This is part 4 of a 4-part series from my trip to Lapland in February 2017. I had too many photos to share in one post, so I ended up having to split them into smaller, themed categories.
If there was one location I'd most like to return to in Lapland, it would be Tunturiaapa Mire. It's basically an area of swamp & marshland, to the South of Pyhä, which creates a clearing amongst the vast forest. Within the mire, the trees have died off, leaving what looks like a graveyard of dead tree trunks, surrounded by the living forest. Granted, it sounds bleak. But it's really beautiful, and it was so quiet and peaceful. If you like genuine natural landscape features, and harsh minimalist imagery, this place is a gold mine.
Tunturiaapa is marked in this Winter Hiking Trail map, right at the south-eastern tip of Pyhä-Luosto National Park.
There's a wooden boardwalk providing a horseshoe-shaped walking route through middle of the marsh. In summer, the ground around the boardwalk would be wet and boggy. In winter the ground is frozen solid, but is almost inaccessible without snowshoes. This means that there are no footprints to worry about, and the entire mire (aside from the boardwalk) is pristine snow. Not that you can see the boardwalk for the snow, but if you step off it you'll be up to your waist in snow, so you soon get the gist.
All these photos were taken from the middle of the mire, looking out in different directions, either across the mire itself or to the edges where the swamp meets the forest.
Amongst the chaos of the forest and the dead trees, I was also looking for something approaching minimalism, and this was the best I managed. I quite like it...
If I were to visit Lapland again, I would hire snowshoes, so I could get a little further off the beaten path. Maybe even reach the top of the higher Fells in the area, which don't have maintained hiking paths in winter. I think the views there would be spectacular, and also quite rare, as the few visitors that do hike during winter, tend to do as I did this time, and stick to the most accessible routes.
I don't tend to go for a square crop very often, but I felt like it was the best option for the image above, where I wanted the lone young tree to feature centrally.
In the centre of the mire, there's a raised bird-watching platform, for use in the summer. Given the light on this occasion, I didn't feel that the raised perspective was adding anything, so all of these photos are from ground level. But it's an interesting vantage point to experiment with should I ever manage to revisit the place.
The two photos above and below, show some of the few more healthy fir trees which have been able to take hold at the edge of the mire, as the ground begins to transition into firmer soil, and the forest creeps back in.
I'd love the opportunity to be here for sunrise. The pink sky of an arctic sunrise, and the warm light on the trees would be spectacular. You would also get some great lines of shadow on the snow, from the straight trunks of the dead trees.
Though it's far from remote, Tunturiaapa Mire isn't the most easily accessible photography location in the area, especially for sunrise/sunset. It's around a 45 minute walk through the woods from the nearest road/drop-off point. So to be there at sunrise/sunset you'd have to do one of those legs in the dark.
There are so many amazing views and locations in Lapland, you're spoilt for choice. Even restricting myself to Pyhä-Luosto National Park, there were views everywhere. I could have driven around the outskirts of the twin resorts, and shot beautiful snow scenes from the car window if I wanted, such is the bounty of views on hand. The purity of the cold and the heavy snow adds a bit of magic to every scene around you. If you're in any doubt about whether you'd enjoy Lapland, just give it a go. You won't regret it. It was like nowhere I've ever been before, and I hope very much I'll be able to return in the future.
Click to see the whole #Lapland2017 blog series.