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Yorkshire based Professional Landscape and Wildlife Photographer

Autumn Photography In Lapland

Posted on 12/07/18

Autumn in Abisko is an amazing place. Well Abisko it's self is an amazing place but Autumn is something special. I thought I would put this blog together to try and articulate why I think that's the case!

1. The colours!

Because Abisko is 200km North of the Arctic Circle and at 400m of altitude it's a tough place for trees and normal plants to grow. The tree which grows best in the area is the arctic birch tree and in autumn these trees turn a fantastic colour. When the leaves turn the area is absolutely stunning.

Reflected birch

During this period the waterfalls are still running too which again provide lots of photographic potential.

Nujiloia

The leaves of the arctic birch once turned don't last that long but even when they have dropped the landscape itself is very beautiful with rich colours in the mosses and the other turning plants.

Scrub

Mist and trees

2. No people!

If you travel to Iceland or Lofoten at this time of year you will see a lot of people and everyone taking the same shots. Whilst in the area around Abisko you are unlikely to see anyone. In 40 days of hiking over the last two autumns around Abisko I saw one person once! You take pictures and wonder if people have ever even pointed a camera at the scene before. As Abisko is quite busy in the Summer and the Winter the locals use this time to go on holiday so it really is very quiet. I really love being able to go to beautiful locations and just know you are going to have the place to yourself. Imagine looking over the next vista knowing there isn't a soul around the only life we did see in this area was moose and eagles!

Ridge view

3. The Aurora.

For some reason, everyone thinks of the winter months as the best time to see the aurora and it is a very good time to see it. But for the last two years, the autumn has been the killer time to see the aurora. The Aurora seems to be very active in late September and early October (some of this is thought to be linked to the Autumn Equinox). The other thing why I like aurora photography at this time of year is the reflections. The main lake is totally open during this time of year so shots like this are possible.

Aurora reflected in Tornetrasck

And the smaller lakes will freeze later in the Autumn (which is brilliant for ice skating) which can provide amazing reflections and before they due they can often be very calm so you get shots like this.

Aurora reflections

Combining the night hiking where you definitely won't see anyone and aurora photography can also be fun!

Hikers and aurora

4. Weather.

a) Late September and October are perfect temperatures for me September tends to be around +10C to 0C and then October +3 to about -5C (although can drop much colder at times).

b) The days in late September are fairly long but they get shorter pretty quickly. For example on 25/9/2018 sunrise is 06:36 and sunset is 18:35. on 25/10/2018 sunrise is 08:29 and sunset is 16:28! Nearly 4 hours difference. The sunrises and sunsets at this time of year can be breathtaking.

Sunset

And then some days something amazing can happen out of the blue. This was November 2017 and no one in the village had ever seen anything like it. Was like a giant beam of sunlight coming through the mountain gap of Lapporten!

Lapporten and sun beam

c) Temperature inversions are common in the autumn which means the valley fills with mist. Sounds terrible? It's no probelm you just go above the mist as the temperature is warmer above it holds the mist in the valleys which then leads it's self to some truly special photographic opportunities. Sometime they may involve a hike;

Nivi and the mountains

And the following shot I just drove up the local ski resort of Björkliden and walked behind the hotel.

Lapporten in Autumn

Of course, you can combine the mist and the aurora if you want to be adventurous!

Aurora

5. Macro opportunities

Not something people probably think of in Lapland but they are there. Before the cold temperatures come along there are often things which catch the eye;

Leaf

And once the frosts do start there are many interesting macro shots to be taken.

Ice

This really peculiar ice formation I photographed last October.

Ice

This year I'm going to running my own workshop in conjunction with Lights over Lapland at the end of September. The details of that workshop can be found HERE.

Then in October and November, I will be the guide running Lights Over Lapland Autumn Aurora photography tours and the details of those can be found HERE.

Any questions just let me know.

All the best,
Oliver

2 Comments
  • Rugged beauty. Photos perfectly capture the wild magnificence of North Scandinavia for me.

    Mike Palmer - 14 July, 2018
  • missed this set. Absolutley fantastic images.

    Mr geraint evans - 26 August, 2018
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