Back from the northern lands, @lafilledeer tells us stories of landscapes filled with secrets waiting to be unearthed. Discover her travel diary and photographs shot with the Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens.
Lapland, summer 2018.
This summer I travelled to the North of Finland and to Norway for a dozen days. I like northern countries, their vast areas of cold and wildland always make me dream. And also, it was time for me to meet real reindeers.
We were two and left with enough equipment and food to camp out there in the wild. The beginning of our trip was rough because the bag which contained our food and camping equipment was lost. Therefore, we lost two days, doing touristy stuff around the airport. We went to the Arktikum Museum and saw its gigantic glass gallery in Rovaniemi. Then, we met French ornithologists who lifted our spirits. We had to buy equipment and we drove up north. From then on, I made memorable memories.
I had managed to bring plenty of photography equipment in my bag. My dad's Canon EOS 3000N (one of the last analogue cameras bodies Canon ever made), armed with a Lomography lens: the Petzval 58 Bokeh Control and some Lomochrome Purple and Lomochrome Turquoise film.
The place that most stroke me in Finland was the Inari Lake. I spent a night there, in an observation tower which overhung the lake, along with the midnight sun, and we had the chance to see six moose walk on it.
We went to Norway to go around the fjord along the Varanger peninsula, which is known for its ornithological diversity. The few days we spent there were magical. Between washing ourselves in a frozen lake enlightened by the midnight sun, the white church of Nesseby — which marks the beginning of the peninsula, where I found cetacean and otter bones — the red wooden houses by the sea in the fisherman villages, the sun setting upon the sculpture of a Drakkar on the Vardø Island, visiting the ornithologic sanctuary — accessible by boat, where we where surrounded by thousands of great cormorants, Atlantic puffins and little penguins before the beginning of the storm - and the discovery of several skeletons of reindeers on the coast.
Making our way back to Finland was tough, as it was cold and we had to walk in the rain. We also rode canoes for 6 miles on the Inari Lake, raced an ermine on an island; then went for a 15.5-mile hike over two days in the Lemmenjoki National Park. Where we were able to discover the coasts and lakes: there are about 1864 miles of pines, swamps and summits. I had never been in such a deserted and silent place before. I felt very peaceful there. Even remote places such as these are equipped with shelters and stored chopped wood for fires and kept clean for hikers. All of this contrasts a lot with the solitude one feels there. During this hike, we found moose antlers of 8 pounds and reindeer antlers, which allowed me to have beautiful physical mementoes.
I really liked people's philosophy of life wherever we went. Their closeness with nature and their respect for it. The silence, the space, the near absence of cities and the remote places. The heat, the cold, the edible berries everywhere, the raindeers we had to avoid on the roads in Finland and the sheep in Norway; the midnight sun, the reindeer meat and the smell of smoked wood in my hair. It was interesting to discover the Sami culture one day at a time. I even bought a kuksa. Returning to the French suburbs was strange after this experience.