Days are getting longer here in the north. Rays of sun almost reached my favorite creek today, with some luck I might get sunny creek pictures in a week or two. There is wonderful frost on the reeds and branches but without any sunlight they just aren’t as pretty. I’m really looking forward to the upcoming weeks with wonderful winter landscapes with warmer tones of light.
Santa brought me a pair of snow shoes and they are absolutely wonderful in these forests. There is so much snow that without them you couldn’t go anywhere. With a lot of patience you could follow paths if you knew where they were. Snow on the paths is a bit harder because it has been walked on, but since we get so much new snow all the time, it’s hard to tell where the paths are. And even if you stayed on the path your foot would still get sucked into the snow every now and then.
If you leave the path you’ll be sucked in knee deep. In some parts the wind has thrown the snow into bigger heaps and in those parts it’s thigh deep. We had a few warmer days this week and now it is back to -12C, so the snow has a harder cover now and snowshoeing is a lot of fun. When I went to the forest last weekend it was too soft and the snow shoes kept sinking into the snow. Now I can go anywhere I want and it feels like the first walk in the forest in the spring when all the snow has melted. It’s a wonderful sense of freedom to go anywhere you like. With snow shoes you can walk on wetland and other such terrain where you can’t go during snowless season, so in fact you have even more freedom to go wherever you like than during summer. I found many fox tracks and followed them. Actually there weren’t any other tracks besides fox tracks, bunny tracks and mine. It was a wonderful feeling of freedom – just me, the bunnies and the foxes and all that snow.
In the Finnish language we have hundreds of words for snow, describing the different kinds of snow in different weather conditions. There is the soft powdery snow and then there is the wet sleet and the hard snow when it’s really cold. All these different kinds of snow have their own names in our language. All these different kinds of snow are also one of the most difficult things to photograph. During winter there is too little light but then when the sun is shining it easily gets too bright on the white snow. And when is the snow really white? Or do I even want it to be white in the pictures because in real life it never is? In sun light it’s golden and during the later hours of the day it’s blue. And how could I manage to portray the huge amount of it? No matter how many pictures I take in the forest it just looks like there is a normal thin layer of snow on the ground and whenever I set my foot on it, I find myself thigh deep in it. In the end I don’t really mind these challenges, that’s what makes photography interesting after all – leaving me something to wonder about next winter also.