoramic image above is another photo i have taken on my last trip to Juuma. The photograph is taken right in front of the old watermill towards the river and it is combined from six vertical photos.

It was a full moon and the winter landscape looked wonderful. Everything was crowned by a halo, a large circle of light around the moon. Night was cold and in some places, frost readings above -30 ° C were measured. 

Myllykoski rapids stays open throughout the winter and does not freeze even in the coldest day. During daytime you can see dippers diving in the rapids.

© 2019 Mikko Leinonen. All Photos are copyrighted. All rights reserved. Pictures can not be used without explicit permission by the creator.

 Aurora Borealis of Taikamaa (Auroras on ice)

Auroras on ice

Taikamaa is one of those places where I often photograph the first Northern Lights of the Autumn. The name Taikamaa is self-invented. Taikamaa was found by chance a few summer ago.

I was looking for new photography places with my wife Tarja who is also an avid landscape photographer. It was a bright summer night when we drove in the countryside in Northern Finland. You could only see forest around. Suddenly a wonderful sight opened up. On both sides of the road there was calm water and a beautiful mist appeared above the water. The sight was so beautiful so we named it Taikamaa. “magic land” in English.

After that night we have visited the site several times and it is one of the best places to photograph Aurora Borealis because in autumn when the sky is bright you can almost always see aurora borealis from Taikamaa. In addition there is water everywhere and water reflects auroras beautifully as you can see in the photo above. 

The photo above is one of the best photos I’ve taken of the Aurora Borealis. That image is a four-photo vertical panorama. Panoramic photography of Aurora Borealis is the type of photography that is challenging and it requires concentration and good routine. I have photographed panoramas for a long time and I try to improve my skills all the time. My desire for photography is still growing.

© 2019 Mikko Leinonen. All Photos are copyrighted. All rights reserved. Pictures can not be used without explicit permission by the creator.

 Blue hour in Riisitunturi

Blue hour

The Photograph “Blue hour” is taken at Riisitunturi National Park on 15.3.2018. I have visited the National Park a several times in winter. Riisitunturi National Park is in the municipality of Posio in Lapland Finland. It covers an area of ​​77 square kilometers and was founded in 1982.

In winter the heavy snow forest in Riisitunturi is full of magic and it fascinates the traveler. The snow-covered trees form figures that are like from another planet. It is a great destination for snowshoeing and skiing and of course for taking photos. In summer Riisitunturi is a great place for hiking. There are several hiking trails and the trails are suitable for day trips or longer hikes. Riisitunturi also has some of the finest sloping bogs in Europe.

March 15. 2018 I left Oulu at night at three o’clock to Myllykoski in Juuma. My intention was to visit at Riisitunturi on the same day and take a photo of the blue hour and also photograph Aurora Borealis if they were visible. Upon the arrival to Juuma I first drove to Myllykoski where I photographed the sunrise and morning lights.  

In the afternoon I left Juuma and drove first to the municipality of Posio where my camp was. After eating and taking a nap in the evening I drove to Riisitunturi. The distance from Posio to Riisitunturi is about 35 kilometres. It is a half an hour drive on good snow covered roads. It was quite a rush as the sun was setting already. I just got to the fell and  managed to take a photo during the blue hour. That image is a five-photo vertical panorama. 

I was still waiting for the Aurora Borealis in the evening.  There was moderate wind higher in the fell and it began to become cold so i was forced to descend from the fell. When i got to the parking area at the bottom of the fell the Aurora Borealis started to shine.

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 Aurora Borealis shining above Riisitunturi

This time I was not able to photograph the Aurora Borealis at their finest. However, I took a picture of a gate at the National Park, where you could see the Aurora Borealis shining behind the forest. 

Landscape photography requires a lot of preparation. In advance however; nothing can be ultimately done for the forces of nature. Preparation is still worthwhile and so is it possible to get a dream photo.

© 2019 Mikko Leinonen. All Photos are copyrighted. All rights reserved. Pictures can not be used without explicit permission by the creator.

 Autumn morning mist

In September 2018 my wife and I did an Autumn trip to Juuma. In the morning I got up early to take photos of sunrise. After the night it was calm and in some places the mist completely covered the visibility when I left the car to walk to Myllykoski. When i arrived to Myllykoski, the place was isolated and there were no other people present. There was perfect conditions for landscape photography.  

The sun was just rising when I walked to the stream pool below Myllykoski. Now I was at a familiar photography site. This pool is pretty big and on the opposite side is isle Putaansaari. On the cliff you can see the old cottage which is familiar from the many photographs taken at Myllykoski. I think that the cottage builder newer knew at the time how popular the place would be now. 

I set up my tripod and installed a panoramic head. I fixed the camera and then I focused on photography. I was happy with the result and later at home when I post-processed that image my satisfaction increased further.

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© 2019 Mikko Leinonen. All Photos are copyrighted. All rights reserved. Pictures can not be used without explicit permission by the creator.

 Autumn night in River Kitkajoki

The Autumn night in River Kitkajoki photo above has been taken from the lake Jyrävänjärvi just above Myllykoski rapids. In September my wife and I did an Autumn trip to Juuma. We photographed Myllykoski region and saw the first Aurora Borealis of the Autumn in Juuma. It was a beautiful night and the crescent shone in the sky.  

I took this Aurora Borealis photo and I used exposure time for one hour and got star trails in the photo. You can also see a beautiful night mist above the water.

© 2019 Mikko Leinonen. All Photos are copyrighted. All rights reserved. Pictures can not be used without explicit permission by the creator.